Word Count: 1942
Takes: 5 minutes and 90 seconds to read
Interview with Darwinian, owner of Atheists’ Heaven. A place where people can talk about religion,philosophy,atheist related discussions and more …
(1.) Max Pen: What did you believe in the beginning of religion? Where you raised under the English church? As following: Protestantism?
Darwinian: I was born an atheist as of course everyone is. Neither of my parents were religious but neither were they particularly atheist and so, up until the age of about 10 I did believe there was a God and that he had a son called Jesus, mainly because this is what I had been told at school. I remember being quite worried because people used to say that God knew what you were thinking and so I used to panic when I thought of things that I thought God wouldn’t like. I also used to have lots of problems with what I knew about the Universe and what I saw around me and the message I got from religious people about how they thought the world worked. It just didn’t make any sense! I would ask questions like “Why would God do that?” and “Why would God allow that to happen?” and “If the Bible is true then why do scientists say this?”. All the time worrying what God would think about me asking these questions to myself.
Then one day, at about 10 years old I was sitting with my parents at the dinner table and we were talking about people starving in Africa. I of course was really confused and wondered why God would allow something so horrible to happen. Then, all of a sudden it hit me. A sort of eureka moment where I had this fantastic idea that would solve all the problems and answer all the questions that I had been asking. There is no God! It was so simple. It wasn’t God’s fault at all because he simply wasn’t there. Suddenly things made a lot more sense.
(2.) Max Pen: How did your religious view evolve with the years? What’s your conclusion about if there is a God and if Jesus etc really where who we claim them to be now?
Darwinian: For most of my life I have barely given religion any thought at all, concentrating more on Cosmology, Physics, Natural History and a bit of Philosophy thrown in for good measure. It wasn’t until a few years ago when I got drawn into what I would call active atheism and started to think about and challenge what I saw as the nonsensical claims made by religion and the totally disproportionately privileged position religion seems to take in our society.
The Abrahamic God is a total work of fiction as is the Biblical Christ. Jesus may well have existed at some point, perhaps as the leader of a religious cult. But if he were to come back today he certainly would not recognize the description of himself that the Bible promotes.
(3.) Max Pen: From where the name of Darwinian? Are you perhaps a fan of Charles Darwin?
Darwinian: Seemed like a good name for someone who is fascinated with natural history.
(4.) Max Pen: Do you think there should be religion yes or no? And why?
Darwinian: We’ll never get rid of religion and I’m not so sure that I would want that either. Religion can be very helpful for people to try to make sense of their lives. No-one knows why we are here or what life is all about and what, if anything lies beyond this life. If religion helps people make some sort of sense of this mystery and get on with their lives then, all well and good.
What worries me is when a persons personal and private beliefs start to arrogantly impose themselves on the rest of society, whether they want it or not. When they frighten children with the prospect of hell if they don’t believe. When education suffers because of conflict with scripture and doctrine and dogma.
So no, I have no wish to eradicate the religion from the world per say but instead would rather raise people consciousness to ask questions of the Universe and use logic and reason rather than blind faith and obedience to a superstitious and archaic belief system.
(5.) Max Pen: When did you start with Atheists Heaven and what motivated you to found it?
Darwinian: I started atheistsheaven.com about a 4 months ago with a couple of other like minded individuals. Somewhere where not only can religious assumptions be challenged but also a place where ‘closet’ atheists can have a place to feel some modicombe of freedom, especially if they live in a very religious society. It’s also a place where theists can debate with atheists and perhaps learn a little more about us and vice/versa.
(6.) Max Pen: You don’t run this board alone, you got 2 co-admins aka founders. What’s there part in this project? Did you promote them over time or where they both admins from the start of this site?
Darwinian: See above.
(7.) Max Pen: You have in bold in the footer: “heavily modified by Darwinian” What are the last 5 cool new features you coded your self for this forum?
Darwinian: The kudos system is pretty cool. It allows you to give a post a thumbs up or thumbs down thus giving each member a kudos score. The smilie selector for the shoutbox. The bookmark system really makes it easy to keep a track of those posts you want to revisit. The quote system. And I quite like the optional profanity filter for those who don’t like swear words.
(8.) Max Pen: When did you start with coding? What is your FAV coding language and why? What have you created so far with that FAV language of work or maybe even programs?
(9.) Max Pen: Are you pleased in a good mood when you look on the site , as in everything going good like you want it to be? What’s the biggest problem right now? (example: member’s participation.)
Darwinian: Technically I think the site is very cool. However, it needs a lot more members.
(10.) Max Pen: How did you come up with: (quotes section) Its brilliantly made! Who or what made you come up with the idea of coding that?
Darwinian: There are so many brilliant and inspired quotes out there that they really need a decent place to be displayed.
(11.) Max Pen: What feature is most used on this forum that you made?
Darwinian: Again, probably the quotes system.
(12.) Max Pen: Can you give us 4 discussions on this forum that really spark off the idea-goal behind this website?
Darwinian: All the discussions are great.
(13.) Max Pen: What type of believers do you have on this board? Are all atheists?
Darwinian: Mostly atheists but hopefully as it grows theists will be better represented.
(14.) Max Pen: Will you ever make mods for the mybb community so they ever might also use your creations?
Darwinian: Who knows.
(15.) Max Pen: How did you learn php, does your real life job have anything to do with it?
Darwinian: I learned php so I could add all the things I wanted to the forum. I’d far rather create my own code than use someone else. And I learned it by simply looking at other peoples source code. It’s not that difficult really.
(16.) Max Pen: What is in your eyes religion? Describe it with a few words.
Darwinian: Religion is akin to a virus or parasite that infects its host in such a way as to propagate itself further.
(17.) Max Pen: Where you shocked when you heard about the sexual abuse by religious figures-priests to children?
Darwinian: I was very shocked but not overly surprised given the insane celabacy laws. What also sickened me was the cover up by the Catholic church and the weedling apologies by the pope.
I mean, what has the Pope apologized for? He’s apologies for the crimes of individual priests. Well, I’m sorry that children were raped and abused in Church, I’m sorry that terrible things happen in the world, I’m sorry that they’re happening right now in churches and beyond, but I’m not responsible for them. What the Pope is responsible for and what he has totally failed to acknowledge and apologize for is, in my opinion, the deliberate, clinical and systemic cover-up of these crimes by the institutional church in the interests of protecting its power, influence and its wealth.
And that’s not just my view, it’s also the view of three state inquiries as well as a number of inquiries around the world and it’s not at all acknowledged in the Pope’s letter.
Basically, he’s shirked all personal responsibility and has failed to answer any of the charges levied at him and the authority of the church and has deflected this by simply and cowardly apologizing on behalf of individual catholic priests.
So, he’s not apologizing for himself, he’s apologizing on behalf of others and at worst, this is a straightforward deceit as he’s refused to engage with that which he’s been asked to engage with and at best it proves that he just doesn’t understand the nature of what he’s being asked to deal with and that’s a huge problem.
And what are the concrete actions that the Pope and the catholic church are going to take to ensure that these abhorrent and monstrous crimes can never be committed again? Well, it beggars belief and this I think is the whole problem with this church and it’s refusal to engage with reality.
What is he going to do? Is he going to mandate and require under church law a protection policy that requires all Bishops to hand over information about priests who rape and abuse children to the authorities? No! His solution is to request all Catholics in Ireland (and only Catholics) to pray, to fast and to do penance, because that will fix everything and secondly there’s going to be an apostolic visitation which can be no more than paying lip service in the hope that people think something is being done. No mandatory handing over of information of abusive priests to the authorities, no action on the global scandal, no attempts to protect people in the developing world where cardinals still say this problem doesn’t exist, despite all the evidence to the contrary.
These are the gross failures that the church has committed and the lack of any real and concrete action to address the crime of abuse as apposed to the need to evangelise people to try and get them back in the church show exactly where the priority of the Pope and the Vatican lies.
An apology is and should be a recognition of fault, and with that recognition should come a certain understanding of where the fault lies. It is clear to me now, with the publication of this letter, that the Pope sees no, or very little fault with the authority and structure of the church itself but instead with individual priests and the damage they have done. Until a realisation is made that the problem lies with the very way that the structure and philosophy of the church itself is formed and severe and far reaching changes are made, especially the absurd celibacy law, these words are going to do nothing to address the real problem.
Thanks for your detailed responses especially on the last question. This is really a great interview and best of luck to your site. May it get more active like you wish. -Max Pen