Thursday, 20 June 2013

Living in cloud cuckoo land

The cuckoo apparently doesn't build its own nest, but waits for another bird to build one then hijacks it for itself. That's what came to mind when I heard about 'God' being dropped from the Girl Guides' promise recently.

This change was the subject of Nicky Campbell's phone-in show yesterday (19/6/13) on Radio 5 Live. The final call of the show was horrendous, but not as bad as Nicky's response!

I will paste my email I sent to the BBC today. In it you will get the gist of what the caller and Nicky said.

I write to express my disappointment and dismay at the bias displayed by Nicky Campbell in his phone-in show on Radio 5 Live yesterday (19/6/13). His effort to be impartial was feeble during the show and deplorable at the end when a woman phoned in to say that belief in God is a curse to humanity and responsible for all the bloodshed we have suffered. She said that such an opinion is never voiced publicly.

So what did Mr Campbell do? Did he tell her that actually that line is spouted all the time by people who don't know what they're talking about and swallowed by the unthinking public, and is the subject of books by people like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens which have been feted by the popular press?

Did he point out all the good done in this country and across the world by people inspired by their faith in the God of the Bible (William Wilberforce, George Muller, Thomas Barnardo, Florence Nightingale, Henry Dunant, Elizabeth Fry, Anthony Ashley Cooper, John Howard William Booth, Amy Carmichael, Harriet Beecher Stowe, William Carey, Hudson Taylor, just to name a few!)?

Did he point out that historian W. E. H. Lecky said that Christianity was the 'most powerful moral lever that has ever been applied to the affairs of men'?

Did he point out that universities in UK and USA were by and large founded by Christians and dedicated to the glory of God? That the churches were running schools to educate the poor before ever the state got involved? That modern science was birthed in a Christian culture and spearheaded by Christians who because of their Christian worldview expected to find order and law in creation?

Did he mention that Christianity forbids the use of violence or force in the spread of its message, and that those who kill in the name of Christianity are acting contrary to the commands of Christ and His apostles? (Is there any such law in atheism?)

Did he mention that eliminating belief in God has been tried already, and that atheistic regimes have been responsible for more bloodshed in one century (the twentieth) that all religions in all centuries combined (e.g. Stalin's Russia, Pol Pot's Cambodia, Mao's China, Hoxha's Albania, Mengistu's Ethiopia, Bierut's Poland, Choibalsan's Mongolia)? Did he ask her which of those fine examples of Godless countries she would like to have lived in?

Did he point out the mighty moral change that millions across the world and throughout history have experienced through Christ? The alcoholics and drug addicts who have been liberated, the violent and cruel who have been tamed, the dishonest made honest, the unfaithful made faithful - I could furnish him with any amount of real life examples.

No, he didn't, but rather he encouraged her in her ignorant, intolerant and inflammatory opinion (if a Christian had called atheism a curse he would no doubt be inciting hatred), and said about the Nazis being practicing Catholics and Stalin attending a seminary. This last statement is truly beyond belief and beneath contempt. Yes, he attended seminary, but he then rejected theism and became an atheist! It was as an atheist he demolished churches, killed Christians, censored Christianity and was one of the most ruthless dictators ever - he had abandoned any Christian profession. By Mr Campbell's logic C. S. Lewis was motivated by atheism to write his Chronicles of Narnia because he was once an atheist. It really is one of the most ridiculous statements I have ever heard.

Regarding the Roman Catholic Church and the Nazis, the RC Church certainly was not blameless, but the situation is much more complex than Mr Campbell's comment would make it appear, and the Nazis were certainly not practising Biblical Christianity. Noticeably Mr Campbell made no mention of people like Dietrich Bonhoeffer whose opposition to Nazi dictatorship and genocide of the Jews cost him his life.

What about comparing the record of Christians with atheists? For 2,000 years across the world Christians have been giving their money, sacrificing their comforts, leaving their homes and laying down their lives to minister to the sick, feed the hungry, help the homeless, oppose infanticide, object to the Gladiators, abolish slavery, child sacrifice and widow burning, rescue children and women from prostitution, educate children, reform prisons and labour laws, commence hospitals, schools and universities etc. etc. Can secularists / atheists produce anything remotely comparable?

The subject of the debate - the dropping of God from the Guides' promise - really summarises the secularist / atheist contribution to society: wait for religious people to start something good, noble and helpful, then once the heavy lifting is done come in and demand that God be expelled from it.
Many of us laugh at the notion of BBC impartiality, but with Nicky Campbell's performance yesterday it wasn't funny.