Sunday, 13 September 2009

An apologetic Sunday sermon

Went round to see the pikeys on the common yesterday and it transpires they specialise in tree felling / pruning and hedging – some of which needs done to the trees and hedge around our field. We’ve arranged for them to come back in October for a couple of days and do all the work we require, providing us with free logs for the wood burner in the process when the willow tree comes down (as a condition of only going down 1m with the foundations of the house - or moving it another 10m, with an attendant escalation in the cost of the planning application).

Forgot to mention – the builders are on-site tomorrow to start the foundations, so it’s full steam ahead until we reach the damp course, following which we start saving again to erect the external walls.

Yesterday’s post about vapid apologies raised some dissent among the ranks. An apology is a written or spoken expression of one's regret, remorse, or sorrow for having insulted, failed, injured, or wronged another. As such, it must be delivered by the one doing the insulting, failing, injuring or wrongdoing to the one insulted, failed, injured, or wronged.

For someone to step in as a proxy for the delivering party makes it a travesty. For that proxy to deliver it to someone already dead renders it a meaningless ritual. Who benefits? It’s totally vacuous and nothing more than political correctness serving those who like to feel professionally offended on behalf of every possible offendee.

In the case of Alan Turing, society’s atonement (if society can possibly be said to be capable of spontaneous conscious action as a single entity) is that the laws have been changed. That surely is sufficient recognition of the fact that what happened to him was morally wrong – by the more enlightened standards of today.

Clashes have apparently occurred
between the various factions of the Defence League, a right-wing grouping, and the Unite Against Fascism group. The strange thing is that Unite Against Fascism was joined by Muslims. I say strange, as Islam is in essence a fascist religion in that it makes no distinction between state and philosophy and brooks no criticism. Sound familiar? As it turned out, once the demo was over the Muslims turned on the police for a bit of diversionary mayhem.

Any religion whose sacred texts contain within them even the slightest hint of a justification for killing in that religion’s god’s name and maintains that text is the inerrant word of God is barbaric and should be censured by the enlightened as morally corrupt. That would mean censuring all the Abrahamic religions.

It would be hard indeed (if not impossible) to find any such exhortations to violence in an eastern religion. Eastern religions are concerned with eliminating the self through altered states of consciousness in the search for an underlying reality, whereas western religions (by which I mean the Abrahamic traditions) are concerned with ‘truths’ which are not self-evident (in fact lacking in any evidence whatsoever) and the proclamation of smug and self-righteous certainty. That makes western religions very dangerous in my eyes.

Eastern religions do contain some empirical truths based on the scientific principle, whereas western religions are positively hostile to science and have been a barrier to most scientific advancements we now take for granted. We live in a scientifically advanced society despite religion, not because of it.

While there is undoubtedly much good in religion, it will not gain my respect until such time as;

  1. its adherents ditch the ridiculous claim that words written by different men at different times and containing literally thousands of contradictions are the literal inerrant words of an omniscient God, and once that is achieved,
  2. any possible passages containing justifications for killing or doing harm in the name of the texts’ God are excised by the leaders of that religion.

Then, and only then, will I not mock these textual relics of a barbaric past and those who profess certainty about their mythical God and that he’s all for peace and love, but that’s about as likely as water turning to wine or the sun standing still over the skies of Jericho.


  1. I can't argue with that.

    I'd add a third item which is that, we all agree these texts have no special or privileged insight into human morality; we don't need men with silly hats telling us what's right and what's wrong.

    No religion (or any idea) should be immune from criticism, especially Islam, oh and Islam is not a "race" it is just a set of ideas, nothing more.

  2. Now just settle down and become a nice member of the Church of England. You devil worshippers are all the same. Why mock men in silly hats, Steve Borthwick? Have you seen what witches wear on their heads?
    No sensible Anglican takes all scriptures literally. We believe in a Man of Peace, not a Book.

  3. Growing up in Texas has put me off religion entirely. The Biblical literalists are just barking mad. If the legal line between church and state ever collapses completely, the U.S. will be a truly frightening place.

    Poor Alan Turing. What a sad story.

    Oh, and good luck on those home/land improvements.

  4. Can't really say "Amen" to all that, as it makes me sound religeous, so I'll settle for "Here, here!" with a side helping of "Bravo. Well said that man".

    Good luck with the building works, and I'm really upset that Grand Designs won't be there to record it for posterity. Guess that leaves the camera work to you and Hay?

  5. Revd Ivan, well, you know what I mean.. fancy dress at least :)

    I'm intrigued, how do you know which scriptures to take seriously and which not? My own preference would be to simply use the gift of 4 billion years of evolution, i.e. our rational brains to work stuff out; the only head-gear we really need. :)

  6. Aologies such as this are nothing more than a Media Apology, designed to enhance the PR of the offending party. Did Alan Turing accept the apology? Oh no, I forgot, he's long dead. Makes you wonder what the point of it is, doesn't it?