I’m sure this is a sound-bite, a sop to the faithful for purely political expediency. Although our atheist politicians experience nothing like the problems they might encounter in the U.S, being openly atheist still presents difficulties here. Polticians are expected to attend constituency and state functions with religious themes in religious settings where showing the ‘required’ respect is necessary (and generally good manners), but declaring that you respect religious believers devoid of any other criteria to warrant it is being disengenuous and, to some extent, not truly respecting them at all.
"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"
Friday, 8 June 2012
Ed Miliband's atheism and respect for the faithful
Driving home from work yesterday I caught the end of an interview with Labour leader Ed Miliband on the PM program. I tuned in just as interviewer Eddie Mair was questioning him on his religious beliefs, or rather lack of them. Ed Miliband has stated before that he’s a “culturally Jewish” atheist and he repeated the same comment on the PM program he made then: