Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Intervention in failing religions

Tony Blair, 1999:

The most pressing foreign policy problem we face is to identify the circumstances in which we should get actively involved in other people's conflicts. …the principle of non-interference must be qualified in important respects. … When oppression produces massive flows of refugees which unsettle neighbouring countries then they can properly be described as "threats to international peace and security".

And today:

The Pope is leading an unprecedented drive by the Roman Catholic Church to prevent the fragmentation of the worldwide Anglican Communion…
A decision has been taken within the Roman Catholic hierarchy that it is in its interests for the Anglican Church to maintain unity. Despite speculation about a group of conservative bishops breaking away to the Roman church, senior Catholics say such a move would be "premature", and that they are not encouraging defections. …
Some Roman Catholics fear that unless divisions over issues including homosexuality can be healed, they will act as a forerunner to a similar battle in Rome.

Funny old world, innit? Mind you, the last time the C of E had ructions about becoming more liberal, the Vatican was swamped by theological asylum seekers such as Ann Widdecombe, so maybe it makes sense…

In other news:

Key elements of Christian doctrine are offensive to Muslims, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said in a letter to Islamic scholars. … Discussing differences between the religions, Dr Williams acknowledges that Christian belief in the Trinity is "difficult, sometimes offensive, to Muslims".

I mean, really. Imagine reading: ‘Discussing differences between the parties, Mr Brown acknowledges that Labour’s belief in redistribution of wealth is "difficult, sometimes offensive, to Conservatives".’ If your case has anything that an outsider could recognise as merit, then you can just make it, and engage in debate, and see any such ‘offence’ caused in your opponents as a sign that their own case lacks merit itself.

Williams goes on:

What we need as a vision for our dialogue is to break the current cycles of violence, to show the world that faith and faith alone can truly ground a commitment to peace which definitively abandons the tempting but lethal cycle of retaliation in which we simply imitate each other's violence.

Now, do you see me asking for him to apologise for the ‘offence’ this passage gives to atheists and agnostics, in saying that we can’t be “truly” peaceful? No. I take it on the chin, point out its falsity and utter ungroundedness, and get on with life.

1 comment:

anticant said...

So the Archbish of Cant has twigged that some Christian doctrines are offensive to Muslims. How perceptive of him! But I wonder whether he will also discuss with these Islamic “scholars” the many offensive references to “infidels” in their sacred texts?

I see that Saudi King Abdullah is singing from the same hymn sheet:

saying that “the great conflicts of history were not caused by religion, but by the misinterpretation of religion.”

“My brothers, we must tell the world that differences don't need to lead to disputes," King Abdullah said.

"The tragedies we have experienced throughout history were not the fault of religion but because of the extremism that has been adopted by some followers of all the religions, and of all political systems."

Of course, it never is the fault of religions – only of their blinkered followers who take scriptural anathemas of “unbelievers” too seriously.

Williams says: “Faith and faith alone can truly ground a commitment to peace which definitively abandons the tempting but lethal cycle of retaliation in which we simply imitate each other's violence.”

What utter bollocks!

Peace and prosperity are never going to be achieved through “faith”. Common sense and reason are required for that, and as the constant bleatings and bickerings of the religious make abundantly clear, both are sadly lacking among the faithful.