Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Dawkins and Hester in the media.

I was astonished twice in recent weeks to hear a couple of amazing interviews; one on radio and the other on television. The first one was on the Radio 4 breakfast news magazine and was with Richard Dawkins and Giles Fraser formerley of  St Paul's Cathedral. Dawkins was championing his mini census, taken on the back of the official census question which asks people to say which religion they are. Dawkins is not happy with the number of people who say they are Christian and wants to challenge this. His agenda is of course that if he can show that there are far less Christians (really) than the census throws up, we then reduce the grounds for claiming that we are a Christian country, and for having Christian emblems and people and rites in places of privilege and authority. With this latter argument I do not have a problem. Christianity does well to avoid being associated with privilege and power. However, Dawkins uses a very rigorous set of questions in order to weed out the vast majority. He asks questions about frequency of church attendance, prayer and Bible reading, Bible knowledge and so on. Those not able to answer the questions to Dawkins' satisfaction should then be reclassified as non Christians. There is something very arrogant about not allowing people to self describe or self define. Fraser emphasised this nicely when he challenged Dawkins according to his own principles and asked him to state the full title of Darwin's book on the origin of the species. Dawkins stumbled over that, at which Fraser asked if he could rightly claim to be an evolutionist? The lovely irony of the whole thing, the elephant in the room so to speak, was the fact that Dawkins could only do what he is doing because of the Christian legacy this country enjoys. It is precisely because we are a Christian country that he has the freedom to attack the Christian Faith in the way he does. It was a lovely piece of radio.

The other entertaining interview was with Stephen Hester over the massive losses incurred by RBS last year. Hester had the temerity to say that this was a sign of success: a sign that the bank was putting its house in order and moving away from high risk banking. Presumably this success was why he was awarded such a nice big bonus (again) by his board. O, to be able to redefine failure as success and enjoy the sweet fruits of having it named as such. I think Hester could do worse than tread the boards at comedy night at the Apollo.

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