If we are serious about promoting freedom of thought, and about equipping ourselves with the tools to put that thought into action. And if we think that truth is important for its own sake and if we see enormous benefits in understanding reality, not fantasy, then it’s important that, although it might be too late for a lot of us, we should do everything we can to help future generations. It’s not a matter of what to think, more a case of how to think.
Instead, what happens is that any group with any influence works its hardest for the survival of its own thoughts, doctrines and prejudices. Richard Dawkins, quite rightly, is annoyed by this, particularly the labelling of children with an identity that they can’t have developed for themselves.
The point is not to abolish Religious Education. There is value in Religious Education, including Comparative Religion (for anthropologists tell us that religion is a ubiquitous human universal) and the King James Bible as literature (there are so many allusions to it in Shakespeare and other English literature). What is wrong — indeed, arguably a form of mental child abuse — is the INDOCTRINATION of children into one particular faith, which they are informed is THEIR faith, automatically inherited from their parents. Continue reading
I would listen to much anything and have my likes and dislikes. But one form of music completely escaped me as an adolescent. Country music – known in the UK as country and western. It was plainly ridiculous, a joke. I did, when I was about fifteen, go to watch a movie about Johnny Cash just for the laugh. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Country music is the white man’s blues or the American man’s folk. As a genre, it shares a lot with those two as a vehicle for cultural expression, and it has a lot to say about that culture. It’s fair to say that country music took on board folk and blues influences, to develop its own style. And then it influenced others. Little Feat were a country band, as well as everything else, Pavement somehow merged country and grunge, and the Rolling Stones can count their greatest glories after discovering country.
I could no more sit and listen to Garth Brooks than I could sit and read Hello! magazine. But Brooks and his ilk produce no more than a caricature. The earlier subject of my mockery, Johnny Cash, is indeed country music’s greatest ambassador. I love this song, even if the subject is Hell and Judgement.
In the post entitled Prayers work, say British Politicians, I got the following response from scripturesearcher. (His blog is here, and it’s well worth a read)
I have to disapprove strongly with a government agency making any regulation on religious advertising. Even if these people were outright lying, which is doubtful, there would have to be some sort of money or binding committment at issue in order for a government agency to step in.
That’s just my opinion, of course. I do think it’s important to stay with individualism and religious freedom in order to create a society built on freedom of thought.
Buyer – and prayer – beware. The responsibility is on the individual.
Now the post wasn’t primarily concerned with government censorship or regulations as much as the laughable attempts by some politicians to get government support and approval for the claims in question, which was that prayer is a legitimate form of medical assistance. Incidentally, I’m pleased to see that the main evidence for the politicians’ claims, the footballer Fabrice Muamba, now seems to have recovered enough to leave hospital and give interviews. Although Muamba does give credit to the medical teams that helped him, he has joined the politicians, his girlfriend and countless others in claiming that the paramount reason for his recovery is intervention by God following prayers. While he’s welcome to his view, I note that at least two footballers, to my knowledge, have died following heart attacks during games, including one in a minor from the same county as one of the MPs. Continue reading