Thursday 11 April 2013

A new religion

A couple of days ago, it dawned on me why religion is becoming less relevant in our lives. It isn't. It's just that the god we worship is no longer the abstract skyfairy YHWH or his myriad descendants and variants, but the equally abstract (yet much more apparent) state.

Authoritarian worshippers of the two main factions (the Left and the Right) argue violently about which of them holds the keys to the True Way Forward To Holiness by insisting their grip on the levers of the state will lead to a path of plenty and righteousness.

As with most religious beliefs, the opportunities for apparently sensible, intelligent people to talk utter bullshit in defence of their religious hierarchy and slant on what the state should be are no more illogical and incomprehensible than Catholics refusing contraception in an era of HIV:

Funnily enough, last year one of those sympathetic to Brown had a very different take on a 17-year old tweeter. Graham Linehan noted in the case of “@Rileyy_69”, who was arrested for tweeting abuse (and a lame death threat) to Tom Daley:

As a symbol of free speech, Riley69 is not Lenny Bruce. He’s not even the EDL. He’s a teenager going through that thing a lot of teenagers go through where they seem unable to feel empathy. This kind of temporary sociopath can be very dangerous and using these new tools they can wreak havoc more efficiently than ever before.

He was all for Riley’s arrest - there was no ‘oh teenagers!’ on display here. Yet Riley69 wasn’t a public figure, just someone who had tweeted idiotic comments to a celebrity. If Tom Daley had quickly blocked him, almost no-one would have ever heard of him. Instead Daley alerted his followers and we ended up with people like Linehan defending Riley69’s arrest. The logic, then, that it’s simply awful to bring to light the casual homophobia/racism etc of a newly-pointed police figure but fine and dandy to arrest someone of the same age for their idiotic tweets seems rather…pained. It’s for this reason that I have zero doubt that, had Brown’s tweets not came to light via the Daily Mail but rather (say) through some left-wing blogger who presented them as highlighting her use of ‘faggots’, the response from many would be very different.

People on the Left will grumpily endorse actions from their bishops that would drive them insane if called for by the bishops of the Right and vice versa.

It's also ironic how many left-wing "atheists" will happily venerate the state to irrational heights. In a sense, I'd regard the Left as the devout Catholics of statism, and the Right as milque-toast CoE. The Left seem to have a peculiar belief in the holiness of the state: philanthropy and charity of individuals is shameful, the Holy State should provide for all from its extortion. The Right still go to church, but they've jettisoned some of the more ludicrous aspects of the theology.

Irrational, prone to violent and unreasoning reaction to heretics, filled with internecine squabbles and ridiculous sects, governed by arcane rules interpreted by people of dubious morality using their shamanic powers to hide disgusting deeds: religion has not gone away at all, the world has just adopted a hungrier, more violent god.

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