Thy Kingdom Come
I was driving along the M62 on the way to Hull today, and by the side of the road was one of those lorries with an advertising hoarding on its side.
"Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and You Will Be Saved."
At the same time, on the radio, there was a discussion going on about the fact that Tony Blair said he didn't mention his religious faith much when he was Prime Minister in case he was branded a "nutter".
A man calling himself a Secular Activist said (and I paraphrase) that if people wanted to go round believing in fictional characters (his description) then that was fine, but that he didn't think that they should have a say in how the country was run - he mentioned bishops being in the House of Lords, for example.
A woman calling herself a Christian (it doesn't matter what denomination she was) said that if Secular Activist Man didn't believe in God that was fine, because God still believed in him. She said that the absence of religious beliefs in this country showed in the lack of moral values: teenagers carrying knives and many abortions were two things that she mentioned.
By the time I got to Hull I was shouting at the radio.
Firstly, I don't think any kind of advertising should be allowed on the sides of lorries on fields next to roads - if this kind of thing isn't put a stop to it will be everywhere and ruining the view of the countryside from many roads. Making a mess of the countryside in order to advertise God rather than, say, Boggins Carpets, seems to me to be worse, not better.
And although I do try to be tolerant of everyone's beliefs, I think that to have someone running the country who's guided by God and not judgement is not a good thing.
Ah yes, but Tony Blair's convinced that his version of religious faith is the correct one.
And so is everyone who has a religious faith. I expect Saddam Hussain would have called himself a religious man. So it's not a question of fact, just of opinion.
The thing that really infuriates me is when people equate lack of religion with lack of moral values. Why these things should be deemed to be always linked, I don't know. I'm not religious: I do have strong moral values. Why shouldn't there be millions more like me?
Actually, if we didn't have a God to forgive us our trespasses, surely we might think a bit harder before making some of the crasser decisions of our lives: and if we could only stop quarrelling about who believes what then we might actually manage to be nicer to each other. I think that, in the twenty-first century, it's time we grew up and took some responsibililty, and stopped either blaming God or thanking God for things.
Religion eh? Hey, perhaps it'll be politics next, to offend any readers remaining unoffended so far.
I promise you it won't be.