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.
- 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 ↩
- Let me include the USA in that – how come you are currenty fucked but the non-believing Chinese are doing quite nicely, huh? ↩
- That’s not quite true, I know one, but she lives in China so it doesn’t count ↩