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Is Britain a Christian country? - Comments

Billy Sands's Avatar Comment 1 by Billy Sands

The idiot in the black shirt opposite RD seemed to want to argue about something other than the point. It would have been good to more clearly explain why it is dishonest to group all christians into one group for political purposes. I felt that point got lost because of the two god botherers who kept interupting. I would have liked the point that only 10 turn to their faith for guidance to have been made more forcefully made as the god botherers wanted to overlook that point. Thought the godbothers came away looking pretty bad though, but I doubt they can see that for themselves.

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 20:50:29 UTC | #919741

peter mayhew's Avatar Comment 2 by peter mayhew

You know what I kept thinking through the programme? These people with real faith, they just get so confused by facts. Why couldn't the Ipsos Mori poll have contained a few myths as well : those they could have understood, because Richard there's this whole realm of bullshit out there that you're just not open to.

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 20:59:48 UTC | #919747

irate_atheist's Avatar Comment 3 by irate_atheist

Only a fascist would claim that a 'country' was anything.

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 21:01:33 UTC | #919748

Ricpot's Avatar Comment 4 by Ricpot

Don't take my liver!! Organ Donation: Religion poisons everything.

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 21:02:32 UTC | #919749

Billy Sands's Avatar Comment 5 by Billy Sands

Another thing I noticed was that many were desperate to pretend we were still a christian country, yet they were also moaning about the decline in "morality". Surely then (in their world) if we are a christian country, then christians are responsible for moral collapse. I wonder how they would respond to that?

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 21:03:03 UTC | #919750

prettygoodformonkeys's Avatar Comment 6 by prettygoodformonkeys

Won't play in Canada; any other links available?

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 21:14:21 UTC | #919752

quisquose's Avatar Comment 7 by quisquose

"Yes, I would let my child die rather than allow her to have an organ transplant because it's the next life that's important".

And if she goes out with a boy you don't approve of, or adopts too many western values, what then?

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 21:15:57 UTC | #919753

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

Hopefully there''ll be a version on youtube soon so those outside the UK can view.

Mind you, after seeing previous episodes of TBQ, I think I might be saving my blood pressure from going through the roof by not watching.

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 21:16:12 UTC | #919755

IndigoCZ's Avatar Comment 9 by IndigoCZ

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 21:17:28 UTC | #919757

"'s Avatar Comment 10 by "

The muslim woman who spoke at 28 minutes said (in response to a suggestion of tax breaks for married couples and gay civil partners):

You cannot have a christian country and a faith oriented country when you're having civil partnerships and you're encouraging [she then hesitates] "XY and Z" - I'm sorry I don't want to discriminate against anybody, but you have to..[she's then interrupted by the speaker opposite]

What was she going to say I wonder?...

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 21:22:37 UTC | #919758

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 11 by the great teapot

Given that we have reached the point where being a christian means anything you want it to mean I would have to say yes.

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 21:26:27 UTC | #919761

TreVelocita's Avatar Comment 12 by TreVelocita

Comment Removed by Author

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 21:27:21 UTC | #919763

TreVelocita's Avatar Comment 13 by TreVelocita

First part of the debate here for non-UK viewers

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 21:29:47 UTC | #919765

matth13's Avatar Comment 14 by matth13

One thing that really irritated me was the fact the 'Christians' believed that you have to have faith to hold moral values, which is completely ridiculous. Not to mention their inability to converse, listen and debate!

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 21:35:50 UTC | #919770

Mr Blue Sky's Avatar Comment 15 by Mr Blue Sky

I regret to admit I watched it this morning. When speakers reaffirmed their beliefs in virgin birth and resurrection and the muslims tried to explain why organ donation should not be allowed I had to tell myself that is was just a small studio with some small minded people spouting their usual nonsense.

There were times when Richard had a look of amazement when certain statements were made and I felt truly sorry that he had exposed himself to this shower.

This is going to be a long and difficult process to win but we must keep trying to influence the primitive minded religios.

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 21:40:42 UTC | #919773

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 16 by Premiseless

Comment 1 by Billy Sands :

The idiot in the black shirt opposite RD seemed to want to argue about something other than the point. It would have been good to more clearly explain why it is dishonest to group all christians into one group for political purposes. I felt that point got lost because of the two god botherers who kept interupting. I would have liked the point that only 10 turn to their faith for guidance to have been made more forcefully made as the god botherers wanted to overlook that point. Thought the godbothers came away looking pretty bad though, but I doubt they can see that for themselves.

The 'idiot' is chipping away at the Cole face of British belief in his recent book in which Richard is likened to Ayatollah - but which this review cautions - is difficult for him to know exactly what he is talking about due his emotional and intellectual discomfort at the whole concept of atheism. Concept resilience due childhood abuse (aka religious grooming) might be the psychologists summary??

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 21:46:25 UTC | #919777

RichardofYork's Avatar Comment 17 by RichardofYork

Im a Christian , I dont think there are any gods and I dont think supernatural things exist outside imagination. Im also a a snooker player , I dont have a snooker table or a cue and I dont know the rules Im also a nuclear physicist , I dont know how to do the maths involved in collider analysis but whos to question my beliefs? Only the statement "Im a Christian" would allow me to persecute and abuse people on the grounds I have faith that my abuse and persecutions are divinely inspired .Well Done Comedy Dave Cameron for giving such a useless belief system credibility on the political stage.

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 21:48:45 UTC | #919778

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 18 by the great teapot

Mr bluesky, I have to disagree if the moripoll is an accurate reflexion, and my own personal experience tells me it is better than the poll suggests, then apart from the odd case we are approaching the critical mass.

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 21:50:53 UTC | #919780

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 19 by God fearing Atheist

I think RD and Andrew Copson need a bag of examples of the chain from "72% Christian" to the passing of laws which the Ipsos/MORI survey found the "Census Christians" did not support. Every time it comes up, they should fire off another specific example. Continually harping on against the 26 Bishops is preaching to the (secularist) choir. What have the 26 bishops done that is so terrible? Is it really only an issue of "26 white men"? Of course not - they (allegedly) push an "extreme" religious agenda which the majority of people ("census Christians" or not) do not support.

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 21:53:05 UTC | #919781

Sample's Avatar Comment 20 by Sample

Of course, I often think I have a brain tumor watching these debates because it seems to me one side speaks English and the other, Gibberish.

Part II beginning at 12:20: The woman asked a very revealing question. She wanted to know the purpose of the poll if it was not going to be used to repeal the work of the religious. The humanist representative next to Prof. Dawkins answered well. Her question, however, was displaying a real fear of losing her privileged status. And really, isn't that what people of faith are ultimately rebelling against here? They're keen to use statistics when it's to their advantage. Well, they can't have their own facts anymore and their opinions are getting sillier and sillier.

MIke

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 22:11:39 UTC | #919790

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 21 by AtheistEgbert

This is indeed about religious privilege rather than religious freedom, or even secularism. Privilege is seen as not only some right, but that taking away that privilege is seen as comparably to terrorism. It shows just how bad the inequalities are in Britain, and that we have a long way to go.

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 22:22:33 UTC | #919795

tlrobson1's Avatar Comment 22 by tlrobson1

I have a couple of friends who fall into the 'I-say-I'm-Christian-but-I'm-not-really' category, so I can very much relate to this. I've asked both of them on several occasions "What exactly is it that you believe?" and both seem to have the same answer, which is whilst they're not sure, they believe in something. I think that's fine, but the question for me is where do you draw the line? When is the moment where you realise you're a little bit too NOT Christian to be a Christian any more? It is something that can't be measured, and unfortunately there are a lot of people just like my two friends who write it because it is more convenient or because they're from a Christian household.

This program debates the question in great detail between passionate people from both sides of the argument and still comes to no real conclusion, so I can quite easily imagine a vast portion of society simply not being all that bothered and writing what feels natural or what they feel is expected of them.

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 22:24:07 UTC | #919797

zengardener's Avatar Comment 23 by zengardener

What are Christian values? Apparently Britain is a Christian nation because it's people hold Christian values, but whenever someone lists a Christian value that is moral, it is also a Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim etc. value as well. When it is not a moral value, then why the hell should anybody give it any respect?

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 22:27:15 UTC | #919800

BowDownToGizmo's Avatar Comment 24 by BowDownToGizmo

I thought the title question was stupid, clearly those in debate had different definitions in mind of what it means to be a 'christian country'. The result was the sweaty man in the black shirt firing straw man arguments across the studio about the poll only showing that xtians were a soft and diverse group thus Dawkins was wrong...even though that was the point of the poll. Whole thing was farcical.

Ultimately at the end of the debate I was still wondering what it meant to be an xtian country...What's the definition? Surely that should have been established at the beginning?

Oh and yes I do wish they hadn't interrupted the vile Muslim woman as she started down the road of explaining how you can't be an xtian country and allow HOMOSEXUAL PARTNERSHIPS!!!! God forbid! She needed a proper hitchslap and I was left angry in its absence

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 22:38:42 UTC | #919802

BowDownToGizmo's Avatar Comment 25 by BowDownToGizmo

Comment 3 by irate_atheist :

Only a fascist would claim that a 'country' was anything.

Your comment is ultimately the most important observation on consideration of the question. How dare anyone call any country an xtian country when less than 100% of its members consider themselves xtian? How marginalised must you feel if you do not adhere to that system of beliefs and are told you live in such a country? Are we therefore second class citizens if we are non-xtians living in an xtian country?

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 22:47:53 UTC | #919806

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 26 by Steve Zara

I'm feeling a bit confused about this. Wasn't there some sort of Mori poll recently that provided a definitive answer? The answer was 'no'.

Why debate what we already know? The question should now be how we deal with religious leaders who falsely claim moral authority.

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 22:53:18 UTC | #919809

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 27 by the great teapot

Christine Odone, if it was a xtian country we would not walk past the church everday as you so telling put it.

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 23:07:58 UTC | #919813

dragonclarke's Avatar Comment 28 by dragonclarke

This show is low-rent tabloid TV. You're never going to get a worthwhile debate on it.

If you haven't watched this yet, don't bother.

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 23:08:46 UTC | #919814

Aztek's Avatar Comment 29 by Aztek

I have mixed feelings about debates like this one. On one hand I want to watch it, but on the other I know that my blood pressure will shoot through the roof if I do. I wish these debates were a computer game; I could control the players.

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 23:09:29 UTC | #919815

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 30 by Zeuglodon

Comment 24 by BowDownToGizmo

Ultimately at the end of the debate I was still wondering what it meant to be an xtian country...What's the definition? Surely that should have been established at the beginning?

I think the ambiguity makes a bit more sense if you think about it along the lines of the "Law of Contagion". As defamatory as that sounds, I'm merely suggesting a mechanism, not trying to make a value judgement.

The idea is that we've had such a long history with Christianity that aspects of it permeate our culture - in the phrases we use, invocations of God (blasphemy like shouting "Jesus Christ!"), the bible's relevance to understanding how our laws and histories were shaped, the different sects of Christianity that coexist now, the architecture (churches), rituals, crosses, symbolic imagery, moral philosophy, thoughts about the afterlife (like whether it exists or not), cosmology, how the world works, and ideas about the 'purpose' of life. It looms large in the mind. Our ancestors were heavily immersed in it. We meet evidence of it every day. Christians were the majority of the population, and probably still are despite the decline.

And because it's so ancient and widespread and prominent, it becomes natural to just see everything as "contaminated" with Christianity. Simply wanting to be charitable is "christian", so someone who wants to be seen as charitable (whether or not they actually are) would want to be seen as Christian, so they identify themselves as Christian. They hear that most of the country's population is Christian. They know that much of our government and our laws were influenced by Christian people, so this gets attributed to Christianity in general. So much of what the person does is touched by this religion in some way that it effectively becomes their "sea" through which they swim, and since they're touching the water as they swim through it they feel as though they too are "contaminated" with it. So they identify such things as Christian.

Of course, when they then try to pin down the exact definition (or more usually when someone poses one to them), and find that the specifics involve believing in specific theological views, observing certain rituals consistently, and having strong views about the veracity of a holy book and the rules put in it, they become confused. They themselves probably don't believe specifically those views, have probably never been to church, and have only heard about the bible, never actually read it. But they still identify themselves as Christian, hence a lot of fudging the edges by saying that they are and yet they are not. The silt at the bottom of an otherwise peaceful pool has been disturbed, and they're trying to get it to settle so that they don't feel uncomfortable by this new "contaminant" which they haven't adjusted to yet.

As for the idea of a Christian nation, I think it's just the process in reverse. So much of the country is "contaminated" by bits and bobs of a culture so widespread and ancient that the rest of it is simply lumped into the category "Christian", just as the one person swimming in a sea is "contaminated" by the surrounding water which they swim through. The problem is that now you have a whole country to cover for when someone stirs up the silt at the bottom. People want to feel secure, even if it's to a "contaminant" that they've gotten used to but whose virtues and details they haven't fully figured out yet. The last thing a social species wants is to belong to a group whose country is having an identity crisis.

The only thing worth knowing is what specifically would happen just by giving a country a label. That's got to be the grossest hasty generalization possible.

If, for example, the 2001 census is trotted out to justify the 26 seats for bishops in the House of Lords, we should point out that the logic only works if you assume that there being a majority of people living in this country who identify themselves as Christian leads inexorably to there being a need for 26 members of the corresponding clergy being given a position to accept or reject bills in parliament. Considering how they justify their self-classification, and the fact that the representative government idea is assumed to be the best (objectors often label this as tokenism), then the logic is completely invalid.

I wouldn't call this a country Christian, anyway. A country can't go to church or pray. It can't believe or disbelieve anything. Only its citizens can, and if a country is going to be given adjectives based on whether or not those adjectives fit the majority of the population, then we might as well call ourselves a human country and be rid of the redutio ad absurdum. The only way we'd be a Christian nation would be if our government system was theocratic, and I think we've long since given up the Divine Right argument of the monarchy.

Sun, 19 Feb 2012 23:15:54 UTC | #919818