Comments: more comments on secularism

"Whenever we talk about faith, the debate always comes back to religion versus sexuality. But when we go to the Vatican that is not the important issue."

Ach! Alles is in Butter!

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Friday, 17 February 2012 at 9:56am GMT

I think its time to dust off the works of the early 20th c Anglican monk and political thinker J Neville Figgis or more easily his more recent disciple David Nicholls . Both wrote with considerable sophistication about the nature of a pluralist state.

Posted by Perry Butler at Friday, 17 February 2012 at 11:25am GMT

With respect, the Vatican cannot simply dismiss concerns about Roman Catholic teaching on sexuality, gender, human reproduction and similar topics by regarding them as less important than other matters.

Posted by John Ross Martyn at Friday, 17 February 2012 at 11:35am GMT

Here we go again. We live in a free society where people can express themselves and their views, however inane they may be. The attack on so called militant atheists, secularists is nothing more than a grotesque attack upon people merely saying what they think. Atheists are really the new gay. They can be atheists so long as they keep quiet about it but the moment they so much as open their mouths "in the public square" they get torrents of abuse poured over them.

Any christian grouping that joins in this orgy of abuse should seriously hang their heads in shame.

One final point - notice how empty, symbolic and purely rhetorical this is. No one is proposing anything practical like rolling back Sunday trading or trading on major festivals, state financing of old church buildings (surely justified) or a state contribution to salaries of ministers. No; the first rule of this debate is that it is purely and simply about designating an 'out' group that it is safe to abuse as well as garnering partisan advantage for the Conservative Party in igniting our very own (albeit very silly) culture war and temporarily making the Church of England feel somehow important and relevant.

Posted by Craig Nelson at Friday, 17 February 2012 at 12:46pm GMT

"But when we go to the Vatican that is not the important issue."

Of course not, the Vatican doesn't want it to be important because it can't deal with the realities of 21st century western secular and Christian beliefs and practices. It's much safer and easier to talk about impersonal issues like poverty and climate change and put out nice sounding platitudes. What would the noble baroness do if the Pope condemned to her and in public her Prime ministers support for gay marriage? Far too embarassing for them both.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Friday, 17 February 2012 at 2:33pm GMT

[Perhaps somewhat off-topic---or at least, LARGER topic]

In the circles I travel in, I hear (on-line) a *lot* of secular (usually atheist) LGBTs dissing Christians (sometimes qualified as "Christianists", more often not). This criticism even extends to LGBT Christians (I bear the figurative lashes!). The contempt often reduces down to that---unlike being LGBT---I (et al people-of-faith) could just "choose" not to believe.

Reading these responses by theists, there often seems to be the parallel: atheists could just "choose" to believe (indeed, much evangelism seems predicated on this).

But what if we're NOT "free to choose"? What if I can no more NOT believe in Christ, than I can NOT be queer? What if atheist can NOT choose to believe in God?

Or (conversely) is it merely a question of the right persuasive argument, meeting the right disposition to hear these arguments?

I'm honestly unsure.

Posted by JCF at Friday, 17 February 2012 at 10:03pm GMT

From 'The Now Show' on Radio 4 17 Feb 2012. John Finnemore tackles the Militant Secularism and the role of Religion in Modern Society - and says some pretty sensible things (no, honestly). Available for download or listen again for another 6 days:

ps. The rest of the show is pretty good as well.

Posted by Kennedy Fraser at Saturday, 18 February 2012 at 8:02pm GMT

As religious belief is all about 'faith', one can hardly blame someone for not having a particular faith. If faith really is a gift from God - that needs to be received to become active - then surely there ought to be no blame attached to anyone for being who they are - with or without belief?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 20 February 2012 at 10:05am GMT
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