Monday, February 20, 2012

Rattled cages

It seems that our religious brothers and sisters are well and truly "rattled" by the recent survey done by Ipsos MORI and the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science. The results show pretty clearly how little people in the UK know about and/or practice Christianity (by any sane definition) even though they tick "Christian" on census forms; dispelling the myth so often offered by religious politicians that Britain is a "Christian country". What people choose to call themselves is of course a matter for them but when inaccurate population statistics are used to justify and support religiously inspired legislation (i.e. state funded faith schools) then proper research like this is essential in order that secularists can expose this "majority" argument as a specious one. However, as Corporal Jones once famously said "they don't like it up em sir, they don't like it up em!" since release last week there has been a fire-storm of publicity and apologetics around the results of this survey, Baroness Warsi took the opportunity to rally believers of all flavours against "secular fundamentalists" during her recent visit to the Vatican and assorted Bishops and faith defenders around the country have been rabidly exercising their right to completely ignore the actual results and avoid dealing with the arguments by lobbing childish ad hominem attacks at Dawkins instead.

Even the once decent Daily Telegraph got in on the act, excreting a story about one of Dawkins' forebears a Henry Dawkins (1698-1744) who owned slaves in Jamaica (shock horror!); quite astoundingly the reporter actually asked Dawkins in all seriousness if he thought that since he was an ancestor of Henry that he might have inherited the gene for supporting slavery. I can only conclude that the Telegraph are running their own genetic experiments these days, crossing morons with idiots to breed the next generation of slime bearing reporters. If you wish to waste 5 minutes of your life reading drivel then the story is here. On Sunday Dawkins appeared on the "Big Question" TV show to talk about the survey, along with some Woman from the Telegraph who completely humiliated herself, claiming to be a "miracle believing" Christian she then went on to admit not knowing that the first book of the Bible is Genesis and that she believed the English language to be based on the Bible (how quickly I forgot all that Hebrew my native tongue is based on!) Watching this program it seemed that "Christianity" may be defined as anything one wishes. I think I'll start calling myself a "snooker player", having neither a table, cue, chalk, coloured balls or any knowledge of the rules of the game.

One thing that the Telegraph neglected to mention about good old Henry of course, was that it's a pretty safe bet he was a Christian, in the upstanding company of every other white slave owner in Jamaica at that time who were also good Christians. They also neglect to mention the good Christians who opposed Wilberforce and the 1000 years before this when good Christians condoned slavery without so much as a second thought; so much for "Christian" morality, they are welcome to it, not only do they cherry pick their Bible they cherry pick history too.


Archdruid Eileen said...

To be honest, the good Professor's poll would have passed most of us by if he'd not made a wally of himself on R4 with St Giles.

Many Christian fundamentalists are actually convinced that most so-called "Christians", including the C of E, aren't true believers at all. So all Dicky did, as usual, was gang up with the fundies against normal folk.

Steve Borthwick said...

AE, The whole point of the survey was that it didn't pass people by, so in that regard it seems to have been quite a success.

Your point about the divisions within "Christianity" is kind of the point, how can legislation that applies to all of us be argued for on the basis that we live in a "Christian country" when no one can agree what that actually means, let alone what it stands for?

Archdruid Eileen said...

Steve, just as soon as we work out what everybody's Christianity means, then we can work out what it being a Christian country means!

But if someone calls themselves a Christian, that's fair enough by me. I know plenty of sell-describing Man Utd fans who've never been to Old Trafford. Or, indeed, Manchester. Or, frankly, outside the M25... but if that's what they call themselves, I guess that's what they are.

Mind, I wouldn't apply self-described allegiances to other areas of life - eg people claiming to be being brain surgeons or train drivers. And it might be a bit awkward if someone randomly decided to be Swiss.

Steve Borthwick said...

AE, I do see your point and I would agree, people can classify themselves anyway they like, it's not the semantics that are being debated it's the consequences of those classifications.

Alex Ferguson doesn't have an uncontested seat/voice in the government so your analogy doesn't quite cover the real meat of this IMO, although the way things are going he may well actually be better at it that a lot of people who do!