This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Secularism v Religion in national affairs - post-Warsi discussion on BBC Newsnight 14/2/12

Secularism v Religion in national affairs - post-Warsi discussion on BBC Newsnight 14/2/12 - Comments

lol mahmood's Avatar Comment 1 by lol mahmood

Heh. The exchange with Nazir-Ali reminded me, just a little, of the infamous one between Muggeridge, a Bishop, and a couple of the Python team back in the Life of Brian days. They don't like having to account for actual facts, do they?

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 23:57:49 UTC | #918270

huzonfurst's Avatar Comment 2 by huzonfurst

Richard has the patience of a saint, confronted with these fools. The bishop and his "judeo-xian tradition," conveniently leaving out the fact that slavery was supported by this tradition for more than 90% of its existence!

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 00:00:27 UTC | #918272

mmurray's Avatar Comment 3 by mmurray

Comment 1 by lol mahmood :

Heh. The exchange with Nazir-Ali reminded me, just a little, of the infamous one between Muggeridge, a Bishop, and a couple of the Python team back in the Life of Brian days. They don't like having to account for actual facts, do they?

Have you see the satirical version of this done by the Not the Nine O'clock News team ? It's the phythonists complaining about the bible making fun of Life of Brian.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asUyK6JWt9U

Michael

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 00:03:57 UTC | #918273

hemidemisemigod's Avatar Comment 4 by hemidemisemigod

Militant secularism?

Militant - Combative and aggressive in support of a political or social cause, and typically favouring extreme, violent, or confrontational methods.

Secularism - The principle of separation between government institutions and the persons mandated to represent the State from religious institutions and religious dignitaries.

So how can secularism be militant? What next, militant justice, fairness, equality, democracy, human rights?

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 00:04:10 UTC | #918274

Daisy Skipper's Avatar Comment 5 by Daisy Skipper

@huzonfurst - no doubt... it's so much work just to finish a sentence.

The results of the survey haven't been out a full day and it's already being misrepresented. Good work professor for not letting them away with it!

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 00:06:26 UTC | #918276

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 6 by Steve Zara

This went well. Richard managed to clearly get the point across about the lack of political support for so-called "Christian" policies.

However, I'd like to know what people like the Bishop mean when they talk about Christianity in government.

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 00:11:38 UTC | #918279

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 7 by AtheistEgbert

Once again, another Christian apologists (Bishop Michael Nazir Ali) gets away with blue murder by rewriting history and claiming we live in a Judae-Christian culture with Judae-Christian values, this is complete fiction and delusion.

Our liberal values come from the Enlightenment movement. Of course many of its writers were self-described Christians, but it was not Christianity that got rid of slavery, but liberalism. Christianity ignored slavery for over a thousand years, so too did Islam.

We need to seriously counter this rhetoric that apologists are using, because Richard's survey destroys any legitimate claim in majority belief (a highly dubious justification to begin with) and so let's not let them get away with re-writing history.

We ought to be proud of the enlightenment, liberalism and reason, those are our values, not Christian values, let's reclaim them.

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 00:13:13 UTC | #918281

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 8 by Steve Zara

to comment 4 by hemidemisemigod

Militant - Combative and aggressive in support of a political or social cause, and typically favouring extreme, violent, or confrontational methods.

I would not say that militancy involves extreme methods or violence. Politics can certainly be combative and confrontational. There is nothing wrong with that.

My view is than when confronted with the supposed accusation of militant secularism or militant atheism, a good response is "yes, and about time".

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 00:16:17 UTC | #918284

snail-12's Avatar Comment 9 by snail-12

I love the last few seconds of this where the bishop appears to think the survey represents the whole population allowing Richard to deliver the knock-out.

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 00:22:50 UTC | #918288

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 10 by Cook@Tahiti

All these useless bishops are like parasites, and it's obvious they're getting defensive as they realise society is waking up and doesn't want them any more. Put down your crucifixes and chalices and sceptres and other silly baubles and get a real job.

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 00:26:37 UTC | #918289

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 11 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 3 by mmurray

Have you see the satirical version of this done by the Not the Nine O'clock News team ? It's the phythonists complaining about the bible making fun of Life of Brian.

Michael, if you haven't seen it yet, 'Holy Flying Circus' is worth 90 minutes of yer time.

Holy Flying Circus is a "Pythonesque" dramatization of the 1979 television debate on talk show Friday Night, Saturday Morning between John Cleese and Michael Palin, members of British comedy troupe Monty Python, and Malcolm Muggeridge and Mervyn Stockwood, the then Bishop of Southwark. The film looks at the build-up to the debate, the controversy around the film Life of Brian, and dramatizes segments from the televised discussion.

If you can get a hold of it I think you'll enjoy.

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 00:26:40 UTC | #918290

hweseman's Avatar Comment 12 by hweseman

I believe that the rediscovery of the classical Greek and Roman world during the Renaissance followed by the Enlightenment gave birth to the society of today. In my country of birth, the Netherlands, the civil and penal code is based on the code developed during the French revolution, which in turn was based on Roman law. Not sure if the same is true for the U.K.

Democracy is certainly not an idea that is based on the bible or any judeo-christian tradition.

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 00:54:05 UTC | #918296

Skeptic Tank's Avatar Comment 13 by Skeptic Tank

Why on earth did this program not include a religious secularist in the panel? This is an utter failure of fair representation of views. Isn't that a mandate of the BBC?

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 01:02:58 UTC | #918298

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 14 by Border Collie

Stealth secularism ... that's pretty funny coming from a Muslim who is using this for her not-so-stealth jihad. She doesn't give a rat's ass about Christianity except in that she's using it as a wedge for her own Islamic agenda. Hey, don't believe me, just watch what happens. Atheist numbers are no more than a mote in the eye of overwhelming numbers of the religious, rather like 14,000,000+- Jews compared to 1,500,000,000+- Muslims on the planet. Oh, I forgot, atheists and Jews are magical and omnipotent.

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 01:13:02 UTC | #918301

plasma-engineer's Avatar Comment 15 by plasma-engineer

Comment 8 by Steve Zara

I'd like to know what people like the Bishop mean

Thank g*d there are not very many people like this bishop. Otherwise, as usual, it is hard to disagree with what you say.

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 01:15:09 UTC | #918302

ollipehkonen's Avatar Comment 16 by ollipehkonen

What a proud moment for the church... A bishop gloating about 44 % of christians believing in jesus and 60 in heaven.

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 01:19:27 UTC | #918305

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 17 by Steve Zara

comment 14 by Border Collie

Stealth secularism ... that's pretty funny coming from a Muslim who is using this for her not-so-stealth jihad.

Sorry, but nutty conspiracy theory talk doesn't help the cause. Warsi is bad enough without crackpot theories about hidden motives.

Atheist numbers are no more than a mote in the eye of overwhelming numbers of the religious, rather like 14,000,000+- Jews compared to 1,500,000,000+- Muslims on the planet.

If you really want to frame this as us vs. them (there's always a Them in conspiracy theories), then you really need to get your numbers right. The number of non-religious in the world is estimated to be about a billion. Add that to 500,000,000 atheist Buddhists and we don't look like such a minority.

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 01:21:43 UTC | #918306

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 18 by Neodarwinian

Where does this British prig, Bishop somebody or other, get the nerve to tell the christian Constitution lie as if he were a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination?

All christains are as " wooly " as fundamentalists, fundamentally.

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 01:38:52 UTC | #918310

lol mahmood's Avatar Comment 19 by lol mahmood

Comment 3 by mmurray :

Comment 1 by lol mahmood :

Have you see the satirical version of this done by the Not the Nine O'clock News team ? It's the phythonists complaining about the bible making fun of Life of Brian.

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?

v=asUyK6JWt9U](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asUyK6JWt9U)

Michael

Yes, I grew up with Not the Nine O'clock News. I hadn't seen the original interview until it was repeated last year. Holy Flying Circus is very good as well.

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 01:53:05 UTC | #918313

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 20 by Schrodinger's Cat

The Bishop's rant about the Magna Carta, the abolition of slavery, etc being the result of Christian values is just utter nonsense. If there'd been Christian values, slavery would not have existed in Britain for 300 years in the first place. And the fact that it was 'Christians' who brought about the changes for the better says no more than that at one time virtually everyone......good or bad.....was labelled a Christian.

What's more, I hate his thinly veiled 'Victorian values' Conservative style of thinking. The good old Victorian days, the height of the so-called values he espouses, saw child labour, poverty and inequality on a massive scale, the imposition of an empire on millions, and so on. The Dickensian world of values that represent the good old days of the church make any rational person shudder.

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 02:06:45 UTC | #918316

KRKBAB's Avatar Comment 21 by KRKBAB

Comment 15 by plasma-engineer- "Thank g*d..."- Why not write god? If you're a theist (Jewish) then it makes sense, but if you're not a theist, doesn't it make the whole Jewish/G-d thing pointless? Writing it that way gives some type of credibility or respect to something atheists/agnostic have no belief in.

Once again, if you are a theist, you're welcome here and your spelling makes sense. But if you're not religious, could you explain why you write it that way. It's not that big a deal, but I'm interested.

Mods- sorry if that is too off topic.

RD gave a good response saying that many religious people are secularists. They understand that it's a private matter and doesn't belong in the public sphere or in government. Secularism is all too often directly linked to Atheism.That's just intellectual dishonesty.

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 02:17:16 UTC | #918318

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 22 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 4 by hemidemisemigod

Militant secularism?

Militant - Combative and aggressive in support of a political or social cause, and typically favouring extreme, violent, or confrontational methods.

The keyword being 'or' in that definition, but let's play with definitions.

aggressive:- having or showing determination and energetic pursuit of your ends

combative:- inclined or showing an inclination to dispute or disagree

extreme:- reaching a high or the highest degree; very great

violent:- having or showing great emotional force

confrontational:- discord or a clash of opinions and ideas

There is nothing wrong with being militant. If the dickheads hijack it as a pejorative for Atheists that speak up for themselves, so what, let's not all play into their hands, eh?

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 03:02:10 UTC | #918325

Starcrash's Avatar Comment 23 by Starcrash

I'm am so impressed. Professor Dawkins did such a great job on this program, especially that bit at the end that caught the bishop in playing with the numbers. Ms. Gledhill appeared as if she was just trying to see how many times she could squeeze the word militant into one sound bite, but after the survey was brought up, she too found it difficult to make a point against atheism. That survey really makes Christians uncomfortable.

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 03:03:19 UTC | #918327

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 24 by Steve Zara

Comment 20 by Schrodinger's Cat

The Bishop's rant about the Magna Carta, the abolition of slavery, etc being the result of Christian values is just utter nonsense.

I have just come across this article in the Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/no-secularism-please-were-british-6917549.html

A brief quote: What is staggering about the secularists is their arrogance and the shortness of their memories. The materialist utopianism of the Communists and Nazis is to blame for all the worst atrocities of the past century. Dawkins may appear to make sense, but it is incredible that we should be ready to pay serious attention to a prophet whose message is the same as those whose schemes led straight to the hells of the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Mao's Cultural Revolution and the Khmer Rouge.

That's just a sample of a long rant. It's blatant lies and ignorance. On and on and on.

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 03:22:15 UTC | #918330

Tony d's Avatar Comment 25 by Tony d

Just wondering if anyone knows,if any religion and im thinking of big religions here.I,m wondering do religions ever just die out or are they always killed off by a different belief system?

As opposed to a different belief system starting once the old one is gone

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 03:49:45 UTC | #918333

Hobomidget's Avatar Comment 26 by Hobomidget

I am offended that they say America is founded on a christian foundation. Yes, Let Dawkins speak if you please, I find no joy listening to the other two motor their mouths about.

It seems that God is nothing more that the paper he was written on. They should just deal with that. You can never go back. These religious debates are just becoming more disordered as time moves on.

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 04:06:13 UTC | #918334

Philster61's Avatar Comment 27 by Philster61

So yet again the Religious see their income disappearing because people realize they don't need to live under medieval superstition, so they (religion) has to become "militant" and aggressive......

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 04:34:37 UTC | #918335

aroundtown's Avatar Comment 28 by aroundtown

It was very positive as usual to see Richard standing up for those who have a hard time standing up for themselves, bravo Dr. Dawkins. The bishop was looking a little ruffled and militant if you ask me and the editor seemed somewhat flummoxed. They can feel their grip slipping away and they don't like it but as far as my feeling any sympathy for them that percentage is exactly zero. The idea that they are a force for good is ludicrous in light of the record of subjugation and intolerance that is the legacy of religion.

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 05:08:15 UTC | #918344

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 29 by susanlatimer

Comment 24 by Steve Zara

Comment 20 by Schrodinger's Cat

The Bishop's rant about the Magna Carta, the abolition of slavery, etc being the result of Christian values is just utter nonsense.

I have just come across this article in the Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/no-secularism-please-were-british-6917549.html

A brief quote: What is staggering about the secularists is their arrogance and the shortness of their memories. The materialist utopianism of the Communists and Nazis is to blame for all the worst atrocities of the past century. Dawkins may appear to make sense, but it is incredible that we should be ready to pay serious attention to a prophet whose message is the same as those whose schemes led straight to the hells of the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Mao's Cultural Revolution and the Khmer Rouge.

That's just a sample of a long rant. It's blatant lies and ignorance. On and on and on.

One of the things I love about this site and about science is the intentional seeking out of the counter-argument. The falsifying of the hypothesis. The ability to see where the flaws in your thinking might be.

It's become more and more clear to me that theists use the same failed arguments over and over because they live in an echo chamber. Some by accident, some by intention, some by pure privilege. But the arguments have grown so tired. They have no weight. They survive only by repetition. They are not equipped to withstand the crucible of reason.

The other thing is that they don't have to. Not in the short term. Arguments don't have to be sound in order to win the hearts and minds of humans. They only need to be repeated.

It takes an awful lot of reason over a very long period of time to change the world.

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 05:32:08 UTC | #918348

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 30 by susanlatimer

Dawkins may appear to make sense, but it is incredible that we should be ready to pay serious attention to a prophet whose message is the same as those whose schemes led straight to the hells of the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Mao's Cultural Revolution and the Khmer Rouge.

What a horrible and obnoxious thing to say. What on earth has Richard Dawkins' message to do with the messages of those megalomaniacs? The execrable lies that were passed on by the manipulating and deadly force of those people? This is a lie that is repeated that borders on evil. It's a lie that insists on learning nothing about human nature.

Richard Dawkins is "deeply interested in the truth". How is his message even remotely connected to some of the greatest mass-murderers in human history?

I don't know how he does it. He must be very, very tired some times.

Thu, 16 Feb 2012 05:36:07 UTC | #918350