"Religion is a hypothesis about the world: the hypothesis that things are the way they are, at least in part, because of supernatural entities or forces acting on the natural world. And there's no good reason to treat it any differently from any other hypothesis. Which includes pointing out its flaws and inconsistencies, asking its adherents to back it up with solid evidence, making jokes about it when it's just being silly, offering arguments and evidence for our own competing hypotheses...and trying to persuade people out of it if we think it's mistaken. It's persuasion. It's the marketplace of ideas. Why should religion get a free ride"

Greta Christina

Thursday, 4 February 2010

G.B.H? It pays to be religious

Well it’s nice to know that these religious types stick together. Apparently if you’ve got the devoutly catholic Cherie Blair, wife of erstwhile Prime Minister Tony, for a judge you can get a lighter sentence if you’re a devout Muslim..
Shamso Miah had been convicted of breaking a man's jaw with two punches after a dispute in a bank queue in East Ham, London. He had gone to the bank from a local mosque. During sentencing Ms Blair (or more correctly “Booth” as that his her professional name) said:
“I am going to suspend this sentence for the period of two years based on the fact you are a religious person and have not been in trouble before, You caused a mild fracture to the jaw of a member of the public standing in a queue at Lloyds Bank. You are a religious man and you know this is not acceptable behaviour.”
So, fair enough if the guy had previously been of good character, maybe a suspended sentence was good enough, but what has being religious got to do with it?
Well the answer is obvious of course, In Cherie’s mind a religious person is a good person, while nasty old atheists should get everything they deserve.
Now although the data is a bit shaky, it seems that in the U.K there are about the same percentage of atheists in prison as there are atheists in the general population, and the same is generally true for people who claim a faith (I have no statistics of how that breaks down between faiths). So there really is no reason to suppose an atheist of previously good character is any more liable to re-offend than a theist.
Besides which at the extremes we know that theists can commit some of the most evil deeds around. I hope the next time a would be islamic terrorist, or gay bashing christian goes to trial Cherie Blair isn’t there to let them off with a caution.


  1. "Swing your partner by the hand,
    Have a baby if you can,
    But if the voices your head
    Say to sacrifice your kid,
    To satisfy your loving God's
    Fetish for dead baby blood,
    It's simple fate, the Book demands
    So raise that knife up in your hand!"

    -Tim Minchin 'The Good Book'

  2. I doubt Cherie is a fan of Tim Minchin.

  3. So in that case she cannot possibly have read the bible properly.

  4. Very few Christians actually do. I believe it was Isaac Asimov who said (something like) nothing leads people to atheism more than a thorough reading of the bible

  5. Very true it is too. The only section of the bible you even need to read to realise that is Laviticus. It's just so contradictory.