CBC News laments the decline of religion in Canada

On Wednesday’s The National, CBC reporter Chris Brown presented a report titled “Are we Godless?” Did it miss the point? Well, obviously; I kinda gave the answer away when I said it was a CBC report.

This isn’t the first time CBC has done a report wondering why Canadians are flocking away from religion. And as bad as it is, it isn’t even the worst. In fact, on the surface, this is one of the less offensively biased reports CBC has done about nonbelief. On the surface.

The report starts and ends with a mass Easter Sunday baptism of Evangelicals at Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver (the attendees take pains to note that braving the cold water means they’re really into Jesus), but it actually does a fair run across the Canadian religious landscape – both geographically and religiously. Brown opens with his thesis, which starts off okay:

Canada’s religious landscape is changing, with more people than ever either inclined to reject religion or say it’s not relevant. But…

And then there’s a “but”:

But dig a bit deeper, and you’ll find there are some striking exceptions.

At that point, he bizarrely segues to a Humanist officiant, with a comment about “death prompting deep soul-searching and spirituality”. I can’t figure the logic of that segue, but, there it is. Even stranger, the setting is a funeral – or rather a Humanist memorial service – in Wakefield, Québec.

At first, the coverage of Humanist belief looks like it’s going to come out pretty well, with the wife in mourning talking about how she struggled to keep her husband alive for as long as possible. Brown takes pains to explain that the Humanist officiant is an atheist, and that the service doesn’t have any talk about God or an afterlife. Even the Humanist officiant doesn’t come off badly, though I wonder why of all the things he likely said, they chose to cut it down to: Prayer doesn’t work because there’s nobody listening. There’s nobody there. So we have to fix things if they’re broken; we have to make things better.

After the officiant’s comments, Brown starts talking about the statistics showing that Canadians are taking the nonreligious option in droves these days, citing the recent Angus Reid survey… but then comes the punchline. It’s not really that religion is on the way out… it’s that we’re all turning to spiritual concepts that provide comfort, but don’t require any buy-in to religious teachings. In fact, as if to undermine everything Humanist about the whole Humanist ceremony, he cuts back to the wife saying she believes her husband and mother are looking over her.

From there, Brown points out that being spiritual doesn’t put money in the collection plate, and it’s off to St. John, New Brunswick, where the oldest church in the oldest city is sporting a “For Sale” sign. Turns out there are so few Anglicans now, they can’t afford the upkeep – especially the heat in the winter. The place has been up for sale for three or four months, but the Anglican lady is nonetheless upbeat and optimistic. We could have church right on this street corner, she says, with a smile.

So! So far, this appears to be Brown’s message: Lots of people are ditching religion, but they’re not really ditching religion because whenever something real happens – like Death comes a-calling – they fall back on religious stuff anyway. Oh, but when you do that, you cause historical churches to be hawked off, and force cheerful Anglicans to hold services packed into what looks like someone’s living room.

But we’re not done yet!

Now it’s on to the Catholics. They, too, have a cash flow problem (no, seriously, stop laughing). Their massive Gothic church needs almost $10 million for repairs. The bishop is asked why people are leaving religion, and he offers this “wisdom”:

People are distracted by so many things that they’re not paying too much attention to the God within.

Presumably then he returned to the 12 year-old altar-boy he had waiting in his back room.

What’s that? You thought I was implying the bishop was a paedophile? Goodness, why would you ever make that connection at the mere mention of a Catholic bishop? It must be because you are distracted by Things, and not paying too much attention to the God within.

Anyway, now we come to the “happy news” part of Brown’s report. Don’t panic, Canada! Religion isn’t really withering away under the weight of its own bigotry, intransigence, and hypocrisy! Immigrants are here to save the day! And not just Christian groups – immigrants are also fattening up the tallies of other religious: Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and Sikhs. Because we all know it really doesn’t matter what religion you have, so long as you have one.

We’re shown Sikhs (mostly Sikhs) celebrating Vaisakhi day in Surrey, where the woman being interviewed cheerfully tells us lots of good things about generosity. Then we’re at an Evangelical megachurch (by Canadian standards) in a converted theatre in Vancouver, enjoying a (Christian) rock performance while holding lattes they got from the Starbucks in the lobby. And finally back to Kits Beach to talk to an enthusiastic 13 year-old about to be dunked in the Pacific waters to make Jesus happy… or to symbolize something or other, I dunno.

And then Brown’s closing words:

Religion in Canada clearly has its challenges. But it’s also evident that the decline of faith in this country may not be as sharp or as universal as a lot of people believe, either.

Wow.

Okay, it was the usual CBC take on atheism – and non-religion in general – which usually boils down to: “Atheism is growing in Canada, but don’t worry, there’s still hope that religion can hold on.” Nothing surprising, given their track record.

There were a couple things that struck me, though. A whole report on the fact that Canadians are running away from religion in droves, and there was not… one… fucking… word… about the countless atrocities and other horrors committed either in the name of religion, or actively covered up by religious groups, or the boundless bigotry and ignorance most religions barf into the public sphere. Not even a hint of opposition to LGBT or abortion rights was raised – and these are things virtually synonymous with religion. Not a word about silly and nonsensical beliefs like creationism – not to mention the many absurdities found in various religious myths. Sex scandals, residential schools? Not a peep. Nope, if all you had to go on was Brown’s report, you’d believe that the reason Canadians are running away from religion is because they can’t be bothered to stop playing fucking Candy Crush long enough to think deeply about anything.

I dunno, maybe that Catholic bishop was right – maybe we are too distracted by “things” to take religion seriously. Assuming, of course, those “things” we’re being distracted by are properly conducted journalism reporting on what religions actually do in Canada and the broader world. Not CBC journalism, in other words. Real journalism.

The other thing that bugged me was the blatantly skewed editing of the piece. Consider this. There were 5½ religious groups represented in the piece (6 groups, but there are two different Evangelical groups); 5½ groups in the process of actually carrying out an activity related to their religious beliefs and talking about it. We had Evangelicals basically having a beach party that they’re all totally stoked about. We had Anglicans holding a cozy service in a small room, represented by a cheerful and upbeat spokeswoman talking about making the best of what little they’ve got. We had Catholics having one of their dour ceremonies, but the bishop speaking for them is very optimistic about how immigration is bolstering the faith. Then we had Sikhs basically having a street festival and parade, with their spokeswoman saying lovely things about generosity. We had other Evangelicals basically attending a rock concert in a theatre. And they we had the nonbelievers… having a memorial service and criticizing the efficacy of prayer.

Beach party. Cozy service, finding happiness in hard times. Stoic service, but optimism about growing with diversity. Street festival. Rock concert. … … … Memorial service.

One of these things is not like the others.

Could they seriously not find a fucking Sunday Assembly? Was a Humanist memorial service really the first thing that leaped to their minds when they considered “how do we show how Canadians who have abandoned religion are getting along?” Why didn’t they show a Humanist officiating a gay wedding? That would have made the fucking point about why Canadians are abandoning religion, and then some!

Even worse, the whole point was deflated by the fact that while it was a Humanist memorial service, the attendees were quoted flatly contradicting the whole point of it. Why would you do that? If you were doing a piece, and you wanted to show a Christian service to demonstrate why so many people are converting to that religion, why would you pick one that was being done for nonebelievers and then actually quote them saying something like, “eh, we don’t really believe any of this shit; we just like the music”? What is the point of doing that?

And you can’t seriously tell me that out of what was more than likely a 5–10 minute interview with the Humanist officiant, that the best quote he made – to sum up the philosophy of Humanist services, and ultimately the point of why more people are using them rather than religious services – is a quote about how useless prayer is. Give me a fucking break. I will bet big money that over the course of the interview, he probably made dozens of wonderfully positive statements about Humanism and Humanist beliefs – statements that more than likely not only explained Humanist philosophy, but also why people are ditching religion for it in droves. So why were all those positive comments cut, and a negative comment about prayer (which is utterly irrelevant to the whole report) chosen instead?

And the same is true for the quote from the service itself – surely there had to be dozens of good lines about the value of life and how people rely on each other, etc.… why pick the one about “life exists between birth and death, and only has significance there”? I didn’t attend the service, and even I can see that that line was probably just setting up a larger point about how one should celebrate the times shared with the deceased… which would have been a far better quote to serve as representative of Humanism.

Seriously, every religious group got an overwhelmingly positive portrayal, even when what they were saying was utterly irrelevant (such as the Sikh’s rambling about generosity) or complete horseshit (such as the Catholic’s speculation on why people are running away from his Nazi-supporting rape gang; I mean, religion). Only Humanism was saddled with negative quotes and a downer setting – and no religious group featured an interview with anyone saying “yeah, the whole ‘cracker is Jesus’ thing is stupid, but otherwise I like the message”.

As I’ve said repeatedly now, I’m not surprised by the obviously biased reporting by CBC against nonbelievers, and in comparison to some of the other crap they’ve done, this kind of subtly negative editing is comparatively mild. But that doesn’t make it any less insidious.

With biased reporting like this, it’s only a matter of time before CBC has to do a report wondering why Canadians are flocking away from traditional mainstream journalism media.

I wonder how they’ll fuck that one up.

20 thoughts on “CBC News laments the decline of religion in Canada

  1. I’ve noticed that in Canadian media there is a kind of “old guard” that are really really keen on religion. They all seem to be old white guys and they do not reflect current demographics at all.

    • Atheists are also accused of being old white guys, just like me. The old guard is probably closer to the truth. They could be very deeply involved in various religious groups, even secret ones. They battle on, hoping to prevent Canadian culture from developing into a widespread humanist reality.

  2. Oh and I think that a lot of them also do not actually give a rat’s ass about religion for themselves — per se. They’re just in love with some sort of nostalgic idea about religion.

  3. “Presumably then he returned to the 12 year-old altar-boy he had waiting in his back room.”

    ROFL

  4. “a fucking Sunday Assembly”:

    I’m with you on that! WTF does an atheist need to assemble on Sunday; what a waste of time and copycat idiocy.

    “how do we show how Canadians who have abandoned religion are getting along?”

    Hey CBC, don’t bother worrying about Canadians who have abandoned religion. They’re getting along just fine and dissing and obstructing religion every chance they get.

  5. @Sean Yes, that’s more or less how I see it too. I think they tend to “dumb down” their presentation for (their perception of) the lowest common denominator. I suppose they perceive that the lowest common denominator is scared of atheists, and that’s why they go out of their way to talk us down, when they bother to talk about us at all.

    (Of course, there is no shortage of God-besotted morons on their payroll, either.)

    @Veronica I’m not a big fan of the Sunday Assembly either. ^_^; But seriously, if you’re going to show people getting along without religion, why not show *that* instead of a freakin’ funeral? I’d roll my eyes at a Sunday Assembly, but at least I’d have to admit it would have shown the nonbelievers in a fair comparison to the believers.

    What really bugged me about the report was how *deep* the bias seemed to be embedded in it. If it had been merely a case of Brown’s comments being a bit ignorant, while they otherwise made a fair showing of nonbelievers, I wouldn’t have commented on it (which is truly sad – it shows just how far I’ve given up on the CBC). But every single interview and editing choice seemed intended to make the nonbelievers look as negative as possible. Many of the choices seemed downright *gratuitously* bigoted.

    I mean, how can you have a freaking 12 minute report on Canadians leaving religion… without even once bothering to ask a nonreligious Canadian *why they left*?! The only person they bother to ask that question is a fucking Catholic bishop (who obviously gives a nasty answer: “they’re just shallow and distracted by shiny things”)! That’s just… fucking ludicrous. That’s like the most basic and obvious thing you need to do to have your report called “journalism”. Without that, the whole report is just an opinion piece.

    I suspect most Canadians who have abandoned religion have also abandoned the CBC.

  6. Religion is a tool of many nations’ governments (you noticed, right?) and the CBC is a tool of the Canadian Government. So I cannot be amazed at this development. I think it might come from higher up than Chris Brown, though not in the form of a written or even spoken instruction or directive. Journalists know what pleases their editors because they have to if they wish to move “up”.

    Anyway, the CBC was infinitely more cringy the day Evan Soloman interviewed Richard Dawkins and displayed pretentious (imo!) incredulity at most things Dawkins said. Soloman was very unprofessional, I thought. But the cherry on top was provided by his co-anchor, Carole MacNeil, when she says, incredibly, “What about the Darwinian impulse to slap somebody upside the head?!” and E.S. responds, “That’s the way he is with everybody!”

    They both acted like the kind of creeps that drive the young away from religion so effectively. E.S. has a Masters degree in religious studies. It was more in line with cable-TV from Texas or Mississippi than Canada’s CBC.

    • > Religion is a tool of many nations’ governments (you noticed, right?) and the CBC is a tool of the Canadian Government.

      Ha ha, no. ^_^;

      CBC is certainly open to a lot of criticism, but being a tool of the government is certainly not one of them.

      There’s no reason to fantasize conspiracy theories. “When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras.” It’s a whole lot more plausible that Brown just tailored the story to what he thought the public wanted to hear than it is that there is a secret cabal of religionists at the CBC who pressure reporters to make their stories sympathetic to religion. And it’s far more likely even than *that* that it was just his own subconscious biases, and he didn’t even consciously intend to make such a horribly skewed report.

      > Soloman was very unprofessional, I thought.

      Solomon is pretty much always unprofessional. Drumming up false controversy and feigning outrage is pretty much his stock-in-trade. Just the other night he tried to get Elizabeth May to *resign* for saying “fuck” and being bad at comedy.

      Don’t take Evan Solomon seriously.

      • That’s probably good advice, but I haven’t owned a TV for nearly 20 years, so I don’t take Evan Soloman any way at all any more. And, life is better now. I didn’t know he was a dick in general; I vaguely remember liking him before I saw undermine himself in that interview, as I had cable during the mid-90s.

  7. Daniel Dennett has been clear: religion is on the wane and will probably continue to be. But if a terrible disaster were to hit earth (meteor, volcano, food chain collapse, epidemic, CME, world war, climate-induced famine/drought), whatever humanity was left would devolve to full-on religion in a flash. He is almost certainly correct.

    It’s a sobering thought that our only insulation against religion is an advanced culture we’ve developed over centuries, and even advanced cultures can collapse faster than anything. As a stark example, the Arabian enlightenment of 800AD – 1100 was killed – KILLED – by islam. That’s the culture that invented navigation and algebra, among a host of other great things.

  8. One wonders if there is a connection with the decline of religion in Canada and the increase in rudeness, swearing, and overall vulgarity (such as experienced by female reporters recently).
    The men who verbally abused the reporters, who readily use swear words as adjectives and are not boys but men in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, seem to believe they (and their behaviour) are accountable to no one, let alone a God. Perhaps just an odd sociological coincidence?

    • Okay, let’s play that game.

      Sure, the incidents of people dressing provocatively, swearing in social situations, and disrespecting authority have increased over time. But you know what has *decreased*? Violent crime (and crime in general!). (Not to mention bigotry, sexism, etc.. And yes, sexism has *decreased*, despite the whole FHRITP “phenomenon”. Remember back in the “good ol’ days” with widespread religion, there wouldn’t even *be* women reporters… and you know what they do to women reporters in religious countries? Google “Lara Logan” for just one example.)

      One wonders if, as Canadians became less religions, they also became less inclined to murder and rape. That’s probably because as religion declined they lost the ability to just pray for forgiveness, or take comfort in the belief that they were doing what God wanted, and are now forced to face the real-world impact of their actions.

      Frankly, if increasing nonreligion means we’ll have to face a bit more rudeness and vulgarity, I’ll take that rather than the murder and rape that comes with religion!

  9. This is a very odd critique. You’re complaining, basically, that the good folk at The National produced the report they wanted to make instead of the one you would have made. The report took the decline of religion for granted, which ought to warm our dark godless hearts, and focussed on what it admitted were “striking exceptions” – Sikhs, Evangelicals, die-hard Catholics and Anglicans, and yes, even people who were happy to opt for a Humanist memorial service but had some lingering attachment to religious ideas such as beloved relatives looking down from the Great Beyond. The report wasn’t aiming to explain why many people are leaving religion in the first place, or to weigh the merits of Humanism against those of other religions, so for you to castigate The National for not doing those things is pretty silly. And the “portrayal” of Humanism was just fine, unless you work in a grievance-manufacturing workshop and/or expect the difficult and distressing parts of life to be routinely swept under the carpet. Providing comfort to the bereaved isn’t really so bad, and might even be taken by some people as highly positive.

    Someone indeed missed the point here, but I don’t think it was the CBC.

    • Didn’t mean, by the way, to imply that Humanism is a religion – I should have said “against those of various religions” rather than “against those of other religions”.

    • I’m complaining, *literally*, that The National produced a report that called a growing minority group is an empty-headed fad, and not that big a threat to the majority so long as they have a strong sense of community values.

      It would be as if they produced a report on a growing Jewish population that said, “don’t worry, those people are just calling themselves Jewish because they’re distracted from the really important things, but there are plenty of good people with the integrity who will band together to resist the incursion.” That’s a pretty fucked up message for a supposedly unbiased news report.

      Why would it even cross your mind to make a report about a growing population that reassures everyone else that it isn’t as bad as it looks? Watch any report about any growing group, and you will *almost always* see the report is about *that group*… about who they are and why they’re growing… with only a passing reference to whoever they’re displacing (if they even bother to mention them at all).

      Can you imagine a report about the growing population who support LGBT rights that:
      a) never once mentions what LGBT rights are;
      b) never once discusses why people are shifting to support them;
      c) never once gives a supporter a fair chance to state their position;
      d) only shows LGBT supporters in depressing situations, while always showing opponents celebrating;
      e) only quotes LGBT supporters bashing their opponents, never saying anything positive about themselves or their beliefs;
      f) selects quotes from LGBT supporters who are not particularly committed in their beliefs, and that undermine their position (while always getting quotes from opponents who are confident and clear);
      g) spends 90% of its running time talking to *opponents*…

      Basically, imagine a report about LGBT supporters that boiled down to this message: LGBT supporters are growing, but it’s only a fad brought on by people not thinking deeply enough about the issue, and oh look, all of these opponents are lovely people who are managing to hold on thanks to their wonderful communities and positive attitudes.

      That ain’t journalism. That’s blatantly biased editorializing that was not labelled as such, and there is nothing wrong with calling that out.

      • I dunno. The bishop who said people were getting distracted from religion was just speaking for himself, not for The National. A group of bereaved people drawing comfort from Humanist ideas but experiencing some very human doubts might actually come across as a lot more reasonable and sympathetic, to many if not most people, than a brash and raucous Sunday Assembly crowd. There wasn’t any real endorsement of religion in the report, even by implication. Et cetera, et cetera. I just didn’t see religion receiving more sympathy or support than irreligion, and I find it pretty amazing that you’d construe the report as “blatantly biased editorializing”. Your shoulder would look better without that chip on it.

        Religion did admittedly receive more attention, but I don’t think that was an illegitimate approach on the part of The National. They were taking the rise of the non-religious for granted, and looking specifically at the holdouts, which seems fair enough. Every news feature needs an angle.

        In this age of mass conversion to support for a version of “LGBT rights” that would have been considered extreme a couple of decades ago, it would indeed be reasonable and interesting to examine the unconverted through a similar lens – for all I know, this may already have been done several times. Equally, if large numbers of Canadians were beginning to recoil from bacon cheeseburgers and flock to their neighbourhood synagogues I would certainly hope that a major media outlet would take a good look at those stubborn souls who showed no interest in joining the ranks of Judaism. That kind of thing isn’t just journalism, it’s journalism par excellence.

        • > The bishop who said people were getting distracted from religion was just speaking for himself, not for The National.

          Oh, right, of course. And he just magically happened to make those comments without being prompted by the interviewer. And those comments just magically happened to be recorded. And they just magically happened to be plucked out of what was obviously a much longer interview. And they just magically happened to be selected to be part of the report. And the report narrative just magically happened to be written in a way to make those comments relevant.

          Yup, looks like The National had absolutely no involvement in those comments at all! What an intelligent point you’ve made!

          > A group of bereaved people drawing comfort from Humanist ideas but experiencing some very human doubts might actually come across as a lot more reasonable and sympathetic, to many if not most people, than a brash and raucous Sunday Assembly crowd.

          That is beside the point. The point is that the religious groups and the (only) non-religious group did not get the same treatment, and the way the non-religious group was treated was not only less positive than the religious groups, it was gratuitously less positive.

          As for the speculation you’ve pulled out of your ass, it doesn’t really deserve a response.

          > I just didn’t see religion receiving more sympathy or support than irreligion…

          Then you weren’t watching the same report.

          > They were taking the rise of the non-religious for granted, and looking specifically at the holdouts, which seems fair enough.

          You can repeat this as many times as you like, and it will still be obviously false. The report itself contradicts your interpretation of it.

          The report does *NOT* take the rise of the nonreligious for granted… that is a completely absurd claim, given that the report starts off by stating the fact as surprising news, stops in the middle to go over the statistics that prove it, and is ultimately about the impact it’s having (albeit focusing on the *religious* “victims” of its impact, while totally ignoring the nonreligious). Hell, the *title* of the freaking report is “Are we Godless?” *CLEARLY* it didn’t take the answer as simply given.

          And the report is *NOT* “specifically about the holdouts”. The report is not exactly vague about its thesis. It says, pretty much explicitly, that it’s message is: While people are leaving religion, they’re not really leaving religion. It is not about “holdouts”. It is straight-up undermining the whole idea of religion in decline. The whole report is about how people who leave religion are still “religious”, and the religions they left behind are not really in decline. That’s not speculation, that’s what the report *actually says*.

          > Your shoulder would look better without that chip on it.

          What an remarkably ignorant thing to say from someone who has yet to give a single intelligent response to any of the points I’ve raised, and has only managed to offer a series of “doesn’t bother me”s, nonsensical and irrelevant speculations, and bizarre distortions of the facts. Your mouth would look better without your foot in it.

          In fact, from the start your commentary has been rude and ignorant – right from the accusation that my critique was nothing more than “it wasn’t how I would have done it”, ignoring the detailed post explaining precisely what was wrong with it. It was probably a mistake on my part to engage with you in the first place. You obviously have no interest in the topic, and no intention of taking it seriously – you’re a troll, nothing more, nothing less.

          You have made it abundantly clear on multiple occasions that you don’t care about the atheist movement, or any of the efforts of any of the people in it. There is really no need to keep repeating it: message received, you don’t care. But the fact that you feel this bizarre need to keep repeating it, and to show up every time someone is trying to do something positive and shit all over it, is a troubling sign of obsession. Or, at the very least, assholery.

          You have yet to offer a single rational response to any of the concerns I’ve raised. Not even one. I have pointed out several ways that the report’s content and conclusions were gratuitously biased (and, by the way, that’s not even taking into account that this is not exactly an outlier for the CBC – this is the same station that did a discussion segment on “what’s wrong with atheists”, and another on whether or not the rise of atheism was good for Canada with a panel that didn’t have an atheist on it), and I have offered a couple examples using other groups to illustrate how that bias is unacceptable. You have not responded to a single one – it’s like you’re not even reading what I’m writing, you’re just firing off canned responses. Your comments have been nothing but ad hominems against me, assertions obviously contradicted by the facts, meandering speculations pulled right out of your ass, and repeated declarations that you don’t really see the problem and wouldn’t care even if you did.

          Do you have *anything* of substance to add? Is there any point to my bothering to continue paying attention to your comments? Or is it just going to be another stream of “don’t see it, don’t care, and it annoys me that you care”?

          • You obviously have no interest in the topic, and no intention of taking it seriously…

            If by “the topic” you mean something like “the horribly biased nature of that CBC report”, I don’t take it seriously because I don’t buy into its premise – I think the report is reasonable enough. If you mean “the editorial slant of that CBC report”, I do take the topic seriously, I just think you’re dead wrong about it.

            You have yet to offer a single rational response to any of the concerns I’ve raised.

            You’ve got an unfortunate habit of dismissing disagreement as irrational, canned, stupid, ignorant, nonsensical or whatever when it arises from a perspective that clashes with your own. Lest you accuse me of doing the same thing in reverse, I don’t think you’re being irrational, just profoundly unreasonable in interpreting what looks to me like a fairly bland piece of journalism as some kind of attack on atheism.

            You have made it abundantly clear on multiple occasions that you don’t care about the atheist movement…

            For me atheism is a well-justified conclusion about reality, not a community or a movement. I do share some goals and concerns with people who consider themselves part of “the atheist movement”, but it’s true that a lot of atheist activism – like a lot of activism by other groups I sympathise with in principle – strikes me as overheated and somewhat beside the point. I try to lend support when I agree with a given initiative, and serve as the loyal opposition when I don’t. On this blog I often seem to be the loyal opposition, but I’m comfortable in that role. Surely it’s worthwhile to demonstrate that there’s more than one way to “do” atheism.

            Is there any point to my bothering to continue paying attention to your comments?

            That’s up to you, I suppose. Sometimes, as in this case, I comment just to register my disagreement with something that I think is seriously wrong-headed and ought not to stand unchallenged. I’m always open to discussion, but I take no responsibility for your blood pressure.

            Or is it just going to be another stream of “don’t see it, don’t care, and it annoys me that you care”?

            Atheists, of all people, should recognise that those who claim not to see what seems obvious to others are sometimes right.

  10. big·ot·ed

    ˈbiɡədəd/

    adjective

    having or revealing an obstinate belief in the superiority of one’s own opinions and a prejudiced intolerance of the opinions of others.

    I noticed this term used repeatedly in this column. How would you say this column avoids that criticism of itself? Why not give us some solid commentary rather than hateful speculation like that about the priest, for example. How is this column demonstrating that you are on a higher plane than those you criticize? In what way are you contributing to the good of society? My impression is that Atheism is all about what you are not. Sort of Like Canadians who can only define themselves as not being American.

    • > How would you say this column avoids that criticism of itself?

      Given that the post is about a news report that was biased and unbalanced, I would say the answer to that is: “By not being a news report that was biased and unbalanced.”

      Asking for fair representation is not bigotry.

      > Why not give us some solid commentary rather than hateful speculation like that about the priest, for example

      There was no hateful speculation. I quoted the bishop precisely, and in context.

      > How is this column demonstrating that you are on a higher plane than those you criticize?

      It isn’t. It’s just pointing out that the news story was biased.

      > In what way are you contributing to the good of society?

      By pointing out when Canada’s public broadcaster airs news that is biased and unbalanced.

      What are *you* contributing?

      > My impression is that Atheism is all about what you are not. Sort of Like Canadians who can only define themselves as not being American.

      Your ignorance speaks for itself.

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