Time to Admit

Let’s everybody say this kind of thing more and more often, okay? More and more and more and more. Because there’s so much of the other kind of thing. And the more there is of the other kind of thing, and the less there is of this kind of thing, the more the other kind thinks it’s right, it’s the mainstream, it’s common knowledge, it’s conventional wisdom, it’s obvious, it’s the default position. The only way to resist is by resisting.

It’s time that we acknowledged honestly what most people believe, that religion is at bottom nonsense…[W]hat I think we should acknowledge is that religion contains a massive falsehood, namely that there is a God who determines our actions and responds to our plight…The hypocritical respect now being accorded to Muslim “scholars”, people who believe that the Qur’an was dictated word for word by God, is just one example of the mess we have got ourselves into by pretending to take religion seriously. Disagreements about society can only be resolved in the here and now on liberal principles of discussion and compromise. You cannot have a sensible discussion with fundamentalists, be they Christian, Jewish or Muslim, because they start from a different point.

They start from a different point, and they also stay there, no matter what, no matter what the evidence or what the argument – in fact that is the different point they start from: that evidence and argument are entirely irrelevant. That is not a good point from which to start a sensible discussion.

By pandering to the credulous while cracking down on “extremists”, we are trying to maintain the fiction that we are semi-religious in a harmless, Hobbity sort of fashion…We should make it absolutely clear that there are no special political or religious crimes, and we should make it clear that we do not tacitly promote religion in government or in schools. What we have to promote above all else is the liberal society, and this is best done by observing scrupulously the principles of that society. And that demands that we acknowledge that religion is, at base, nonsense. The sooner we eliminate the idea that life has “some cosmic, all-embracing libretto”, the better.


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