A revitalization of Christianity would likely include teaching it as truth in public schools, strengthened censorship of sex and swearing in media, making divorce harder, giving married couples preferential tax and legal treatment, banning abortion, restricting Sunday shopping, enacting a real war on drugs and many other restrictive conservative measures which, taken together, most atheists could not swallow. Well to start, and dealing with this Atheism, atheists wouldn't care that much. All that most atheists want is to be left in peace and not have crosses shoved in their faces together with invitations on behalf of Jesus to be saved.
Christianity taught in schools as truth would be a bit of a problem. Christianity is a religious movement of certain creeds which, being received dogma is counter-intellectual. Counter-intellectualism ought not to be taught in schools. Reconfigured as a folk tale it could of course be taught in schools as a cultural and moral underpinning of society, its folk accoutrements and embellishments, uniquely British that they are, be enjoyed by everyone, as in fact they are by so-called Christians and atheists alike, and yet not demand or require intellectual commitment. I see nothing wrong with this.
As to Sunday shopping, I would welcome re-restriction, but in present times those who have to work on other days the Sunday is the best solution of. An enforced break from relentless, furious commercialism - surely we can spare one day away from it - I would not object to it but realise it is impossible. Divorce and the rest is a matter for decent democratic society to decide. I personally think people marry too young and invariably for the wrong reasons. A way out of this mistake with society's blessing I can see little objection to. "But you must realize that such a truce isn't really feasible"
As an essentially unbelieving, default cultural Christian I believe it is in the interests of both secularism and religious Christianity to stand together in order more effectively to resist a violently proselytising import from the East, a religion-culture quite alien in every sense to anything I wish to become involved with, much less accommodate. It is as dangerous to secularism as it is to Christianity.
Of course people don’t normally fly up into heaven or give birth without assistance.’
I am not saying; hand on heart, that such things never could happen. But I would want more for reports like that than some old stories. You may as well believe that a cat once played the violin and that a cow once jumped over the moon on the bare says so of an old rhyme.
If Luke is anyone to go by, the first Christians were Jews. After Jesus ascended at Bethany, the disciples went back to Jerusalem and spent their days in the temple praising God, Luke 24.50-52. This is not what people who wanted to set up new religion would do. Also, Luke says that many of the priests in the Temple were Christians. Yet they did not resign their livings because they were Christians. As such it is clear that Christianity was a form of Judaism, slowly watered down when away from Jerusalem, new bits added and other bits removed.
A museum presentation showing developments in modern chemistry could be placed alongside an historical note about the ancient arts of alchemy and the hopes of early philosopher-scientists of turning of lead into gold. A presentation on modern astronomy might be placed alongside astrological charts and symbols explaining how things used to be in an age of ignorance and superstition. All these things are a part of history and I think it important children know about them. It is important that children know about religion and its role as an early rationale of the natural world, and man's place in it, by ancient peoples. They should be apprised of religious dogma, its origins and how it crystallised the thought processes of early man and inhibited his intellectual and scientific development up until the breaking dawn of the Enlightenment. The horrors perpetrated on the innocent by the ecclesiastical authorites during many centuries of trying to prevent the cracking of these thought crystals ought also to be broached, the lesson being to children that of wariness of anyone who says 'I am right and you are wrong', and have no evidence to support it.
Children should of course be taught 'right and wrong'. They should be taught that the instinct to right is the more powerful of the two and thus indicates the manner in which evolution has ensured our survival. Had we known only wrong we would not have made it to the Stone Age. They should be taught about conscience and how it defines who we are as moral beings, how it separates us from the beasts. They should be taught how conscience comes from deep within us and that one day scientists will be able to identify the DNA sequence responsible for this quality. Conscience led to altruism which further enhanced our chances for survival at a time when our physical prowess was diminishing.
It goes without saying that children should be taught to think and develop a love of enquiry, to doubt everything and learn to distinguish fact from fiction, for there is an awful lot of fiction in the world, not all of it in novels. It is not ‘easily demolished’—it is foolproof, as your refusal to consider it indicates. You apparently have not read the study to which I referred you on the effects of belief in hell upon crime rates. I also did not ‘object’ to your description of the effects of religion on social cohesion because you affirmed my point—i.e., that atheism is bad for social cohesion, and religion is good for social cohesion. I think this is a perfectly good reason to believe in God, albeit an entirely utilitarian one.
You have also not shown me how an atheist can condemn the evil deeds of Stalin, Mao etc. without recourse to non-atheist assumptions. To say that their crimes were wrong is to make an assumption about the value of human life which is not inherent in an atheistic ethical system. There is no reason for an atheist to say that Stalin, Hitler, and Mao were evil. For, if there is no God, there is no absolute standard of value by which we could judge what is right and wrong. It is all very well to insist that conscience and morality are traits evolved by evolution. But that says nothing at all about the actions of these dictators; it just says that the human species works in a certain way. And other ‘evolutionary’ systems could be derived, from different starting points that state that mass murder is perfectly acceptable if it serves some ‘evolutionary’ purpose. I am thinking of Adolf Hitler’s Aryan nationalism, which is perfectly consistent with an atheistic ethical system but could never be reconciled with Christianity or Judaism. As it is, your sole response to my critique of atheistic ethics is to shout ‘There is no god,’ and ignore the question. That won’t do, sir.
It's a lot to expect first-generation adults to become indistinguishable from native-born, even with English classes and other help. The key is that their descendents become indistinguishable. English allows newcomers to go from picking crops to opening a grocery, from cleaning offices to running offices. I've worked with many immigrants in factories in the past couple of years who have accepted that they can aspire to no more in their careers but are content to invest their hopes in their children. One of the sad facts about those mainline churches in the Anglo sphere that have compromised over the years in order to be accepted by secularists and multiculturalists and other religionists is that so many of their adherents don't realize that the people whom have been trying to appease very often don't respect them for it.
This is one big reason why the Muslim immigrants to this country are more fully assimilated as a whole, then the Muslims in Europe. But I really think another reason is that if they can afford to come here, they are probably fairly well off and if they are better off, they are probably educated and if they are educated they are more likely to have moderate views. The Hispanics that do come here with more skills or education assimilate rather quickly. Even if they didn't know English upon arrival, they will be more confident in learning it and be more motivated to do so.
A lot of this comes down to the pace of immigration because although I am asserting that they are assimilating, I recognize that it is slower than before. We need immigration reform and we can never go back to ignoring illegal immigration again. But at this point there is going to have to be some compromise. We can't deport 15 million people.
As a person who did travel the Middle Eastern I sympathise with your diagnostic/analytical views of today's Britain in regards to the threat of the Political Islam and atheistic influences on our future way of life. I came to England in 1967 to live among the English and I now find myself in a Country being reshaped by Sharia laws and atheistic morality. Your views are shared by many people but unfortunately they are afraid to criticise any of them for the obvious reasons. I propose, then, that atheists ease off on ridiculing the superstitions of the Christian wish-fulfillers and sort of go along with it for the duration.”
But you must realize that such a truce isn't really feasible. A revitalization of Christianity would likely include teaching it as truth in public schools, strengthened censorship of sex and swearing in media, making divorce harder, giving married couples preferential tax and legal treatment, banning abortion, restricting Sunday shopping, enacting a real war on drugs (which I know you'd favour), and many other restrictive conservative measures which, taken together, most atheists could not swallow. Perhaps pushing for more adoption of Western-style Hinduism or Buddhism would be a better strategy? Both religions accommodate evolution well and can separate their spiritual claims from physical reality cleanly, unlike Christianity. They are flexible enough that a Christian-like morality can be advocated within their respective frameworks, and the hymns and plays and architecture and other Christian trappings could be retained. They have also flourished in the presence of Islam for centuries.
It should be remembered that Christianity is actually an Oriental religion from the same region as Islam and Judaism.
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