Over at the Spectator Douglas Murray explains his loss of religious faith:
“Some years ago I started studying Islam. It didn’t take long to recognise the problems of that religion’s texts – the repetitions, contradictions and absurdities…. Gradually, scepticism of the claims made by one religion was joined by scepticism of all such claims. Incredulity that anybody thought an archangel dictated a book to Mohammed produced a strange contradiction. I found myself still clinging to belief in Christianity. I was trying to believe – though rarely arguing – ‘Well, your guy didn’t hear voices: but I know a man who did.’ This last, shortest and sharpest, phase pulled down the whole thing. In the end Mohammed made me an atheist.”
Still, Murray’s rejection of religious belief was not without difficulty:
“My final fear was one which I think a lot of Christians in this country feel, particularly as they see Islam re-emerging and gaining adherents in spite (or perhaps because) of its intransigence and intractability. It is, I suppose, a sense of cultural abandonment. We know how much of what we enjoy and relish comes through Christianity. Can we really go on without it?”
The answer, according to Murray, is for non-Muslim non-believers to counter the threat posed by Islam by becoming “cultural Christians”.
This peculiar Islamophobic version of atheism, which rejects God but upholds the need to defend Christian civilisation against the Muslim hordes, appears to derive from Richard Dawkins, who thinks that the increase of Islamic influence at the expense of Christianity would be “a poor exchange” and has stated: “This is historically a Christian country. I’m a cultural Christian…. I’m not one of those who wants to purge our society of our Christian history. If there’s any threat to these sorts of things, I think you will find it comes from rival religions and not from atheists.”
Update: Over at Shiraz Socialist Jim Denham of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty recommends “this extraordinary account by Douglas Murray” to his readers. Of course, it’s hardly unexpected that an AWLer should ally himself with a vicious anti-Muslim bigot like Murray (“It is late in the day, but Europe still has time to turn around the demographic time-bomb which will soon see a number of our largest cities fall to Muslim majorities. It has to. All immigration into Europe from Muslim countries must stop…. Conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board”). After all, we recently witnessed Denham’s former comrade Alan Johnson enthusiastically promoting another hardline right-wing Islamophobe, Andrew Bostom. Surely it can only be a matter of time before Denham and Johnson find merit in the views of Nick Griffin.