Respect Atheists – God is with them
Maybe hidden, but God is active in my life as well as those of believers according to Cardinal Murphy O’Connor. Apparently this means that I deserve respect on the basis of a super natural being that is involved in my day to day life – hidden so it cannot be observed, proved and known; only a mystery that can be appreciated as such.
The Cardinal believes that a secularist society is intolerant of religion. When really it is about not allowing religious sensibilities deny others their human rights and access to services and goods as citizens. You do not have the right to treat others unfairly because your faith apparently allows you to do so. Nor to encourage a policy that would reduce the use of contraceptives and increase unplanned pregnancies – a dogma that would make the human condition worse if realised.
If you are going to respect me perhaps try doing so by understanding the position that I hold. That by thinking liberty and freedom so important that a free mind should not be shackled by something which cannot and must not be questioned. That with an ability to reason it is entirely fair to hold any idea or pronouncement to account and ask for the evidence and to scrutinize. That the welfare of a people should not be sacrificed to a sky god whose evidence for existence is the same as if not being there at all. That in the public sphere ideas and principles should be as universal as possible – that is, they do not depend on someone having the same faith as you or believing that only one person or group is right unquestionably. That no human is a prisoner to the beliefs of another – that we are autonomous, individuals at our best when we respect our differences and not intimidated by not being the same.
[EDIT:Richard Dawkins was interviwed by John Humphrys about the cardinal here]
The full article from BBC News is below:
‘Respect atheists’, says Cardinal
The Archbishop of Westminster has urged Christians to treat atheists and agnostics with “deep esteem”.
Believers may be partly responsible for the decline in faith by losing sense of the mystery and treating God as a “fact in the world”, he said in a lecture.
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor called for more understanding and appreciation between believers and non-believers.
The leader of Roman Catholics in England and Wales said that a “hidden God” was active in everyone’s life.
The Cardinal’s lecture at Westminster Cathedral comes after a spate of public clashes over issues such as stem-cell research, gay adoption and faith schools.
Mystery of God
He expressed concern about the increasing unpopularity of the Christian voice in public life, saying: “Our life together in Britain cannot be a God-free zone and we must not allow Britain to become a world devoid of religious faith and its powerful contribution to the common good.”
Last year, he complained of a “new secularist intolerance of religion” and the state’s “increasing acceptance” of anti-religious views.
To stem this tide, he said Christians must understand they have something in common with those who do not believe.
God is not a “fact in the world” as though God could be treated as “one thing among other things to be empirically investigated” and affirmed or denied on the “basis of observation”, said Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor.
“If Christians really believed in the mystery of God, we would realise that proper talk about God is always difficult, always tentative.
“I want to encourage people of faith to regard those without faith with deep esteem because the hidden God is active in their lives as well as in the lives of those who believe.”