The archbishop is being stupid, arrogant and deceitful.
'Atheistic fundamentalism' fears
The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, has described a rise in "fundamentalism" as one of the great problems facing the world. He focused on what he described as "atheistic fundamentalism".
What a pity he didn't focus on muslim fundamentalism, which leads to planes being flown into buildings, or catholic fundamentalism, which leads to the spread of HIV/AIDS, or Protestant fundamentalism, which leads to discrimination against gays. A plank in your eye, Archbishop.
He has hijacked the word 'fundamentalist' as a knee-jerk Daily Mail expression to engender the reaction he is seeking, not to describe the atheist position. An atheist does not believe in god. Full stop. How can an atheist do anything else? Believe in god on alternate Sundays? Belief or non-belief in god says nothing about ones views on life, or ones attitudes or levels of tolerance, and it is dishonest of him to imply that it does.
He said it led to situations such as councils calling Christmas "Winterval", schools refusing to put on nativity plays and crosses removed from chapels.
The Archbishop must realise what he is saying. If his church want to put on nativity plays, then that's fine. But it is not fine to set up a situation where kids may feel rejected or ostracised from their fellow classmates if their parents do not wish them to participate. What would he say if all children, including those from Jewish Muslim or Hindu families were expected to participate in a hog roast to celebrate Darwin's birthday? And don't come the raw prawn with me and say that's different because they have a faith.
For me, if I were a parent, I would find it offensive if my child were just roped in to a nativity play. For me there is more to it than tea-towels and dodgy singing.
In his Christmas message, he said: "Any kind of fundamentalism, be it Biblical, atheistic or Islamic, is dangerous."
Why is it dangerous not to believe in god? Where is his evidence? Where are all these atheist criminals and terrorists?
The archbishop said "atheistic fundamentalism" was a new phenomenon.
No its not. It is just more visible. Partly because religion in the UK has less of a stranglehold over society as we have become more tolerant, and partly because the need to stand up against religion has assumed a new importance.
60 years ago there was no pill, no possibility of stem-cell research and the Arabs were scarcely out of their tents and certainly unable to mount a 9/11 type of attack. A fear of elderly spinsters cycling to church through the mist was scarcely in the same league.
He said it advocated that religion in general and Christianity in particular have no substance, and that some view the faith as "superstitious nonsense".
Quite right, except that other religions are often worse than christianity (or at least 21st century christianity).
God is not exclusive, he is on the side of the whole of humanity with all its variety
Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan
God can be neither exclusive or inclusive if he doesn't exist. But both Bush and Bin Laden think otherwise. They think he is exclusively on their side.
As well as leading to Christmas being called "Winterval," the archbishop said "virulent, almost irrational" attacks on Christianity led to hospitals removing all Christian symbols from their chapels, and schools refusing to allow children to send Christmas cards with a Christian message.
How is the belief in god rational, or atheism irrational? Hospital 'chapels' are there to allow people space to think, cry, pray, grieve. How would he feel if there were no christian chapel, but only the Star of David and Islamic scripture painted on the walls. Happy? I doubt it. Unless you are going to cater for all sections, then it is best to avoid offence by doing as the hospital have done and removes crosses and other symbols. Is he really saying that the faith of christians is dependent on seeing an ancient instrument of torture and excruciating death to make them feel better?
He also said it led to things like "airlines refusing staff the freedom to wear a cross round their necks" in a reference to the row in which British Airways (BA) suspended an employee who insisted on wearing a cross necklace.
So BA were a bit daft. But I would not be allowed to work in some establishments because I am bearded. To imply that wearing a cross is a right worth sacrificing your job for, shows a commitment to symbolism which is worrying. What's next? Will they insist on barbed wire next to the skin, or whatever it is that Opus Dei are notorious for.
Dr Morgan said: "All of this is what I would call the new "fundamentalism" of our age. It allows no room for disagreement, for doubt, for debate, for discussion.
OK Dr Morgan. I disagree. I doubt your christian story. I'll debate your beliefs. I'll discuss the evidence and wisdom of religion. Somehow I don't think you will. Go on . Make my day. Prove me wrong.
"It leads to the language of expulsion and exclusivity, of extremism and polarisation, and the claim that because God is on our side, he is not on yours."
It is religion that does this, not atheism. God is not on anyone's side, but god believers think he is on theirs. And had you not noticed that the greatest example of language of expulsion and exclusivity, of extremism and polarisation is in faith schools? If you really want to end such practices, close them down!
He said the nativity story in St Luke's Gospel, in contrast, had a "message of joy and good news for everyone".
Much like a hog roast.
He said: "God is not exclusive, he is on the side of the whole of humanity with all its variety."
Apart from the fact that he's not there at all, if he were there "for the whole of humanisty" he has a very funny way of showing it to the starving peoples of the world, and why didn't he arrive sooner, and maybe make a return visit to sort out the horrendous mess he caused with his first visit.
Dr Morgan said it was "perfectly natural" to have a "coherent and rational debate about the tenets of the Christianity".
But he said "virulent, almost irrational" attacks on it were "dangerous" because they refused to allow any contrary viewpoint and also affected the public perception of religion.
Rationality is the very foundation of my atheism. How is belief in god justifiably rational in truth, not just in as a placebo? If my atheism is having an effect of the public perception of religion, then I for one will be very pleased.
Dr Morgan's Christmas message comes after the general director of the Evangelical Alliance, the Rev Joel Edwards, compared militant atheists to King Herod in their intolerance of religious faith.
Please tell me: which atheist in Britain today is advocating the death of every first-born son?
Their remarks follow the rise of militant atheists such as Oxford University scientist Richard Dawkins, whose book The God Delusion, has been a bestseller.
Scientific progress always is resisted by the ignorant, especially if it weakens their power base. It has always been so. You are merely continuing the tradition.
I think the Archbishop's thinking is rather muddled in places here. But is there a grain or two of truth in what he is saying?
No, not one!