As we know, the majority of the mainstream news media doesn’t really deal with news anymore. It is predominantly a vehicle for opinions of news that might have happened if the press release it was found in was true or sentences taken out of context to inspire a contrarian view that actually reflects a majority bigotry.
For a few years now, “the new atheism” has been very handy for inspiring ill-thought out pieces filled with conjecture that masquerades as hard fact. Often the piece will start off with the author declaring their hatred of fundamentalist religion. They’ll then go on to say they only thing they hate more than female genital mutilation, sanctioned concealment of child abuse and the executions of homosexuals, more often than not based on flawed readings of texts, are some scientists or comedians saying they don’t believe in deities. This has created what I believe to be a predominantly false war between atheists and the religious – some of my best friends eat the body of Christ on a Sunday.
In an interview with Rowan Williams last week, Frank Skinner said, ‘Atheists we might see as people like those who deny global warming. You might celebrate their right, and defend their freedom of speech, to deny global warming – but if they’re wrong, and millions of other people have taken their view, then it could end in a terrible, terrible disaster for a lot of people.’ This annoyed a few atheists as rationalists and evidence fetishists (that I imagine is what Ann Coulter will one day call any empiricist) don’t like being compared to global warming deniers. My presumption of what he meant is that people like me will miss out on salvation and have a post death existence of infinite agony. I am not sure exactly what the Catholic stance is on non believers entry to heaven but I imagine we might not be in the priority queue. In some ways, Frank Skinner’s statement was made out of compassion. Frank once told me that he suggested a programme to a BBC exec where the two of us traveled around Europe looking at great religious sites and areas of scientific interest (one moment the Large Hadron Collider the next Chartres – they weren’t very interested apparently)
Cristina Odone decided to waste the word count given to her by the Telegraph to bang on about Skinner’s interview.
Apparently Frank Skinner has “taken on the establishment that loves him” and we must stop giving in to atheists in popular entertainment. As any Television viewer knows, it is nearly all atheist shows – Dancing on Ice, Strictly Come Dancing, The X Factor, Red or Black, Midsomer Murders – you name the TV show, I’ll show you the unconcealed god denying agenda. Oh you might think that when someone thanks God on the X Factor they mean God, but no, they mean Great Old Dawkins.
Odone says that Skinner “by outing himself as a believer” has stuck two fingers up to the liberal establishment. The only problem is, if his fingers were up (place anal fingering joke here) then they went up many years ago. Skinner has openly spoken and written about his religion for many years. When he was away on location at weekends, the researchers would be asked to find the address of the nearest Catholic church so he could go and worship on a Sunday. Of course the researchers, who were all Communists and under direct command of an M like Christopher Hitchens who secretly runs all telly, told him to fuck off – except they didn’t. If, as Cristina Odone declares, the atheists are in charge of the media, why have they let her into it? Because she lives in a paranoid fiction where she takes the fashionable position of anyone who is anyway questioned “oh it’s so unfair, I’m the victim here, don’t you see”.
After rabbiting on about how the atheists are in charge, Cristina then declares that Skinner is not alone and names a few high profile Christians who just happen to have profile media jobs. In summary , it seems you are not allowed to be in the media nowadays if you are a Christian and to prove my point here are some high profile Christians who run some of the media.
Oh crikey, I’m so sorry, I am boring myself now.
If, as Odone seems to think, Christians are embarrassed to admit they are Christians, that is nothing to do with atheists. Milton Jones, one of the finest comedians working in this country as far as I’m concerned, is a Christian. I have had many interesting conversations with him on the subject and I don’t remember any coy, blushing moment where he wept in a dressing room as he revealed to me his secret shame. I don’t know of any comedian who behind Tim Vine’s back whispers with vitriol “those jokes are all well and good, but you know the idiot is one of them Abrahamics”.
This is another case of a newspaper article creating a false them and us situation in the desperate hope it will become true.
That’s not to say that some atheists , including myself, don’t get mouthy sometimes and that Richard Dawkins can seem very grouchy on occasion, though rarely as grouchy or hateful as the hate mail he receives from presumably old testament believers who haven’t heard the good news.
For vocal atheists it is important to remember that just because someone is religious, it doesn’t mean that they are a creationist homophobe waiting eagerly to be taken up during the rapture. Though it is not only atheists that can make this mistake. The Infinite Monkey Cage received a complaint from a Christian that by mocking creationism we were mocking all Christians. I believe this will be news to the Christians I know who have balanced their belief in a god with an understanding and acceptance of the theory of evolution. Sadly, falling viewing figures and fears of low circulation lead to each group being represented by the most extreme members. If you need a Muslim hook hands are preferred, if you need a Christian then call on Stephen Green who titles his gang Christian voice and creates the illusion to overworked researchers that he might actually be the voice of British Christians, something which greatly displeases the Christians I have spoken to.
so much is written about “attacking” religion when it is just questioning it. If to question something is to attack it then let all future wars be fought using the medium of pub quiz.
THE PLUG – my 2014 tour mixes up Skeptics in the Pub gigs, Shambles shows with Josie Long and Grace Petrie, and my new solo show about the mind. Off to Leeds, York, Hull, Norwich, Nottingham, Edinburgh, Bristol and lots more. All dates HERE