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Dr Rowan Williams says that ‘aggressive secularism’ has nothing to do with persecution; Lord Carey and Bishop Nazir-Ali disagree. Who’s right?

Dr Williams speaks from the perspective of the high table and senior common room: but Dr Nazir-Ali has actually been persecuted

By on Monday, 10 September 2012

Lord Williams of Oystermouth, former Archbishop of Canterbury (Photo: PA)

Lord Williams of Oystermouth, former Archbishop of Canterbury (Photo: PA)

Well, we had been warned (not that many of us were exactly quaking in our boots): Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, as he prepares to step down from his position as head of the Anglican communion to become Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, has now attacked not only the government (which, as far as I am concerned, he can do to his heart’s content if it makes him feel better) but also (implicitly) his admirable predecessor, Dr George Carey, for saying “it is now Christians who are persecuted”, that they are often “driven underground” and that “there appears to be a clear animus [within the legal system] to the Christian faith and to Judaeo-Christian values. Clearly the courts of the United Kingdom require guidance.”

Dr Williams’s attack on Lord Carey is from the point of view of the Christian cause a more serious matter. But before saying anything about it, I cannot forbear from all comment on his foray into political ethics. He begins with the usual necessary reservations about the authority of theologians to pronounce on matters involving technical political judgments: then he immediately makes a fool of himself by uttering precisely such a pronouncement under the guise of an ethical “awkward question”. “No theologian has an automatic skill in economics,” he says (tick here); “but there is,” he continues, “an ethical perspective here, plainly rooted in theology, that obliges us to question the nostrums of recent decades, and above all persistently to ask the awkward question of what we want growth for, what model of well-being we actually assume in our economics.”

Well, I will tell him what we want growth for: we want growth, archbishop, to pay off our debts and, more urgently and I would have thought with the most ethically imperative urgency, so that new jobs may emerge in our economy, and the millions now enduring the soul-destroying misery of unemployment may be enabled to emerge from their present state of impotent futility: a “model of well-being” they long to attain one day and which they cannot attain without growth in the economy. Dr Williams has often been accused of Left-wing political leanings; but this is surely to credit his political views with a rationality and a coherence they do not have; on this showing, they are indistinguishable in their ignorance and unreality (as well as in their content) from those of the green party.

But let that pass; it hardly matters. What does matter is that Dr Williams is now using his still considerable position in public life to undermine the brave struggle of his predecessor, Lord Carey, who has protested against the growth of secularist attacks on the freedom of Christians to practise their religion, and has most notably led the fight for the “Strasbourg four”, whose case (which I wrote about last week) came up before the ECJ on Tuesday.

“We have been hearing quite a lot about the dangers of ‘aggressive secularism’,” says Dr Williams, “and the strident anti-Christian rhetoric of some well-known intellectuals is still a prominent feature of our society,” Dr Williams writes. “But … our problem is not simply loud voices attacking faith (and certainly not ‘persecution’ as some of the more highly-coloured apologetic claims). Argument is essential to a functioning democratic state, and religion should be involved in this, not constantly demanding the right not to be offended.”

But of course we must have argument. That’s just not what we’re talking about, for heavens’ sake. It’s not a matter of not being offended, Dr Williams: haven’t you noticed? Christians are losing their jobs for standing by their principles. He really does seem to be remarkably insensitive about other people’s unemployment (perhaps it’s because he has never been unemployed himself, having mostly gone straight from one cushy number to another, now culminating in a very comfortable berth in Cambridge).

Dr Williams was probably thinking as much, in his attack on those within his Church who oppose aggressive secularism and make supposedly “highly coloured” accusations of persecution, about the former bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, as about Dr Carey. In May, Bishop Nazir-Ali said that the exclusion of Christians from their places of work for wearing a cross amounted to the “beginning of persecution”.

In a new book he now questions the whole intellectual basis of Dr Williams’s approach. Dr Williams argues that secularism comes in two different forms and that a secular state as such does not necessarily pose a problem for Christians (correct in itself). What he describes as “programmatic” secularism is, he says “problematic”. This excludes religious practice and symbols from public life in order to emphasise the “unclouded” loyalty of individuals to the state. There is, however, no difficulty for Christians with what he calls “procedural” secularism, according to which which the state allows people publicly to practise their faith but does not give preferential treatment to any single religious group (how, I wonder, does the establishment of the Church of England fit into this distinction?). Dr Williams insists that “the Church” can continue to exist in a secular society as long as it is allowed to speak up for its values.

Bishop Nazir-Ali says that Dr Williams’s distinction is “not really stable”, and that that any form of secularism represents an assault on Christian values.

His new book comes out on September 13, and it is entitled Triple Jeopardy for the West: Aggressive Secularism, Radical Islamism and Multiculturalism. It should be noted that when he makes “highly coloured” accusations of the beginnings of persecution here, he is doing so from the perspective of a Christian who knows from personal experience what real persecution is and has experienced its onset in a previously tolerant state. He became the first Anglican Bishop of Raiwind in West Punjab (1984–86), at the time of the Islamisation of Pakistan unleashed by General Zia ul-Haq. When his life was in imminent danger in 1986, the then Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie arranged for his refuge and employment in England (and good for him).

So when he observes what he calls the beginnings of real persecution here, and when he perceives “secularist agendas which marginalise all faith but seem especially hostile to Christianity”, he is talking about a phenomenon of which he has personal experience. This is something he really knows about.

When Dr Williams talks about secularism as being simply to do with free speech, and when he ignores those who have lost their jobs through aggressive secularism and says that it is simply a matter of the “argument [which] is essential to a functioning democratic state”, and goes on to say that “religion should be involved in this, not constantly demanding the right not to be offended” as though anybody cared about that, he too is speaking from his own extensive experience of life, life at least of a certain well-defined sort – an experience of involved discussions at high tables and in senior common rooms, in the world to which he now, with some relief I am sure, returns.

But he has never been in danger; nor, like the Strasbourg four (who are the tip of a very large iceberg) has he ever been sacked for remaining true to his faith. Goodbye, Dr Williams; I hope you will be happy in Cambridge — I am sure you will do well there. But as the supposed leader of English Christianity, I have to say that we would have been better off with Dr Nazir-Ali.

  • Brian A. Cook

     Thank you.

  • Johannes

    Even as early as 1962, the Constitution of Pakistan of that year stated that only a muslim could be qualified for the role of president, and that no Law would be passed against the teaching of the Quran and Sunnah and the existing laws would be made Islamic in character.

    So I ask once again, when was Pakistan ever a secular state?

  • Lewispbuckingham

    It must be remembered, even in biological sciences, we are give the genes to struggle against the genes that we find deleterious.
    This is unlike the Drosophila fruitfly on which this useful model is based ie that biology is made up of genetic makeup and environment.
     Because we are different to fruitfly we have an innate ability to make choices.
     One of the reasons for this is the ability of the human mind to be self aware and reflect on the outcome of actions and the makeup of feelings.
    This may be exercised in the most corrosive and destructive environments and has been examined.
     A useful read is Victor E Frankel’s ‘Man’s search for meaning’.

  • karlf

    As alarm bells are still ringing from your proclaimed ‘knowledge’ of God, and his wants and needs, I find myself a tad riled by your somewhat patronising tone (and the gratuitous dollop of Shakespeare). I didn’t, or wouldn’t choose to experience these negative emotions, but I do experience them nonetheless. This reaction is a product of my humanity, and an aspect of which the Catholic Church seems not only to have little insight into, but actually hampers the understanding of such human traits.
    So the best we can hope for our wonderfully evolved minds is to live by ancient beliefs based on primitive superstitious fantasy? To follow the vanity of the self concious mind in believing ourselves to be the end goal of evolution and loved (an animal emotion) and cared for by the creator of the universe?
    I cannot believe such things, just as you cannot believe the Australian myths of Dreamtime. We don’t want to believe in them because of what we have learned from life which suggests to us that they are bogus. You say that humanity gives us the freedom to believe in the Dreamtime when clearly it does not.

  • AnthonyPatrick

     Karif, for the record, I was not, nor am I, employing a patronising tone.  But your decision to accuse me of such appears disingenuous.  Neither was the “dollop of Shakespeare” – as you, scornfully, put it – gratuitous.  Indeed, I considered everything I wrote very carefully, in the same way that I took you seriously as a human being worthy of a dignified and respectful response.  And still do. 

    Perhaps, given the admission of negative emotion underscoring your reply, you might consider the displays of sarcasm in your responses to both Lazarus and me were beyond your control.  If you do – and please don’t take this wrong – I beg to differ.  Nor am I alone in not choosing to believe that human beings are automatically at the mercy of their emotions, come what may: the disciplines, practice and efficacies of virtuous (rather than vicious) actions are extolled and given witness to throughout history and in all cultures, pagan, Christian or otherwise.

    By the way, I did not proclaim personal knowledge to you, least of all “‘knowledge’ of God”: that I believe God is Love is a no more or less than a confession of faith, and the Catholic faith, which I continually choose to uphold.    

  • Acleron

    I explained that the secular state I was referring to was that which inherited the secular policies of the Raj in the first post you responded to.

    I expanded exactly what I meant by those secular policies and secular principles in the second post, again that you responded to.

  • karlf

    Sorry Anthony – I have become so accustomed to the attitudes of some of the Catholics here that through my expectations I seem to have misread your writing style somewhat. However, your omissions of “I believe” or “we believe” do make for quite patronising declarations of fact upon the non-believer. But now I take it that you do not actually mean that you know these things, but rather you act as if to know them because you have faith?
    Of course I believe that we can have control and an understanding of our emotions and behaviour, but this does not tackle the points I put to both you and Lazarus on this topic of ‘choice’.

  • AnthonyPatrick


    By the way, phrases like ‘Catholics believe’, ‘the Catholic Faith’, Catholic Christianity, etc., throughout were intended as indications of ‘I believe/we believe’ .

  • Little Black Sambo

    “We cannot choose whether to believe in God or Allah or whatever…”
    Dead right. (So many atheist comments say that religious belief is a matter of choice.)
    BUT we believe something because we are convinced of its truth. As well as our genes and experiences we have our reason; our personalities are not just a “product”.

  • karlf

    Thanks. Please see my comments below:

  • Johannes

    You haven’t ‘explained’ anything. You cut-and-pasted some text that stated that Islam WAS in fact the state religion of Pakistan, a fact contrary to your stated claim that Pakistan was at some point secular!

    So I ask once again, at what time was this country, that, in its 1962 constitution, only allowed a muslim to be president, that no Law would be passed against the teaching of the Quran and Sunnah, and which ratified in 1973 that Islam was its state religion, considered to be in any way classifiable as ‘secular’?

    All you need to do is give us a date, and then we can reference that with the contemporary situation in Pakistan at the time, and see how it fits into our received model of secularism.

    I don’t think that’s an unreasonable request.

  • awkwardcustomer

    Have you warned the Wall Street Journal too? 

    I read Charles Johnson’s article on the ‘little green footballs’ blog.  And the article he refers to, only briefly though due to recovering from the ‘flu.  I also noticed some background on Charles Johnson who, according to some, makes a habit out of bashing other Conservative blogs and publications. 

    What has this got to do with Vladimir Bukovsky’s speech?  Oh that’s right.  Nothing.

  • Acleron

    I feel you want me to somehow define Pakistan as a perfectly secular state at some time, I never either intended to or in fact said it was.

    As for copying and pasting, my experience with people who throw around baseless accusations is that they are often projecting. 

  • awkwardcustomer

    Actually, here’s a confession. I included the quote from Vladimir Bukovsky without ever having read, or even heard of, the Brussels Journal.  I just lifted it from another blog because it fitted my argument.  Now that the flu is passing, perhaps I’ll have a look. 

  • Lazarus

    1) In this particular case… Well, there’s the rub, isn’t it? It’s pretty obvious that in this particular case, it was the adoption of a particular form of Islamic law that caused the problem. Do you have any evidence that allows you to extrapolate from the undoubtedly true observation that (eg) it would be wrong to imposed this form of Islamic law in the UK to a more general claim about the place of (any) religion in society?

    2) On the evidence/lack of evidence behind my claim, it’s in the nature of historical, sociological and political arguments that evidence is rarely clearcut. You have given the (poor) example of the introduction of Ia specific type of Islamic law in Pakistan; I would counter with the increased secularism (and cruelty) of Stalin. And so we’d go on…

    You have absolutely no evidence for the beneficent qualities of secularism -nor indeed any clear idea what secularism might mean. (And that lack of clarity is itself a sign of the intellectual barrenness of your arguments.) It remains an historical fact that all major advances in liberty up till comparatively recently within the UK have taken place within a state where Christianity had a major role in government. Moreover, there is a clear causal mechanism behind that: a religion (such as most versions of Christianity) which respects individuals as images of God and their consciences as God-given is more likely to sustain a society of tolerance and respect than a society with a religion such as yours which regards human beings as lumps of meat to be governed by those such as yourself and Meena who know better than us proles.

  • Lazarus

    1) The problem of evil seems to be something you keep coming back to.That’s fair enough: it is perhaps the most convincing argument against the existence of God. There’s too much to say here in a combox -and I’d direct you to Brian Davies’ ‘Reality of God and the   Problem of Evil’ for deeper answers. But put simply, the logical problem of evil is solved by pointing to higher goods which are dependent on the lower harms (so, eg, freedom cannot exist without the possibility of moral wrongdoing); and (what we might call) the existential problem of evil (ie the emotional revulsion at its presence) by the Incarnation. (God does not impose more than he himself suffers and sustains in suffering.)

    2) God will not demand more than is in our power. So I would not condemn (and neither would the Church) someone who has (eg) never heard of Christ. But you’re not in that position. Neither am I. I was brought up an atheist. You are a Church attending atheist. Both of us have the real possibility of belief and the real possibility of unbelief. So it’s perfectly reasonable for those choices to be morally assessed. (For example, how much courage have we shown? How much willingness to do the hard work of thinking?) It is of course for God to judge the results of that assessment, not I.

  • karlf

    I keep coming back to suffering (not evil) because I never receive any satisfying answers to my questions on this. Only the religious have a problem with explaining why terrible things happen without any intervention from God, but after 2000 years of trying the Christian theory looks very weak from what I have seen. “freedom cannot exist without the possibility of moral wrongdoing” agreed, but do we need smallpox and hookworms as well? But then we mustn’t anthropomorphise God – he’s mysterious and doesn’t have the same values as us. But he suffers like a human? – apparently that’s because we are made in his image (even though our behavioural characteristics can be observed in other evolved animals).
    The Church has a need to contrive such theological theory, and believers have a desire to believe it. I however, have neither the need or the desire, and cannot choose it to be otherwise.

  • Lazarus

    In any theoretical approach to anything, you’re going to find some bits which work incredibly smoothly and obviously, and some bits which don’t. If I were trying rationally to explain the truth of Catholicism as a whole , I wouldn’t start with the problem of evil: it’s one of those bits which is a genuine problem for theists -and I’m perfectly happy to accept that. On a purely philosophical level, I would merely claim that no version of the problem of evil disproves Catholicism. (Crudely, I put up with the difficulties of explaining evil because the other bits of Catholicism are so strong and the difficulties are not sufficient to amount to a knock out blow.)

    The other side of this is that, as a matter of emotion and culture, the Catholic way of dealing with suffering works in a way that I don’t think non-Catholic ways do. (Part of the drive for euthanasia is that atheism provides few techniques for dealing with suffering in a way that Catholicism does.) The fact that, as a technique for enduring suffering, Catholicism works better than atheism is of course not directly an argument for its truth. But if you look at the existential choice here -which system am I going for?- (eg) the general intellectual and emotional strength of Catholicism, the lack of a knock out blow in the problem of evil coupled with the presence of a technique of life that allows you to endure life’s slings and arrows, amounts, I would claim, to a powerful package.

    Putting aside religion, are you completely (intellectually and emotionally) satisfied with your own life and current views? (I’m certainly not -but to satisfy that human restlessness for truth, goodness and beauty, you need to work at the answers. (And my best shot at this is that this is best done in a Catholic context.) This isn’t simply a suggestion that you turn to Catholic materials (although why not?!) but you need to work at that restlessness in some coherent way. At the moment, a lot of what you write comes over as simply ‘can’t be bothered’: you raise the questions, but don’t really go and look for the answers in anything other than a superficial (combox) way. Well, fine, but don’t expect this to take you very far.)

    Perhaps you would claim to be completely satisfied. Well, again, fine. But if you really have no need or desire to pursue these matters, why are you haunting Catholic comboxes and Anglican churches?

  • Acleron

    Christianity was the prevalent religion in the democratic world. It is hardly surprising that any change in the freedom of the individual took place under christianity. But entioning this over and over again does not form a link between christianity and freedom. In fact, any system which enforces irrational belief without evidence is hardly free. Any system which wishes to enforce their mores and rules on others is definitely not free.

    But at the same time as the freedom of the individual has increased, religion in most of the democratic wealthy countries has declined. You try to decry it but in the UK we are wealthier, healthier and the less well off parts of society are certainly happier than 100 years ago. 

    Regarding humans as lumps of meat, well that is all they are. Fortunately, those lumps have a structure that allows fine feats of imagination and logical thinking. We are only now beginning to understand how this happens. No longer do we have to pay the local shaman for a made up understanding, we can find out for ourselves. 

    You have dressed yourselves up with such circular complexities that you are now unable to see the wood for the trees or that the Emperor has no clothes. Your sophisticated theologians have tied themselves up so much that they do not even make sense to each other.

    But as I have pointed out before, your rules of conduct are finally just as flexible as anybody else’s and yet again some edict will be issued to modify your conduct so that you survive in this modern and better world. Sadly, you will never catch up with the rest of us being continually dragged back by the dead weight of your church.

    All you are left with are banal insults, and that really is a shame.


  • awkwardcustomer

    Having looked into this further, I take your point entirely.  And thanks.  I’m embarrassed, to be honest, that I didn’t investigate further, but rashness is one of my many faults.  However, Vladimir Bukovsky’s speech was actually given to a UKIP meeting and I was looking for a written source to link to.  His speech was reproduced in the Brussels Journal and I mistakenly assumed that this was what it claimed to be, a journal for centre-right Conservatives who aren’t too keen on the growing power of the European Union.  It also has a rather inocuous sounding name.

    My first response to you was tetchy to say the least.  Apologies. 

  • karlf

    I feel very fortunate for the life and lifestyle I have, and feel satisfied to believe that I am making progress in acquiring a better understanding of human behaviour (including my own) and like to test my ideas and beliefs through discussion and debate. I also enjoy many aspects of my culture, including distinctly Christian ones. I’m not looking to satisfy my animal nature, but to understand it further and see where that takes me.
    For anyone who believes that a wonderful afterlife awaits them, looming death would most likely be less of a worry than for someone who doesn’t. Believing that God is always there to care for you must be reassuring for a lot of people. If I believed that a kindly benefactor was going to pay £10,000 into my bank account next month I’d feel a lot more reassured about my finances – but I can’t just choose to believe in order to make myself feel better when I see no good reason to think it will happen.
    You must witness yourself how easily people believe what they want to believe – flattery works well in this way. The desire to feel ‘special’ appears to be a universal human trait, and the idea of a loving God fits this very nicely.

  • Lazarus

    A charming packet of assertions, but little more.

    Sticking to the issue of secularism, as you note, freedoms have emerged from societies which are Christian: that is an historical fact. Your claim that, now Western societies (to a great extent) abandoned Christianity, they will continue to progress is, as with most of your points, simply speculation -and, given our current economic collapse, naive speculation to boot.

  • Acleron

    But freedoms are not associated with christianity, they were achieved despite it. All the articles in this newspaper that try to enforce your rules on the rest of us are testimony to that.

    Freedoms have emerged in societies completely free of christianity.

    And I see you are trying to link the lack of religion to the economic problems. As most of the world is non-christian and it is a world-wide problem, according to your logic, we should be in permanent recession. 

  • Bb King

    In response to Lazarus.  The writer’s main claim is that Bishop Nazir-Ali understands what persecution looks like up close and personal.  He was not suggesting the Punjab was divided to make way for a secularist state. Obviously Pakistan is overwhelmingly Islamic.  The fact remains that Rowan Williams, while a pleasant man, has lived a cloistered life in a political bubble.  He has never faced religious persecution on a scale anything like what Bishop Nazir-Ali has faced as a Christian minority in a very hostile land. I happen to know Bishop Nazir-Ali and can tell you he feels strongly about the relevance of his lived experience.  In my view, he should be respected for this.  In the mean time, it is unlikely Dr. Williams will face much persecution from the High Table at Magdalen College either…

  • Acleron

    So who wrote:-

    “secularist agendas which marginalise all faith but seem especially hostile to Christianity” ?

    From the article, it appears that Nazir-Ali wrote this in his book but you seem to be saying that he has only experience of a non-secular state.

  • whytheworldisending

    We are not a properly functioning democracy, but an elective dictatorship, and a tyrranical one at that. The main political parties have been highjacked by an organised minority – Gaytheists, and they won’t be happy until they have destroyed religion. 

  • whytheworldisending

    Persecutions don’t come out of the blue. They creep up on the unsuspecting, and begin with a gradual lowering of the victim’s status in society. Lest we forget, here is a reminder of what happens when atheists get into power:

    Jews were losing their jobs, their businesses…. ….People wonder; how is it that we didn’t do something. We didn’t run away. We didn’t hide. Well things didn’t happen at once. Things happened very slowly, so each time a new law came out, or a restriction, we said, ‘Well…just another thing. It’ll blow over.’ …And the next restriction was that the Jew cannot walk out on the street without the yellow star. We heard that in Germany they had to wear the yellow star before they were taken away, and in Poland they did that… so at that point we were worried.” …… “I couldn’t imagine that they would just take out people from their homes because they are jewish.”…. “We really wanted to believe…and by then the whole European Jewery was already in camps.” (Shoa – The Last Days: 8m30s to 14m35s) 

    Rowan Williams is making a very human mistake. It is called wishful thinking.

  • Acleron

    You really try to lie about history and facts to try to justify your hatred of others.

    Now who could it be who was in charge of the Nazis at the time? Who used christian biblical references, well known to the christian German public, to stir up anti-semitism?

    Ah, it was that well known catholic, Herr Schicklgruber.

    And who was it that sat back and either applauded the holocaust or did nothing about it? Ah, that would be that self same christian German public.

    And who gave an apology for their inaction to prevent the holocaust? Ah yes, yet again that’s the catholics.

    So you start with a false premise, and then proceed with no logic at all to your conclusion that decent atheists are a myth.

    Nice to know that you are so wrong, you have to lie about it.

  • whytheworldisending

    An atheist can call themselves anything they like. Don’t be so easily taken in by labels. The Nazis were atheists, like Stalin, Pol pot and all evil-doers. It doesn’t matter what they call themselves. As the Bible says, “You shall know them by their works.”  The jews didn’t realise how much they were hated by atheists, until it was too late. This is simply th etestimony of holocaust survivors – you call it lies, but the hateful tone of your post is revealing. You wouldn’t be an atheist yourself by any chance? If so, maybe you can explain why atheists have so much hate for people of faith. As the Bible syas, “They hated without reason.”

  • Acleron

    For someone like yourself who is totally confused by the label and reality, it is quite amusing to see the projection.

    Hitler was brought up as a catholic, fact.
    Hitler used biblical imagery to promote anti-semitism, fact.
    He was supported by a population that had been prepped by 2000 years of anti-semitism by christian religions, fact.

    He may, and indeed, it looks very likely that he rejected your particular god, after all, after calling on him for help and believing you were furthering his aims and not getting what you want must be pretty shattering. But the one thing Hitler wasn’t, was an atheist.

    I know it is part of the thinkset of the religious to try and blame everyone else for their own faults, but om this occasion it is a complete fail.

  • whytheworldisending

    You are an atheist and you cannot bear to think that an atheist would do evil. That is a highly irrational position to take, but understandable, since you are simply expressing your subjective opinions – opinions which you feel very attached too, however personal abuse and contradiction is not argument – its just boring. So finally, here’s a definition and a logical argument for you to have a rant about: (1) A Christian is (at least as holy as) someone who believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, to whom all authority in heaven and earth has been given. They believe in Heaven and Hell and eternal damnation for unrepentant evil-doers. (2) No such person deliberately does evil. (For one thing they would be too scared); (3) An Atheist is someone who has heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ and refused to believe (4) Hitler deliberately dared to do evil, therefore he must have refused to believe (If he believed, he would have obeyed Jesus’ teachings) in spite of his “upbringing.” (5) Therefore Hitler was an Atheist.

  • Acleron

    And there you go again just making it up as you proceed. Try addressing the point and not some fabrication of your own making.

    People, whether they are deluded believers or not are quite capable of doing wrong as we judge it from society’s point of view. The trouble with religion is that it drives you into doing wrong. Because some silly book elliptically tells you to do wrong, you do it and then waste your own intellectual effort in trying, quite fruitlessly, to justify the wrong. When all else fails you fall back on the very statement that your god told you to do it. It just happens we know your god didn’t tell you anything, men wrote those words and its about time you woke up to the fact. If your god told you to persecute various groups, as you do, then it would be a pretty obnoxious entity, certainly not anything worth following.

    Most atheists haven’t read your discredited pamphlets, those that have see it for what it is, a rewriting of facts to suit the authors, along with a load of rules designed to keep your priestly caste in power.

    Plenty of the religious do wrong, you do by lying about homosexuals and atheists to start with, does that make you an atheist? Are all the priests who molested children atheists? Is Roger Mahony, one of your leaders an atheist because he broke the law? I assume that will try to argue that you and they broke no ‘religious’ laws. That’s debatable and in the argument you would no doubt change any such laws to suit yourself.

    No, the only reason you want Hitler to be labelled an atheist is because of the global condemnation of his acts. If he had won, you lot would have been happy to hobnob with him, just as you have with other monsters such as Franco.

    As you are obviously either misleading or have been misled about atheism, for your information, an atheist is some one who does not believe in a god, you offer no evidence that Hitler didn’t believe in a god. 

    Your general attempts to demonise your opponents is deplorable, it indicates that after all your bluster has been stripped away, you really aren’t too sure of yourself.