Her piece is about Holy Week, which began yesterday in the Christian calendar with Palm Sunday.
She then says we can no longer assume that everyone will be aware of the days that make up this week (Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday), because “in a recent UK poll, only 22% could identify what Easter was celebrating”.
Yes, that is shocking, because it’s a matter of general knowledge and history. But, then, I would guess that most people don’t know what several special days are in the calendar, be it a saint’s day or the exact date of the Queen’s birthday or International AIDS Day. Perhaps many don’t know the significance of Bonfire Night or the anniversaries of famous battles.
However, Bunting uses this to “presume” that the “New Atheists” will hold a “fabulous party” to “celebrate” the fact that Christianity as a belief system is collapsing.
Then she has a nasty go at Richard Dawkins by saying he might “stump up for the crates of champagne out of his sumptuous royalties from The God Delusion”.
The implication here is that she thinks his earnings from that book are somehow ill-gotten gains, that, because of the subject matter, he perhaps doesn’t deserve to be paid for his work.
Maybe he will buy a crate of champagne, but that’s entirely up to him, as it’s entirely up to you, Ms Bunting, if you choose to help to pay for a crate of Communion wine for your local church out of your salary.
Increasingly, one hears a distaste for the polemics of the New Atheist debate and its foghorn volume, and how it has drowned out any other kind of conversation about religion: what it is, the loss of it, whether it matters, and what happens in a post-religious society?
Drowned it out? Stop being such a silly cow! Religion is all over the BBC, our national broadcaster. It’s in schools, being shoved down pupils’ throats, whether they want it or not. It gets to lead national days of mourning and celebration.
She goes on:
From sometimes surprising quarters there is an anxiety about the evangelical fervour and certainty of the New Atheists: they are so sure they are right, but there are plenty of people – and many of them would not count themselves as believers – who can’t share their contempt for religion.
She then gives one or two examples.
One wonders where Bunting has been living for the past few years. There’s evangelical fervour aplenty among religionists in this country, and they, too, are sure they are right.
Of course they think they’re right. No one blames them for thinking they’re right any more than atheists should be blamed for thinking they are right.
What so many of the Deluded Herd tend to forget is that religion has had a hold for long enough, and it’s outlived its usefulness. This can be seen by dwindling church numbers and the fact that so many people are now trying to get themselves debaptised.
Then there is the fact that religion is responsible for so much conflict, leading to segregated communities, violence and death. As Richard Nixon once said, “The bloodiest wars in history have been religious wars.”