So the Church Times review of Does God Hate Women? is considerably more favorable than was Sholto Byrnes’s in the Independent or Cristina Odone’s in the Observer, to say nothing of Madeleine Bunting’s reception. There’s a profound irony in that, which I will not belabor.
The point is not that it’s more favorable. The point is that the author actually gets *your* points. All of them! Truly amazing.
Der – you’re right. [kicks self]
Especially amazing, and pleasing, that she got the point about the possible god – because it really is poignant! If you’re going to have a god, jeez, at least have a kind one, not a punitive misogynist shit.
This review seems to be written by a genuinely liberal-minded and thoughtful religious person. It’s always good to be reminded that they exist, and that they don’t all make excuses for religion in general (e.g., by claiming that the harm is done solely by a few isolated nutjobs who don’t really understand their own religion).
People like this are our friends – or at least not our enemies – but why do there seem to be so few of them involved in public debate?
The review appears to be written by someone who is innocent in the most positive sense of the word “innocent”. I will not claim that innocent people are scarce in the world in general, but they are scarce in the world of the mainstream media. It’s sad, but there’s probably more innocence in Church Times than in the Guardian.
That review is fair and intellectually honest. It is surprising and sad that this should be so rare.
I like the fact that she reacted, not with knee-jerk defensiveness or name-calling, but by taking your criticisms of religion in the spirit of self-improvement and self-challenge.
Not to rain on the well-earned parade of praise for Naomi Starkey’s honest and thoughtful review, but I think an even more painful point of comparison cries out to be made here. Yes, Starkey’s Church Times review demonstrates intellectual and moral integrity which stands in stark contrast to the puling dreck published by Byrnes and Bunting – but we have no reason to expect any better from B & B, since they have never written anything other than blinkered drivel. In contrast, there are some people we do – or at least once did – have reasons to expect better from; so I think it’s worth comparing Naomi Starkey to the subject of OB’s prior Notes & Comments post, Chris Mooney.
Mooney, unlike B & B, is not a person who wears faith – and its concomitant rejection of determining one’s beliefs by the weight of evidence and reason – on his sleeve. In fact, he has explicitly and repeatedly stated that he is an atheist. Starkey, in contrast, is almost certainly a believer – a conclusion based not simply on the basis that she writes for “the world’s leading Anglican weekly newspaper,” but also on the tone and content of her review. Yet, in spite of the fact that her faith is clearly an important part of her life, Starkey was able to absorb and respond to the criticisms in DGHW? with honesty and integrity – “in the spirit of self-improvement and self-challenge,” as Jenavir said.
I think the contrast between Starkey’s and Mooney’s responses to honest, careful, reasoned and evidence-supported criticism rather speaks for itself.
Yes, I found Starkey’s to be a worthwhile piece. Despite the barbarities carried out in obedience to the claimed prescription of religion, it is still possible for a relgious person (and large numbers of them) to display what I would call common humanity.
‘We may want to react to the title of this book with a defensive “No, of course not.” It will be more useful to acknowledge the challenge posed by the authors’ refusal to avoid awkward questions. We should consider the extent to which the way, we think, we are presenting our faith matches what those outside the Church actually perceive.’
If that Augean Stable known as the Vatican ever gets properly cleaned out, who knows? Maybe OB and JS will receive some high Papal honour.
Ah, the good old liberal wing of the C of E! They’re even selling it via their bookshop :-)
Most of the bad reviews I have seen made the mistake of thinking the god Ophelia and Jeremy distressed in their book actually exists.
Christine Odone certainly made that mistake, but then she is not someone who has ever let her intellect get in the way.
The idea there is some kind of objective standard by which we can judged how good people are at following their religion is plain silly. Religion is just what believers do in its name.
I detect the odd note of negativity creeping into the N&C orchestra here. Time for a bit of re-tuning or realignment perhaps? ;-)