“I believe in God and I’m perfectly intelligent and rational,” says Victoria Coren. Elsewhere in the column, which broadly complains that not enough “cool, brainy people” are on God’s side in public debate, Coren:
- relates that she gabbled when she met the Archbishop of Canterbury
- compares belief in an inexplicable God favourably to belief in the inexplicable iPad
- insinuates that the rule of law is a useless replacement for divine law because of the Twitter Joke Trial
- notes that faith in altruism is only as daft as faith in religion anyway
- atheists offer “nothing” by way of solace or comfort and without religion human life is “no longer sacred” in such a way as to invalidate all sense of value, apparently
Well, if the point was to demonstrate that not enough “cool, brainy people” argue for God, this might be an excellent article.
There is a new [read any Enlightenment history, Victoria?], false distinction between “believers” and “rationalists”. The trickle-down Dawkins effect has got millions of people thinking that faith is ignorant and childish, with atheism the smart and logical position. [No one thought this before Dawkins, obviously.]
I interviewed the comedian Miranda Hart recently. She told me she believes in God but was nervous of being quoted on it.
“It’s scary to say you’re pro-God,” she said. “Those clever atheists are terrifying.”
“Oh, nonsense,” I said. “Let them tell you it’s stupid to believe in something you can’t explain. Then ask them how an iPad works.” [Because electronic engineering is exactly as impenetrable as Divine Mystery.]
… So why do the proselytisers fight so hard to be right? In place of the comfort which faith can provide in the face of death, grief or loneliness, they offer… nothing. They are suspiciously eager to snatch away the consolations of their fellow men. [This being atheism's only possible motivation.]
Why? Because they think religion causes violence? Human nature contains a streak of fear, greed, selfishness and territorialism that must result in a mean level of dissent and bloodshed, with or without the excuse of religious difference. Without religion, human life is no longer sacred – nothing is – so it’s not “logical” to believe we’d be gentler if it disappeared. All we’d have to replace it is a trust in altruism, which is certainly no less naive than believing in God.
So what would that leave, as a moral framework? The law? Do google “Twitter joke trial” before you throw our future behind that. [Oh wow, zing!]
Or is it because some religious arguments are misogynistic or homophobic? Believers can still argue back. [Well, that's fine then, if you can argue back then misogyny and homophobia hardly matter.]
It is not “logical” to imagine that faith could disappear anyway. It is natural to seek hope beyond the trials and finity of existence. If the big religions were destroyed, humanity would simply invent new, smaller, madder ones. Thousands of them. The man who attempts to argue both that religious difference causes violent bloodshed and that the big faiths should be dismantled is therefore being short-sighted, obtuse and not very clever.
Not very clever.
Full article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2010/dec/05/victoria-coren-belief-in-god
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]Not enough “cool, brainy people” speak up for God, but atheists are “not very clever”, complains confused columnist,