Almost a month ago I started a post with the following statement:
While one cannot live by “likes” alone, the number of likes against an article or a comment – or their absence – can be a telling indicator of a readership’s attitude.
After posting those thoughts I’ve seen something even more blatant than the situation that led me to write that article.
On the same newspaper website, I’ve seen comments ridiculing and belittling those who believe in (a) God have been getting “likes” in the hundreds. Previously it had seemed that 20 “likes” awarded to a comment was significant.
I’ve had varying degrees of involvement with Christianity and church during the past 40 years, and I’ve come across different kinds of hostile attitudes towards myself and other believers, but generally the hostility came from a small number.
This is the first time that I’ve seen such a popular opposition to those professing some kind of religious faith.
The cases I refer to above were actually responding to articles about Moslems, not Christians, but those replies were broadly aimed at a more general belief in God, not at any particular form of belief, or belief in any particular deity.
Most people with any degree of individual thought have abandoned the idea of religion.just as nobody believes in fairies or the Loch Ness monster.
This goes for Christians and any other believers in mumbo jumbo. [161 likes]
Sorry, but I read the words bible and Koran and just switched off. I just can’t believe that in the 21st century people base their lives on, and excuse their actions because of, works of fiction which are centuries old [50 likes]
I wouldn’t want my daughter to marry anyone who is devoutly religious [108 likes ]
Most of the more extreme views some with “likes” in the multiple hundreds, were specifically targeted at Islam. While I have no agreement at all with Islamic beliefs, what I found disturbing about the comments and the fact that so many agreed with them, is that the degree of hostility directed towards people for having religious beliefs, and for actually living their lives according to those beliefs.
One example relates to a current news story about French resort towns banning the “Burkini” from their beaches. Commenters practically demand that Muslim women should conform to Western society’s standards and fit in with the world around them instead of making themselves separate from society by the way they dress.
People in Europe believe that muslims are not doing enough to assimilate properly, so why wear this religious garment? Why not try and adopt your new home`s customs and become progressive rather than regressive? [130 likes]
The point, m’lady, is not your decision to wear the all in one burkini. Knock yourself out.
It’s the ideology that claims you can’t wear a swimsuit that irritates us. [307 likes]
it’s, an ostentatious display of religious identity, and that isn’t something that should be welcome in secular liberal western countries.[50 likes]
The burkini is part of a ridiculous mindset that says that strongly held religious beliefs somehow have intellectual merit.[ 103 likes]
While most of these comments are addressed to an issue related to Muslims (women in particular) – I think they are no less hostile to anyone who takes their faith seriously enough to think their lifestyle should be shaped by something (Someone) other than society’s ever changing standards of morality.
It seems that secularity is becoming much more than an absence of religion, or a separation from religion; it is increasingly becoming anti-religion and is itself adopting the very worst traits of dogmatic extremism