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Is there a God

By Peter Bowden - posted Friday, 27 March 2020

The writer of this opinion piece was brought up as a Catholic - even served as an altar boy. But as the years rolled on, he became more and more convinced that there was no god. Part of the reason may have been attendance at a Christian Brothers school, but probably the major reason was that he had never had any direct evidence that there was a god, nor had he met anybody who had such evidence.

Adding to these thoughts was the realisation that if there was a god, and who presumably had created the world, he had made something of a mess of his task. Bertram Russell put it this way:

You find as you look around the world that every single bit of progress in humane feeling, every improvement in the criminal law, every step toward the diminution of war, every step toward better treatment of the coloured races, or every mitigation of slavery, every moral progress that there has been in the world, has been consistently opposed by the organized churches of the world.


Perhaps this is a bit strong, for the churches also do much good. But the recent accusations and convictions of Roman Catholic priests for paedophile activities, and the church cover ups, were beginning to convince me that maybe Russell was correct.

The use of religion by two of our sporting heroes to condemn gay marriage, Israel Folau and Margaret Court, marriages that were voted as OK by most of the Australian people, added to the belief that it was not only the Catholics who were in the wrong. Some of the more fundamental Christian believers were also at fault.

A final reason for the belief that there is no god is the United States where the belief in God and attendance at church services are high.

Research by the National Opinion Research Centre at the University of Chicago shows that 60% of people in the United States  believed in god, This can be compared with 18% in France,17 % in Great Britain and 25% in Australia, The highest beliefs were 62% in Poland (which is 90% Catholic), and 84% in the Philippines (86% Catholic).

Believers in atheism are 3% in the US as against 18% in Great Britain and 23% in France. Yet, the US, this developed country, with the greatest number of committed believers, treats more of its people in an unchristian like manner that any other country – It kills more of them, in mass murders and individual homicides, it executes more of them, and causes more wars than any other nation. It also has one of the developed world’s worst health care systems with a comparatively low life expectancy and poor health achievements on several statistics. It also has a President who lies constantly.

God does not appear to be looking after the welfare of those people who have chosen to support him. Maybe he is not there.


Beginning to suspect that more and more people, were at least uncertain, or even coming to the belief that there is no god, I conducted a small survey of 30 people with results as below.




(Total 30)


There is no god (atheist)



There is no proof that there is a god (i.e. a closet atheist, but unwilling to say they are atheist)



I do not know (agnostic)



A belief that “There is something out there”



Believes in god, but does not know what sort of god, nor goes to church, or prays



A deist or deism. Believes that that god is a First Cause responsible for the creation of the universe, but that he (she, it?) does not interfere directly with the world. Observation of the natural world is sufficient to determine the existence of a creator



A belief in a god “of sorts” combined with a belief that religion was necessary for the conduct of one’s life. How else do we celebrate births deaths and marriages?.



A belief in a full god, to whom we pray when we need to.



Goes to church services (a) intermittently; (b) regularly each week and prays.

(a)   0

(b)   1

More than half are willing to come straight out and say they are atheists. I wonder what the readers of this opinion piece will say.

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About the Author

Peter Bowden is an author, researcher and ethicist. He was formerly Coordinator of the MBA Program at Monash University and Professor of Administrative Studies at Manchester University. He is currently a member of the Australian Business Ethics Network , working on business, institutional, and personal ethics.

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