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← Clergy told to take on 'new atheists'

Clergy told to take on 'new atheists' - Comments

JumpinJackFlash's Avatar Comment 1 by JumpinJackFlash

A self-appointed state church that controls thousands of schools, filling the minds of the young and impressionable with superstitions and then bitching when its members are prevented from inventing special privileges for themselves at work, including the right to actually discriminate against and actually persecute others.

Just because you're no longer in total dominant control does not mean you're being 'persecuted'. Stop. Bloody. Whining.

Sun, 06 Feb 2011 20:46:13 UTC | #588621

jcob82's Avatar Comment 2 by jcob82

If they plan to take us on I hope they finally found some evidence otherwise they will have failed before they even start. I don't think they understand the nature of the argument. We simply require a sufficient amount of evidence. Any belief not backed by evidence, and especially a belief that is used to hamper scientific progress and harm people (such as homosexuals) should be marginalized at the very least.

Sun, 06 Feb 2011 20:50:37 UTC | #588622

Quine's Avatar Comment 3 by Quine

Oh please, bring it.

Sun, 06 Feb 2011 20:51:13 UTC | #588624

clarerethink's Avatar Comment 4 by clarerethink

This story...alongside Cameron's lastest true and brave speech, has made my week!

Sun, 06 Feb 2011 20:52:56 UTC | #588625

ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 5 by ZenDruid


Supercilious sanctimonious sacerdotal swine.

Sun, 06 Feb 2011 20:55:08 UTC | #588626

clarerethink's Avatar Comment 6 by clarerethink must have a comment!?

Sun, 06 Feb 2011 20:55:52 UTC | #588627

Marc Country's Avatar Comment 7 by Marc Country

Even better: take on New Atheism. It will do your "soul" good, "Clergy".

Wait a second... The Anglican church is talking about "battling atheists"?!?

Disgusting! Imagine if they had picked another belief systems adherents... will they openly talk about "attacking Judaism', or 'battling Islam'?... I should think not, but somehow, the Church of England thinks it's ok to go on about "battling" people who don't accept their dogma?

Appalling. Shame on these horrible zealous parasites.

Sun, 06 Feb 2011 21:07:09 UTC | #588630

The Truth, the light's Avatar Comment 8 by The Truth, the light

There is still work to be done to counter the prevailing tendency of treating faith as a private matter which should not impact on what happens in the public realm.

I'm sure most atheists would have no issues at all if faith was an entirely private matter.

Your beliefs (no matter what they are) shouldn't interfere with your ability to do your job or to abide by the law.

Sun, 06 Feb 2011 21:09:35 UTC | #588632

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 9 by Steve Zara

There is a very simple thing that clergy need to do to take on new atheism, or even old atheism: show that their religious ideas are true. Fairness is about recognizing truth. It isn't about insisting that others should take notice of your opinions based on your traditions, your culture or your faith. It isn't about insisting that others should take notice because you are in a majority, or even in a minority.

This is about truth. Religious leaders should welcome secularism, as it provides some protection for beliefs. If such leaders don't want secularism then they should expect to be asked to demonstrate unambiguously the truth of their beliefs.

Sun, 06 Feb 2011 21:10:16 UTC | #588633

Stonyground's Avatar Comment 10 by Stonyground

"It expresses concern that Christians are facing hostility at work and says the Church could lose its place at the centre of public life unless it challenges attempts to marginalise religious belief."

I have a bit of bad news for you Rowan. The Church lost its place at the centre of public life some time in the nineteen-sixties.

Oh and Christianity does not need defending from secularism as secularism is not hostility toward Christianity itself but only toward your Church's vast unearned privilages.

Sun, 06 Feb 2011 21:14:13 UTC | #588635

Osiris's Avatar Comment 11 by Osiris

"the Church could lose its place at the centre of public life"

Did`nt know it was

Sun, 06 Feb 2011 21:17:08 UTC | #588636

bujin's Avatar Comment 12 by bujin

It seems the church doesn't believe in Newton's Third Law either.

The only reason atheists are so vocal now is because of centuries of dominance and oppression by the church. If they choose to shout louder at atheists, all that will do is force the atheists to respond with an equal but opposite force.

Bring it on, churchies.

(BTW, I spent this morning at my niece's baptism. I've never felt so out of place in my life!)

Sun, 06 Feb 2011 21:18:55 UTC | #588637

The Plc's Avatar Comment 13 by The Plc

Interesting. I can't wait to hear these compelling arguments and evidences that they no doubt have, not only for the truth of their particular religion and all of its doctrines, but for the obscene privileges and powers that they hold (or to use this articles code, 'its place at the centre of public life'), such as massive public subsidies for their sectarian schools of indoctrination and division, massive public subsidies for 'community' proselytising projects, over 20 unelected Bishops in the House of Lords making decisions on laws that are imposed on the largely non-believing public, the self-justifying way the way their charities gain charity status from the tax payer, regular religious propaganda programmes on the public broadcasting media, easy access for political lobbying and automatic respect from our democratically elected public servants, etc.

Sun, 06 Feb 2011 21:23:10 UTC | #588639

quarecuss's Avatar Comment 14 by quarecuss

What's up Doc?

Take on atheism! Go ahead Doc! Many of us atheists did ... and lost.


Sun, 06 Feb 2011 21:25:03 UTC | #588640

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 15 by Alan4discussion

It says the Church of England can appear too vague on where it stands on issues and risks further divisions over the introduction of women bishops and future debates about sexuality.

"By conducting its internal discussions in public it offers a model of openness yet sometimes makes it hard for others to discern where it stands on particular issues," the report states.

That should be good! Discussions in public without the CofE shuffling, shifting positions and shifting meanings to obfuscate.

A factual and rational defined explanation of theist positions v the new atheists! Bring it on! This we must see!

Sun, 06 Feb 2011 21:27:13 UTC | #588641

hypnoticbob's Avatar Comment 16 by hypnoticbob

A report endorsed by Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, warns that the Church faces a battle to prevent faith being seen as "a social problem" and says the next five years are set to be a period of "exceptional challenge".

First, 'faith' in and of itself is not a social problem, per se. Without being completely pedantic, clearly 'religion' is meant by this. Religion, however, is absolutely a social problem. It makes truth claims about the REAL (natural) world for which it has little to no evidence to support these claims, and everyone is required (by biblical law) to adhere; this makes it a social problem, especially when the churches (of all 'faiths') are pervasive throughout even the apparently secular areas of our institutions.

It expresses concern that Christians are facing hostility at work and says the Church could lose its place at the centre of public life unless it challenges attempts to marginalise religious belief.

Clearly religion, or more precisely, only the Christian religion, must be at the "centre of public life". Period.

The rallying call comes amid fears that Christians are suffering from an increasing level of discrimination following a series of cases in which they have been punished for sharing their beliefs.

only Christians? Is this about 'faith' (religion) in general, or only Christianity ("your" faith)? Would it matter to them if Muslims or any other 'faith' were apparently being persecuted, so long as the Christians knew they were safe from the same treatment? I mean, does Christianity believe in "strength in numbers" even if those numbers mean including numbers of other religions so long as they can continue what they are doing, unobstructed? Or, would the Christians feel inclined to persecute as well if they knew that only the Muslims were the sole target? I'm inclined to believe that the Christians only care about the Christians; I do not think that separate faiths actually want competition from other faiths, perhaps even different denominations/derivatives, and there seems to be plenty of religious division to support this.

The rest of the article just repeats the typical bigotry and cognitive dissonance that we've come to expect from religion; they brand anyone opposed to their sadomasochism, homophobia, xenophobia, etc. as being militant! Please, correct me if I am mistaken.

What, seriously, do the religious purport 'show' or do differently than they have over the last few millennia? They had about one thousand years of near absolute control to give us their best shot and failed miserably. Religion needs to put itself into perspective if it plans to survive at all. Obviously, I think, I am betting against its survival.

Sun, 06 Feb 2011 21:32:55 UTC | #588642

Inquisitor Mence's Avatar Comment 17 by Inquisitor Mence

I'm totally behind something I think Sam Harris fist broached (or at least made a song and dance about), but since which I am sure Richard himself has referred to.

The idea of battling atheism is ultimately absurd unless we allow ourselves to be put in a convenient box and labeled in a way that they can actually fight. Yes, we are atheists, but to wave that flag is very much like having an opposing belief, even if WE know it isn't.

We're not fighting as atheists, or ateapotists or any other label. We're just smart enough to see that your whole argument is cyclic logic that is so OBVIOUSLY created for the strong to dominate the weak. It's man-made, we can see it, they can't. You can't push them to create better evidence because the non-evidence they have IS ENOUGH FOR THEM. The only real option is just to keep stating the case, to keep making a noise, and to treat it like it's a sad and pathetic child's game unreasonably surviving past baby's first sandbox. Remind the world we've as much right to representation as free thinking individuals as anyone backed up by a 'big brother' group.

In saying this I do urge people to remember that shattering the illusion is a terrible moment for many, and if we cannot prove in DEED the compassion we claim in principal, then our fight is as false as theirs, truth or not. Be firm against superstition and adherence to THE LAW, but tempered with an understanding mind, remember WHY you're fighting before you risk speaking out of turn. It's never personal, it's for the future.


Sun, 06 Feb 2011 21:40:37 UTC | #588646

memeweaver's Avatar Comment 18 by memeweaver

The Anglican Church is in the middle of a faith crisis that is entirely about Christian sectarianism. Wedged between the Catholic Church which claims the protestant communion is disordered and which enthusiastically poaches Anglican clergy, and the Anglican churches of Africa which offer polygamy, homophobia and animist variations on a plate, it's lashing out at its closest philosophical bedfellows: atheists.

Sun, 06 Feb 2011 21:41:22 UTC | #588647

CleverCarbon's Avatar Comment 19 by CleverCarbon

Bring it on! Its about damn time they stopped hiding in their churches, whimpering about losing their undeserved Spotlight, Cowering behind tone-trolling and spreading the joy of their ignorance.

I will enjoy watching them dig their own graves.

Sun, 06 Feb 2011 21:42:48 UTC | #588648

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 20 by AtheistEgbert

Bring it on. I'm sure Christopher Hitchens will be delighted by this news, and will hopefully be organizing a debate with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Let's see who wins the debate.

Sun, 06 Feb 2011 21:44:43 UTC | #588649

mmurray's Avatar Comment 21 by mmurray

Presumably the report is not public or at least I can't find it on


The one we need to win is

"There is still work to be done to counter the prevailing tendency of treating faith as a private matter which should not impact on what happens in the public realm.

"This is a challenge for all churches and faiths, but especially for the Church of England."


Sun, 06 Feb 2011 21:45:00 UTC | #588650

Sample's Avatar Comment 22 by Sample

An effective way for the COE & Company to battle the Gnu Atheists is to simply have articles like this published.

Perhaps their last refuge is to try and remain relevant by pushing the envelope but certainly never opening it.


Sun, 06 Feb 2011 21:45:11 UTC | #588651

Peter Watkinson's Avatar Comment 23 by Peter Watkinson

This makes me wonder if they want to blame us for their own failings. It seems as though it has dawned on them yet that people can move beyond religion and live happily, and, for many people around the world, better without it.


Sun, 06 Feb 2011 21:48:42 UTC | #588652

danconquer's Avatar Comment 24 by danconquer

"Clergy to take on new atheists."

It sounds like we're all being offered employment with them!

I'd submit a CV myself but I suspect my sexual interests would prove to be insufficiently exotic.

Sun, 06 Feb 2011 21:49:56 UTC | #588653

SoHelpMeReason's Avatar Comment 25 by SoHelpMeReason

"NEW ATHEISTS"--ihh, drop it. Please.

I am not a "new"-anything. It's just publicized now.

Sun, 06 Feb 2011 21:53:18 UTC | #588656

klox's Avatar Comment 26 by klox

Only 5 more years for the CoE? Maybe there is a god...

Sun, 06 Feb 2011 21:53:55 UTC | #588657

Philoctetes                                        's Avatar Comment 27 by Philoctetes

Of course if we do respond when they take us on, it will only be because we are shrill, strident, fundamentalist, intolerant, unpleasant and rude. What the hell, why don't we just burn those that disagree with us?

Sun, 06 Feb 2011 21:54:22 UTC | #588658

ridelo's Avatar Comment 28 by ridelo

The rise of the 'new religionists'?

Sun, 06 Feb 2011 21:55:31 UTC | #588659

frax71's Avatar Comment 29 by frax71

Oh please bring it on, I want to see how they are going to justify that their belief in a celestial baby-sitter should allow them a pass on anti- discrimination laws. As in the recent case of the anti-gay boarding house owners.

This could provide us with no end of merriment for some time to come, or it could sink without trace simply because the CofE and religion itself is no longer deemed to be relevant by the majority of people in the UK.

Sun, 06 Feb 2011 21:59:06 UTC | #588661

JamesR's Avatar Comment 30 by JamesR

40% of the aging clergy to retire in 10 years. I guess they want to blame that on us too? Eventually there will be so few of them that they will just fade away. Blame us all they want. It don't change any of the facts of their ridiculous existence.

OOOh the dreaded atheists they are soooo scary. Whine Whine. Ahh you know the drill It is what we can expect from the ankle-biters.

Sun, 06 Feb 2011 22:06:33 UTC | #588665