Wednesday, May 11, 2005

More Harm Than Go(o)d

Originally posted by The Realist

A couple of weeks ago, I had a polite discussion with my father about the relative merits of religion. He was entirely unable to comprehend the concept that I felt that religion – all religion – is harmful. He spoke of the ‘good’ Mother Theresa did (that’s a whole separate blog right there) and about christian charity missions in cities. My assertions that the realities of this ‘charity’ were exposed in Orwell’s ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’ fell on deaf ears. I argued that worthy types should do-good through the British Council or the VSO or any of the countless other secular organisations out there. Just keep Him out of it. Anyway, we agreed to disagree.

And then this.

This is not, of course, the first time this has happened – there have been half a dozen high-profile cases in London in the last couple of years of this kind of vile abuse.

When I first heard about it, my ‘Western’ mind kicked in and subconsciously dismissed it as backwards (even ‘foreign’) nonsense. This was also the tone of the press reports – however subtle. Your mind automatically categorises a news story and when the news story mentions ‘Witchcraft’, ‘African’, ‘Torture’ and ‘Angola’, it’s easy to think that this is a problem from somewhere else. But it’s not – it happened two miles away from my flat.

Is one religion more ‘civilised’ than another because its perpetrators are from the West? What about Serbian christians burning and raping their way across the 90s? Perhaps my dad and I should revisit our original debate.

I sincerely hope that the girl gets the justice she deserves and that the sentence (place your hand on the bible, folks) does not factor in the faith these, ahem, evil people adhere to.


ph said...

Contentious one this and I am sure you will disagree with my point which is.....
Christianity said that before God men (but not necessarily women)were equal. This was quite revolutionary because at the end of the day it said that a king was really no more important than a peasant. Of course this did not yield global communism in the First Centuary, but it did set in train a gradual but relentless change in attitudes which increased the equality of Man.
From this stock came the great social reformation of the West,( slavery abolition, prison reform, Labour movement etc etc). There are many many examples where people proclaiming Christianity have been responsible for all sorts of devilment, but without Christianity it might have been a lot worse. (remember that the 3 great tyrants of the last centurary were atheist - Mao, Stalin and Hitler.
Without Christianity there would be an elite, but I doubt it would be liberal.

Citizen Sane said...

Actually, Hitler often referred to himself as being a Christian and heaps praise on Christianity in Mein Kampf. Of course, he fell far short of Christianity's ideals, but who doesn't?