Posted by: Lister | June 8, 2008

For Entertainment Only

Matthew Parris compares religion to fortune telling, in regard to a new law passed in Britain:

[…] on Monday a new law came into force requiring fortune-tellers, clairvoyants, astrologers and mediums to stipulate explicitly that their services are for “entertainment only?.

[…] by deeming in law […] that claims about worlds undreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio, are false, Parliament has taken a serious step in principle, even if the measure itself is trivial and most clairvoyants are only jokers anyway.

What, for instance, about the “faith? community? Perhaps it’s there in the legislative small print already. There will have to be an exception in law for “religions?. Whereupon clairvoyants will presumably rename themselves spiritualists. And spiritualists will presumably claim the status of a religion. Whereupon lawmakers will stipulate that a “religion? has to centre around a deity. Whereupon Buddhism will cease to be a “religion?; and…

…Well you see the philosophical marsh into which this new principle leads. Is Parliament aware of any harder evidence for the efficacy of faith-healing than for the reliability of clairvoyance? I’d like to hear it. Otherwise, let the collecting boxes in church display a sign “for entertainment purposes only? and let Catholics buy candles to light “for entertainment purposes only?; and let trips to Lourdes be sold “for entertainment purposes only?. And let the raiment of the priest administering the Sacrament be embroidered likewise.

(Via JREF).



  1. Here, here.

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