By A C Grayling
In a sequence of daring, unsparing polemics, A C Grayling exposes the harmful unreason he sees on the middle of non secular religion and highlights the pressing want we need to reject it in all its types, with no compromise. as an alternative he argues for a collection of values in line with cause, mirrored image, and sympathy, taking his cue from the good moral culture of Western philosophy.
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Additional info for Against All Gods: Six Polemics on Religion and an Essay on Kindness (Oberon Masters)
Without the commonplace and dispiriting facts of history which show how religious organisations are in truth political, military and economic ones that 28 exist for the sake of their all-too-human beneficiaries, it would not be easy to see why e. g. Christians believe in the volcano god of the Jews (the pillar of smoke by day, the burning bush on the mountain top), and why they choose the Jesus story out of all the many in which a god (Zeus and Yahveh are hardly alone in this) makes a mortal woman pregnant, who gives birth to a son, who engages in heroic endeavours, often involving suffering (think of Hercules and his labours), and therefore goes to heaven.
Add this to the all-too- O 44 obvious fact of political Islam – Islamism – and the case seems made. But I see the same evidence as yielding the opposite conclusion. What we are witnessing is not the resurgence of religion, but its death throes. Two considerations support this claim. One is that there are close and instructive historical precedents for what is happening now. The second comes from an analysis of the nature of contemporary religious politics. If a given interest group turns up the volume, it is usually reacting to provocation.
Presumably (as I can never tire of pointing out) believers in fairies would call those who do not share their views ‘a-fairyists’, hence trying to keep the debate on fairy turf, as if it had some sensible content; as if there were something whose existence could be a subject of discussion worth the time. People who do not believe in supernatural entities do not have a ‘faith’ in ‘the non-existence of X’ (where X is ‘fairies’ or ‘goblins’ or ‘gods’); what they have is a reliance on reason and observation, and a concomitant preparedness to accept the judgement of both on the principles and theories which premise their actions.