Saturday, September 30, 2006

Christians are nutters too

One of the wonderful things about the blogosphere, and particularly in the way that we all link to one another, is that one can follow the white rabbit, as it were, and find out new things. In this case, Unity has a problem with my assertions that Christian loonies are not as dangerous as Islamic ones. (oh, and Unity, great post title!*)

Unity points at the Patrick Henry College (and, nope, I hadn't heard of it) which
exists specifically for the self-appointed purpose of training young men and women:
"who will lead our nation [America] and shape our culture with timeless biblical values"

Sorry DK, not only is there genuinely a Christian plan to remake the world under their god, and Patrick Henry College is part of it, but they’re actually going about it both in plain sight and in a fashion that’s a damn sight more intelligent and hell of a lot scarier than any number of bearded wingnuts wandering round the public transport system with rucksack bombs.
...

DK’s got a valid point in the sense that when it comes to religious fanatics, its the educated ones you need to be keeping a close eye on, but when it comes to posing a threat to yours truly, I tend to figure that the odds of me getting on bus in Birmingham city centre and encountering a bearded guy muttering religious incantations to his himself in Arabic with electrical wires sticking out of his puffer jacket as still slim enough to thought negligible, while the thought of his Christian counterparts infesting the White House and Capitol Hill like a bunch of clean cut cockroaches make me rather more nervous.

Strangely enough, I don't feel that way: I wonder why not? Perhaps it's because I have never encountered a Christian who was anything other than quite quiet and pleasant. And Christianity, as it is usually practised in this country, seems to lack (most of the time) that religious zeal that we see in so many Muslims; Christianity is also, at heart (following the teachings of Jesus), not an inherently violent religion. Although is does instruct its adherents to proselytise, it encourages them to do so through peaceful means, rather than by the sword (which the Koran instructs).

However, when I think about it, I am reminded of Somerset Lloyd-James, one of the most scheming characters from Simon Raven's Alms For Oblivion series (highly recommended, by the way: each book in individually entertaining and self-contained, but taken as a series (of ten) they are unsurpassed, both in trajectory and quality of writing).

Somerset (who was allegedly based on Rees-Mogg) is the editor of Strix, a magazine on business and economics, and, whilst ugly, is incredibly charming: he is also the most manipulative and cunning strategist in the whole series, relentlessly doing down his rivals and using subtle influences to get his way?

How is this relevent? Well, he was a Roman Catholic and as one character observes, his religion provides both the motive and absolution for Lloyd-James's twistiness. Lloyd-James delights in doing people down but, when doing so, ensuring that he does not violate his religions strictures. It is the pleasure in this occupation that provides much of the motive for his wiles: he is simply incapable of behaving in straight-forward manner.

All believers in religion are loonies to some extent: it doesn't do to forget that.


* By the pricking of my thumbs... something wicked this way comes: it's from a film Macbeth. How embarrassing, mea culpa. That's what happens when you study plays for GCSE: you try to forget 'em.

8 comments:

Martin said...

DK,

I'd agree to some extent, in that the religious are prepared to put their faith in their unknown.

The alternative, of course, is putting your faith in your fellow man. Now that's scary...

You can love your neighbour as yourself...but there's no injunction that one must trust them...

Anonymous said...

By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes: it's from a film...

And there was me thinking it was from Macbeth.

Bill said...

Perhaps it's because I have never encountered a Christian who was anything other than quite quiet and pleasant.

You mean you've never been the object of Jehovah's Witnesses trying to proselytise - admittedly they don't blow you up, but they can be VERY difficult to get rid of. I also once sat on a 'plane flying from Beirut to Cairo on which there were 20 or so American Baptists on a visit to the 'Holy Land' and surrounds who would not quit trying to get everone on board to join them in a rousing "Onward Christian Soldiers" - there were about 140 paasengers on board, mainly Arabs, and they just tried to ignore these maniacs. The trouble with religious zealots, including these Christian college alumni, is that they are absolutely single-minded in their purpose - and their strategy is a lot more strategic than simply blowing people up; there was a programme about them a few months ago and I found it grimly fascinating as well as very worrying for where it could lead in the next 30 or 50 years.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Bill,

Yup, Jehovah's witnesses came to my door. I told them I was atheist, wasn't interested and shut the door on them...

DK

Anonymous said...

I don't even bother with that much of an explanation. "No thanks" usually does the trick.

James Higham said...

...The trouble with religious zealots, including these Christian college alumni, is that they are absolutely single-minded in their purpose...

I consider myself Christian but I don't think I ram it down anyone's throat. The problem is always the church and chapel syndrome - where Papa builds a church, there the other builds a chapel. Vast majority of those strutting around being Christian are not.

Benedict White said...

Three points DK.

Firtsly the Christian nutters we are talking about want to bring about the second comming and are every bit as scary as the bearded nutter who claims, but is not a muslim trying to kill you.

Secondly I got an email circular from a left wing educated Jewish atheist who after the Popes speech pointed out that whilst Islam extended its reach by the sword there is no evidence of conversion by it and to some extent the reverse is tha case. (at least in the sense of converting either Jews or Christians.

As for Jehovaswitnesses I found telling them I was Roman Catholic worked. They could not get away quick enough.

belledame222 said...

"A man can smile and smile and be a villain."

and wadr, but if you're not over here, you're not quite getting it. See, of course you haven't met most of these people; y'all sent them over HERE four hundred or so years ago. there've been some mutations in the interim, too.

you may also want to check this out:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0486358/

The very model of a modern scientific man

Your humble Devil was thoroughly amused by Neil Ferguson's fall from grace, and is very pleased to have found the time to outline Fergus...