Saturday, November 11, 2006

Churches Unite In Attacks Against Atheism!

This is Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, who has today criticised the systematic erosion of Christianity from public life by illiberal atheists who are undermining Britain's religious heritage. He added that Christians should be more politically active to ensure their principles were not purged from society.

This is only one of many recent attacks on atheism by prominent church figures. Earlier this week Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and Catholic leader Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor launched a joint attack on what they called intolerant public atheism. In their foreword to 'Doing God: A Future for Faith in the Public Square', a report by new religious think tank Theos, they argued against limiting religion to the private sphere. They said that campaigners against religion in public life had an "intolerant faith position".

Well I have some news for you, gentlemen. Atheists who speak up against the intrusion of religious beliefs into government, legislature, education etc., do not have an 'intolerant faith position' as you claim, because by definition they do not have a faith, only your lot does! What's more, what can be more intolerant than the way that you try to force your unsubstantiatable superstitious beliefs onto others? And your beliefs are pure superstition, totally indistinguishable from tales of fairies and hobgoblins, leprechauns, Cthulthu and the Elder Ones, and other such made-up nonsense!

Naturally you will deny this, after all, you are all making an extremely comfortable living and enjoying considerable wealth and power from your respective 'ministries'. Yet if you want respect, then all I ask of you is this: produce credible evidence that stands up to rational and logical examination that (a) this object you call god exists, (b) that it is the 'cause-without-cause', the 'prime-mover' and the 'creator' of the cosmos and all that is in it.

But until such time as you do, I and others have the right to question your claims that your otherwise irrational beliefs are somehow worthy of respect and that they should be free from criticism or ridicule.

To paraphrase Professor Georges Rey, at some level you are all liars!

Or as that other Professor of Philosophy, AC Grayling said recently, "It is time to refuse to tip-toe around people who claim respect, consideration, special treatment, or any other kind of immunity, on the grounds that they have religious faith, as if having faith were a privilege-endowing virtue, as if it were noble to believe in unsupported claims and ancient superstitions."

Furthermore, the actions of you clergy would be questionable even were you to restrict this egregious fraud that you claim to believe in on the credulous and ignorant to within the confines of your churches, but the fact that you demand the right to peddle your lies and untruths in public whilst demanding that rational, non-delusional members of society show you respect is risible in the extreme.

Frankly, I think Professors Rey and Grayling have been too kind to you, since it seems absolutely indisputable that anyone who claims to believe in religion is either a delusional psychotic or a manipulative sociopath.

But hey, prove me wrong; produce credible evidence that this thing you call god actually exists. After all, it shouldn't take you long, seeing as how your lot have had millennia in which to find it!

Yet without such evidence, your 'faith' is no more than ignorant superstition, and unworthy of any respect whatsoever.

And that sad fact is what really worries you, and why you are uniting to try and force through a law making it illegal to criticise, question, mock, or ridicule your stupid beliefs!


Papalazarou said...

Heard a lovely quote last night from the late Linda Smith (comedienne and atheist):

"I tend to the view that if we had been meant to believe in God he would have existed"


Papalazarou said...

she also said of her home town (Erith in Kent):

" ... it's not twinned with anywhere but it does have a suicide pact with Dagenham>"

The Merchant of Menace said...

I'm surprised that there's anyone left in Erith - it was a hell-hole years ago when I knew it, and has gone downhill since!

Papalazarou said...

as was Dagenham when I left it and it had been spiralling down for years then

Alan Mackenzie said...


An 'Intolerant Faith Position'?

Recent comments by the Archbishop of Canterbury risk setting back centuries of progress.

Dr. Williams, and his colleagues have the right to protect their religion, but in publishing Doing God: A Future for Faith in the Public Square [the document behind recent church plans to move religion back into the public sphere] they have gone one step further by promoting their religion. A secular nation, which demands inclusion, but not division, shouldn't countenance such a position.

From the BBC News site:

In their joint foreword to the report, Dr Williams and Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor say: "Many secularist commentators argue that the growing role of faith in society represents a dangerous development.

"However, they fail to recognise that public atheism is itself an intolerant faith position".

I suppose 'public atheism' according to men of the church, means state-funded 'godless religion': yet another thought-terminating cliché and oxymoron intended to fool the naive into believing the government discriminates against Christianity by supporting the state 'religion' of secularism. Thus, it follows, according to this logical trick, that squares can be called circular, and most importantly, the government must reverse such hypocrisy by providing equal resources for Christian organisations. A clearly transparent ruse, for anyone with a good understanding of religion and non-religion, but less easy to spot for those who stopped thinking when they picked up their first copy of the Daily Mail.

I think that most atheists would agree about one thing: we do not wish to abolish religion, but instead would like our government to maintain the impartial treatment of belief and non-belief groups. The issue where figures like Dr. Rowan Williams are missing the boat, is that specific religious groups cannot come to terms with the way in which modern society places ideological institutions into perspective, and so brings any religious and non-religious education under one body: state schooling. In a secular democracy, governments must ensure impartial treatment over all belief and non-belief groups, and this is normally done by including some form of broad religious education in state schools without specific endorsement of one particular faith, however, I feel there is sufficient grounds to argue that Dr. Williams, and others would prefer the government to prioritise their religion over that of other non-religious groups.

Austin Cline, of is quite right to point this out:

"Their report, called Doing God: A Future for Faith in the Public Square, argues against limiting religion to the private sphere. Since the "private sphere" is simply those areas of life controlled by individuals and private organizations, what is the alternative? It's not "public" in the sense of "out in the open" because people and private organizations can be very public about their religious beliefs.

Instead, the alternative which these Christian leaders have in mind must be "public" in the sense of public financing, support, privilege, and control. That's the government, so what they are calling for is greater government financing, support, and control over religion. It's unlikely that they mean every religion equally and without distinction because that would be impossible. This means, though, that they are seeking to privilege their own religion in particular over all other religions.
That is what lies behind their rhetoric of atheism being a "faith position" and "intolerant," neither of which are strictly true. They are twisting reality in order to mislead people into supporting a radical reversal of modern secularization. What is it about a secular society that scares them so much? Why can't they cope with a society in which they, their religious institutions, and their religious beliefs are not privileged over everyone else?"

I might, for example, argue my political stance from the left, and subject conservative organisations to rigorous critique, but that does not mean that I should wish to abolish conservative political parties. Those who criticise socialism, and green politics have every right to do so, but in a democratic society we expect this. Why, then should people refrain from debating the role of religion in society? It is not 'intolerant' to ask religious people to reconsider their stance on Muslim veils, or to rebuke faith schools for teaching children the idea that the entire universe began during the agricultural revolution. The assumption that religious people cannot accept evolution, or Big Bang cosmology implies that they lack the critical faculties to reconsider their opinions. What sense of 'diversity' does this imply?

It would not be unreasonable to argue that Dr. Williams' endorsement of Nadia Eweida in her fight to wear the cross, as a British Airways check-in employee, is a component of the Christian propaganda exercise against secularism.

Nadia Eweida said of her choice in The Daily Mail:

"I will not hide my belief in the Lord Jesus. British Airways permits Muslims to wear a headscarf, Sikhs to wear a turban and other faiths religious apparel. Only Christians are forbidden to express their faith. I am a loyal and conscientious employee of British Airways, but I stand up for the rights of all citizens".

It sounds like a reasonable position, until we realise that Eweida wishes to make an exception to her choice on the grounds of an 'expression', and so excludes her employers treatment of people from other religions, who argue that their teachings require certain dress codes.

So, we have evidence that for Eweida and Williams, the issue is an 'expression of faith' rather than a 'requirement of modesty' and an unwarranted position of special pleading given that BA employees from Muslim and Sikh faiths have a more substantive case for exemption from normal dress codes; why should British Airways allow Christian employees to wear the cross, if Christian teaching lacks the requirement to do so? In contrast, the Muslim and Islamic faiths require women to wear veiling to protect their modesty, and so any women belonging to these religions arguing a case for religious discrimination have some recourse, based on the requirements of their particular teachings. In a similar respect, Sikh employees of British Airways have similar grounds for exemption on dress codes, given the fact that Sikh men believe their religion requires the wearing of Karas in order to promote 'the right choices' in life. The failure of Dr. Williams, and politicians such as the Labour minister, Ben Bradshaw, to make these distinctions, suggests a political motive to make false concessions on the grounds of ego and choice versus requirement. In this case, the problem rests with Christians wanting special treatment over other religious people, who have arguably more substantive reasons to wear clothing demanded by their teachings.

Christianity has never required church members to wear the cross, and so Eweida has no grounds to state her position that British Airways engaged in religious discrimination. So why the sudden departure from this historical fact? The answer: public propaganda now acts as a convenient driver to reverse the truth and secular values into a society in which religious dogma influences policy-making right up to and including governmental decision processes.

Atheists have every right to criticise religious beliefs if they see the faulty logic behind arguments promoting the use of tax-payer's money in order to favour one particular belief-system over another. When Church of England leaders demand special treatment for Christians over other faiths when it comes to dress codes, it becomes clear that persons such as Williams have differing weights in their house, one large and one small. If the Church of England chooses to misrepresent atheism as an 'intolerant faith position', and misrepresent their own religion, I would respond: who has the intolerant faith position now?

The Merchant of Menace said...

The immediately preceding comment is by a brilliant young man, Alan Mackenzie. His blog, Rank Athism, is worth visiting regularly, and can be found here or through the permanent link in the right-hand sidebar of this blog.

The Merchant of Menace said...

With apologies to Alan for mis-spelling his blog's title - I was very, very drunk at the time!