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Tough times for atheists January 31, 2005

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
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This is no good time to be an atheist. I feel awfully unfashionable when I declare these days that I don’t believe in god. Maybe, as with many things that one puts down to being a sign of the times, it’s actually to do with age, and the older I get, the more the people I meet are likely to have undergone the non-believer-believer transition. Which is, of course, fine. My own transition has been religion-hater-religion-respecter. I remember reading an article by I can’t remember whom in The Spectator some time ago, written by an atheist, who said that he would still have his children christened as Christianity had so much to offer on a cultural and moral level. I agree wholly, while still wanting to point out that one does not have to have faith to be a moral being.

And yet what if this really is also something of a sign of the times? Is religion in? Has faith grown? Is atheism dead? Are we discredited? Are we just simply too dim to see the error of our non-believing ways? I do not agree, as I have seen argued – probably, as bloody always, in The Spectator! – that atheism has been discredited because the Soviet Union was its bastion and look what a hellhole that was. Bollocks. I certainly don’t give my own atheism any political tinge and see no need for politics and religion to have to be linked. Yes, officially atheist regimes may have been crap, but that doesn’t make me dash headlong from the Big Bang.

In any case, I now have, as I have said, far more respect for religion than I used to. I admire people’s faith, as long as it’s genuine. I think I could even cope with a structured religious type of life as long as I didn’t have to pretend to believe in god. Are there atheist monks? Did Durkheim talk of something along these lines? A sort of secular religion? That sounds like my cup of tea…


Hatikva January 31, 2005

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…ok, ok, wrong language, but right region, at least. Let’s hope that the elections in Iraq, as imperfect as they may have been, and as unsatisfactory as the war has been, will be a turning point, or at least a marked improvement. The turnout appears to have been fairly high, except in Sunni areas. Many ‘observers’ are faced with something of a dilemma in that they were so against the war/invasion/occupation that they are reluctant to see any sign of hope, yet I think one should now – regardless of one’s stance – be for whatever it takes to stop things getting worse in Iraq.

…and maybe it isn’t THAT inappropriate having hope here written in Hebrew. I suppose a democratic Iraq, if that comes, is goodish news for Israel too.

Long live optimism. (And on a Monday morning too…)

Time to get serious January 29, 2005

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…about this blog, perhaps. It really should be more respected a medium – by me, that is – as it could be so useful, and such good writing practice. But I still can’t make my mind up what I want to blog about. The world? Love? My thoughts on things? My mood? Hard to know… Or perhaps not to set oneself any rules. I’ve been a bit reinspired by discovering a dear friend’s wonderful blog at www.pdberger.com, but then Paul was always such a good writer, and long may his journalism career last.

His thoughts on things interest me. His and other people’s, and I must say the Middle East is something which preoccupies many of my thoughts at the moment. I know declaring support for Israel is tantamount to high treason in many parts, and yet I have never understood why, and why one is instantly labelled as ‘right-wing’ the moment one does so. I can’t say I share a great many views with Mark Steyn (www.marksteyn.com), but support for Israel is one of them. How ludicrous for Israel to be so lampooned and vilified and for the Palestinians to be painted in such clear-cut, victim terms. Of course I hope for more peace there, but to say that it is the Israelis who are the obstacles to this – and to not buy Israeli avocados – is extraordinarily odd.

Hurrah at last January 23, 2005

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No, not because someone has deigned to get in touch, to tell me that I am a noticed blogger, but because Ukraine has at last received its rightful president, and that might be the start of a really useful change there. That is what I hope. I can’t help hoping that the protests in Russia have been given an extra boost by the persistence of their southern neighbours, but they were protesting about money, and that was probably all that was in their thoughts, and not strengthening democracy…