Yet another plea – or more like demand – that atheists shut up. Dave Hill foolishly comes right out and admits that’s what he’s demanding, in the very first sentence.
Even by writing this piece I risk perpetuating what I seek to end: arguments about religion that generate more heat than light.
He seeks to end arguments about religion – well at least we know where we are for a change. And where we are is (as so often) with someone who doesn’t think very clearly. He claims that ‘the critiques [AC Grayling and Polly Toynbee] offer, at least on this site, never develop beyond assertions that all religion should be got rid of because it’s always a bad thing,’ which is absurd (apart from anything else, that would make a one-sentence post, and Grayling and Toynbee don’t write one-sentence posts). Then he gets even more wild. He quotes Grayling on the influence of Catholicism:
Women enslaved to child-bearing, over-large families perpetuating ignorance and poverty, backward social policies and the iron grip of a clergy acting like the Stasi in controlling the minutiae of private lives.
Then he announces that he takes that personally because he ‘married into an Irish Catholic family,’ then he announces that he doesn’t ‘care for privileged British academics informing them that they were so supine as to have had their personal lives “controlled”,’ and then he ends with a flourish by saying ‘Such jeering at Irish Catholics has, of course, a long and ugly history.’
‘Such’ as what? What is that ‘such’ doing there? What jeering at Irish Catholics? There isn’t any, except in Dave Hill’s head! If he thinks the quoted passage about the influence of Catholicism is ‘jeering at Irish Catholics’ then he’s suffering from delusions of reference. That’s a cheap trick – doing a strained and highly subjective interpretation of a chosen passage so that it says something wounding to the self or the self’s relatives or ‘community,’ then moving instantly to treating the strained and self-centered interpretation as well-founded fact. (Then whining about the putative jeering or insult or offense or attack or sneer or abuse or other crime of reference.)
So, Dave Hill wants to end arguments about religion that he doesn’t like, and his method of choice is to accuse AC Grayling and Polly Toynbee of doing things they don’t do. And he calls himself liberal.