Atheists Who Know God

I was listening to Mike Resnick’s excellent story called “Article of Faith.” It’s a story about a robot employee working for a minister in a church. The minister uses the robot to help improve his sermons and the robot comes to believe he has a soul and needs to worship God. But the minister can’t allow the robot to worship with his congregation for two reasons. First, no one believes robots have souls. Second, his congregation is prejudice against robots who keep stealing their jobs. We eventually learn that the second is the real reason.

The story is well done, if predictable. As the story on Escape Pod came to an end, the ‘host’ came on with some final thoughts. He says that he’s an atheist, but he’s certain that if there was a God that God would never be in favor of being in any way exclusive in their worship. (Hint hint) How could anyone believe that some old book written ages ago is completely accurate about what God is like? It’s like trying to stare at the Grand Canyon where you just can’t possibly take it all in with a photograph.

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The Sign of the Dove

Feral_Barbary_Dove[Cross posted from Sixteen Small Stones]

As a child and a young man I owned a lot of pets.  My poor mother, who is not a “pet person” at all, was more than a little patient with my ever expanding zoo, which overflowed from my bedroom into many other parts of the house and yard.  A lot of my earliest spiritual experiences involved pets.  I experienced the magic and excitement of new-born life and the sting and stillness of death in a very real, personal way.

My collection of life included a number of different birds.  I had a parrot, cockatiels, budgerigars, zebra finches, canaries, a rooster and some hens, a bantam rooster and hens,  ducks, homing pigeons, and ring-neck doves.  I didn’t get an allowance and breeding pets, especially doves, and selling them to Utah Valley pet stores was my primary source of income.

Close personal contact with doves, especially in contrast to the other birds I had,  gave me some insights into why the dove has been used as a symbol of peace, and in the scriptures as a sign for the Holy Spirit of God.

Parrots and parakeets have sharp, hooked bills and when they feel threatened or trapped they will squawk and screech, complain and murmur, and give you a painful bite– sometimes drawing blood.

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