Christianity invented atheism

I shouldn’t say anything about Giles Fraser, it’s what he wants, he’s just doing it to provoke me, I should ignore him – but there are just one or two or three or four things I want to point out, ever so gently, that are tendentious and incorrect. I know (because Allen has told me) that the Guardian just does this, and no one pays any attention, but – just these few little items, very gently and politely.

His overall point is what one might call the Michael Ruse Move: claiming that atheists are IDers’ or fundamentalists’ best friends and that the only really okay sensible good nice okay people are ‘mainstream’ Christians like – well, rather like Giles Fraser, actually.

Fundamentalism was invented only in the 20th century.

The word was, yes, but the thing itself? Uh, no. All Christianity was ‘fundamentalist’ in the sense of orthodoxy-enforcing and heresy-punishing for centuries; that didn’t start along with the hip flask and wireless radio.

Many Christians don’t believe homosexuality is a sin. Far from it. We think it’s a gift of God – a means by which many show love and commitment and compassion. This is not an eccentric view within the church. It’s also the view of the Archbishop of Canterbury, though, admittedly, he is insufficiently bold in expressing it.

Well, that’s sweet, but why does the Vicar of Putney get to pretend that it’s inherent to Christianity? One, belief that homosexuality is indeed a sin ya youbetcha is not a novelty, and two, he’s simply talking about moral intuitions which trump religious rules and which anyone can have; there’s nothing specifically Christian about them. Why does he give Christianity credit for it?

But bigots who dress up in the clothing of faith are being encouraged by media atheists in the view that orthodox biblical Christianity is intrinsically anti-gay. That’s rubbish.

Is it. Is it really. So Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, 1 Kings 14:24, Romans 1:26-28, those are all – ? What? Not part of ‘orthodox biblical Christianity’? Er…since when? And according to whom? And how do we know? And why should we trust it?

Ignoring the fact that Christianity invented secularism, on these pages last week Toynbee described the row over sexual orientation regulations as “a mighty test of strength between the religious and the secular”.

Christianity invented secularism, did it. So what was all that about the popes then? The Vatican being a sovereign state? The monarchs who were defenders of the faith? Calvin’s fun-loving regime in Geneva? That was all just the early days of the Enlightenment was it?

Christianity also invented elevators, toilet paper, steam, rayon, and capitalism. Little-known fact.

Thank you for stopping by, Dr Fraser, it was a pleasure having this little chat with you, have a good week.

There, see? Quite polite.

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