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Archive for February, 2011

Mumsnet

17/02/2011 2 comments

The website Mumsnet has been in the news recently. Apparently it is courted by politicians of all persuasions anxious to see what mothers think of their policies on the family. Not being a Mum, I hadn’t paid much attention, but the other day I browsed it out of curiosity. On one of the forums I stumbled across this discusion. The start is:

DD is 10. Tonight she has got out of bed to ask if she has been christened. I explained that no, she hasn’t (DH and I are atheists) and that if she wanted to enter a religion when she is older, she can make her own mind up.
I asked her why she wanted to know, and she said a group called CRIBS had come to her (non-religious) school, and had talked about heaven.
She said they were told that if you were not christened, then when you die you are ‘in limbo’ and cannot go to heaven. She is now really worried about this.
I told her that it’s just their interpretation, and how do we know what the truth is, as no-one has ever come back to prove it! Also reminded her that there are many religions, they can’t all be right!
Is it worth mentioning to the school?

Interesting to see that almost all the respondents were aghast at what was going on. Perhaps, the politicians paying Mumsnet such flattery will take account of opinions like these?

(Incidentally, I Googled CRIBS and they do seem – to my eyes – quite sinsister.)

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The Vicar’s Coming Round, Quick Hide the Dawkins…

10/02/2011 1 comment

The Church of England’s baptism rite is in the news at the moment. Apparently, they’ve noticed that fewer and fewer children are being baptised and have concluded that, rather than people being less and less interested in religion, it is due to the archaic wording of the service. It goes on about “entering the Kingdom of Heaven” – or so they say: I was one month old when I was done so my memory is a little hazy.

Last week as we left Church, we got chatting to the Vicar – all good face-time. Make sure he sees us in the pews and knows who we are for when the all important letter needs signing. He asked if our children had been baptised. If I’d been quick, I’d have just lied and said “Yes”. (I’m sure there’s a record in the CofE somewhere, but he’s hardly likely to check it.) Unfortunately, my wife was quicker and more honest. The children haven’t been baptised. He suggested we do something about it and has offered to come round for a chat.

Hence the title of this post. My bookshelf is full of books by Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett, Grayling of the “new” atheists, and some “old” atheists like Russell and Flew. Some popular science on Darwin and some sceptical biblical criticism. I even have a copy of the Book of Mormon I pinched from a US hotel room. Thankfully, there’s also a Bible in the house somewhere.

As I contemplate moving at least a shelf-full of the more damning ones, I wonder if we’ve got too involved….