Thursday, 16 February 2012

Religion on the Ropes?

In the Blue Corner
Baroness Warsi of Dewsbury
Not content with exposing her considerable intellectual deficiencies on a recent edition of  BBC's Question Time, the undeservedly enobled Baroness Sayeed Warsi of Dewsbury has been very busy this week confirming her status as a seriously mediocre thinker.

Championed by the right-wing Daily Telegraph, her religious views, like those of her woolly-minded leader, have been given more column inches than all the empty pews in all the churches in the shire counties of England. 

This unelected Muslim peer has jumped on Cameron's ridiculous religious bandwaggon and been calling for a large injection of 'faith' in public life. Her call for a defence of Christian values, against the dangers of secularism, is not only unwelcome to most rational people, but also ill-advised, given the clear intolerance of her own inherited faith.

She compares secularism to totalitarianism. A claim so patently ridiculous and seriously inaccurate that one must question her suitability for her current role as Co-Chairperson of the Conservative Party. With such incendiary and ill-informed views she should certainly be removed from office. 

Her claims for the value of faith at the heart of politics, would be laughable, were they not potentially, also dangerous. Faith is belief without evidence, and whilst I fully accept that the Baroness may find the existence of an invisible, intangile unknowable god believable, I don't really want people who hold such untestable beliefs making important decisions in the public sphere.

It's understandable, that due to enforced religious indoctrination during the impressionable years of childhood, many people grow to believe things collectively, which, if believed uniquely, would mark them as insane. It must be stated and restated, that the truth of any proposition is not proven by the number of people who believe, or wish it to be true. Truth is established by evidence, not by faith or wish fulfilment.

It's asserted by Warsi and others, that we require religious faith to make us more tolerant and understanding of our fellow man.  Yet how is morality, or sound judgement served by threats of eternal damnation simply because we believe it unreasonable to worship and adore the imaginary and capricious tyrant portrayed in the holy writings of Christendom  and Islam?

What we really require in public life is not more religion, but a very large injection of intelligence and rationality. We do not need a return to the values of an obscure desert tribe in Bronze-Age Palestine, for whom the wheelbarrow was the pinnacle of technological achievement.

If the deluded Baroness sincerely wishes to live in a society where religion plays a truly significant role in public affairs, then may I respectfully suggest she relocates to Iran. She would not be missed by those of us who value intelligence above stupidity and evidence above faith.

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  1. Thanks for this, James, especially that last pungent and scathingly accurate observation. Being across the pond, I often miss the nuances of UK politicking, though my husband sometimes watches your Parliament on an obscure cable channel; he says it's refreshingly vitriolic compared to the bland carping of most US Congressional proceedings.

    We also are having a resurgence of irrationalism which I will not dignify by calling faith--the current candidate leading in the Republican(right wing) polls has made the statement that not only is abortion wrong, so is contraception, and the whole right wing is asserting that Obama is 'waging a war against religion' by including mandatory employer insurance coverage for birth control pills in his Affordable Care Act (Oddly,somehow there is already coverage for Viagra.) All I can say is, there must be something in our mutual political water.

  2. Thank you Joy,
    It's very encouraging to have it confirmed that rationality and intelligence is still valued by some your side of the pond. Listening to many of the Republican candidates for President, it would be easy to assume that stupidity is a prerequisite for office.

  3. As a woman...I take serious issue with any religion in public office. The core, moral beliefs that are evident in man, no matter religion, I think, are sufficient to base societal law upon, and they are also able to be updated as said society evolves (some thing religion has great difficulty with) I am a woman of faith...but I am living in a very real world that is in desperate need of very real leadership...I don't care who you pray to or if you pray at all...I DO care if you are content to keep the world in the dark ages for the sake of throne in a utopia where not all are welcomed, once you're done wrecking havoc here!

  4. Such well written, acerbic observation, James. I echo all this and more: please keep religion OUT of politics!

    Off piste for a moment (but apropos intellect) there are echoes here that our esteemed North American colleagues will remember, of that reprihensible wannabe Republican candidate, Sarah Palin, whose priceless interview by Katie Couric, four years ago, was a revelation of Palin's (lack of) intellect. How is it that such people attain such 'high' office in this world, when there is such a need for the best brains, intellect and intelligence, to say nothing of common sense, to resolve the great issues of our times. I think I know the answer. It is the wannabe 'Apprentice' syndrome: the attitude, in which the business and political community is becoming steeped, that you need to be an irascible bully or at least have one by your side, if you want to push your case forward. Enter stage right Eric 'biscuit boy' Pickles and John 'ditto' Prescott. Anyway, sorry for going slightly off the subject of religion in politics, but the whole thing is something of a virus!

  5. Thanks for your comments 'poetjanstie.' It's encouraging to discover a fellow mind, which values evidence over faith and intellect above blind acceptance. Greatly appreciated.