Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Bleating Of The Religious Flock - Plus Ça Change.

John Locke is considered to be one of the most influential thinkers of the Enlightenment, and his writings had a marked influence on some of the most important persons and events of that period. Unsurprisingly, therefore, parts of his works are often ‘cherry-picked’ to ‘prove’ some point or other; and I have frequently had his robust defence for toleration thrown at me by Xtians when I have tried to resist their unwelcome encroachments by ‘people of faith’ into my life.

So, let’s examine briefly Locke’s so-called defence of toleration that these soi-disant Xtians frequently bleat on about.

In his “Letter Concerning Toleration”, written in 1689, Locke commenced thus:

“I must needs answer you freely that I esteem that toleration to be the chief characteristic mark of the true Church…if [a Xtian] be destitute of charity, meekness, and good-will in general towards all mankind, even to those that are not Christians, he is certainly yet short of being a true Christian himself.”

So far so good. However, there is a sting in the tail, for such toleration is clearly not to be extended to atheists:

Lastly, those are not at all to be tolerated who deny the being of a God. Promises, covenants, and oaths, which are the bonds of human society, can have no hold upon an atheist. The taking away of God, though but even in thought, dissolves all; besides also, those that by their atheism undermine and destroy all religion, can have no pretence of religion whereupon to challenge the privilege of a toleration.

So, there you have it. Not only are Xtians exhorted to be intolerant towards atheists, but atheists are specifically excluded from being able to remonstrate about the intolerance of Xtians towards them.

Seems that little has changed since Locke’s day.

2 comments:

Papalazarou said...

I was watching a flock of sheep in the next field yesterday and listening to their mindless meaningless bleating shortly before I read this. Apart from the senseless, inane and stupid behaviour their bleatings are among the most annoying things about sheep. Look a sheep in the eye and you will see the equivalent of a "Vacant" sign. Stupid and happy in their stupidity - that's sheep for you.

No wonder lay Xtians are known as the flock and the wonderful man in the sky's son is known as the shepherd. So apt. Fortunately they are too stupid to understand the insult that their collective noun bestows upon them - and has done down through time.

Papalazarou said...

Oh yes - they carry nasty parasites too!