Sue Whitmore

The God-module and the Atheist
'Fear knocked at the door, faith answered it & there was no-one there'

Here"s to the god-module in our temporal lobes,
hard-wired, troublesome even for those of us
who don"t god-shape our thoughts and lives,
the space where the big questions grow,
the G-spot where ecstasy and doubt
too often frighten reason out.

The Executives of Godco plc, men in suits - robes beards -
the ĒGuardians of the Numerous Truths", lay claim to it,
as do the mystical, the hallucinated, the downright weird.
Seeking to direct this dialogue with ourselves (or is it God?)
they blow on the embers of superstition
anxious to keep kindled mortal fear. What price perdition?

We probe material brain for unexploded ordinance
on expeditions down neural pathways,
or, on the couch a bumpy ride - venture down anterior galleries,
with charts that barely hint at what comes next,
search for links, for crumbling, untranslated text -
feint inscriptions and flaking faded art.

They are the new frontiers, these unexamined years,
labyrinths where understanding"s light is rather pale,
But still we enter, whistling in the dark ,
back to our very start
searching for this latest holy grail -
the chalice of the self from which to drink.

But why, when it is in our power to stretch the ways we think,
to learn to care and to be kind,
to share - to civilise this or that other primal force
and override the raw survival instincts of the mind,
are we too awed to free this crucible of mind"s conceptions,
this space for reason and dread, for mortal grief?

But the questions fermented in this module in the head
hanker for explanations on a human scale
order, causality - the comfort of authority.
Wielding some weighty book, the patriarchs oblige.
And when you"re shackled into team or sect or tribe,
brains wired to circuits of belief

then they read out the terms and conditions:
what you must think and read
and eat and drink
and say and wear,
who you"ll marry, who is your enemy and who your friend
and, of course, where you"ll go to in the end.