Parting of the ways

Matthew Parris is amusing.

During Holy Week we are treated to a variety of decent-sounding people in print and on the airwaves explaining that religion – or “faith” as they now prefer to call it – is basically all about shared moral values, making the world a better place and gaining a proper sense of awe at life’s mystery…Such faith sounds so reasonable. Churlish nonbelievers like me are made to feel it is we who are being arrogant, dogmatic, closed-minded. How can we be so sure?

Beeeeecause (as Parris of course goes on to point out) that’s not in fact what religion or ‘faith’ really is all about, that’s how.

You are living, dear reader, at a watershed in human history. This is the century during which, after 2,000 years of what has been a pretty bloody marriage, faith and reason must agree to part, citing irreconcilable differences. So block your ears to the cooing voices on Thought for the Day, and choose your side. “But how can you be sure?”…Words cannot express my confidence in the answer to the question whether God cured a nun because she wrote a Pope’s name down. He didn’t.

Moral values good (if they’re the right moral values, a question which has to be decided on secular, universalizable grounds), making the world a better place good, sense of awe more a matter of taste; but supernatural truth claims, not good; the thinking that goes into belief in supernatural truth claims, not good at all, in fact bad.

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