Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Bad Religion

Last week there were a number of reports in the press of a debate between Tony Blair and Chris Hitchins on whether religion is a force for good in the world or not. Most accounts agree that Hitchins won the debate, indeed he has previously written at great length on the evils of religion (e.g. 'God is not good').

For those of us with a positive experience of religion it is not hard to see how distorted Hitchens' views are. He is more one sided than the Second Test in Adelaide, rarely giving any acknowledgement to the other side of the story (though ironically his younger brother, Peter, is a convert to christianity from atheism).

But, with a tip of the hat and a nod of the head to Heaven in ordinarie, I saw this quote from Charles Dickens' character 'the Ghost of Christmas Present'. It neatly describes the difference between good and bad religion, a difference which often parallels that between good and bad science.

‘There are some upon this earth of yours,’ returned the Spirit, ‘who lay claim to know us, and who do their deeds of passion, pride, ill-will, hatred, envy, bigotry, and selfishness in our name, who are as strange to us and all our kith and kin, as if they had never lived. Remember that, and charge their doings on themselves, not us.’

1 comment:

  1. This was broadcast on BBC Radio Four last night (11/12/2010)