Only someone who doesn’t know the first thing about religion imagines that the answer to the question “Do you believe in God?” is either informative or interesting.
Enough is enough. Attacking the New Atheists is like shooting a man who is giving himself a lethal injection.
The discussion on children continues in the Church of England. Should they or should they not receive something more than an avuncular pat on the head when accompanying parents to the Table? Some, espousing the 'muddle way', give the kids grapes when they come to the table. Red grapes presumably, and seedless (Health and Safety). Does the vicar eat all the unconsumed grapes, I wonder? In which case they will give them all wind producing squadrons of flatulent ten-year olds plus the vicar during the quiet bits. Also, is there a Reserved Cluster? Perhaps we could give the kids raisins instead. But why Communion only in one kind? Why not use Raisin Bran - you get both elements in one mouthful. Hell, why not give the kids a bowl of cereal with the added eucharistic symbolism of milk and honey? Breakfast on Jesus. And, why not?
“I share your pain” carries about the same weight of sincerity and conviction to a bereaved person as “I know how you feel: I lost my iPhone last week.”
What’s the difference between a contemporary funeral and a major defeat for a sports team? Public expressions of grief are acceptable in the latter; the former have to be “celebrations”.
It is as sacrilegious to listen to music while you’re running as it is to chew gum while you’re praying. And vice-versa. No toilet jokes here, please.
Concerning online Bibles. The day is soon coming when preachers will say: “If you have a mobile phone please turn it on. Your text for this morning is …And no games during the sermon, please…” The new index of spirituality is not how big and well-thumbed your Bible is, instead it’s whether your iPad boots faster than a Galaxy Tab.
Of course the British government wants to hand over schools to the private sector to turn out capable professionals and supine consumers. Perish the thought of education as the midwifery of an interrogative citizenry. Whitehall and the City live by deceit; the last thing they want to encourage is bullshit detection. Dumbing-down is not a tragedy, it’s a strategy.
Patriotism has moved up in the housing market since the days of Dr Johnson: it is now the second refuge of the scoundrel. After Wall Street and the Bank of England.
With thanks to KF. All theological perversions mine.