21st April 2008

“What we are witnessing is not the resurgence of religion, but its death throes.”

A.C. Grayling

10 Responses to “21st April 2008”

  1. AndrewG Says:

    Would that this were the case…

  2. Critic Says:

    I am not optimistic enough to agree with Professor Grayling.

    Perhaps his is a purely Euro-centric view.

    All I know is they keep building huge, ugly, Walmartesque churches everywhere I turn.

  3. Tzuriel Says:

    Why don’t you think it is Andrew?

  4. Tzuriel Says:

    lol, just say yours Critic. there are a lot of churches, but this makes me consider that perhaps this is only happening because religions are attempting a last ditch effort to survive. i dunno. maybe it’s something like that, or maybe their thriving.

  5. Critic Says:

    …perhaps this is only happening because religions are attempting a last ditch effort to survive.

    Now that is a lovely thought. But, I fear that they will survive and thrive, as usual. I think on of religion’s most successful ploys is the, “persecution and destruction of religion,” ploy wherein they whine about being persecuted to get sympathy through the media and the political establishment.

    As much as I detest religion, I would not support state sponsored eradication. It has to be through education and enlightenment. Good luck there.

  6. Chris Says:

    What an optimistic topic for today. It’s hard to know what to think. I think where one falls depends on if your glass is half full or half empty. Mine is at the precise midpoint. One the one hand, the election of W seems to have been a high water mark in political christianity. Believers I know locally are benign in their faith and Falwell is dead. All good things. One the other, they are still building MegaChurches in the heartland and elsewhere and Muslims continue to emmigrate to all western countries. Hmm. Education is the solution, certainly, but for me, the jury is out which way it’s gonna go.

    Tangential to education – heard a commedian yesterday say that a label on science text books about the theory-ness of Evolution by Natural Selection is fine as long as we get to put a sticker on all bibles that says “Warning – this may all be bullshit”. I, for one, think its a trade worth making!

  7. Terence Meaden Says:

    Things are improving in Christian Britain, however–according to this latest survey:

    RELIGION IS THE “NEW SOCIAL EVIL” [from The Sunday Times, London, 21 April 2008]

    A charity set up by an ardent Christian to fight slavery and the opium trade has identified a new social evil of the 21st century—religion.

    A poll by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation uncovered a widespread belief that faith—not just in its extreme form—was intolerant, irrational and used to justify persecution.

    Pollsters asked 3,500 people what they considered to be the worst blights on modern society, updating a list drawn up by Rowntree, a Quaker, 104 years ago.

    The responses may well have dismayed him. The researchers found that the “dominant opinion” was that religion was a “social evil”.

    Many participants said religion divided society, fuelled intolerance and spawned “irrational” educational and other policies. One said: “Faith in supernatural phenomena inspires hatred and prejudice throughout the world, and is commonly used as justification for persecution of women, gays and people who do not have faith”.

    Many respondents called for state funding for church schools to be ended.
    The findings contrast with Rowntree’s “scourges of humanity”, which included poverty, war, slavery, intemperance, the opium trade, impurity and gambling.

    Poverty and drugs remain, but are joined by issues such as family breakdown, young people’s behaviour and fears over immigration.

    Tom Butler, the Bishop of Southwark, rejected the indictment of faith. He said: “People meeting together, week after week, for worship, support and education in church, synagogue, temple, gurdwara and mosque can not only help people build local community but can teach children to become good citizens”.

    However, Terry Sanderson, president of the National secular Society, said he was “extremely pleased”.

    “Britain has had it with religion”, he said.

  8. Critic Says:

    Terence:

    Reading your last post has made my day. Thanks you.

  9. Terence Meaden Says:

    Unfettered common sense inevitably leads to a non-theist world view.

    Trouble is that for too many people their innate common sense is shackled by the trite superstitions of yesteryear.

    Atheism results from sound judgment.

    Theism results from believing the exaggerated fancies of past eccentrics, compounded and repeated by the unquestioning credulous.

    We invite Tzuriel to join us. We suspect that you are surrounded by family and friends, older and younger, who believe in the supernatural—-and, puzzled, you may ask yourself: “how, if I was to accept the inevitability of non-theism, they can all be wrong, and only me right?”

    And yet it can be so. Bertrand Russell knowingly said that even if a million people believe a foolish thing it is still a foolish thing.

  10. Tzuriel Says:

    I suddenly feel like those characters in fantasy movies who have like the bad guy on one side saying, “Join us!” and the good guys saying “Nooo!!!” as they see him hesitate. Or the other way around. Doesn’t matter. It makes me laugh. Of course, it could just be my inflated ego.

    TM, I cannot yet accept your invitation, though I thank you for offering it. Even were I to abandon religion, I could never try to fight against it. I’ll always encourage learning, so if that is fighting theism, then I guess I will. But I don’t think it does.

    Bertrand Russell has a point, and I feel very strongly the weight of my decision. Either way, I have much to lose and much to gain. I’ve tried to make it that way, however, because this is a decision I will not allow myself to make lightly. However, Bertrand Russell’s point applies to all groups, not just religious ones. One of the greatest reasons for my current disillusionment with religion is the claim that each has “the one truth.” I find it hard to take seriously anyone with this claim. In about a week, school will be out for the season and I will dedicate myself to investigating this matter and decision fully. We’ll see what happens.

    Chris:

    I would be very happy to see that on religious books in secular stores. It would entertain me immensely. Perhaps we’ll put that on our rewrite Bible? It would look something like this:

    The Bible
    A Rewrite

    Warning:
    This may all be bullshit!

    lol