'Atheistic fundamentalism' fears
By BBC NEWS
Added: Sat, 22 Dec 2007 00:00:00 UTC
Thanks to James Davies for the link.
'Atheistic fundamentalism' fears Archbishop Barry Morgan
Dr Morgan said fundamentalism left 'no room for debate'
The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, has described a rise in "fundamentalism" as one of the great problems facing the world.
He focused on what he described as "atheistic fundamentalism".
He said it led to situations such as councils calling Christmas "Winterval", schools refusing to put on nativity plays and crosses removed from chapels.
In his Christmas message, he said: "Any kind of fundamentalism, be it Biblical, atheistic or Islamic, is dangerous."
The archbishop said "atheistic fundamentalism" was a new phenomenon.
He said it advocated that religion in general and Christianity in particular have no substance, and that some view the faith as "superstitious nonsense".
"God is not exclusive, he is on the side of the whole of humanity with all its variety"
Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan
As well as leading to Christmas being called "Winterval," the archbishop said "virulent, almost irrational" attacks on Christianity led to hospitals removing all Christian symbols from their chapels, and schools refusing to allow children to send Christmas cards with a Christian message.
He also said it led to things like "airlines refusing staff the freedom to wear a cross round their necks" in a reference to the row in which British Airways (BA) suspended an employee who insisted on wearing a cross necklace.
Dr Morgan said: "All of this is what I would call the new "fundamentalism" of our age. It allows no room for disagreement, for doubt, for debate, for discussion.
"It leads to the language of expulsion and exclusivity, of extremism and polarisation, and the claim that because God is on our side, he is not on yours."
He said the nativity story in St Luke's Gospel, in contrast, had a "message of joy and good news for everyone".
He said: "God is not exclusive, he is on the side of the whole of humanity with all its variety."
Dr Morgan said it was "perfectly natural" to have a "coherent and rational debate about the tenets of the Christianity".
But he said "virulent, almost irrational" attacks on it were "dangerous" because they refused to allow any contrary viewpoint and also affected the public perception of religion.
Dr Morgan's Christmas message comes after the general director of the Evangelical Alliance, the Rev Joel Edwards, compared militant atheists to King Herod in their intolerance of religious faith.
Their remarks follow the rise of militant atheists such as Oxford University scientist Richard Dawkins, whose book The God Delusion, has been a bestseller.
The BBC has made a correction in the last paragraph from "militant atheists" to outspoken atheists.
Their remarks follow the rise of outspoken atheists such as Oxford University scientist Richard Dawkins, whose book The God Delusion, has been a bestseller.
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