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News good and bad from the British Isles

Via Dawkins’ site, I caught this article from the London Times, and its headline is a thing of such beauty it practically made me weep for joy: Churchgoing on its knees as Christianity falls out of favour. The article’s lead practically has you grabbing the phone to hire a marching band and sending out eVites for a block party. If only this were America.

Church attendance in Britain is declining so fast that the number of regular churchgoers will be fewer than those attending mosques within a generation, research published today suggests.

The fall – from the four million people who attend church at least once a month today – means that the Church of England, Catholicism and other denominations will become financially unviable. A lack of funds from the collection plate to support the Christian infrastructure, including church upkeep and ministers’ pay and pensions, will force church closures as ageing congregations die.

But then, read on a bit, and the other shoe drops.

In contrast, the number of actively religious Muslims will have increased from about one million today to 1.96 million in 2035.

According to Religious Trends, a comprehensive statistical analysis of religious practice in Britain, published by Christian Research, even Hindus will come close to outnumbering churchgoers within a generation.

Okay, it’s great to see one pernicious religion biting the dust somewhere, but the idea is not that we just want to see its former prominence supplanted by yet another pernicious religion…one even more pernicious, since, while Christianity’s fanatics (say, Paul Hill) only occasionally resort to outright murder, Islam’s are all too gung-ho about it. When Muslims will parade with signs that say “Behead Those Who Insult Islam!” you know you’re dealing with something far too FUBAR to be dealt with through civilized dialogue. Reason may win the fight fairly easily against Christianity, but if Islam, with its barbaric sharia laws and general bent towards theocratic fascism, simply slipped in and took its place, we’d be even worse off than where we started.

Atheists and rationalists still have a long way to go, and a lot of work to do, before the civilized world gets the message that the best way to get through life and get along with your fellow man is actually to use that little lump of grey matter between your ears.

Comments

  1. says

    Martin: “Atheists and rationalists still have a long way to go, and a lot of work to do, before the civilized world gets the message that the best way to get through life and get along with your fellow man is actually to use that little lump of grey matter between your ears.”Your religion has been at for quite some time. Either you are naive or purposely suppressing the knowledge of what humanists are doing to spread their faith. Ether way you need to wake up to truth.Listen to what an American Humanist named John Dunphy said by correctly prophesying back in 1983:”I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being. These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level–preschool day care or large state university. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new–the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism.”

  2. Martin says

    While Dunphy is wrong to call humanism a “religion” rather than a philosophy, he’s right about the classroom being where the shift towards a rationalist culture will have to take place. Where Dunphy makes his mistake is in thinking that classrooms are venues for the “prosleytizing of a faith,” rather than what they are, places where you learn facts. It’s understandable why a guy like you would think humanism and atheism are religions; you’re not all that smart. Dunphy had no excuses though (who knows, maybe this is an example of what those morons Nisbet and Mooney call “framing”), and his off-base rhetoric has obviously feuled ignorance, as we can see here.Still, he is right that it’s past time we got rid of Christianity’s miserable, rotting corpse, and moved humanity forward. But embracing humanism in its stead does not take “faith,” only intelligence and decency. Dunphy ought to know better.

  3. says

    Okay boys and girls, raise your hands if you’d like to dabble in evolution denial when we have this little bastard wreaking havoc on honey bees, one of the most important pollinators known to science. Finding solutions to the parasitic mites – which literally pose a threat to human life, as much of the world’s food is dependent upon bee pollination – requires an understanding of the evolving nature of parasite-host interactions. I can’t imagine anyone in their right mind wanting to dick around with the science that acts as our first line of defence against these threats. Of course, I realise that many people are not in their right minds, and will opt for a more, shall we say, telepathic and one-on-one approach. Anyway, V.destructor will almost certainly be in Australia in a few years. I watched a report on 60 Minutes yesterday, and it’s scary stuff. It was claimed in that report (and I hope they’re wrong) that if destructor does get here and we’re not prepared, we’re basically fucked. Luckily, not everyone’s asleep at the wheel. A bloke working at the CSIRO is trying to develop a gene-based solution in which certain genes involved in the mite’s developmental pathways would be inactivated.

  4. says

    I’m glad to see that you at least recognise that Islam is a greater threat to your life and freedom than Christianity is. Let me know the next time you see a mainstream Christian hold up a sign that says “Behead those who insult Jesus.”And yet most of your site’s content is devoted to attacking Christian beliefs. One wonders why, unless it be a simple case of bad priorities and lack of foresight.Peace,Rhology

  5. says

    Hi, good blog. Have just spent an hour reading it. I have no specific comment on this post but wanted to say I am linking to you from our site.Keep up the great work.

  6. says

    Let me know the next time you see a mainstream Christian hold up a sign that says “Behead those who insult Jesus.”Honestly, I don’t expect to ever see such a sign. But I don’t appreciate when prominent evangelists blame atheists, gays, feminists, et cetera for the attacks on 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina.And yet most of your site’s content is devoted to attacking Christian beliefs. One wonders why, unless it be a simple case of bad priorities and lack of foresight.Location, location, location. I’m sure if Martin and the rest of the AE bloggers were living in England, they would devote more posts to Muslim fundie lunatics.As for myself, I have a growing body of posts tagged Muslim Lunacy, as well as a series on why Malaysia Sucks. I even did a couple of posts in support of a Malaysian woman’s right to change her religious affiliation from Muslim to Christian, cuz that’s just the kind of guy I am.

  7. says

    Once again rhology goes with the ‘well islam is worse’ argument for promoting christianity. I agree with Martin’s and Tommy’s comments.

  8. says

    The incident of UK muslim protest that Dawkins notes from UK television news is of a sign reading “Kill those who say Islam Is Violent”. Maybe they just want to pleasure us to death. Clearly ideas of pleasure not common between Muslims and Westerners

  9. says

    “Kill those who say Islam Is Violent” is at once one of the most hilarious and terrifying things I have ever read. It’s hilarious because it’s such in-your-face ironic comedy; it’s terrifying because a certain kind of religious mind can’t even grasp that is is ironic. Hard-core religionists can be sub-divided into “droolers” and “frothers”. Luckily, most of ones I’ve corresponded with are in the former group, and while I occasionally want to smack them around a little bit when they annoy the piss out of me with their Jeebus-this and Jeebus-that (or, as one Muslim friend of mine assures me, “Islam is only a religion of peace”), my stomach doesn’t falter at their antics. Frothers genuinely scare me; you never know what these chumps are going to do, or what tiny, insignificant event might send them off on a crazed tail-spin.

  10. says

    The muddled accretion of Theism in the geographical thing called the UK is, I think, due to it being such a thing.What worrries me about Dawkins hope is that he expects that those so sensitized – to the geologically induced economics – can be taught out of it.He shares this faith in the power of education with Derrida.As I say in my blog – Grosse Fugue – I prefer the use of law, and I wish for law that does not use the viscerally punitive (since I’ve now flirtation with Foucault).The point is there is definitley a heritability factor that makes some persons somehow vulnerable to a need to be communitified with next to no autonomy.

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