River Wissey Lovell Fuller


January 2005

Rons monthly soapbox to keep you on your toes


Quite recently a very senior Bishop in the Roman Catholic church, one who is seen as a possible candidate for Pope, said that "secular forces are driving God to the margins".

On a world wide basis it must be true that society is becoming ever more secular, the huge populations of China and Russia are essentially secular, the same might be said of Eastern Europe. In Western Europe fewer people can see any firm evidence for the existence of a supreme being and, I suspect, the majority would describe themselves as agnostics. Even in the USA I doubt if the 'religious right' are a majority.

I too would regard myself as agnostic with a leaning towards atheism. Like Cyril Marsters in last month's Pump, however, I believe we possess free-will and are each responsible for our actions. Keith Macleod in the October issue found unbearable the thought that "the existence of human life....is a meaningless accident". I would describe that thought as very sad but not unbearable, certainly not so unbearable as to justify convincing myself that there must be a supreme being somewhere as a way of avoiding this unbearable possibility. On the other hand, of course, I cannot deny the possibility of a supreme being.

We have recently gone through the time of year when many of the major religions reassert themselves with their annual celebrations, which often tend to include over indulgence. We have had Ramadan, and the Hindu festival Diwali. I am writing this at the time of the Jewish festival of Hanukah and at the time we are approaching the Christian Christmas. Although we in Britain embrace Christmas we are among the more secular of the Western European states, despite this we tolerate religions of all kinds. Whilst we show this tolerance we do not and must not tolerate those who preach hatred. Sadly there are those in almost all religions who are so convinced of the truth of their own faith, so bigoted, that they will not tolerate any other belief.

Muslims attacked the twin towers and killed 3000 Americans in the name of Islam. Over the centuries Christians have killed Muslims and vice versa. Catholics and Protestants have killed each other, Jews have killed Muslims and Jews have been the victims. Currently American Christians are getting up tight over homosexuals and abortions, even about stem cell research, yet they seem relatively unconcerned at the thousands of Iraqis, men women and children that their countrymen are killing. Hindu fanatics incite Hindus to attack Muslims and their Mosques. Muslims blow themselves to pieces in order to kill Jews, in the belief that this will find them favour in their after life. Sharon and fanatical Zionists persecute Palestinians whilst stealing their land.

Those practising their religion have nothing to fear from agnostics or secularism for so long as they are prepared to do so without attempting to force others to accept their way of thinking. The Roman Catholic Bishop should realise that the followers of his religion are not at risk from the non-religious, their real cause for concern is in the antics of the zealots in the established faiths.

Ron Watts

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