Monday, February 29, 2016

Thought for the day

I often catch "thought for the day" on radio 4 in the mornings, it corresponds nicely with me giving my son a lift; fortunately for us one of the stops on his school bus route is right outside my office so we often sit in the car-park on frosty mornings waiting for the bus to turn up and have a little chat about "thought for the day". This morning was particularly interesting. 

Just before it came on, the today programme aired a voice-over clip from someone who has been keeping a diary about life under ISIS in Raqqa it presented a horrific picture of random violence, be-headings, beatings and general medieval barbarity being inflicted on people by the Islamic thugs that run the show there. This portrait of a confined, fearful and unnatural life under a theocracy was immediately followed by the "thought for the day" piece on the Christian period of "Lent" in which people deny themselves normal life in order to "psych" themselves up to venerate the barbaric torture and death of one particular individual around 2000 years ago. The irony could not have been more graphic.

Religious people often have a blind spot about their own faith systems, many I have spoken to in the past seem not to see the striking and obvious similarities that non-religious people see between all of them; good and bad. The suffocating control and suppression of the individual, in-group reinforcement behaviour, unnatural and harmful rituals and worst of all a crippling insecurity about people who don't believe in the same things as adherents to which-ever religion do. Today we see this all over the place, particularly in the Middle East where religion "red in tooth and claw" is acting out for real what "reformed" religion here in the West has spent centuries wrapping up in a sugar coating in order to wax sentimentally about it on radio 4. For those of us that don't believe any of it is true, these differing temporal states look very similar, like two sides of the same coin separated only by time and secular pressure.

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