Well, one of the top news stories this week has been the announcement that the British Humanist Association with the backing of Professor Richard (The God Delusion) Dawkins have raised £36,000 to pay for an advertising campaign on the sides of thirty London 'bendy buses' announcing...
'And what is the saint doing in the forest?' asked Zarathustra. The saint answered: 'I make songs and sing them; and when I make songs, I laugh, cry, and hum: thus do I praise God. With singing, crying, laughing, and humming do I praise the god who is my god. But what do you bring us as a gift?'
When Zarathustra had heard these words he bade the saint farewell and said: 'What could I have to give you? But let me go quickly lest I take something from you!' And thus they separated, the old one and the man, laughing as two boys laugh.
But when Zarathustra was alone he spoke thus to his heart: 'Could it be possible? This old saint in the forest has not yet heard anything of this, that God is dead!'
THERE'S PROBABLY NO GOD
NOW STOP WORRYING AND ENJOY YOUR LIFE
NOW STOP WORRYING AND ENJOY YOUR LIFE
Er... Sorry? What was that......
I mean, you'd expect the British Humanist Association to be a bit more certain really, wouldn't you? After all, you don't get many churches saying 'There probably IS a God'.
According to Professor Dawkins: "This campaign... will make people think - and thinking is anathema to religion." But a recent article by the Prof in The Huffington Post was entitled Why There Almost Certainly Is No God (my italics).
There we go again... 'Almost Certainly'?
Sounds suspiciously like hedging your bets to me. You didn't catch Nietzsche saying "God is probably dead" or "God is almost certainly dead", he just said "Gott ist tot" --- "God is dead".
Still, since we're still waiting for London Mayor, Boris Johnson, to rid London's streets of the ghastly bendy buses, maybe - come January, when the campaign gets rolling - he'll get some divine help. Certainly, every time a bus breaks down, I'm going to be checking out what ads are displayed on its sides!
It could, almost-certainly-probably, happen...
And, if not, then maybe a few Non-Humanists ought to raise a fund for an ad featuring this piece of German graffiti (courtesy of W C Notes)...
Or we could all buy T-shirts and bumper stickers (available here) with the English translation...
To be fair to Nietzsche, his famous line has largely been taken out of context - his chief argument being that since belief in God was being reasoned into non-existence, by what philosophy and moral code would future mankind live.
It is interesting to read if you've got the time (if not it's been around for over 120 years and will keep!) another of his allegorical stories in The Gay Science (Die fröhliche Wissenschaft) of 1882:
Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market-place, and cried incessantly: "I am looking for God! I am looking for God!"
As many of those who did not believe in God were standing together there, he excited considerable laughter. Have you lost him, then? said one. Did he lose his way like a child? said another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? or emigrated? Thus they shouted and laughed. The madman sprang into their midst and pierced them with his glances.
"Where has God gone?" he cried. "I shall tell you. We have killed him - you and I. We are his murderers. But how have we done this? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What did we do when we unchained the earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving now? Away from all suns? Are we not perpetually falling? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there any up or down left? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is it not more and more night coming on all the time? Must not lanterns be lit in the morning? Do we not hear anything yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we not smell anything yet of God's decomposition? Gods too decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we, murderers of all murderers, console ourselves?
"That which was the holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet possessed has bled to death under our knives. Who will wipe this blood off us? With what water could we purify ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we need to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we not ourselves become gods simply to be worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whosoever shall be born after us - for the sake of this deed he shall be part of a higher history than all history hitherto."
Here the madman fell silent and again regarded his listeners; and they too were silent and stared at him in astonishment. At last he threw his lantern to the ground, and it broke and went out. "I have come too early," he said then; "my time has not come yet. The tremendous event is still on its way, still travelling - it has not yet reached the ears of men. Lightning and thunder require time, the light of the stars requires time, deeds require time even after they are done, before they can be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than the distant stars - and yet they have done it themselves."