Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The No-God Zone

So, having just spent three days in Rome where Catholicism, even in decline, comes seeping out of the walls and radiating up off the cobbles, it is something of a shock to come back to the God-Free Zone.

British public life cannot be a "God-free zone", the head of the Catholic church in England and Wales warned last night.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor said he was unhappy about attempts to "eliminate the Christian voice" from the public forum. He urged Catholics to prevent the country from becoming a "world devoid of religious faith" through a deeper engagement with God by praying, studying and performing charitable acts.

Speaking in a lecture at Westminster Cathedral, he said there was "considerable spiritual homelessness", and even if people wanted to believe they felt faith was not an option.

"Many people have a sense of being in a sort of exile from faith-guided experience. This is the effect of the privatisation of religion today: religion comes to be treated as a personal need. You cannot banish religion to the church premises. There are social currents that want to isolate religion from other forms of knowledge and experience in order to marginalise it."

But I'm not sure which is worse, the totally anti-religious nation that the hardcore secularists of the Labour party would have, or the hazily heretical, lukewarm bathwater Church we would have if Cardinal Cormac were to have his way.

Come to think of it, I'm fairly sure I do know which is worse. It tells us which is worse in the Big Book:
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold, nor hot. I would thou wert cold, or hot. But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, not hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest: I am rich, and made wealthy, and have need of nothing: and knowest not, that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.

So, Cardinal Cormac "Bubbles" Murphy O'Connor has helped us again with more of the same rubbish that has resulted in millions abandoning the Faith around the world.

"If Christians really believed in the mystery of God, we would realise that proper talk about God is always difficult, always tentative."

Tell Thomas Aquinas that "talk about God is always tentative".

A few months ago, my aunt was telling me about the daughter of a friend of hers who was recently confirmed in the Catholic Church. They went to visit at Easter and the girl, who is fifteen and has been in a Catholic school throughout her education, was saying, "Well, that's just rubbish isn't it? How does anyone know for sure if Jesus rose from the dead. If you can't prove it, why should anyone believe it?"

My response is simply, "Quite so."

But her mother, apparently, was completely at a loss. She had never heard of apologetics and had gone through her whole Catholic life hearing from Cardinal Bubbles and his friends that "talk about God is always tentative" and there is nothing in Catholicism that you can prove. No evidence.

I knew a young, very enthusiastic and quite stupid fellow once who was very keen on the charismatic movement. He had a friend who was an unbeliever but was quite intelligent and wanted to know if there was a God. This young idiot just kept repeating, with the usual charismatic glaze in the eye, that, "No man, you've just gotta believe. You just gotta beleeeeeeve."

The young friend was stunned to meet with the idea that there is a strong and very venerable intellectual tradition in the Church giving quite satisfying proofs for the existence of God.

I'm actually with Dr. Dawkins on this one.

He told an interviewer: "There's absolutely no reason to take seriously someone who says, 'I believe it because I believe it.' God either exists or he doesn't. It's a matter of the truth."


But I guess once you have made a fortune and a global reputation on being an atheist, one doesn't want to look at the assertion too closely, just in case there is any evidence available.

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