Enforced Religion

Discussion in 'The Quarterdeck' started by OSLO, Oct 22, 2007.

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  1. I've always found the concept of Christianity and being in the military a tad contradictory (if you are Christian => adhere to the 10 Commandments => do not kill!). But what REALLY got my goat when I was in was being forced to a) go to church at BRNC, b) being forced to go to a church service when a YO and c) the religious elements of parades.

    As I've said in another thread, when a young whipper-snapper at BRNC who didn't know better, agnostic that I was, I ended up going to the CofS, enticed by Charles Stuarts cynical look at life at BRNC, with services that made very little mention of God (much less the rest of Christianity) and more focus on team spirits and "don't let the bar stewards get you down" stuff. Later when a YO, I successfully threw the book (nearly literally) at the senior staff who tried to force me to go to church services, having found out about QRRNs.

    Now a staunch atheist, I find the continued enforcement of religion at BRNC and IST (or whatever it is called these days) theocratic nonsense. Moreover, in the era of a multicultural society, the concept of a non-denominational service is ridiculous as it is insulting.

    Surely if God and faith is a personal matter, they should remain so and not be enforced through service traditions.
  2. I could not agree more with you on your principal point.
    For some reason whilst many of our fellow EU countries have gone down the secular path, we cling to this religious element.
    Why I don't know; but possibly perhaps because it has been a long time since real religious strife in the UK; excepting in Ireland, and time has dimmed the memory.
    To my mind many of the last prime ministers decisions were heavily infuenced by catholicism. If not a catholic himself his wife is a devote member of that religion.
    With Guy Fawkes coming up perhaps now is the time for people to remember that things have not always been so peaceful.
  3. I couldn't agree more. I have no problem with people having religious views, and worshipping whatever make believe entity they wish to, but please don't try to force your views on me. I have a good friend who just happens to be a CofE (High Anglican) vicar, he knows I am an atheist and so when we are in each others company, he avoids religious subjects as much as possible and I try to avoid saying "For God's sake", "Jesus Christ......" etc. Fairs fair after all :thumright:
  4. At Ganges we went to a different service each week just to break the monotony.
  5. From the Armed Forces Guide On Religion:

    As an atheist, it gripped my sh*t when, 3 years ago, we were ordered to attend a carol service in Marlborough Block at Collingwood, and then bollocked en masse by the Cdre for not singing well enough!! :shakefist:

    Edited for crap typos
  6. Yawn.
  7. Thanks for that well thought out contribution. BTW, why did you bother?
  8. As a total atheist, Church Parades and the like used to p**s me off. It then dawned on me that it was the tradition that was important and not the religion. Historically, we are a Christian Nation that just happens to have its Monarch as the head of its Church. We could, of course, change it but then it wouldn't be tradition. See it as part of the ceremony and not something you are supposed to actually believe in. We don't carry swords because we still fight with the things, do we?

    I don't mind a bit of ancient superstition that inspired people to great works of art, be it music or buildings. It's now part of the fabric of our still great country. In the past, it inspired people to great acts of faith, misguided or not, and bravery. They were simple people in simpler times who would probably never question that they were following big G's bidding and that he was on their side. I don't believe in big G but I would not belittle their beliefs nor think less of their sacrifice.

    In recent years, I've also seen this from a different angle. One of the great threats to civilisation is currently Islam. In the clothing of Christianity, we can negotiate and treat with Islam, however futile that may prove. At least we can pretend a shared God. From personal experience, I can vouch for the futility (and, a couple of times, the sheer bloody danger!) of discussing life, the Universe and everything with these people with one's atheist hat on. When in Muslim countries, now, I let them simply believe I'm a Christian and keep quiet about my true feelings. This is not cowardice but life is too short to spend time head butting a brick wall.
  9. Can open, worms everywhere. Islam is no more a threat to society than any other monotheistic religion. It just so happens that today's fundamentalist zealots revere Mohammed rather than Jesus Christ.

    As for the "it's all tradition", so was hanging, keel-hauling, lashing, believing that "thar be dragons" and that the Earth was flat. Fortunately, things have moved on. As for the merits/demerits of religion as a whole, although I don't agree with his tone, Dawkins has it spot on in "The God Delusion" (ok, so I do agree with his tone!). It still doesn't excuse the enforcement of not only the flavour of religion that the Forces push, but that they push religion itself. If people want to pray to whichever flying spaghetti monster they wish, then crack on. But a) don't force others to follow and b) keep it to themselves.
  10. Passed-over-loggie, has, as usual, some very good points.

    Oslo, Type 42 Stoker, etc, I imagine that you must be very popular on your ships as I expect you always volunteer for Christmas and Easter duties! And of course you never expect Christmas presents or Easter eggs!!

    I fully respect the atheist view (we are all entitled to our mistakes...;) ) but I don't respect atheists who still expect to enjoy the benefits of Christianity.

    The reason I typed "Yawn" earlier is that, yet again, I see a supposedly RN themed wedsite being hijacked. This subject has been done to death...and resurrected yet again. I thought atheists didn't believe in resurrection??
  11. Britain, alone in Europe, retains reserved seats in the legislature (House of Lords) for CofE Bishops and our legal system is grounded in Christian theology (see Blackstone). In 1948 the Education Act resulted in many church schools coming within the ambit of the state education system and a settlement was reached whereby all state financed schools have since then been under an obligation to promote Christianity via a daily act of Christian worship and RE lessons as an integral component of the curriculum.

    The scope of the 1948 Act has yet to be challenged in Strasbourg, though in view of the government's requirement that any future Humanist schools, as a condition of their being granted state funding, must hold a daily act of Christian worship unless the CofE grants them exemption, in violation of Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights, change may come sooner. I suspect that unless the CofE grant Dartmouth permission to desist from imposing divine service no change will occur until the matter is subjected to judicial review in the High Court and beyond, notwithstanding QRRN!
  12. It's been resurrected as the debate was picking up on another thread. If you don't want to join in, then don't. We aren't discussing the merits/demerits of religion here (at least not in any depth), what we ae debating is the imposition of religion in the Forces, and not any particular faith. That I am atheist in no way diminished the argument, any more than I would be equally irate if I were a theist of whatever flavour. Faith is, and will always be, a personal matter. It has no place in the mandated tenets of a modern Armed Force.

    As for presents on the Pagan festivals that you mentioned, I use the (Christian?) approach that it is better to give than to receive! Honest!

    And anyway, xmas and easter duties were always better - quieter days, better nosh and you then get the day off in lieu when the shops are open, or celebrate again with the whole family. Where's the problem?
  13. I have no problem with instruction in RE, any more than I believe that pupils should study culture, sociology and politics. An understanding of religion is necessary to understand one's own culture and law (all law essentially stems from the same tenets) as well as understanding others' religion, culture and society.

    As for the position of CofE bishops in the House of Lords, the sooner we have an elected second chamber, the better!
  14. The problem with instruction is that religion can't jsut be studied from a distance, it has to be lived in or "sampled" which is why, I expect 4 Sunday attendances are normally compulsary at BRNC or Raleigh. I was told that it was good preparation for future remembrance sundays etc.

    My criticism of this thread was rather that it reminds me of a religious version of the SA80 vs SLR threads... :) I must stop commenting here then!
  15. Religion is far more than attending a sunday service. You don't get an insight into Catholicism from going to a single Mass anymore than you understand Judaism by going to a synagogue one Friday evening. As for preparation for Remembrance Sundays, what aspects of the Sundays would those be?
  16. I see what you mean, but what I mean is that you can read about faith all you want, but you also need to experience it as well.
  17. chieftiff

    chieftiff War Hero Moderator

    I have no idea why training establishments insist on Church attendance, however I suspect it is for several reasons:
    Tradition- we are after all a christian nation.
    Reflection- in the stress imposing atmosphere of training Church is a peaceful place.
    Understanding- whilst I get the point that you won't learn about a religion simply by attending Church at least you get the flavour.
    Pastoral care- It introduces the padre as someone who is available for support should you feel it necessary.

    I suspect these are but a few reasons, I could think of more, I don't think enforced religion is actually the agenda. I am a confirmed atheist myself but I hold no major grudge against the Church (except perhaps a historical grudge in that science was held back by certain power crazy zealots but that's my problem!) Morality in the Church is at least well expressed if not well adhered to and for that I have always encouraged my kids to attend, I go to Church for weddings, funerals and Remembrance Sunday not letting my feelings offend my friends or those I respect. In short anything that does not actually set out to brainwash me is a learning experience, I respect people with faith although I don't share their enthusiasm, simply going to church has never ever bothered me. (and I always sing hymns in a really loud, enthusiastic and embarrassing voice)
  18. Faith is believing in something for which there is absolutely no evidence. By default, that can never be experienced by a second. As for "experiencing religion", it is not up to the Armed Forces to extend your religious education, wouldn't you agree?
  19. This is a good site if you're an atheist, and want to discuss some stuff with other atheists, including those in the Armed Forces:


    For the record, I believe in fairies at the bottom of my garden, and there's only so much made up shit that I can do in one day.
  20. Are you telling me that belief in the efficacy (eventually) of change through politics is a Faith? :pukel: That must mean that my socialism is a faith position and anyone of insults socialist ideology is attacking my faith? :toilet:

    As for Dawkins: how can he argue against something he has not studied? It's rather like critiquing evolution without studying it: a faith position. So then Dawkins is a man of Faith! :biggrin:

    For the record I'm a Humanist (lapsed Christian) who reads theology and religious philosophy (well the concept of agency, actually) and love contrasting etymologically correct translations of religious texts* with contemporary mistranslations of those same texts. Those deliberate, emotion driven, mistranslations arguably are blasphemous, but I digress.

    *Reading the original NT Greek (or Coptic or Hebrew) texts and looking at what those words meant in literature written around the same time (and ideally in the same region) as against theopolitically correct (TPC) notions of what words mean! For example we know Onesimus was a slave NOT bonded labour and NOT a hired servant, as some modern mistranslations would have us believe (eg NIV)! O for the days of Peake's Commentary [CofE incidentally]!

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