We managed another short break away from our corner of the rat race this past weekend. Thankfully, it coincided with the visit, to our glorious third world country intent on snatching the Winter Solstice festival back from those pesky Christians, of the leader of the free world – sorry! – Pope Benedict XVI.Happily, I was without internet access for the duration, so you have been saved my heroic efforts at humour and comment. Besides, others did a remarkably good job without me. Check out the Enemies of Reason blog link on this page, for example. Our trip was to fill in some blanks we missed in our model railway and historical researches of the Wolverton Station. In that, it was a singularly fruitful visit, and it only rained twice.
I was hoping to do my best to ignore the Papal visit to the UK, bearing in mind it’s going to be covered live on TV and stuff. However, Benedict doesn’t really need idiots abroad like Cardinal Walter Kasper.
Why, some 300 years since the Enlightenment, does religion still hold such sway in the world?
All atheists now tend to be called “militant”, yet we seek to silence none, to burn no books, to stop no masses or Friday prayers, impose no laws, asking only free choice over sex and death. Religion deserves its say, but only proportional to its numbers. No privileges, no special protection against feeling offended.
I don’t often agree with Polly Toynbee, but just occasionally she hits the nail squarely on its head.
Let people follow a faith if they wish, but don’t force it on those who choose to ignore superstition. Being an atheist is not anti-religion, rather pro-reality.
But organiser, Pastor Terry Jones said: “We must send a clear message to the radical element of Islam.
Pastor Jones obviously doesn’t do irony. I wonder if he’s even read the Koran?
What we appear to have here is less a clash of cultures, more a collision of ignorance, power and instant communication. A collision that America’s leaders seem to feel has all the potential for damage that the assassination of Grand Archduke Frans Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo had upon the course of the First World War.
It is a sad world where superstition and ignorance still win over rationalism and the truth.