Monday, 16 November 2009

Interfaith Week

Some potent thoughts for Interfaith Week from Dinah commenting on Platitude of the Day for 16th November 2009; "Reverend Canon Doctor Alan Billings":

"To achieve religious toleration there have to be neutral spaces in society such as schools, workplaces, political assemblies and public services where people regardless of their beliefs or non-beliefs can meet on an equal footing: places indeed where religious faith ought to be irrelevant. By continually pushing a religious agenda into such spaces, the government risks fatally undermining this neutrality, and increasing intolerance, because whatever Karen Armstrong thinks, most religions are at heart incompatible.

Billings’s job is to sell Christianity as the one true faith where the only path to salvation is through Jesus Christ. This would be regarded as blasphemy by a Muslim. They can’t both be right (though they could of course both be wrong). Given this, tolerance can only go so far, and can only work when religion is separated from the state and for the most part confined to private spaces.

If Billings and his ilk were serious about promoting religious toleration, they would be avidly promoting secularism, not continually griping about it undermining religion and chipping away at its foundations.

Thanks to the mainly abysmal teaching of history in the UK today few people today learn about the religious intolerance in our past, which makes them easy meat for religious propagandists. By all means have RE in schools, but make it mandatory to include real religion, its history and its dark side with examples from all faiths."

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