A Labour Party thinktank is proposing closer links between welfare benefits and contributions, through altering the system for national insurance contributions. The inevitable political quote goes:
Senior figures believe that Labour must counter the impression that it supports a “something for nothing” benefits system by looking at radical change.
In the current political mood it is understandable. The voting public, by and large, have been persuaded to feel resentment that anyone is getting ‘something for nothing’ while they themselves, as the television advertisements keep reminding them, ‘deserve’ at least as much as they are getting, whatever that is.
This is the last of three posts on ‘religion’. Why are there different religions?
Christianity is one, Hinduism is another, all the religions are different from each other, only one of them at most can be true, so you can’t belong to two at once. This arrangement is not self-evident. It is another product of modern European conflicts.
It is well known that neither Confucius nor Buddha nor Jesus intended to set up a new religion. John’s gospel has a lot of harsh words for ‘the Jews’, but the word he uses means the people of the province called Judaea. An up to date translation might be ‘the Israelis’.
This is the second of three posts on ‘religion’. The first describes how seventeenth century thinkers developed ‘religion’ as a new concept: a self-contained feature of society, a private matter to do with beliefs about God and life after death but completely separate from public and this-worldly matters. This post describes how nineteenth century ideas excluded this self-contained phenomenon from the whole physical universe.
This is the first of three posts on ‘religion’. What is it, who invented it and what is it for? These days when its social role is changing it is worth asking what we are talking about.
According to the surveys, religion is losing popularity. Most people are happy to call themselves spiritual but not religious. So what is it about religion that puts people off?’
Hard work is not a virtue, I argued a few weeks ago in disagreement with recent statements by politicians.
There is a very different error – almost the opposite error – which has a longer pedigree and also needs challenging. I was reminded of it by a rather extraordinary story, and I’m grateful to Mike Dark for drawing it to my attention. In Missouri, USA, a Roman Catholic woman was sacked from a job in which she was in charge of feeding the homeless. The reason for the sacking was that she was in a same-sex marriage.