Saturday, 20 April 2013

No Religion


I recently saw a guy in Tesco wearing a T-shirt with the words Imagine No Religion combined with an image of the New York skyline. Similar to the above picture with the Twin Towers still standing.

What did he mean? No Buddhism, No Jehovah’s Witnesses, No Catholics, No Scientism, No Plymouth Brethren, No Environmentalism, No Socialism? 

Or did he mean No Islam but wasn’t prepared to walk round Tesco with that particular message on his rather capacious chest?

I suppose he could even have been arrested if he’d been more specific and someone claimed to be offended by his chest message. 

Arrested for being specific, now there’s a thought, and not a new one either. The crime of specificity.


Sam Vega said...

I think there are some people who think that all religions (in the sense of all sets of organised views involving any element of supernaturalism) are pernicious. But, as your list makes clear, it would be very difficult to differentiate between a religion and a belief system of another type.

I like your idea of specificity. We tend to shy away from it because the specific is where the pain and hatred lies. The misogynist doesn't hate all women; merely his mother and his ex wife and that nasty woman down the road. Even the Islamophobe doesn't really hate all Muslims - just the ones who instantiate his ideas of what bad Muslims do.

To put it another way, maybe we need the general in order to safely express fear or rage.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps his granny knitted it for Christmas, for grannies are of that gentle sandal and pachouli wearing era. Religion mostly meant Malcomb Muggeridge and hand-wringing but not much else.

In granny's day the cops were fairly good humoured about such eccentricities, now the poor devils risk a knife in the gizzard and are hence a bit more grumpy. Be wary of enthusiasts.

A K Haart said...

Sam - I do think we need the general, although whether it is a healthy way to express ourselves I'm not so sure. It seems to leave the field in the hands of monomaniacs.

Roger - maybe we are wary of enthusiasts and that was really the guy's beef.