Sunday, 15 April 2012
The Cult Of Bearded Goons
When considering what should be done with the body of Osama Bin Laden, I once suggested we should dress him up as Lady Gaga and parachute his corpse in over Mecca. I should like to apologise unreservedly for this remark . . . . . to Lady Gaga. It was unfair of me to sully this artists image by associating her with perhaps the greatest bearded goon ever to buckle on sandals. Talking of bearded goons, I can't say I was surprised by today's news of a Taliban offensive in Afghanistan. Between you and me I find everything about this religiously inspired cult offensive, but then we should expect no less from a sect that believes throwing battery acid in the face of women is an appropriate punishment for females who are seeking an education. I might as well speak plainly; these people are dangerous to everything good and decent in society. If we consent to their ideals the world in which we live will be a duller and dumber place. All our laws will come courtesy of the Koran, and our democratic society will become a theocratic one. Females can look forward to a life of 2nd class status, wholly subservient to their male superiors. I've always liked dominant women so I'm particularly bothered by this. Ok, so looking beyond my sexual inclinations I hope we can all recognise what a vile world a Taliban inspired one would look like. Ancient mythology and morality preferred over reason and evidence and science. That's a lethal cocktail of stupidity that all people should be active in the fight against. In fact the war against magical thinking can and should be waged on multiple fronts. I'm not one for extending respect to religion and I'm always delighted to challenge those who make absurd claims about the nature of reality. Granted, the middle class Christians of England are mostly a benign bunch, largely due to them having culled most of their morality from secular enlightenment thinkers, but it's still ok to put them on the spot and get them asking themselves some tough questions about reality. I don't pretend that a world without religion would be a perfect one, but there's nothing to suggest it would be any worse. If you doubt this consider nations such as Sweden and Denmark, both of whom rank incredibly low on scales of religiosity, but nonetheless report high levels of social cohesion, tolerance, and fairness. I think it's high time we spared a long look as these nations, and perhaps learn from them. Above all, we need to accept that, as Sam Harris once observed, no society ever destroyed itself by being too reasonable.