South African Judge Candidate On His Atheism

Really interesting statement in response to ridiculous questions put to him:

An Eastern Cape candidate judge caused a stir before the Judicial Service Commission when he told members he left priesthood for the law because he concluded that there is no God.

Senior Counsel Torquil Paterson told the JSC: “I left the church for a variety of reasons, chief among them being that I realised God does not exist. I am an atheist.”

Paterson, whose lengthy theological studies included a stint at Oxford University, explained that he had eventually come to the conclusion that “all language of God is meaningless”.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe was left perplexed and asked: “So what you read in the Bible about the beginning does not exist? You do not believe that we were created in the image of God?”

“Minister, you may believe that, I don’t,” Paterson replied.

Radebe insisted, to rare laughter at the JSC’s interviews of aspirant judges: “If God does not exist, are you a materialist, a communist, a Marxist?”

Paterson denied he was any of those, adding: “It is a quite difficult to find a real Marxist.”

Right, because the only logical implication of atheism is Marxism.

Hemant Mehta, “The Friendly Atheist“, laments:

Can you imagine if Sonia Sotomayor said that during her confirmation hearings? Even as an “accident” like she supported church/state separation because as a non-religious woman, she felt excluded when government promoted faith?

I’m thinking there would’ve been a public outcry. We’d be hearing about it non-stop. Republicans would have gained enough support to find the votes to block her.

Anyone think otherwise?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.


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