Well, that was easy.
Actually, I do have a reason for the post. There is an article from his smarminess Rabbi Shmuley Boteach at the Huffington Post with the same question as its title. I imagine it is unnecessary to state that he reaches a different conclusion to me.
His opening salvo about Britain includes:“Its principle religious exports today are thinkers who despise religion. From Richard Dawkins, who has compared religion to child abuse, to my friend Christopher Hitchens, who titled his 2007 book God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, the British have cornered the market on being anti-God … “
Neatly ignoring Sam Harris, and the fact that, although he is British, the vast majority of Hitchens’ work, life and outlook has been in the US of course, the Rabbi begins to draw a distinction, which he considers the beginning of his coup de grace, between the dangerously secular and skeptical Brits and good and godly Americans.
A smattering of (frankly rather encouraging) statistics regarding the relative degrees of religiosity in the US and UK later, and he continues:“Europeans are in the habit of making fun of American evangelicals as backward religious knuckle-draggers who believe that Adam and Eve ate apples with a talking snake. “
Well, yes. Those of them who do believe that are asking for ridicule, and far be it from us to deny them!“But for all this condescension, evangelical Christianity in the United States represents the single largest voting block in the world’s sole superpower.”
And this is a good thing, Rabbi?! The fact that over 22 MILLION people make decisions on their votes in the temporal world on the basis of their spiritual beliefs is incredible, if not downright bloody frightening!
Moving on, the Rabbi further develops his “argument”:“My British friends argue that the demise of religion is a good thing, proving sophistication in sharp contrast to the religious hobos of America who speak in tongues and talk to dead people. I beg to differ.”
Well, colour me fucking stunned.
The Rabbi disagrees that the demise of religion is a good thing; oh really? The fact, Rabbi, that you disagree with it is not an argument in and of itself!“… historian Paul Johnson makes the case that the remarkable growth of the U.S., from pioneering backwoodsmen to the most powerful and innovative nation on earth, was largely fueled by religious fervor.”
Yup. No – or little – argument there. I’ll also grant that the vast majority of art, literature and architecture (to name but three areas) throughout history have been influenced or caused by religion. That doesn’t make it either (a) right or (b) good. Neither does it make it relevant or helpful in modernity!“From the piety of the pilgrims to the faith-based values of the country’s founders ….”
OOOOH! You cheeky bugger! You don’t just get to slide that claim in!
There’s strong evidence that majority of the founders of the US were either atheist, agnostic or – at most – deists. “Faith based values?” Bollocks! More like the beginnings of a concept of rights inherent to humanity, not derived from some supernatural hobgoblin!“British influence in the world has, in contrast, gone off a cliff over the last century. And while there are many factors in this decline, I would argue that the new, militant atheism that is becoming characteristic of Britain is a key reason.”
Ok then, if you “would argue” it’s a key reason, please do so. Don’t state it baldly, as though it were a brute fact, and expect us all to accept it blindly; we’re not in the synagogue now, Rabbi!
Note, not just “a reason” or “a factor” but “a key reason”. As though no other factors could even come close! Never mind the collapse of empires worldwide, emancipation of suppressed peoples, devastating wars in Europe, reassessment of ownership of natural resources …. et cetera ad infini-fucking-tum!“Atheism is a philosophy of nihilism in which nothing is sacred and all is an accident. While it has some brief, flashy moments, life is purposeless and meaningless.”
Learn what the FUCK atheism IS and ISN’T!!
And until you do, please stop fucking writing about it!” … life is purposeless and meaningless. There is no soul to illuminate and no spirit to enliven — just dead, decadent flesh.”
FUCK OFF! You can’t state that as a “fact”! I’m an atheist – as people may have gathered – as are many of my dear friends. Our lives have great purpose and meaning and, while we don’t accept the soul, our lives are “enlivened”!
(Aside: is the Rabbi advocating necrophilia? If not, how to reconcile flesh which is both dead AND decadent?!)“… poetry and faith are shallow distractions masking the inevitability of our certain demise.”
Faith, yes; poetry, however, is not shallow, nor a distraction. Please stop trying to conflate YOUR prestidigitations with art and beauty.
You lie to and abuse people; poetry elevates.” … women are genetically programmed to seek out billionaire hedge-fund managers … “
Rabbi, please call Richard Dawkins and ask him if women can be genetically programmed thus! Seems unlikely to me …
And it goes downhill from there.
So, Rabbi, NO!
Godlessness is NOT dooming Britain; in fact, it’s our only hope. Godliness, however, may be dooming the whole of humanity.