Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Faith, Lies and Prejudice

Hats off to Danny Carr. In a Guardian article he has described his so far futile attempts to get de-baptised from the Church of England.
It may seem a trivial matter but there's an important principle involved. Why should someone continue to be recorded as a member of an organisation with which they fundamentally disagree against their will?

On the 20th April 2005, I raised this issue in relation to the Catholic Church. Here's an extract:

"In recent weeks we keep being told that there are one billion Catholics in the world.That's 1,000,000,000. Does anything strike you as odd about that figure? Well, it's wonderfully round and precise for such a huge number. You don't usually get that when you're dealing with astronomically large numbers...........So how do they arrive at that figure of one billion? The first source I found on Google just said that there are various criteria for determining membership but didn't elaborate. The most accurate criterion would obviously be those who attend mass regularly. But then I found some statistics published in the newspaper of the Holy See which reveal that the one billion figure (give or take a few hundred thousand) is based on the number of people baptised Catholics. So you can take that figure with a bucketful of salt. In fact you can take it with the contents of all the salt mines on the planet and you'd still end up with a massive over-estimate......It's a cunning trick of the Catholic church that, so far as they are concerned, you can never leave it. If you're baptised as a non-reasoning infant, you're a Catholic for life."

It's reasonable to assume that the membership figures for all the religions are similarly grossly inflated. They could teach politicians a thing or two about misleading statistics. And I thought that honesty was supposed to be a principle of all the leading religions.
I wish Danny Carr luck but no doubt the churches will claim exemption from the Data Protection Act, just as they seek exemption from equality legislation.

In other church news, you should look at a post on Elizabeth Pisani's blog about a Catholic poster campaign in Tanzania with the message that condoms kill.
'Shocking' doesn't begin to describe it.

And on a day when Stonewall published a report showing that homophobic bullying in schools is far worse today than in previous decades, two schools in Bristol have had to halt lessons to counteract such bullying because of objections from Muslim parents.


At 6:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Germany, you can go to a regular little haven of bureaucracy and leave the Catholic or Lutheran church. This is, ostensibly, so that you don't have to pay the church tax, which only applies to members of those two churches here (as they are the state religions) and I don't know if the church actually considers you an ex-Catholic or ex-Lutheran. I was still thrilled to be able to tell my mother I'd done it, at least.

At 4:04 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

For that, we salute the Germans.
I bet you're still counted in their membership statistics though.


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