"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

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Mr Cameron, please don't start "doing God"

Prime Minister David Cameron wants a return to Christian values to combat what he sees as a decline in moral standards in the country. I'm not sure he realises how misguided this idea is; the last thing we want is a biblical agenda informing our view of morality.
First of all his statement that Christian values are central to Britain and they should be "treasured", including responsibility, hard work, compassion and humility is question begging. Are those values really Christian, or are they actually a desirable shared ethic that stands apart from Christianity? Britain is not as he maintains a Christian nation, we are in many ways the antithesis of America in that we are constitutionally Christian but largely secular in practice, which in an increasingly crowded multicultural society is in our favour. We should in my opinion be looking to ditch the established church not encourage it, but one thing at a time.
Although the Muslim council for Britain has welcomed Cameron's speech declaring that many biblical values are shared by Islam, Cameron's assertion that a strong Christian identity in Britain will make it easier for non Christians to practise their faith is wishful thinking. The ecumenicalism that religions display when faced with the secular disappears when they have no common enemy. Cameron's wishy washy liberal view of Christianity, which I suspect owes more to the Vicar of Dibley than any serious study of the King James Bible, is not the morality found in Islamic or Christian scripture.
The bible is not a repository of modern morality; it is misogynistic, homophobic and contrary to individual human rights. It is a licence for bigotry and persecution of minorities and legitimate twenty-first century lifestyles. It is this “morality” that the church seeks and Islam supports.
In asking the Anglican church to "keep on the agenda that speaks to the whole country". he is demanding the impossible. Unless it is prepared to a take view that recognises women's rights to equal opportunity, reproductive health including abortion, gay marriage, and free speech including blasphemy it cannot speak to me and the vast numbers of liberal secular citizens of this country. Personally, I am not interested in a government that takes the foibles of a neolithic deity into consideration when framing what is acceptable in our society. We are not morally degenerate, as Cameron appears to think but there are undoubtedly many problems in society that need addressing. Religion however is not the solution, it is a retrograde knee jerk appeal to the lie of religious moral authority. If this country must have faith to improve, it should be faith in ourselves and each other, not superstition and religiosity.


  1. It would appear that as soon as a positive and outspoken wiff of a comment is spoken concerning the state of our beloved country, about good and evil and God and His church is declared in public, that the usual skeptics and 'knowledgeable' opposition springs into action.
    As a country, the understanding of Christianity... (and I do not just mean the mainstream 'traditional' churches, but the overlying faith of true believers, those deeply in love with God and His Son and who have experienced total restoration and forgiveness)... has been mocked, subdued, threatened and abandoned has been portrayed as being victorian, dead and no use for this day. So why is there such a moral decline in this country if this 'multicultural society' is correct???
    Of course the church of God is not perfect, of course there are sinners in the church but that is totally the reason God is in the world after all1
    I cannot say what kind of relationship Mr Cameron has with God and nobody on earth is in a position to make that judgement, but i do know believers throughout the world are praying for this country and its moral decline and Mr Cameron is to be praised for making this stand and be assured that he too is being prayed for.
    We have a great God who is compassionate and is faithful to save those who draw near to Him.

  2. The issue is that morality and religion rarely coincide. Granted some christians are charitable and follow the golden rule, but they are not really being true to scripture. For example Cameron says that the bible is in favour of the emancipation of women but some churches " just dont get it"' but in fact he is wrong. Paul who after all invented christianity as we understand it was quite explicit about the role of women and it was definitely a subservient one.
    By all means teach civic responsibility, charity, tolerance and community. But, please dont pretend these are christian virtues as they are demonstrably not.

  3. Incidentally, I do not accept the theory that there has been a moral decline in this country. In general I think we are more tolerant and inclusive than ever, a sporadic riot here and there does not constitute wholesale descenti into anarchy and violence.