"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

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Troops from 16 Air Assault Brigade hold Afghan service

I’m going to do my best not to sound churlish about this, nor am I intending to trivialise the tremendous risks and sacrifices made by our troops abroad. But I could not help thinking that the thanksgiving service held today at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk need not have been, and should not have been such an explicitly Anglican one.
It’s a fair bet that a significant number of the troops attending will be atheists or agnostics, of those that are religious as well as Anglicans there will be Catholics, other protestant sects, Hindus Sikhs and Muslims, so it seems unfortunate that the event was run by the state sponsored religion.
I understand the logic of course; the Queen is the head of the Church of England and Commander in Chief of the Army. These people fight on behalf of queen and country and the established religion gets the job helping them deal with the aftermath.
Lets leave aside for one moment the obvious snipe…
Soldiers from the Army's largest brigade have attended a service to give thanks for their return from Afghanistan and to remember the fallen.
i.e “Giving thanks” to some deity for safe return but conveniently ignoring the point that the same deity is presumably responsible for the deaths as well, in favour of considering why, in this enlightened age we cannot have secular ceremonies that would also have ecumenical religious aspects to allow soldiers of all faiths and none to find their own meaning and comfort.

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