The Halo Halo! column from the May 2011 issue of the Socialist Standard
Socialists understand why people accept religious ideas. What can be hard to understand though is the irrationality of some of the beliefs, or what they will do to back them up.
The idea of sin for example. As far as Christianity is concerned we are all sinners. By design. We’re born with it, whether we want it or not. We were created, apparently, by a god who wants us to be good, yet programmes us with ‘original sin’ at birth. It’s all to do with Adam and Eve eating that apple in the Garden of Eden.
(But if god is all-knowing he must have known that Eve was going to eat the bloody apple – even before he created her. Why didn’t he create her with a bit more will-power?)
When it comes to wacky irrationality though, few are more irrational than Terry Jones in Florida. Jones is the Christian pastor, you remember, who put a Koran on trial in his church. After an eight minute hearing he found it guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to be executed – by being burnt. He has announced his plans to put the prophet Mohammed (who died in 632 AD) on trial next.
The outcome of this (at the time of writing) was that after 2 days of rioting in Afghanistan by Moslems who, in protest of Jones antics, decided to take revenge on Westerners, more than 20 innocent people have been killed (2 by beheading) and numerous more injured. Hopefully the Christian and the Islamic gods will be satisfied with the blood sacrifices made to them so far.
On a happier note it’s recently been announced that a thorn from Jesus Christ’s crown held at Stoneyhurst College (a Jesuit Boarding school in Lancashire) whose previous owners include King Louis IX of France and Mary Queen of Scots is to be displayed at the British Museum.
We know it’s a genuine thorn because according to the Catholic Encyclopaedia “two holy thorns are at present venerated, the one at St. Michaels Church in Ghent, the other at Stonyhurst College both professing, upon what seems quite satisfactory evidence, to be the thorn given by Mary Queen of Scots to Thomas Percy Earl of Northumberland”.
“Quite satisfactory evidence” you see. You can’t argue with that.
The thorn from Stoneyhurst College, which is displayed in its own casket, comes complete with a string of pearls (also once owned by Mary Queen of Scots) entwined around it – well you understand, it’s not just any old thorn – will be on display at the British Museum from 23 June until 9 October.
If you are unable to get there you may like to console yourself by taking advantage of The Socialist Party’s special offer. Anyone taking out a subscription to the Socialist Standard this month will be entitled to a free whisker from Karl Marx’s beard. Like the Catholics and their thorn, we “profess upon what seems quite satisfactory evidence” that our supply of Charlie’s whiskers are genuine.