I’m not as anti-religious as the following people: my mum, my dad, my stepmum, my auntie, Richard Dawkins or half my German mates. I’m just not. I find religion bollocks, of course, slightly perplexing, and whenever I have to do any Christian stuff (weddings, christenings, etc.) I find it slightly disgusting that we’ve managed to convince ourselves that Christianity is “normal” and almost “not a religion” when in fact it’s totally mad and they think Mary was a virgin when she gave birth and they put statues of a naked bloke being tortured to death everywhere, then they pretend to eat him and they go on about him being a lamb and stuff. I know it’s meant to be a metaphor, but it’s a bit weird.
I’m not as anti-religious as Richard Dawkins or my parents though, because I do actually quite respect the support religion gives people / I don’t give a shit, and also I do find it a bit interesting, I think Mary is quite a sexy character in a way, and I am fascinated by a lot of very religious people: Anne Boleyn, for example, or CS Lewis – also I really love that film The End of the Affair with Julianne Moore in it. Plus, I am one of those terrible hypocritical lefties who will snigger at a Pope protecting paedo joke but thinks we shouldn’t be too mean to the Muslims coz everyone is mean to them. Of course I half-think that my patronizing “Don’t be too mean to the Muslims coz everyone is mean to them!”-Keule is also born out of a desperation to not be fatwa’d. I would literally hate to be fatwa’d. Also everyone is mean to them. (Also, please don’t fatwa me.)
However torn I am, though, it is not fair to compare the dogmatic-ness of people like my parents and/or Richard Dawkins with the dogmatic-ness of religious nuts until we have completely divorced the state from the church. Are my parents insensitive sometimes? Fuck, yeah. I can remember when a boy I went to college with was dying, he was literally dying and they called the priest in. My stepdad kind of exploded at me: “They don’t need a priest! They need doctors, not priests!” But he was dying. There was nothing left for the doctors to do. I felt so ashamed of my stepdad then, though I knew why he exploded, I knew he didn’t want people to waste time praying for miracles. Is Richard Dawkins insensitive sometimes? Tweeting about how many Muslims have won the Nobel Prize for Science ON FUCKING EID wasn’t just anti-religious, it was Islamophobic. It was a bit embarrassing. I felt ashamed of him.
HOWEVER: we shouldn’t be comparing these levels of dogmatic-ness until we live in a truly secular society. That means that in Britain we need to get the bishops out of the House of Lords and in Germany we need to be having legal raves on Good Friday. Once our states are truly separated from the churches, then people like my parents will calm the fuck down – and if they don’t, we can tell them to. But until we live in a truly secular society we are justifying their fear, paranoia – and even their insensitivity.