Don’t Say Anything

Caroline Petrie has gotten her job back – for now. Given the overwhelming support she received in the press (including a petition started by the Daily Telegraph) and the broadcast media, North Somerset Primary Healthcare Trust probably didn’t want the backlash they would face if they sacked her.

That doesn’t mean that healing will be allowed to be associated with the Healer. The officially Christian country is still run by an aggressively anti-Christian Government. The Department of Health has issues guidelines that mean anyone working for the National Health Service who talks about their faith in any way to patients or colleagues could end up joining the ranks of the unemployed. It could be considered harrassment and intimidation.

This is further evidence that we are not living in a non-religious society, but rather an anti-religious society. (Not that I need further evidence, as I am confronted with this every day.) When Mrs Petrie was interviewed on the Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2, she was followed by an atheist psychologist. This woman was very concerned that someone would ask to pray from an ill person. She expressed that she would be very upset if someone asked to pray for her. (She made the point that she even rebukes those who say “God bless you” in passing.) The guest host of the show couldn’t understand why it would matter if someone wanted to pray to a God the atheist didn’t even believe in. This would obviously be done by someone showing care for her welfare. But for some reason the very mention of God to her is enough to set her off.

How do you hate Someone you don’t even believe exists?

Freedom From Religion and the Politics of Abortion

The Christmas wars are here. It appears that this year, the atheists are out in more militant strength than usual. There is a new missionary spirit to atheism. Not content with just not believing, more and more atheists want you to not believe, too.

On of the groups that has come to the forefront this year is the Freedom from Religion Foundation. This is mostly because they put an anti-religion sign next to the Nativity scene at the Legislative Building in Washington State. The sign, which concludes with, “Religion is but a myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds” made the news because it was stolen almost as soon as it was put up. (The same sign has been used in the Wisconsin State Capitol for years.)

The public face of the FFRF is Dan Barker, who used to be involved in various aspects of Christian ministry, including stints as a pastor and fulltime touring musician. He now goes around debating Christians and writing “freethought” music.

Dan is the co-president of the FFRF with his uber-feminist wife Annie Laurie Gaylor. The FFRF was founded by Annie and her mother Anne Nicol Gaylor.  They aren’t as effective as spokespeople because they didn’t covert from anything, but come from a heritage of anti-religion. Anne’s father regarded religious belief as embarrassing.

Anne made her name as an abortion advocate. She was editorialising in favour of it as early as 1967 in the newspaper she owned with her husband. By 1970 she had founded ZPG (Zero Population Growth) Abortion Referral Service. According to the FFRF website, between 1970 and 1975, she made more than than 20,000 referrals. This was despite the fact that abortion was illegal in Wisconsin prior to Roe v. Wade. In fact, it was illegal in every state surrounding Wisconsin. It was only legal in New York, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii. So unless she was referring women to facilities in those states, she was referring women for illegal abortions. She wrote a book called Abortion is a Blessing.

I don’t find it particularly surprising that “freedom from religion” is tied so closely to abortion.  After all, it is religious morality that is the basis for saying abortion is wrong. It is religious morality that says there are certain boundaries for expressing sexuality and abortion is often the solution to dealing with the consequences of operating outside of those boundaries. What better way to support abortion than to attack the moral basis that opposes it.

Its just a bit ironic that it is the philosophy and politics of abortion that comes to the forefront at the Feast of the Nativity.

Dealing With Aggressive Disbelief

One of the most draining things about my job is dealing with constant militant atheism. It’s not the entertaining sort of atheism I encounter when blogging – the kind that usually comes from adults able to string two thoughts together with some sort of a logical connection. No, this is an atheistic fundamentalism that is supported with the sort of logic that is based in single unanswerable questions.

“God can’t be real because who were his parents?” “Science has proved there is no God because it was a Big Bang.” “God isn’t real because if he was we could see him.” “God can’t be true because it is just made up.”

They don’t even ask the difficult or probing questions. They are so convinced that the most facile questions prove the non-existence of God that they refuse to even listen to the simplest answers. They cannot conceive that their rhetorical questions could possibly have answers. They haven’t thought of an answer (not that they have tried, because they find the very thought of thinking about God revolting) so there cannot be an answer (or more than one).  I never cease to be amazed at the misplaced intellectual self-confidence of 13-year-olds.

Recently I tried to explain the problems with trying to prove a negative. Somehow, despite their mental superiority, they can’t grasp this.

Yet the worst is not the constant questions to which no answers are desired or heard. It is the anger, the aggression,  the vitriol behind this stream of anti-God sentiment.  I just can’t understand how so many children could be so angry about Someone who they don’t even believe exists. They want to blame Him for the ills of the world they insist He did not create nor does He sustain.

When they have to learn about anyone who does believe in God or why they do, the militancy and anger gets reaches new heights. Many of them cannot even read from a textbook without inserting commentary phrase by phrase about how what or who they have read is rubbish.

I suppose it is fortunate I only have to put up with this five days a week.

Fecal Atheism

While much ado is made about Christian fundamentalist in the comboxes of this blog, it must be said that not all atheists are gentle, peace-loving folk.

I came across this article tonight. It seems Timothy Brown wasn’t willing to let his persuasive intellect suffice in his bid to convert Helen Watson to unbelief.

Yes, there are some crazy Christians out there. Mr Brown is in a whole other league.

Anglicans Promote Atheism

The Church of England is apologising to Charles Darwin. Given that Mr Darwin is dead, this seems rather pointless. But then the Anglicans have never been put off by pointlessness. It rather typifies much of the Church of England. According to The Daily Telegraph:

“The statement will read: Charles Darwin: 200 years from your birth, the Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still. We try to practise the old virtues of ‘faith seeking understanding’ and hope that makes some amends.”

Not only are they apologising to him, they are trying to make it up to him. Part of the way they are doing that is by creating (if I can use that term) a section dedicated to him on their website. Or perhaps the website just evolved that way.

The Telegraph further notes, “The bold move is certain to dismay sections of the Church that believe in creationism and regard Darwin’s views as directly opposed to traditional Christian teaching.” I’m sure those sections of the Church of England that believe in creationism have already used up their dismay on the all of the other moves that have been directly opposed to traditional Christian teaching. They have approved bishopettes to go with their priestesses.  Abortion is a necessary bad but according to the General Synod there are “conditions under which it may be morally preferable to any available alternative.” So is it really that big a jump to promoting atheism?

I hope Mr Darwin, wherever he may be, feels vindicated.

Christians Are Just Too Happy

As Western Easter approaches, it seems the voice of disbelief has gotten louder. I don’t know if I just happen to be surfing to the wrong blogs, but especially being post-Christian seems quite fashionable. That’s not to say that never-have-believed crowd is being pushed to the side.

Andrew McKie, the Obituaries Editor of The Daily Telegraph dared to blog today “Why I believe in God“, and most of the responses are the same atheist drivel. Stuff like: “After Darwin kicked away one of the major supports of Christianity, it was downhill all the way. Because only Flat-earthers and Americans buy that Creationist/Intelligent Design crap.” You gotta love that poncy British air of superiority.

But the most ridiculous of all is, “Over time religious people will die off and nonbelief and science will triumph over ancient mythology.” The only problem is that there are more and more religious people. Christianity is growing at a far greater rate in the global south than it is dying out in western Europe. And not only do religious people far outnumber non-believers, but they also have a much higher rate of procreation.

As I commented in response on McKie’s blog, what’s actually dying is western Europe itself. At well below the replacement rate of population, nonbelief is on pace to die out pretty quick. This is because humanism has a very selfish, personal side. A significant number put off procreating until it is biologically too late and if they do it at an inconvenient time, and miss the morning-after pill, they elect to have one of the 200,000 abortions recorded in the UK each year.

The same commenter then said something even more ludicrous: “Some recent studies indicate that religious people are happier than nonbelievers. People are always happier when they are deluded because they do not realize there is a reason for them to be unhappy. Couple that with the fact that nonbelievers in the United States are marginalized and attacked by believers it should surprise no one that nonbelievers are less happy.”

That’s right. Christians are happier because they are deluded. If they knew the truth, they would be as unhappy as everyone else. What a depressing worldview. And non-believers are not just unhappy because they are not deluded. No, it is the fault of those happy Christians! Or more specifically, those happy American Christians. They are compounding the depression of nihilism already oppressing the unbelievers! Roving gangs of happy Christians attacking random unbelievers. No doubt stopping unbelievers on the street and when they can’t pass the Christian shibboleths, marginalising them right then and there.

And it would appear that according to this commenter, the impact of these American attacks is felt world-wide by non-believers, making all of them less happy. Who knew? Well, clearly not believers. They have been blissfully deluded.

Godless Politics

Tony Blair once opined that if a British politician talks about God, “people think you’re a nutter”. Nick Clegg doesn’t plan on being thought a nutter. The new leader of the Liberal Democrat Party told an interviewer on Radio 5 Live that he doesn’t believe in God.

Most polticians don’t step over this line either. They usually just say that faith is a private matter, while hinting that they may attend religious services on rare occasions.

This is such a contrast to American politics, where no one who run for office national office without making some sort of strong (even if imaginary) connection to religion. Outside of spiritually icy Blue States, candidates for lesser offices will make even more of their faith.

Nick must be hoping to pick up the youth vote. Surely if he advertises his atheism, he will appeal to the increasing Christianophobia leaving schools and entering the adult world with each yearly cohort. This may finally sever the last remnants of the traditional connection between the Liberals and the chapel (non-Anglican Protestant churches) – just as the Church of England was once called the Tory Party at prayer.