Our Attorney General thought he was supporting Dave’s assertion that Britain is still a Christian country, even though neither Dave nor most people take its formative faith very seriously.
Instead he dug the hole even deeper.
People, said Dominic Grieve, are “turned off” from religion by the “disturbing” and “very damaging” rise of fundamentalism, defined as “deep intolerance” of other people’s views.
“I do think that there has been a rise of an assertiveness of religious groups across the spectrum,” he explained, which spectrum to him includes both Islam and Christianity.
Actually it’s somewhat wider than that. It also comprises Judaism, Taoism, Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, Hinduism, animism, atheism and what not.
All those are to a varying degree intolerant to other people’s views for the simple reason that faith presupposes belief in the truth. The truth, not one among many.
Thus an exponent of one religion has to believe by definition that he’s right and exponents of other religions are wrong. If he possesses a modicum of intelligence, he’d know that others feel the same way about his own faith.
And, if he does satisfy that minimum cerebral requirement, he wouldn’t be unduly bothered by such diversity of belief. To each his own, live and let live, that sort of thing. Such is the way of the world. Others are entitled to their ridiculous opinions.
Thus a believer wouldn’t be upset by other people’s intolerance of his faith unless, of course, such intolerance is manifested through certain unpleasant actions. These can vary from oral insults to physical harassment, from assault to murder, from shrill propaganda to a forceful imposition of alien values.
People who resort to such affronts are usually called ‘religious fundamentalists’, although nowadays the term tends to broaden its meaning to include those who accept not only the moral precepts of their religion but also the dogma whence the morality comes.
Since Mr Grieve lumps all ‘fundamentalists’ together, one has to presume that he must have been jostled in the street by militant Buddhists, attacked by bolshie Christians, harassed by uppity Confucians, forcibly converted by crazed Taoists and assaulted by fanatical Jews for buying pork sausages.
He must have been forced to diet during Lent by fundamentalist Christians, dragged away from a bus on a Friday night by fundamentalist Jews, made to marry in a certain way by fundamentalist Buddhists.
No? None of those calamities has befallen him? Well, then he surely must possess numerous case studies of fundamentalist Anglicans maiming their daughters for dating Catholics, fundamentalist Jews picketing restaurants for not serving kosher food, fundamentalist Chinese insisting that Confucian law must take precedence over the English Common Law in assorted Chinatowns.
No, not even that? So what on earth is he talking about? What kind of religious fundamentalism is such a sharp burr under Mr Grieve’s blanket?
He must realise that failure to provide a satisfactory answer to this simple question may make some feel that, in common with most politicians, he just runs off at the mouth, making politically expedient noises with no substance to them.
Actually Mr Grieve’s problem is neither rare nor hard to understand. Many people these days have been brainwashed by our atheist modernity into talking about religion in general.
Yet there’s no such thing. Every religion is sui generis. Different religions differ from one another as much as any of them differs from atheism.
If there is no such thing as religion in general, then there’s no such thing as religious fundamentalism in general. Then, since Mr Grieve will probably agree that pious adherents of the creeds I’ve mentioned aren’t in the business of shoving their faith down other people’s throats, what kind of sui generis fundamentalism does he have in mind?
There’s only one answer to this question, because there’s only one religion in Britain that’s being practised not just devoutly but aggressively. Islam.
One can understand why Mr Grieve doesn’t want to put it this way. He’s the Attorney General and wants to keep that post at least, if not to move up. Such an aspiration is incompatible with even hinting that one religion is worse than another. The enforcers of political correctness won’t allow it.
So a government official can’t attack Islamic fundamentalism specifically. He can only talk about religious fundamentalism in general, even though everyone with ears to hear will know exactly what he means.
However, even had he come out and actually said it, the statement still wouldn’t make sense. Granted, in some parts of Britain espousing Christian beliefs may expose one to intimidation and even assault. But since most of us don’t live in predominantly Muslim areas, it’s unclear how Islamic fanaticism can turn anyone but a morbidly timid soul off Christianity.
And we’ve already seen that any other fundamentalism tends to be unobtrusive, if not exactly nonexistent. Thus if Britain is indeed a Christian country, as Messrs Grieve and Cameron correctly assure us she is, then how come church attendance is going down, while fewer and fewer self-professed Christians practise the faith they claim to possess?
To find who (and what) is to blame we’d have to go back a few centuries and then slowly move towards Britain circa 2014. At some point along this meandering path we’d find our culprits. But whatever they are, they won’t be ‘religious fundamentalists’.
They are much more likely to be those who, like Messrs Grieve and Cameron, think society can feast on the fruits of Christianity while diligently severing the roots of the tree that has borne the fruits.
They too are fundamentalists, but not of any religious sort. Their cult is our vulgar, anomic, soulless modernity, and they serve it with unwavering piety.