Radio host James Whale needs to think again about his desire to sweep Britain clean of traditional religion.
“Islamist terrorism has raised its ugly head again, which prompts one big question in my mind,” he writes. “What is it about religion that drives people nuts?”
These atrocities are caused by “this religious obsession with an afterlife – and the idea in some faiths that if you do horrendous things to non-believers you will be rewarded in that afterlife.”
He concludes: “It surely is time that religion was put back in its box. Anybody should be allowed to believe anything they want – that is perfectly acceptable. But as for those religions that expect to be treated differently from everyone else – forget it. Perhaps the time has come for this mostly secular country … to separate church from state and to start by dissolving religion’s connection with the Royal Family?”
Mr Whale is not one of Britain’s profounder intellects, but he reflects the prejudices of his listeners. So it’s worthwhile unpacking his ideas.
My first observation is to thank him for allowing people to entertain religious beliefs in the privacy of their own heads. But authentic religion depends on social organisation, and if we are not allowed to talk about it – apart from criticising it, of course — we might as well live in North Korea, China or Cuba.
Perhaps Mr Whale thinks that with democracy, we would be safe from extremism. However, democracy did not arise “naturally”, but from the Judeo-Christian belief in free will.
Second, he mentions the Islamic terrorist but not his victim, Sir David Amess, a practicing Catholic. Sir David did not go around murdering people who did not agree with him; he was seen even by those who disagreed politically with him as a humane and generous man. In short, he died as he lived as a true Christian.
Third, if he is serious about condemning religious persecution, why not highlight the fact that the most persecuted religion worldwide is Christianity?
Fourth, Mr Whale’s religion is that there should be no religion. The world has experimented with this idea time after time in the last hundred or so years and the results have been less than satisfactory. Faith in human nature unguided by a transcendent system of religious belief has always led to disaster.
Thousands were exterminated in the French Revolution in the name of “liberté, égalité, fraternité,” many of them priests and religious. Hitler exterminated Christians as well as Jews in the name of race religion and promoted a kind of “eco paganism”. Stalin murdered millions in the name of atheistic communism.
Fifth, let’s take a look at what is replacing religion in Britain.
G. K. Chesterton said that when people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing, they believe in everything – from critical race theory, wokeness and witchcraft. Just this week The Mirror profiled three witches who ply their craft on the internet and have hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.
The modern obsession with both witches and wokeness shows that Mr Whale’s project of ridding Britain of religion is doomed to failure. When we get rid of Christian saints and the angels we are left with the fallen angels, the bad spirits, and the alcoholic spirits that people need to dull the pain of their earthly existence. Persecution revives in the form of Twittermobs and cancellations.
Although humanists like Mr Whale claim to put human beings at the centre of their concerns, a closer look reveals that they advocate anti-human measures, notably abortion, assisted suicide/euthanasia and divorce, all justified by “compassion” – an idea they borrowed from Christianity minus the emphasis on the sanctity of life.
If we get rid of Christianity, we are not going to revert to a simpler, kinder time but to a new Dark Age of scientific barbarism — of utilitarian eugenics and population control. The Romans were highly civilised, and their methods of torture were highly sophisticated. If we try to get rid of God we will be left with Satan.