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O come all ye unfaithful

3 May 2014

Organised atheism is on the rise and this prompted John Whitworth to make the excellent suggestion that I challenge competitors to come up with a hymn for atheists. Hymns do not feature at all at The Sunday Assembly, an atheist Church founded last year in London. Instead the congregation sings along, in evangelical style, to pop songs by the likes of the Pointer Sisters, Stevie Wonder and Daft Punk. Perhaps they might feel inspired, by one of the entries below, to change their tune.

There were neat twists on ‘Amazing Grace’, ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’, ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’, and Milton’s ‘Let us, with a gladsome mind’. I liked Sid Field’s ‘Stand up, stand up for reason’ and George Simmers’s ‘He who would atheist be’. Honourable mentions also go to Barbara Smoker, Nick Grace, Richard Kelly and Samuel Johnson.

The bonus fiver is Rob Stuart’s and the rest take £25 each.

Rob Stuart
What a friend we have in Darwin,
Whose inflammatory research
Formulated evolution,
To the chagrin of the Church.
Now we know that capybaras,
Emus, crocodiles and perch,
Even tapeworms are our kindred,
Let’s eradicate the Church.

Serried enemies of reason
Always struggle to besmirch
Any evidence they’re offered
If it challenges the Church.
Inconsistencies in fossils
Aren’t forthcoming, so they’ll search
Unsuccessfully for ever.
Let’s eradicate the Church.

Martin Parker
Hark, the non-believers sing,
Atheism is the thing.
Only fools take gods on trust.
Man is naught but cosmic dust.
Guilt and superstition-free,
That’s what Man is born to be.
Hark the song we atheists sing.
Let the godless rafters ring.

Hark, the prospect of release
From resurrection post-decease.
Thus we atheists will save
Ourselves from life beyond the grave
With those fools who, in the main,
We’d not want to meet again.
Hark the fervent atheists’ song.
We are right, the rest are wrong.

Claim your gift

Sylvia Fairley
Guide us not, pray don’t redeem us,
Non-believers, every one;
Join us now — we’re all blasphemers,
Godlessness is lots of fun.

No harvest prayers to plough and scatter,
As we sow, we shall not reap;
Give us talks on antimatter,
Leave religion to the sheep.

No need to fight the tribes of Midian,
Or feel the sting of Jesse’s rod;
It’s great to be a nullifidian,
Never fear, there is no god.

No afterlife, no souls to plunder;<
Dies Irae, funeral wakes…
We’ll sing along with Stevie Wonder,
After that there’s tea and cakes.

Katie Mallett
Praise the cell that makes all bodies,
DNA the driving force
Keeping all the life in nature
On it’s evolution course.
Evolution — the solution
To all ills, a last resource.

From the tiniest of life forms
To our present human state
Evolution has secured us
Brains and brawn to meet our fate.
Evolution the solution
To the problems we await.

D.A. Prince
Onward, Unbelievers,
Ration’lly we plod.
One fact to unite us:
No such thing as God!
Heaven is mere delusion,
After-life a joke;
When we die it’s over,
We’ll go up in smoke: (Chorus: repeat lines 1-4)

Onward, we of No-Faith.
Our life’s calm and flat.
No ‘soul’ to disturb us.
We’re just here: that’s that.
Earthly life’s sufficient,
Spirit-life a myth,
Let’s hold hands and sing it —
Friends and kin and kith: (Chorus: repeat lines 1-4)

Alanna Blake

A godless zeal unites us all,
We need no mystic grace,
Humanity will stand or fall
On earth’s substantial face.

A god may strengthen those in doubt,
The weak who seek support;
At least they’re saved from finding out
Post mortem they’re sold short.

For us to worship there’s wide choice,
No heavenly host or such,
Just ancient trees, a blackbird’s voice,
Calm seas, a sunset touch.

And when we die, as die we must,
On this we can depend:
We’ll find in ashes and in dust
A salutary end.

We’ve done something similar before but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to give William Topaz McGonagall a chance to comment on Scottish independence. Your next challenge is to submit such a commentary in your best McGonagallese. Please email entries of up to 16 lines to by midday on 14 May.

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Show comments
  • Cyril Sneer

    Atheism is pretty straight forward. We do not believe in god, any god. We do not need to be part of a group or have a specific identity, or dress in a certain way, act in a certain way. We can just be ourselves and carry out our non-belief like we have been doing every day since birth.

  • andycanuck

    As I’m sure someone else has already commented here, they do realize the irony of turning their nonreligion into a religion, don’t they?

  • lookout

    Did you check out your room? After you have done that, check the cell, do it via chuck missler on you tube and be astonished

  • lookout

    Look around your room and find anything that has not been designed, all designs require information, atheists reject a creator and hang on to Darwinism evolution like a life jacket, Darwin didn’t know about DNA, had he done so he would see it had to be designed because of the information it carries.

    • Angela_K

      Oh dear, Paley’s watchmaker again, a proposition that has been demolished many times as has creationism in general. Try studying the main science disciplines and not religious texts, you’ll learn facts not fantasy.

      • GeeBee36_6

        How do they do it? All argument is just tossed aside, or more likely simply ignored , and they revert to this tired, old, discredited – and let’s be truthful, nincompoop-defining naivety of a non-argument.

        Not one of them, of course, ever stops to consider what their disgusting cocktail of willful ignorance, arrogance and illogicality really tastes like to those of us not determined to be immune to its bitter flavour. I’ve mentioned the ignorance already, but arrogance? Why is it they automatically award their own deity the job, once they have pretended it can’t just have been evolution? They not only ignore scientific explanation, but in an act of breathtaking arrogance, ignore the other 1,000+ deities that man, over time, has invented. If it really has to have been created by a supernatural force, why Yaweh? Why not Isis, or Osiris, or Attis, or Cybele, or Ganesh, or Mithra? More especially still in today’s world, why not Brahma or Vishnu or Shiva? How insulting to Hindus to toss aside their creator gods with as much contempt as you toss aside evidential science.

        Lastly, illogicality. If it is so very far fetched for life as we know it to have come about without a creator, how very much more far fetched to cobble together an explanation of how this supernatural cosmic agency came into being itself. And please don’t give us the one about per-existence: if it’s OK for a deity to be per-existent then it;s equally OK for the universe to be so.

        • Dawn Young

          So you are a pantheist?

          • GeeBee36_6

            How, pray, do you arrive at this inference?

  • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

    I’m an atheist and despise all of this late populist-atheism. Mind your own business about the Church of England and harmless religions like that, the irony is if they protested outside a deserving place of worship they’d be arrested or stoned to death.

  • kyalami

    Will we have a competition on Islam next? Perhaps re-writing sections of their holy book in the most creative manner?

    • Kaine

      Hymns aren’t in the Bible. That book tells you not to go to church. Read Matthew 6.

      • kyalami

        Indeed. I am aware of that.

        However, the theme was not atheism but anti-Christianity. I would like to see a broader definition: Christianity is an easy target.

  • Bonkim

    Real Atheists think for themselves and don’t need Anthems or an organisation representing them.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Apparently they do:-

      Many of them even call themselves Atheist. Let’s face it, it not just a personal disbelief in God but an organised faith that God does not exist.

      And they do more than just represent atheists. They campaign too, which requires organisation and aims (and public funding too, preferably as a “charity”):-

      They might think for themselves but like so many other organised identity groups and “charities”, within their serried ranks it is more often than not a form of group think that is demonstrated.

      • Bonkim

        Secularism and humanism don’t equate to Atheism althogh some of each may have the others’ beliefs. Organised Atheism is not dissimilar to organised Religion – God if he does exist would not deal with believers via an organisation.

        • Colonel Mustard

          “God if he does exist would not deal with believers via an organisation.”

          How do you know that? Has He told you?

          • JoeDM

            But which ‘god’?

            Us humans have invented so many down the ages. And why is it ‘he’ and not ‘she’ or ‘it’ ?

            • Colonel Mustard

              I don’t know. Ask Bonkim not me. He is the one who assured us that God (“he”) would not deal with believers via an organisation.

              And spare us the vehicle for yet more atheist “challenges” please. Beyond tedious. You believe what you want to and allow others to do the same.

              • Dr_Spence

                Atheism is not a belief it a lack of belief, based on the fact there is no evidence to support any belief. I do agree that allowing others to have there beliefs is a good and fair thing. The problem is that religions are always trying to impose their dogmas on the rest of us. This is why we have to campaign and “challenge”. We don’t want to live in a world where revelation dominates rationality.

                • GeeBee36_6

                  Well said. Dear old Colonel Mustard is totemic of believers, who don’t like being reminded that their faith is a castle built on sand. Their sad protestations (and, by the way, they are equally ‘tiresome’ to atheists as vice versa) are really no more than the child stopping its ears and shouting ‘I don’t wanna go to bed! I wanna stay up longer!’ (= ‘I don’t want to die’ etc).

                  It clearly suits them to portray atheism as an organised movement, which of course it largely is not. Why should this be? Because they think it makes it an easier target I imagine. As you rightly say, however, atheism is actually no more than a rational disavowal of something, be it never so deeply entrenched in human culture, and be it undoubtedly ancient, but for which there is not a shred of evidence to make the rational mind support it.

                  If the Colonel Mustards of this world want to hurl toy bears from their perambulators, let them. But please don’t try to set up an atheist conspiracy to tilt at: it’s faith that continues to crumble under post-Darwinian logic, not those ghastly atheist conspirators who have a plan to take over the world.

          • Bonkim

            God has a covenant with each individual – not an imperfect group of human beings.

          • Dr_Spence

            I don’t think “he” has told anybody anything as it’s very unlikely that “he” exists.

      • monty61

        Pastafarianism is the best one I think

  • MirthaTidville

    They are of course entitled to their views………….as long as its not compulsory

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