You’ll all have heard about the mysterious and sad case of Kristin and Candice Hermeler, the Australian twins who apparently attempted to commit a double suicide1 at a Colorado shooting range a couple of weeks back. The weekend’s Australian Herald Sun ran this headline for the incident:

Suicide twins Kristin and Candice Hermeler had God Delusion in their luggage

The headline is, of course, referring to Richard Dawkin’s book of that name. I say no more than that the two women also had a copy of Eckhart Tolle’s ‘The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment’2 and The Wisdom of the Native Americans among their belongings as well, but apparently those weren’t as headline-worthy. Funny that.3

In other Australian newspaper news in the same vein, Cardinal George Pell, a religious man of big pretensions and small intellect, has called those without faith4 ‘coarse, uncaring and without purpose’. He accuses atheists of having ‘nothing beyond the constructs they confect to cover the abyss’, which is odd since it seems to anyone with half a brain that it’s much more appropriate to describe people who hold the fanciful beliefs of religion with those words. Atheists, as anyone with the faintest grasp of philosophy understands, don’t ‘confect constructs’ of any kind, because atheism is simply a lack of belief. And, unlike religious people, we don’t attempt to ‘cover’ the abyss with anything – we just accept it’s there.5

In the same sermon Pell goes on (quite embarrassingly, in my opinion) to invoke the hoary old Atheism = Nazism argument, and so, via Godwin’s Law, automatically loses all credibility.6

George Pell accuses those without faith as being ‘fearful’, when it is plain to all but the most obtuse who’s really the scaredy cat in this picture.

  1. Only one of them succeeded. []
  2. Tolle is, as you may know, Oprah Winfrey’s guru du jour. I am deeply suspicious of people who think they’ve found the ‘answers to everything’ and especially of those who feel the need to impart this wisdom to others at a price. []
  3. Shout out to Bruce Hood for catching this one. []
  4. We are to take this as Christian faith, it goes without saying. I don’t think Cardinal Pell believes for a minute that Muslims have any leverage with the Invisible Sky Man. []
  5. Cardinal Pell’s fear of the unknown is plainly profound. His contemplation of the ‘abyss’ obviously terrifies the wits out of him. []
  6. C’mon. We’re tired of this one. It makes no sense. It never did, and it never will. []