To criticise somebody’s belief system is wrong, it’s arrogant, ignorant, narrow-minded and just quite rude if anything. Criticism of Christianity is not what I’m trying to do here, it’s just a few things that came across my mind when watching the footage on TV yesterday.
First of all there were the comments made prior to the visit. One of Pope Benedict’s senior advisers, Walter Kasper, declared that England was like a “third world country”. Excuse me but erm, what? I’m sorry that all of our cities aren’t draped in gold and marble like your oh so holy Vatican City, but I’d say the current infrastructure in the UK is sufficient for it to pass any tests. This comment was a bit worrying, coming from such a senior figure in the Vatican (one who has now pulled out of the visit, citing illness) but it’s just one of those off-the-cuff snidey remarks that only people with no real input have to say. There was, however, something much worse said.
‘Atheist extremism’ and ‘aggressive secularism’ were the phrases the Pope came out, and what inexplicable phases they are. Atheists may well be slightly forward when it comes to debates, but that’s hardly any surprise given the general opposition in front. Extremism though? As far as I’m concerned, this country is becoming more and more secular, and after all these years since Darwin, it’s about time, but there’s nothing extremist about it. Atheists live their life through life and life only, there’s no religion for them to extremist about.
‘Aggressive secularism’ is a statement so enshrined with irony that it’s a miracle anybody had the bravery to utter it. What is aggressive, Pope Benedict, is your religion’s influence on people, your quest to detriment the lives of people all around the world, whether it be regarding homosexuality, females in the church, contraception, tolerance of other faiths, the list goes on.
Do you see an atheist figurehead like Richard Dawkins get his own state paid visit to counties? Does he get millions of pounds of police funding? Even Tony Blair had the morality and sense to cancel a book signing because of the impact it’d have on the police. It’s this absurd visit that’s aggressive, it’s in the face of all non-Christians, and if things were the other way round there’d be uproar.
This country may be classed as a Christian country, but I’ll tell you why that’s wrong. When this island separated from mainland Europe millions of years ago, there was no Christianity, it was a piece of rock. Christianity wasn’t even the first religion here, there was Wicca, Celtic, Pagan religions just to name a few. It just so happened that some disciples managed to influence the people here to convert. That doesn’t mean that all of Britain’s inhabitants have to put up with their country being labelled as a Christian society.
Sigh, this is becoming a bit of atheistic rant, and I apologise.
Another thing that I thought when watching the footage last night was how primitive and silly the whole thing looked. If aliens were to look down on Scotland last night they would have seen crowds of people singing and clapping whilst a frail old man, adorned in elaborate/ridiculous robes, followed by other old men dressed in lesser elaborate but equally ridiculous robes shuffled up to a huge stage. Everything about it was so sickly and overdone, and I can imagine that most young Catholics feel the same.
Scrap religion, kill off all senior officials in the Vatican and preach the word of atheism all over the world. No no I kid, just no more of these ludicrous visits please.