Theological Forays

Good morning girls and boys!

I’d like to talk about Religion again, if I may. This week Eric Pickles, who is some minister in charge of other people’s shit. In between sodomising his mouth with wave after wave of chocolate eclairs, Mr Pickles has said some very interesting things. There’s one statement in particular has raised eyebrows:

“I’ve stopped an attempt by militant atheists to ban councils having prayers at the start of meetings if they wish. Heaven forbid. We’re a Christian nation. We have an established church. Get over it. And don’t impose your politically correct intolerance on others.”

Are we, as Mr. Pickles puts it, a ‘Christian Nation’? What does a nation have to do to become a ‘Christian’ one? Have a majority of Christians? If that’s the case – and it’s by no means certain that it is – then we probably are a Christian nation – depending on which poll you believe.

I wonder, incidentally, whether there are any Christians reading this? I’d like to think that there are. If they do exist, they are certainly very shy types. They contrast rather sharply with the atheist population, of which a considerably majority are only too happy to tell you that they don’t believe in God, while the remainder are even more forthcoming with their view that the former category of atheists should jolly well shut up about how much they don’t believe in God and stop giving the shy, retiring atheists a bad name.

This Government suffers no such qualms. They are constantly reminding us that they ‘do God’. Though what precisely ‘God’ is and precisely what will be done with it has never been adequately defined. As is common with such matters, the vaguer you are, the better. This way no-one will realise you don’t actually do anything.

They don’t like to use the word ‘theocrat’, for obvious reason. I think they need to come up with a more gentle-sounding word. Similarly, the word ‘religion’ seems to be falling out of favour; now instead I keep hearing about ‘people of faith’. Perhaps it makes them sound more humble, or less pious, or doctrinal or something. Ayatollah Khomeini is a theocrat. Eric Pickles is just a lovable fat man with a microphone.

I’m surprised the good sense of the secularist view isn’t more widely accepted. Its wisdom seems plainly obvious to me. “Don’t fuck with other people’s shit?” Hasn’t this been enshrined as some universal moral truism? You know, one of those things with which no reasonable person could disagree? Perhaps people just don’t spend very much time thinking about this sort of thing. If anyone is in favour of an increase in fucking with other people’s shit, then let me know! I’d be interested to hear all about it.

Not being a secularist, on the other hand, seems to be very difficult. There are a number of hoops you need to jump through. I think I have managed to identify five of them – though this list is by no means set in stone. Ha!

The first is that you have to believe in God. This is a very important one, but by no means the most important one, for the simple reason that you can’t very well not believe in God and then suggest that you want everyone to be told that God exists, through the education system and whatnot.

The second is that God wants. This is where it gets more arcane than quantum physics and libor manipulation put together. Quite how an all-powerful being can want anything is beyond me. If he’s all-powerful, can’t he just get everything he wants just by thinking it? But then we risk running into that troublesome business of Free Will – a restriction placed on what God can and can’t do, put into place by – errrr…God. A bit like when you pull the ethernet cable out from the back of the computer in order to avoid compulsively checking Twitter when you’re supposed to be working.

This second one discounts those who consider God equivalent to matter or energy or gravity or something. I’m not talking about that shit, guys. I’m talking about an intelligent agency that shaped the universe. And you can probably stop saying that sort of thing, because when most people say ‘God’ they mean ‘God’. It’s like deciding that you don’t like the term ‘pepperoni pizza’, preferring ‘a jar of yeast’ instead. There’s already a strong consensus behind the meaning of both terms; your trip to Frankie and Bennies will surely end in disappointment.

Still with me? Good. The third thing follows from the second. Not only does God want things, but he wants things from us. Or, rather, he wants us to behave in a certain way. This one is often slipped in once you admit to believing in God. From this confession, your stance on a number of issues will be inferred. Like abortion, gay marriage and the amount of éclairs Eric Pickles should be permitted to stuff into his mouth at any given time.

How do we know what God wants? Through books, normally. Though the sense of these old books seems dubious to me. A good example of this is ritual genital mutilation. There is a hypothesis that God wants us to take a sharp knife and cut off the ends of the dicks of baby boys. Is there no chance that this was lost in translation somewhere? Maybe a ‘not’ was once in there. Maybe he actually forbade us from cutting the dicks of baby boys. Or, the contrary, he might well want us all to cut the whole of our dicks off? What say you then? How much dick should we sever, O Lord!?

Maybe (and this seems likely) God doesn’t care what we do? Or maybe he does care, but not enough to tell anyone exactly what he does and doesn’t care about. He might have other things on his mind. If God had made everything, decided how he wanted us to behave and then not bothered to tell us about his code of conduct, it would be rather academic whether or not you believe in His existence.

The fourth thing is that there are some people (or, some people with whom God has very indirectly conversed) who know what God wants. In the case of us – members as we are of a Christian Nation – this was done through Abraham, and then David, and then eventually Jesus. After Jesus, there was some outsourcing, with varying success. Emperor Constantine, Pope Urban II, and then eventually Tony Blair and now Eric Pickles.

The fifth thing is that the State knows what God wants and should tell people what God wants. You’ll note that this is quite different from telling people what some other people think that God wants. Only a lunatic would advocate entirely banning Religious Education.

If at any point you’ve found yourself furrowing your brow, then it stands to reason that you are a secularist, and probably guilty of ‘politically correct intolerance’, as Mr. Pickles puts it. Many congratulations on your good sense.

Until next week.

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