Monday, June 29, 2009

Alpha Courses

I make no secret of the fact that I am an atheist, I don't believe in God
(not even a little bit), however there have been times in my own life when
things have seemed inexplicably bleak and I have wished that there was
something outside of day to day life from which I could garner some support.
I have often found myself, during these times, looking at people who have
some religious affiliation or system of faith and feeling a little jealous
of their ability to believe. For me not believing in God is not something I
choose, I think about the idea and it makes no sense, I could no more try to
be a believer then I could try to fly - there is an inherent contradiction
between the way my mind works and the dictates of blind faith and this is
okay, because if I was to turn to God or religion when life seemed a little
too difficult then it would be no better a solution then turning to alcohol
or drugs or any other crutch.

What struck me last night while watching a programme about the Alpha courses
in the UK was the people who were attending these and what they seemed to be
looking for, there was a sort of sadness in them and they, understandably,
were seeking something to create meaning. What the organisers of the courses
seemed to do was to prey on this in the most horrifically manipulative
manner. I am sometimes accused of being to harsh in the expression of my
views of religiosity, but it is things like the Alpha course that inspire
this, every individual is entitled to believe in whatever they want, and I
can even understand the impetus to attempt to convert others, but the Alpha
course crossed a line between conversion and coercion, just watching their
methods made me feel uncomfortable and worried for the attendees. Perhaps
there needs to be some sort of a regulation, or at least a system to monitor
these types of programmes?


Anonymous said...

I love the way you worded that first paragraph.

-Anon, SLC, Utah, USA

Siobhán said...

Thanks for that... just general ranting really!!