You may recall that Mary Kenny took exception to the atheist bus slogan displayed in this post. This is what she said in the Guardian:
Far from relaxing and enjoying life, most atheists I have encountered are gloomy blighters with a depressing and nihilistic message that there is no purpose to life so where’s the point of anything? They so often fall into the category defined by GK Chesterton: ‘Those that do not have the faith/Will not have the fun.’ You only have to attend one of their dreary humanist funerals to see that – I am never going to another of those, just to be made miserable.
Having realised that she has tapped into a rich comic vein here, Kenny has recycled the ‘boring old atheists’ routine in the Independent.
I’ve never yet met an atheist with a sense of joie-de-vivre (unless, in the case of one well-known public atheist, a certain drunken cordiality) most of them seem to be miserable blighters. Read GK Chesterton’s great poem ‘The Ballad of the Sad Athiest’. It perfectly describes this kind of dreary and austere puritan.
Can you see why Kenny gets such aggressive email? I mean this is low criticism. Attack my character, my work, my family, my reputation… but when you slander my commitment to having fun, then really, please, come on. No need for that…
Mary, you should come down the Hyde Park Social with Christopher ‘The Hitch’ Hitchens, Richard ‘Richie’ Dawkins and ‘Mad’ Sam Harris. We’ll see about joie-de-vivre. First round of Sambucas is on me.
Kenny is irritated by the amount the bus campaign raised:
It says something about the affluence of Guardian readers that, in a time of recession, they can contribute £90,000 to a bus campaign dissing the notion of God.
Of course, if the campaign had raised a smaller amount, this would have proved its irrelevance in proudly Christian Britain.
When the atheist bus appears in Belfast, it is far more likely to unite Catholics and Protestants in their common Christian rejection of its message.
Well, we shall see.
But there’s a time when the joking has to stop:
I am convinced that this injection of atheism into the culture is directly responsible for the increase in drug-abuse, in crime and, most specifically, in the five-fold increase in suicide that we have seen in these islands over the last 25 years.
A life without a spiritual sense of purpose, or the moral parameters set by the Ten Commandments — is a living hell.
Troubled and immature young persons, given a nihilistic message that there is no meaning to life — that we are just reasonably clever animals who evolved from a set of molluscs, quite by chance — are easily driven down the road to despair.
Now who’s the miserable blighter? Even a cold-hearted atheist like me can appreciate that life is much better in 2008 than in 1983. Any evidence for this epidemic in drug abuse, crime and suicide? Or, for that matter, Kenny’s dismissal of evolution? Any consideration that people might find more comfort and joy in the knowledge that we only have one life than the religious assertion that life is merely a waiting room for death?
But then Kenny really gets nasty.
Britain has been hugely shaken, over the last month, by the public tragedy of ‘Baby P’, and the tormented infant’s young life has been taken as an all-too-accurate indictment of an aspect of British life today.
That is a life without moral parameters; in which fathers walk away from their children because the state provides all welfare; in which relationships are casual, and a variety boyfriends and serial stepfathers move in; in which mothers spend the day smoking dope, drinking vodka and cruising for sex on the internet, while their children die with broken backs — among filth and excrement, dead mice and pet snakes.
Think about what Kenny’s saying here. Read it again. First off: she is using a dead toddler to make a sectarian point in the faith/secularism debate. Secondly, she’s taken the responsibility for this horrific crime away from the perpetrators – from the people who killed Baby P, from the people on the estate who knew what was going on but said nothing, from the social workers and doctors who saw the child with a broken spine but did nothing.
And you thought it was the secular left who downplayed personal responsibility. Now Kenny is ventriloquising for child murderers: Your Honour, it’s all society’s fault. Or Richard Dawkins’s fault. Pretty fucking low.
(Thanks to Ophelia, who always gets there first.)