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Joan Smith in The Independent

Today's Independent has an excellent piece by Joan Smith on "The evil impact of the return of religion." The trend towards secularism that characterised much of the twentieth century is being reversed today.

The last thing that any of us needs at this febrile and insecure moment is a proliferation of religious labels. There is no denying that religion has made a comeback or that the cost is a horrible atmosphere in which its role in the formation of personal identity has begun to threaten the existence of secular culture. We allow this at our peril: only secular culture, in the form of respect for the rule of law, can offer a stable political solution in countries where people have so many different faiths or none at all.

I went to a faith school myself and I don't think it did me much harm, probably because it was run by Benedictines who were, on the whole, balanced, urbane, and moderate in their views. Even so, it took me many years to free my thinking from that early conditioning. I'm not sure I could have done so if I had been brought up by fanatical adherents of an absolutist religion or what the psychological cost would have been if I had succeeded in doing so.


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