I guess he’s a comedian, but I can’t really be sure he’s funny…
‘Atheists we might see as people like those who deny global warming. You might defend their choice to believe that as freedom of speech – but if they are wrong and people are taken in, it could be disastrous for millions of people.
Oho! Zing! Yes, Frank, atheists are dangerous. Why, being an atheist is just like denying the consensus view of the scientific community, and if we admit we’re atheists rather than just shut up about it, we’re dooming millions of people to death and suffering!
Never mind that the vast majority of scientists are, in fact, atheists… “On the comedy circuit, it’s incredibly cool to be an atheist.” And therefore, atheism is really all about following the latest trends. People don’t give up their religion because of sincere doubts and a disillusionment with the enforced/embraced mystery we call ‘faith’ – they do it to be cool! “It’s bad that atheism has got to be a cool position.”
Other comments from Frank’s discussion at Canterbury Cathedral are comedy gold:
To applause from the audience, he said: ‘If you believe in God all bets are off. The Red Sea can part. There’s a temptation to give a bit of ground to rationality. But if you believe in God, why shouldn’t there be angels?’
Yes… in other words, “if you’re tempted to be rational, FUCK THAT! Go 100% in your belief in magic. The crazier, the better.”
Whatever you say about him, it was nice of Frank to admit that the draw of religion isn’t its relationship with the truth, but rather its ability to inspire:
Skinner also urged priests and vicars to improve their sermons, which he said were too often uninspiring, and their delivery.
He said: ‘People come to church out of a sense of duty, so maybe preachers don’t have to try hard enough.’
It was also nice to see him admit that religion is a great artificial separator as well:
Later in the 90-minute conversation, he compared the plurality of world’s religions to football, where fans all loved the game but blindly followed their team. ‘They all gave some sort of allegiance to his great game, but it’s compartmentalised by tribalism,’ he said.
Yes… religion is mostly about culture and very rarely about a rational, critically-thought-out approach to supernatural claims. But when it’s your religion… well, then, of course it’s the truth by which all others must be judged! After all, your god is real and thus your Specially Revealed Religious Scripture™ is the truth.
If you’ll excuse me, I’ll be watching some stand-up from a comedian who is actually witty…