Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Want "hope", choose Blair

A chill went down my spine when I read this article today, it's a short account of some conference for Christian and Muslim "scholars" in Georgetown (USA), that fact alone wasn't particularly chilling it was the comments by one of the guest speakers, one Anthony Blair. Blair suggests that religion is under an "aggressive secular attack", I suppose that means us "new atheists", but he isn't specific, then he goes on to say that there was "no hope" from Atheists who scorn God and that the best way to fight back was for religions to unite against them; good old Tony, that must have been a crowd pleaser. For some Atheists this may seem like a threat, perhaps that is how it is intended to be read but to most rational people I know it will be viewed as positive encouragement, i.e. we're obviously hitting the right buttons.

None of these comments are particularly new or unique to Blair, they are standard religious tropes used to deflect attention from the internal inadequacies of their own intellectually weak positions and let's be honest, persecution paranoia runs deep in religious brains. It will be interesting to see how these people intend to counter this "secular attack", will they blind us with the brilliance of their logical argument, or insist we reduce rationality and increase revelation in our legal and medical institutions, maybe they'll just murmur an incantation or two and cast a magic spell over us, one thing is for sure, whilst we still have the followers of God flying planes into buildings and accepting complicity in the raping of children I can't see free thinkers rushing out to buy prayer mats or rosaries any-time soon.

We are left in bewilderment about the idea that religions like Islam or Catholicism can provide "hope" whereas science, intellectual development and societal progress cannot, hope for what?, that one or other sets of Bronze age dogma may become dominant and all powerful such that they finally reach their goal of subjugating the whole of human kind? Hasn't humanity already got that tee-shirt, isn't that a failed experiment that should be consigned to the past, wasn't it called the "dark ages"? Or perhaps Tony is talking about the selfish hope that when he dies he will be rewarded for ever in paradise, infinite speaking engagements on an endless lecture tour, a permanent tan and luminescent teeth; for the rest of us that sounds just like our worst vision of hades.

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