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Not a fan of religion, but why fan the flames




February 1, 2014
09:24

by Ben Hamilton


You won’t catch me saying anything incendiary about Islam (click here to read our preview of Louisiana’s Arab Contemporary exhibition). There’s freedom of speech, but there’s also respecting somebody’s beliefs. Besides they don’t pay me enough, which was exactly my thought when I found out that our former offices, right next door to Jyllands-Posten, had been under surveillance by terrorists in our final six months working there in 2009.

I’m not a fan of religion in general, but everyone, including my children, should be allowed to make up their own minds. If it gives them comfort, then what’s the bother? (Insert disclaimer about brain-washing, any kind of forced intercourse and martyrdom.)

In recent years, atheism itself has evolved into a religion – and to an extent, its practitioners are becoming just as zealoty and holier than thou as the bashers. Always armed with a larger intellect, their squabble with the creationists is an unfair fight, and sometimes it’s borderline persecution.

And don’t get me started on the worst Bible-bashers of them all: Satanists. Oh, apparently (see our article on King Diamond) you can be a LaVeyan Satanist (named after a bloke who looked like Ming the Merciless), which is strictly non-religious and … sorry, I nodded off there.

While he might have been religious, Nelson Madela was so much more, and the release of the biopic made about his life (read more here) couldn’t have been better timed to enlighten us about his struggle against apartheid.

No doubt, a film will one day be made about Jimmy Savile – hopefully like the one about the equally abhorrent Harold Shipman, it will be rubbish and go straight to DVD. But this documentary must be seen to understand how so many people were complicit in his vile activities.

And religion will no doubt be alive and kicking at the Super Bowl (click here for venues to watch it) as touchdown scorers thank Jesus that God was looking down on them instead of starving children in their hour of need, and at the foremost of our minds this year as we remember the centenary of the First World War (read more about it in our Books Corner section).

I’m not a fan, but it does have its uses.