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Friday, 2 August 2013

reasons given in a #HouseofLords #debate by members as to why they aren't #religious

source material is here and was found via a tweet from @churchstate - my mega headlining of what certain members said is below:

Lord Harrison - I sense that religion has neither rhyme nor reason

Baroness Whitaker - Our idea of the good society has its roots in many traditions, some of which are humanism and atheism, and that the contribution of humanist thought is significantly underrated and denied its status in our education and our social policy

Baroness Meacher - I am not against religion, so long as religious believers adhere to the basic ethical principles of empathy and compassion .... and that people of religion should be open to the scientific method when they come to understand how the universe works, even if this requires them to adjust their belief in the supernatural.

Lord Layard - Humanism has done very well on the negative side in rebutting unreasonable beliefs and unreasonable laws but much less well on the positive side in providing a thriving and flourishing secular morality, which is what many of us had hoped it would do. I believe that that failure has had quite serious effects on our society because more and more people have abandoned a morality based on religion.  It has not been replaced with anything as powerful or with the same emotional force as that provided through the churches, so the way has been left open for the increasing growth of a “me first” philosophy of life.

Lord Harries of Pentregarth - I believe that we should recognise and rejoice in what is good, wherever it comes from.  I warmly welcome the contribution that humanists have made to our society.

Lord Maxton - I am an atheist and a humanist, but I am now going to be slightly more divisive than has so far been the case.  I am an anti-clerical atheist.  I do not believe that history proves that the churches and religion have been good for the world."

Baroness Flather - We have never killed anybody in the name of atheism or humanism.  We have never harmed anybody in the name of atheism or humanism.  ..... I became an atheist when I learnt about the Holocaust and read that 3 million Jews had been treated like vermin, and God had not lifted his little finger.  I thought, “No, I do not need a personal God”.  If he could not save 3 million people, he is not going to do anything for me.

Baroness Massey of Darwen -  I studied religious education at A-level and was thrilled by the language of the Bible and moved by stories of self-sacrifice, pride, humility, friendship, human strength and frailty.  I studied other religions as well and began to question why so many of their histories included wars, revenge, killings, verbal attacks, prejudice and bigotry, all in the name of religious faith. .... During my later days at school, I began to think that I had formulated, however imperfectly, a personal code—a secular morality, if you like—which came not from a single god or gods but from curiosity about the human condition, how we function in a problematic world without being constantly shaken by hostile events and how we need the support of other human beings in our struggle to express ourselves and behave with grace and honour.  It is a core of respect or appreciation for self and others. It is a belief in humanity—the knowledge that when things go wrong, someone of good will can offer support. ......I am one of those who think that one does not need to have a religion to behave ethically and morally.

Baroness Warnock - I consider myself to be a Christian by culture and by tradition.  I frequently attend services of the Church of England .....Having said that, I suppose I should confess that I am an atheist.  I do not believe in the literal truth of the narratives of the Judaeo-Christian religion, nor do I believe that it is sensible or realistic to urge people to “return to faith”, as we are sometimes urged. Nor do I believe that you can be urged, or comply with the urging, to believe something that you simply do not believe.

Lord Soley - The problem for people who believe in God is actually a moral one.  The moral issue is that you have to accept that God created life in a form that has to survive off other forms of life. The malaria mosquito that stings the child is not doing it in order that the child can have a better life in future or can somehow rise above it; it is doing it because it has to survive and reproduce. .... That is the fundamental problem for anyone who believes in God, with or without a religion: it means that you no longer have a way of avoiding the problem that maybe yours is a cruel or, at best, a careless God, or something of that nature.  A far better explanation is that in fact there is no God.

Viscount Craigavon - The theme of most of what I want to say may be that it is no bad thing that we have moved away from previous certainties to what I would call constructive uncertainties—the rather amorphous humanist movement, on which it is sometimes difficult to get a firm handle, is testament to that.

Baroness Turner of Camden - I respect others who continue to adhere to their religions; that is a matter for them.  My objections occur only when religious hierarchies attempt to impose their beliefs on those who do not share them.

Lord Warner - Where did it all go wrong for me?  Largely through education and, particularly, the reading and teaching of history: a hefty dose of Darwin, Crusades, Inquisitions and burning witches gets the questioning juices going.  By the age of 15 I had total disbelief in any gods, apart from Denis Compton, or any creed based on the supernatural, an afterlife or organised religion.  It looks to me as though an increasing number of young people in the United Kingdom are getting to this position as they move, quite swiftly in many cases, to reject religious belief.

Lord Taverne - For me, the scientific approach lies at the heart of humanism as well as atheism.  We all accept that science has made us healthier and wealthier.  Since the Enlightenment, which it helped to bring about, science has played an essential part in making us more civilised.  Science is the enemy of autocracy because it replaces claims to truth based on authority with those based on evidence and because it depends on the criticism of established ideas.  Scientific knowledge is the enemy of dogma and ideologies and makes us more tolerant because it is tentative and provisional and does not deal in certainties.  It is the most effective way of learning about the physical world and therefore erodes superstition, ignorance and prejudice, which have been causes of the denial of human rights throughout history.  Science is also the enemy of narrow nationalism and tribalism and, like the arts, is one of the activities in this world that is not motivated by greed .... Without the contribution of science, which is, in my view, the rock on which atheism and humanism are built, we would be less inclined to be critical, tolerant and understanding and more prone to prejudice, bigotry and tribalism.  We would be a less civilised society.

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon - I respect those of all religions and none but I do not respect intolerance in any shape or form, and I utterly condemn oppression and certain practices which are carried out in the name of religion.  For me, it is not people’s beliefs or lack of belief that is important, it is their values, the ethos that governs their life and actions, and the beauty or excellence of their creation.

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