[The NSS] asserts that supernaturalism is based upon ignorance and assails it as the historic enemy of progress. (Source)(I might add that the NSS website has a page encouraging people to 'de-baptise' themselves.) Anyway, cue much back-pedalling, and maniacal laughter from where I was sitting as Sanderson tried to justify the ways of atheism to man.The next witness was Steve Chalke, who basically claimed to have absolutely no interest in seeing other people become Christians. I'd like to say I was disappointed, but to be honest, I half-expected him to say something dopey like that. Why the MM team invite Chalke is beyond me: the guy may be nice, and media-savvy, and all that kind of thing, but he's not exactly a deep thinker.And briefly to close: Melanie Phillips rather needs to be disabused of the notion that we are a 'Christian country', while retaining her historically accurate perception that the Christian influence on this country was responsible for our liberal British values; I think I'd have preferred to have heard someone who takes a more thought-through and classically Protestant view of the church and state relations; and I think I'd have preferred to have had Claire Fox, with whom I would probably have disagreed violently, on the panel rather than Kenan Malik, who I thought didn't add terribly much value.In all, probably 3 out of 5. Not brilliant, but some points of interest.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Moral Maze, 24-Sep-2008
The Moral Maze, which seems to be turning more into the Political Maze every week, was this Wednesday all about religion, politics and the whole church-state thang. I'll save you a blow-by-blow account, but the first fifteen minutes or so are worth the entry fee, if only to hear Melanie Phillips and—I think it was—Clifford Longley both lay into Terry Sanderson of the National Secular Society, basically for being exceptionally disingenuous in claiming the objects of the NSS are simply to fight for a "neutral" space in which religious, irreligious and non-religious alike can participate. The way he presented the Society's aims was clearly aimed at making it sound as if the religious could agree wholeheartedly with his goal, as indeed many could, if that purely his objective. "Secularists aren't worried about religion, but about the separation of church and state," he opined.But Longley actually quoted from the objects of the Society, which include the gem,