Monday, December 07, 2015

Religion in modern society

Top (former) judge, Baroness Butler-Sloss has concluded that we're not in fact a "Christian nation" any more and we should probably stop behaving as if we were (as if this weren't blindingly obvious to everyone). The Baroness reached this conclusion after a two year commission into the role of religion in modern society involving leaders from all faiths and none. 

Having read some of the highlights of the report (I haven't read the detail yet) I would say that I agree with some aspects, and not others but all in all it seems to be headed in a reasonable direction (i.e. equality between faith and non-faith in all public matters) 

The main points that I agree with are,

-Faith schools are generally divisive and need to be reformed
-Additional protection for women in Sharia law courts
-Civic events should better reflect the plurality of our society
-Schools should not have a compulsory daily act of worship
-Reform to hate laws to allow more free-speech in places like Universities etc.
-The RE curriculum is broken.

The bits I disagreed with were,

-The house of Lords does need reform but replacing CofE Bishops with other flavours of unelected religious leaders seems wrong to me.
-Disestablishing the Church of England not considered
-Faith schools should be reformed but ideally abolished (the publicly funded ones at least)

It seems as though some in the Government and the Church have come out and condemned the report; whenever zeitgeist shifts are formalised like this I suppose we should expect to see establishment fossils getting huffy (turkeys don't vote for Christmas etc.) and it gives the old farts something to do after all. One senior member of the Church of England is reported as saying "it appears the report has been hijacked by Humanists" - when I read this I did think to myself.. I wonder if that feels like Humanists feel about the generation upon generation of our ancestors who have been "hijacked", brainwashed and exploited by your lot for the last 500 years?

It seems to me that the key difference between the religious side and secular side in this debate is that only one side is arguing for the maintenance of a "privileged" position in our society. A position which they cannot justify or provide unbiased, reasoned evidence and argument for. The rest of us are just supposed to take it on "faith" they deserve it. Unfortunately the reality these people are yet to grasp is that the majority of us these days simply don't do "faith", at least not the blind variety they're peddling and we've also realised that our morality is not founded on or tied to an unelected clergy interpreting ancient books; as if it ever was.

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