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.
What a friend we have in Darwin,
Whose inflammatory research
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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 email@example.com by midday on 14 May.