Search

‘Being religious has never been a guarantee of goodness’

14:30 13 February 2013

Paul Kaufman

Paul Kaufman

Archant

Chair for East London Humanists Paul Kaufman

Some argue that religion is vital and relevant because of the good religious people do.

And there is no doubt that many religious people do a lot of good things.

But so do people who are non-religious. There is no evidence that there are proportionately fewer of us who give our time and money to good causes; or who occupy the caring professions; or that we are any less kind or considerate than the religious. It is human values which motivate us to do the right thing.

Unlike some religious people, we feel no need to advertise our beliefs when we act.

Being religious has never been a guarantee of goodness. The abuse of children in the Catholic church is just one dreadful example of this.

From the crusades to the inquisition, from Afghanistan to Northern Ireland, religion is associated with conflict and bloodshed.

It seems that for some religious people the more devout they are the more they are prepared to harm others in the name of their faith.

That is not to minimise the good that is done by many religious individuals and groups. Indeed the government has seized on their eagerness to take on work in the community and David Cameron, in his speeches on what he calls the Big Society, describes his aim of outsourcing programmes to such groups.

Humanists fear the risk of discrimination and bias where faith groups become involved in providing for the community at large.

For example, will a faith group with responsibility for family planning give impartial advice on abortion?

And religious and non-religious alike should consider the real agenda behind Cameron’s proposals. They may be welcomed by faith groups and suit their own interests.

However, they are integral to the Con-Dem policy to cut public spending. They turn the clock back to a time when governments washed their hands of responsibility for taking care of the poor, the sick and the homeless, and they fly in the face of what most people expect from a modern welfare state.

0 comments

Latest News Stories

10 minutes ago
Luke and Skywalker are recovering well after being found with severe injuries in Victoria Park. Picture: Celia Hammond Animal Trust

Two adorable young cats found horrifically injured and dumped in an east London park have sparked an outpouring of generosity from animal lovers.

Celia Hammond Animal Trust
47 minutes ago
Women gathered at the gurdwara in Manor Park for worship and free food Picture: Dharam Sahdev

Worshippers have been leading women-only prayer sessions at Shri Guru Ravidass Ji Gurdwara Sahib.

12:10
The plane attempting to land at Newham's City Airport

A passenger plane was forced to abandon a landing after being dangerously battered by strong winds.

United Kingdom
The fire is believed to have been caused by unattended candles

Two men tried to extinguish a fire that broke out in a flat in East Ham yesterday evening.

London Ambulance Service

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Sony Smart Ultra HD 55'' LED TV

Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience in your living room with the Sony Smart Ultra 55’’ LED TV. Be the envy of all your friends with this huge TV- you can change your living room into your own cinema! Get the boys around to watch the football or get the girls around to watch the DVD of 50 Shades.. this is a prize that everyone would enjoy! Stand a chance to upgrade your current entertainment system by wining this fantastic prize.

Read more
Surface Pro 4

Technology is ever evolving. We are constantly being shown new technology that is innovative, revolutionary and designed to make life easier for us all. Gone are the days of dial up modems and computers so large you needed half a room to store it. We are in the age of smooth, small and sleek. Companies are all trying their best to create technology that is easy to transport and guaranteed to be user friendly.

Read more

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Newham Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe