Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Asking Questions about Faith

A post by 3 Minute Theo combines with the results of the 2012 census to make me ponder.

For those of you who don't know, Theo wanders the world under the cover of his pseudonym, Justin, constantly just one step behind George Herbert - a bit like a theological Carrie Fisher in a Christendom analogy of the Blues Brothers. However he took time off to visit a small church community, whose life includes reading the BCP Offices together and looking after some poor people.

And you have to wonder - where's the spiritual reward in that? No wonder institutional religion is down to four old women in a church in Solihull and the Dalai Lama [Burton - can you please check my stats?] 

So the thing that strikes me is that the census is asking the wrong question. It is asking a religion-related question based on our old, category-based divisions. It believes you must be a Methodist, or a Catholic, Jewish or a Shaman. It doesn't allow for the both/and - people who are both Atheist and Church of England, Buddhist and from Burnley, Jewish and a believer in the Ancient Mayan Calender and so on.

If we ever have another census, I suggest we  embrace diversity, plurality and yet also precision with the following question on "Spirituality" rather than "Religion":

What kind of spirituality do you have?

A) I'm definitely a Spiritual kind of person. I'm not saying I have a religion, or believe in a god, but I sometimes get these Spiritual feelings.

B) None

That should sort this year's artificially-massaged-by-humanists figures out.


  1. You can't beat a humanist massage, its a spiritual experience :)

  2. "a bit like a theological Carrie Fisher in a Christendom analogy of the Blues Brothers"

    Yeah, and I'm the one with the bazooka!

  3. "Not particularly religious? Interested? Spiritual? Are you testing me Satan?…

    Aren't you all entitled to your half-arsed musings on the divine. You've thought about eternity for twenty-five minutes and think you've come to some interesting conclusions? Well let me tell you, I stand with 2,000 years of darkness and bafflement and hunger behind me. My kind has harvested the souls of a million peasants and I couldn't give a ha'penny jiz for your Internet assembled philosophy!

    …At least leave a quid for the upkeep!!"

    [from the documentary that Mitchell and Webb made in my parish]


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