Scraping the bottom

And speaking of fundamentalists v liberals, this piece by Stuart Jeffries is truly disgusting. It’s a whole new level beyond the usual mewling Guardian drivel about religion. It’s really contemptible.

Today, it’s the religious on one side, and the secular on the other. Britain is dividing into intolerant camps who revel in expressing contempt for each other’s most dearly held beliefs. “We are witnessing a social phenomenon that is about fundamentalism,” says Colin Slee, the Dean of Southwark. “Atheists like the Richard Dawkins of this world are just as fundamentalist as the people setting off bombs on the tube, the hardline settlers on the West Bank and the anti-gay bigots of the Church of England.”

That’s a revolting, outrageous, immoral thing to say. Reading it, I keep wishing Colin Slee were in front of me – tied down, naturally, or else very small and weak – so that I could punch him.

“You have a triangle with fundamentalist secularists in one corner, fundamentalist faith people in another, and then the intelligent, thinking liberals of Anglicanism, Roman Catholicism, baptism, methodism, other faiths – and, indeed, thinking atheists – in the other corner. ” says Slee.

Oh, right – it’s the Anglicans and Catholics and ‘other faiths’ who are intelligent and thinking, along with thinking atheists as an afterthought. Does Slee take himself to be an example of a thinking liberal? After that comment?

There’s a great deal of nonsense, then a resoundingly stupid conclusion.

What should such a public square be like?…[I]t could be based on respectful understanding of others’ most cherished beliefs, argues Spencer: “We should be more willing to treat other value systems as coherent, reasonable and even valuable rather than as primitive or grotesque mutations of liberal humanism to which every sane person adheres.” It is, at least, a hope…

But what about ‘other value systems’ that in fact are not coherent, reasonable, or valuable? Why should we be ‘more willing’ to treat them that way if that is not in fact the way they are? Why should we not be allowed to note that ‘cherished’ is one thing and ‘coherent, reasonable, and valuable’ are others, and that there is no necessary connection between them? Why are we being told to engage in some masquerade in which we pretend that every moth-eaten ridiculous ‘belief’ anyone has must be treated with respect as coherent, reasonable, and valuable? As if everyone were four years old and would cry boo-hoo if someone said ‘That’s crap’?

I leave it to your wisdom to determine.

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