Last week Coalition leader-in-waiting Joe Hockey made a speech to the Sydney Institute about the evils of religious ‘literalism’, and this week senator Nick Xenophon called Scientology a ‘criminal organisation’ that should have its tax-exempt status revoked. (I agree, but why stop at Scientology?)
I’d like to think it’s because the increasingly vocal atheist community is getting noticed as a potential vote-winner … but sadly, ‘tis not the case.
Hockey has no time for atheists, despite taking the same line as Dawkins on fundamentalists. The interesting thing though, is that he has no time for theists either.
Hockey wants to promote a kind of touchy-feely deism, where scriptures can be accepted or ignored as you like and God doesn’t intervene in the world in any meaningful fashion.
Sounds a lot like atheism doesn’t it?
It strikes me that that’s what moderates like Hockey effectively are. They just choose to eschew the label.
Why? Maybe it’s the desire to distance themselves from the Dawkinses and Hitchenses of the movement. Or maybe it’s the inexplicable desire to continue considering the bible a source of meaning and purpose.
Either way, I’d like to see more moderates calling out the literalists in their midst. But I can understand why many don’t.
After all, to remove the literalists from Christianity is to remove the movement’s core support base.
Without those who consider God an extant interventionist force, and the political and financial clout they bring with them, Christianity would be just another school of philosophy.
And not a particularly interesting one.