Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The contrarianism of bores


Those of little or no faith are back with us again, although I'm not sure they ever went away. They seem at times to be omnipresent, especially when one is in Waterstones. This time they are encouraging us to stop worrying, and love life without God. The weird thing about their smug advertisement is that it appears to be an exercise in pure self-congratulation, just like the preposterous motto that adorns the banner of Richard Dawkin's official website: "A Clear-Thinking Oasis". Unless they are believers in the magical power of the icon, I doubt that they engaged in this trite enterprise on the assumption that some worshipful pedestrian would convert on the spot. And is it really becoming to be so supericilous, purely because one has concluded that there isn't any God? Is it, after all, terribly impressive? And are their talking points so absolutely central to the human prospect? The evidence suggests not. One of the more tedious preoccupations of this conceited confraternity is the taking of offense about the taking of offense. For instance, in a 'debate' some months ago between Stephen Fry and Christopher Hitchens, Fry remarked - to all round approbation - on how some folks think they have a right to complain if they're offended by what you say. Hitchens murmured that complaining about offense was also 'boring' and 'uninteresting'. As if there was anything less enlightening, or interesting, than middle-aged English liberals working themselves into a spuming frenzy over the religious. Frankly, I find it offensive.