Well, I stand up for liberty, but I can’t liberate / And pent up agony I see you take first place

I’ve just read Johann Har­i’s blog-post about the death of god.

Or at least the recent­ly 1 sur­veyed fact (if that’s the right word, although research being as fine tuned as it is now, we can have some con­fi­dence most results from rep­utable MR com­pa­nies, sure­ly, in 2010) almost nobody in the UK believes in god anymore.

That’s 63% who open­ly think that it’s all crap.

How­ev­er, giv­en the the nature if the topic/question at hand, and that the don’t-knows on the sur­vey (which I had at hand but have lost now and can’t be both­ered find­ing) are only about 2% (on a ques­tion about believ­ing in god!) you can make a fair­ly com­fort­able assump­tion that a large part of the remain­ing 35% have only said yes because they a) believe from a life­time of habit (i.e. are old) or, b) are scared shit­less that they will be con­demned to an eter­ni­ty of hell­fire (or an iPod play­ing ran­dom Dire Straits tracks on repeat for­ev­er, which is prob­a­bly worse) if they say no and god gets to hear about it from his/her end­less pry­ing into our minds (i.e. they are hedg­ing their bets).

Johan­n’s major gripe, aside from the fact that he clear­ly thinks any­one who believes in the almighty has a spot in their head on the down­ward side of dim (it’s not a hard argu­ment to suc­cess­ful­ly make in 2010, despite Fran­cis Collins, but this post is not an anti-believ­ers rant) is that the both­er­ers get an unrea­son­able shake of the tax and priv­i­lege tail when put against their numbers.

It’s, of course, a his­toric thing — Great Britain actu­al­ly had an offi­cial nation­al day of prayer in 1940 to try and ward off the Nazis. Myself, I think the few, and the decid­ed­ly irre­li­gious Win­ston may have played a big­ger part, but it gives one an idea how entwined the whole myth was with the nation­al ethos. God did­n’t save the empire sad­ly and it was all over for Eng­land’s green and pleas­ant land. Or at least it was until they stopped spend­ing mon­ey on vast over­seas armies and plonk­ing church­es all over the world whilst strip­ping natives of every­thing they owned of worth, and upped the edu­ca­tion spend. It’s arguable, and I’ll do just that, that a new­ly non-believ­ing Great Britain, where god is now seen by many as lit­tle more than some­thing to teach in anthro­pol­o­gy, is slow­ly get­ting its nation­al mojo back.

And the most cor­rupt, mis­er­able and bro­ken nations on this earth all seem to be the most reli­gious 2. In Indone­sia, I want­ed to yell out dai­ly, as you see mis­ery after mis­ery, “It does­n’t work”, but I bit my tongue for obvi­ous rea­sons. They now have an excuse hav­ing worked out that they’ve been pray­ing to Soma­lia for god knows how long. But all is okay because:

God under­stands that humans make mistakes”

Either that or he’s hold­ing his sides at the end­less dimwit­tery that seems to exude from the mouths of that nation’s woe­ful reli­gious and sec­u­lar leaders.

Back down in New Zealand, I applied for a grant that, on paper, it seemed I was enti­tled to as an off­shore cit­i­zen (a board­ing grant for a child – I pay tax­es and don’t use the roads). It was a very cheeky long­shot, but I thought I would give it a go. The response from New Zealand’s edu­ca­tion min­istry was that I would, as a New Zealan­der abroad, only be eli­gi­ble for this if I was a work­ing mis­sion­ary spread­ing the lord’s non­sense around the world. As a non-min­is­ter­ing sup­pli­cant, I was not enti­tled. This was pol­i­cy from the Edu­ca­tion Depart­ment – the Edu­ca­tion Dept!

So, it seems the UK is not alone. And here is the thing: as a kid grow­ing up I knew a few prac­tis­ing Chris­tians. I went to school with a few – nice but most­ly not fun. But I knew them. Over the years, at least until a decade or so ago I knew a few, most­ly musi­cians. Now I know none 3. I under­stood that as one grew old­er, and clos­er to the not so desir­able endgame, peo­ple tend­ed to put up their hands and sur­ren­der, just in case.

Not true, the few musi­cians I knew who were prac­tis­ing have walked away from the lord. All they have left is Brooke Fras­er. Lord help.…

Which is nei­ther, here nor there, except the NZ Min­istry of Edu­ca­tion is show­ing pref­er­en­tial treat­ment for reli­gious edu­ca­tors abroad, when New Zealand may have some/many reli­gious peo­ple but is any­thing but a  Christian/Muslim/Hindu nation.

Then, hav­ing mused that, I remem­bered the first line of our nation­al anthem. And it occurred to me that giv­en the num­ber of times I heard the word reces­sion in NZ last month (you don’t hear it in Asia any­more) maybe a nation­al day of prayer is in order there too.

Show 3 footnotes

  1. actu­al­ly 2006 but when put against the gen­er­a­tions of beget­ting and the life spans of some of the super­stars of the Old Tes­ta­ment that’s but a whis­per
  2. Let me include the USA in that – how come you are cur­ren­ty fucked but the non-believ­ing Chi­nese are doing quite nice­ly, huh?
  3. That’s not quite true, I know one, but she lives in Chi­na so it does­n’t count

1 Comment

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August 15, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Very inter­est­ing post. I guess many would just shrug and say “tra­di­tion” when asked if they felt pas­sion­ate­ly about the lyrics of the nation­al anthem. Most def­i­nite­ly agree that a Dire Straits-loaded iPod would be awful — at least hell­fires have warmth…

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