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This site is a Roman Catholic fiction and commentary blog written in the epistolary style of The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. More »

Religion Does More Harm Than Good

By Prof. Ernest Thornberry
December 23rd, 2006

My Dear Bunglehorn,

Here is a little ditty to boost your Christmas spirits. I know, I know, this is a Guardian Poll, not the most trustworthy data, I’m sure. Their leftist readers bring just the right amount of noise to skew results in our favor. We did a good job getting the story out too. it got picked up by Drudge, then established MSM outlets and then into the blogosphere.

You can learn a couple nice techniques with this missive. First, consider the meat of the poll…

Eighty-two percent of the 1,006 adults questioned for the left-leaning Guardian newspaper in the run up to Christmas said they saw religion as a cause of division and tension between people compared to 16 percent who disagreed.Associated Press

Of course, religion has ALWAYS caused division and tension between people. Even the Enemy’s direct apostles had disagreements. Such is the nature of man! They love to debate and argue, for that is how they come to find Truth. They aren’t enlightened like you and I or the Enemy’s angels. Healthy debate is healthy for man.

Just stating the fact that religion causes division and tension is hardly newsworthy. (BTW, to be more accurate, pride is the cause, religion is but one of many avenues.) However, reporting a poll that shows that people agree with the fact IS newsworthy. Ha ha, I know, don’t try to understand the reasoning. Just trust, the tactic works. It gives us a reason to knock religion. For many, it’s reason enough. You would be surprised how many people 1) consider ANY conflict to be a bad thing, 2) fail to see that conflict is everywhere, including within religion, 3) fail to discern degrees of conflict and 4) fail to see acts of religious violence as inauthentic, even as global religious leaders abhor any violence done in the name of religion.

Also, note the misleading headline, “Most Britons believe religion does more harm than good.” Nine in ten readers won’t notice the glaring incongruence: there is nothing in the article to support this conclusion. It is completely erroneous. The poll respondents never agreed with this statement, rather the AP journalist (and his crafty editor mind you) inferred their own bias. We never see a question asking if people agree or disagree that religion comforts and protects people or causes acts of love and service and charity. We know religion does all this, scientific studies other than polls demonstrate it, but thankfully, such knowledge is suppressed.

Which is more compelling during the season of Advent and Christmas? A story revealing what people plainly know? Or a poll suggesting religion is bad? The headline simultaneously discourages the religious and reaffirms the anti-religious. You see, Bunglehorn, you needn’t plan elaborate schemes to deceive your patient. One of the greatest pleasures in our line of work is how easily we can affect opinion with the most basic slight of hand, or illogical slight of mind as it were.

Happy Holidays,
Wigglebrick

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