Anyway, I'm back and I'm bad (yes, worse than before, ahem.)
So, to pilgrimage. I was reading an excellent list over at Mental Floss (click here) of must see pilgrimage sites, including Mecca, Bodh Gaya, the Western Wall, etc. and it got my brain all lubricated again. Where would be a good atheist site of pilgrimage?
I would like to start by including all of those on the aforementioned list, as any atheist of large brain (Owl style) would be sure to be fore-armed with the details and reverence of the more ancient sites. They are all important steps in the journey of reason, after all, especially the Buddhist sites (*if they aren't the same as Christianity's).
Following on from there, a pilgrimage to Greece, perhaps, to the birthplace of reason and philosophy. His most famous quote concerning religious ideas is;
"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.He was born on Samos, and studied at the Academy in Athens, so there are a couple of options on that one.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"
Hmm, I think I've committed myself to a series here, haven't I? Tune in next week folks, for Galileo Galilei (house arrest for annoying the Church) and Bruno (burnt at the stake for being Galileo's biggest fan)...
*There is a theory, a favourite of mine actually, given my liking for Buddhism, that Jesus was actually the Dalai Lama. We all know the story of Jesus' birth; the three wise men from the east, following a star to find the baby, which just happens to be how the latest reincarnation of the great teacher is found, not that us rationalists believe that, of course. Then there are the "Lost years" of Jesus, aged 14 -29. 14 was the age the child was taken from their parents to be taught in the Buddhist religion/philosophy. The Jesus ministry had eerie similarities to the Buddha story, with very similar miracles (both walked on water) and teachings (both stated that possessions bring suffering and righteousness is the true treasure of the soul). Finally, records of a teacher called Issa coming from Jerusalem, living out the rest of his life in Kashmir teaching in what seemed a continuance of the Jesus ministry, and dying there aged 80. Read here for a full and balanced account of the evidence.