Tony Blair preaches the gospel according to Armstrong.
Common to all great religions is love of neighbors and human equality before God.
That’s a falsehood. I won’t even bother to elaborate, because it’s too obvious. It’s just a pious, smarmy, conventional, wishful falsehood.
Blair admits as much himself in the very next paragraph.
Unfortunately, compassion is not the only context in which religion motivates people. It can also promote extremism, even terrorism. This is where faith becomes a badge of identity in opposition to those who do not share it, a kind of spiritual nationalism that regards those who do not agree – even those within a faith who live a different view of it – as unbelievers, infidels, and thus enemies.
Which rules out both love of neighbors and equality (before “God” or otherwise). So why the bromide? Because…I don’t know, because it sounds good, I suppose.
…for those for whom religion matters, globalization can sometimes be accompanied by an aggressive secularism or hedonism that makes many uneasy.
Nice. He pairs secularism with hedonism, and labels it “aggressive” for good measure. Passive-aggressive theocracy meets “aggressive” secularism. I’ll take the latter.
Aggressive secularists and extremists feed off each other. Together, they do constitute a real challenge to people of faith.
Even nicer. He pairs secularists with Islamists and other theocratic thugs.
Happy new year to you too, Mr Blair.