Monday, April 21, 2008

UK Says: Faith is Evil

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 of 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.

I always liked the Brits!



An interesting side note and I think you will agree with me csm. Most of the bellyaching we hear is from Christians, but in Europe where religiosity is waning in general, the main problem is Islam. Most European countries do alot worse job assimilating different cultures than us and as an end result they have scads of disaffected Mulsim youth. I have found it interesting Muslims in this country haven't behaved like the Muslims in Europe, rioting over satirical pictures or the wearing of head scarves. Could it be that we are much more experienced in assimilating different cultures? Could it be our official penchant for religious freedom? We aren't any better human beings than the Europeans, but I also like the fact they aren't any better than us.

The English can swear off religion all they want to; it won't solve this deeply ingrained problem. Even though they are one of our most staunch allies, being of Scottish decent, I still have fun watching Brits squirm on occasion; they can be so snobbish! And everybody's shit stinks!

csm said...

I do think the US is better at assimilating cultures, at least we are over long periods of time. Heck, we had to, at least after we killed off the majority of the Native Americans. It was accept and assimilate other cultures or stagnate, right?

On the other hand, perhaps the Europeans are having a more difficult time with Muslim immigrants because there are more of them "over there" (at least in France) than there are "over here." But I am just making that up, I don't really have any hard figures to back that statement up.

Not really sure what you are trying to say in the last paragraph, though. Yes, the Brits can be a bit uppity, but what are you trying to convey with the shit stinking line?


I have always had this feeling the English thought they were better than everybody else and in many ways they prove this suspicion in words and deeds.

Ceroill said...

Bawdy, most cultures have that. It's the core of US vs Them. The Outsider is always inferior to True People.

csm said...

Hey Bob, is that US (as in United States) or just a capital "us"? Interestingly, it doesn't really matter as your statement is true either way.


It just seemed to me the British were worse about this than most. And this in no way is a get out of jail free card for this country. We have run roughshod over many a perceived inferior.

Ceroill said...

csm, you're right of course, but I meant "US" as in the capitalized 'us', not "U.S."

But here we don't like to admit we consider another culture inferior. Instead we use code words like 'backward', 'unenlightened', third world', etc.
Oh, and one of Tom Lehrer's songs is a perfect impression of our president's attitude.

csm said...

True dat Bob, but on the other hand, there is a vast element of unwashed yokels in the old US of A constantly chanting USA Number 1 or uttering foolishness like this is the best country in the world and no other country is worth living in. Which is a similar sentiment to calling every other country "backward" or such...

Ceroill said...

csm, true, but like I said we don't like to admit what it boils down to. We may use the jingoistic slogans, but few actually boil it down to 'You're not as good as I am'.

Oh, here's a fun speech by the late Douglas Adams about "Is There an Artificial God?"

Ceroill said...

Oh, and let's not forget another classic Tom Lehrer tune, "National Brotherhood Week".