Beware the Patronage of Unbelievers

This goes to print on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. So allow me to pitch in to February’s religion-versus-secularism debate from a new direction. As an unbeliever I wish to complain on behalf of serious religious belief. Faith is being defended by the wrong people, in the wrong way.

‘Faith’ means faith. Doubt is not faith. Faith is not seeking but finding. Real Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Jewish believers are being patronised by kindly agnostics who privately believe that the convictions of those they patronise are delusions. A lazy mish-mash of covert agnosticism is being advanced in defence of religion as a social institution. But ‘whatever floats your boat’ is not the wellspring of Judaic belief. The God of the Gap is not the God of Islam. Jesus did not come to earth to offer the muzzy comforts of weekly ritual, church weddings and the rhythm of public holidays.

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