Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Archbishop admits Christianity is just a story

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In a speech seemingly confirming what we've long suspected, that is, representatives of the Church of England probably don't really believe half the things they're supposed to, Rowan Williams this week stated that Christianity is just a story and admitted the religion is "vulnerable".

He was delivering a Holy Week lecture ominously named "Faith and Science" and while he took time to criticise Creationism ("slightly questionable science pretending to be theology") it sounds like he spent much of his time attacking the likes of Richard Dawkins, who he seems to have named "neo-Darwinists": "Science can be seduced into making exaggerated claims. Neo Darwinism of Dawkins' kind carries with it a rather subjective agenda ... It is as vulnerable as Christianity"

Still, at least he admitted his own position is pretty tenuous. And in the week when Christians recall a monumental event which may or may not have actually happened, but which shaped the following 2,000 years of human history, this seems somewhat appropriate. According to The Times, which unfortunately lacks a direct quote for this bit, Williams said that "Both Neo Darwinism and Christianity are telling stories ... Christianity acknowledges that fact, Neo Darwinism doesn't."

Well, just a couple of issues with that statement. The Times kindly explain that "Neo Darwinists argue that culture is subject to evolutionary forces which will eventually weed out religion", which presumably means Dawkins and his memes theory. Whether it's tenuous or not, I'm not sure advancing a theory is quite the same as telling a story. Saying someone rose from the dead, walked on water and turned some other water into wine is telling a story. But it's okay, because apparently Christians "acknowledge that fact". Try telling that to a lot of the Christians celebrating (is celebrate the right word?) Easter this coming weekend – like these sensible people, for example.

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