Roy Hattersley attacks religion in Ebor Lecture at York Minster

York Press: Roy Hattersley Roy Hattersley

FORMER deputy Labour leader Roy Hattersley used a keynote York lecture last night to criticise what he claims is the hypocrisy of religion.

The peer and author delivered the first in a new season of Ebor Lectures at York Minster, speaking of how he did not believe many of Christianity’s teachings celebrated “the diversity of humanity”.

Lord Hattersley, an atheist, described himself as “simply incapable of accepting the essential elements of Christian faith”, said the Bible was “littered with ambiguities”, and said he did not understand how people whose religious beliefs centered on equality “accept or even promote great disparities in thequality of life on earth”.

“If we are to celebrate the diversity of humanity, we cannot refuse the complete rights of citizenship to any group within society,” said Lord Hattersley.

“Yet some Christians would deny full married status to gay men and women.

“Some churchmen want to prohibit stem-cell research, the results of which could save thousands of lives.

“And I have no doubt a number of men and women who will be in church next Sunday will support the amending of the law to give greater protection to householders who assault burglars.

“I do not. Life – even a burglar’s life – is more important than property.”

Lord Hattersley said the Church of England sometimes avoided “meeting great moral issues head-on” to maintain unity.

He said: “The equal society, in its perfect form, is not attainable, but that is not a reason for not working towards its achievement.”

Graham Hutchinson, who co-chairs One Voice York, the umbrella organisation for York churches, and is pastor of York Elim Pentecostal Church, said he welcomed Lord Hattersley’s contribution to the debate on what makes “a good society”.

But said: “I think it is difficult for an atheist in our country to comment on moral questions, as they will have been shaped by the norms of our Christian heritage more than they generally like to admit.”

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8:14am Thu 4 Oct 12

Tom6187 says...

He's absolutely spot on, people who are capable of thinking for themselves know that religion is a far-fetched disgrace that has caused the majority of the world's problems. I'm totally open minded when it comes to how we got here but I do not believe the stories of old that were created by a human being whose aim was to use a book to control the masses. The fact that Muslims' are willing to kill innocent people and riot over what one person said is just hard to understand. Let science answer the questions, not a book written thousands of years ago.
He's absolutely spot on, people who are capable of thinking for themselves know that religion is a far-fetched disgrace that has caused the majority of the world's problems. I'm totally open minded when it comes to how we got here but I do not believe the stories of old that were created by a human being whose aim was to use a book to control the masses. The fact that Muslims' are willing to kill innocent people and riot over what one person said is just hard to understand. Let science answer the questions, not a book written thousands of years ago. Tom6187

8:36am Thu 4 Oct 12

witheryjack says...

I'd have thought spending an evening listening to Roy Hattersley would undermine anyone's ability to believe in the existence of a compassionate and beneficent deity.
I'd have thought spending an evening listening to Roy Hattersley would undermine anyone's ability to believe in the existence of a compassionate and beneficent deity. witheryjack

8:55am Thu 4 Oct 12

TerryYork says...

Tom6187 wrote:
He's absolutely spot on, people who are capable of thinking for themselves know that religion is a far-fetched disgrace that has caused the majority of the world's problems. I'm totally open minded when it comes to how we got here but I do not believe the stories of old that were created by a human being whose aim was to use a book to control the masses. The fact that Muslims' are willing to kill innocent people and riot over what one person said is just hard to understand. Let science answer the questions, not a book written thousands of years ago.
Religion isn't the problem, people are the problem. That's why those wackos blow themselves up, not because their religion tells them to. You wouldn't know how to blow yourself up when these books were written. Yes, it goes deeper as some of those wackos are teachers who twist young minds into thinking that's the way, but find me a religious book that tells people to mass murder and you'll struggle.

Also, if you follow the example of our Jesus Christ, would you turn out to be a bad person? No.

Sure, it's not literal. There isn't a God in the clouds. Jesus was highly liking very tanned - not white - as he lived in the middle east, and so on.

Not particularly religious myself, but it can be a comfort to people, especially those about to die.

Also, I can tell you I was "praying" during those four minutes of extra time as York beat Luton to get promoted at Wembley! God answered! :D
[quote][p][bold]Tom6187[/bold] wrote: He's absolutely spot on, people who are capable of thinking for themselves know that religion is a far-fetched disgrace that has caused the majority of the world's problems. I'm totally open minded when it comes to how we got here but I do not believe the stories of old that were created by a human being whose aim was to use a book to control the masses. The fact that Muslims' are willing to kill innocent people and riot over what one person said is just hard to understand. Let science answer the questions, not a book written thousands of years ago.[/p][/quote]Religion isn't the problem, people are the problem. That's why those wackos blow themselves up, not because their religion tells them to. You wouldn't know how to blow yourself up when these books were written. Yes, it goes deeper as some of those wackos are teachers who twist young minds into thinking that's the way, but find me a religious book that tells people to mass murder and you'll struggle. Also, if you follow the example of our Jesus Christ, would you turn out to be a bad person? No. Sure, it's not literal. There isn't a God in the clouds. Jesus was highly liking very tanned - not white - as he lived in the middle east, and so on. Not particularly religious myself, but it can be a comfort to people, especially those about to die. Also, I can tell you I was "praying" during those four minutes of extra time as York beat Luton to get promoted at Wembley! God answered! :D TerryYork

9:08am Thu 4 Oct 12

moy says...

People should listen to Roy Hattersley - he and other politicians are experts in hypocrisy. Each of us are individuals and all different, from millionaires like Mr Hattersley and Mr Milliband down to the people they want to represent.
People should listen to Roy Hattersley - he and other politicians are experts in hypocrisy. Each of us are individuals and all different, from millionaires like Mr Hattersley and Mr Milliband down to the people they want to represent. moy

9:20am Thu 4 Oct 12

ReginaldBiscuit says...

Tom6187 wrote:
He's absolutely spot on, people who are capable of thinking for themselves know that religion is a far-fetched disgrace that has caused the majority of the world's problems. I'm totally open minded when it comes to how we got here but I do not believe the stories of old that were created by a human being whose aim was to use a book to control the masses. The fact that Muslims' are willing to kill innocent people and riot over what one person said is just hard to understand. Let science answer the questions, not a book written thousands of years ago.
Yep, religion is a tool for abuse of the majority by the controlling minority. Muslims are unfairly singled out for much stick at the moment because some of their followers, a small minority, are prepared to kill in the name of their religion which is based on their own twisted view. Worryingly, there are many negative stereotypes of muslims which give people the wrong impression.

Roy Hattersley is right in what he says. The worrying thing for me as an atheist is the fact that people of a faith will have more rights and priorities of those without. Religion has a snug mantle for itself giving its believers many rights. The fact that creationists of all persuasions have been murdering and persecuting each other since records began says everything. Look at the Nazi SS. On their belts, the words "Gott mit uns", God with us. Look at the catholic church and all the harm to races and abuse to children that has occurred by representatives of its faith undertaking gross human activities.

The Bible and Koran are fictional works created with extreme dogma and judgements over 100s of years. Mohammed had been dead 300 years by the time the Koran was finished.

Religions will tell you to not question what you hear, read or see, they instead tell you to just 'believe' often without question - "God moves in mysterious ways", "It's not for us to question why", "Don't try to work out why, just believe" - Statements that contradict the thinking offered by a good education. The key to disabling religion for good is to educate people to think for themselves and don't let other people do the thinking for them.

The human race has done pretty well to still be around but look at what it could have achieved without religion.
[quote][p][bold]Tom6187[/bold] wrote: He's absolutely spot on, people who are capable of thinking for themselves know that religion is a far-fetched disgrace that has caused the majority of the world's problems. I'm totally open minded when it comes to how we got here but I do not believe the stories of old that were created by a human being whose aim was to use a book to control the masses. The fact that Muslims' are willing to kill innocent people and riot over what one person said is just hard to understand. Let science answer the questions, not a book written thousands of years ago.[/p][/quote]Yep, religion is a tool for abuse of the majority by the controlling minority. Muslims are unfairly singled out for much stick at the moment because some of their followers, a small minority, are prepared to kill in the name of their religion which is based on their own twisted view. Worryingly, there are many negative stereotypes of muslims which give people the wrong impression. Roy Hattersley is right in what he says. The worrying thing for me as an atheist is the fact that people of a faith will have more rights and priorities of those without. Religion has a snug mantle for itself giving its believers many rights. The fact that creationists of all persuasions have been murdering and persecuting each other since records began says everything. Look at the Nazi SS. On their belts, the words "Gott mit uns", God with us. Look at the catholic church and all the harm to races and abuse to children that has occurred by representatives of its faith undertaking gross human activities. The Bible and Koran are fictional works created with extreme dogma and judgements over 100s of years. Mohammed had been dead 300 years by the time the Koran was finished. Religions will tell you to not question what you hear, read or see, they instead tell you to just 'believe' often without question - "God moves in mysterious ways", "It's not for us to question why", "Don't try to work out why, just believe" - Statements that contradict the thinking offered by a good education. The key to disabling religion for good is to educate people to think for themselves and don't let other people do the thinking for them. The human race has done pretty well to still be around but look at what it could have achieved without religion. ReginaldBiscuit

9:22am Thu 4 Oct 12

Hildasaint says...

Think about it - a Church riddled with pedophiles that covers up thousands of cases of child abuse all over the world, who on earth is going to take such an organisation seriously; The so called "great Christian Churches" which preach and moralize to us are nothing but hypocrits, long live secularism.
Think about it - a Church riddled with pedophiles that covers up thousands of cases of child abuse all over the world, who on earth is going to take such an organisation seriously; The so called "great Christian Churches" which preach and moralize to us are nothing but hypocrits, long live secularism. Hildasaint

9:41am Thu 4 Oct 12

JPMunday says...

That last sentence by Graham Hutchinson is totally correct.
He says it’s difficult for an atheist to reason on moral questions because Christian ideas have influenced them more than they think.
If you are a Christian it’s very easy to comment because all you have to do toe the line and repeat what you are told.
Conversely an atheist doesn’t have this easy route. They have to establish the facts, assess the evidence, apply logic and reason and draw their own conclusion, while all the time ensuring the process isn’t tainted by unquestioning religious opinions
Thank God for atheists!
That last sentence by Graham Hutchinson is totally correct. He says it’s difficult for an atheist to reason on moral questions because Christian ideas have influenced them more than they think. If you are a Christian it’s very easy to comment because all you have to do toe the line and repeat what you are told. Conversely an atheist doesn’t have this easy route. They have to establish the facts, assess the evidence, apply logic and reason and draw their own conclusion, while all the time ensuring the process isn’t tainted by unquestioning religious opinions Thank God for atheists! JPMunday

9:43am Thu 4 Oct 12

Woody G Mellor says...

I have to disagree with his point about burglars. If I caught someone breaking into my house to steal my property I'd beat him within an inch of his life.

If I was in a good mood that is.
I have to disagree with his point about burglars. If I caught someone breaking into my house to steal my property I'd beat him within an inch of his life. If I was in a good mood that is. Woody G Mellor

9:44am Thu 4 Oct 12

Tom6187 says...

ReginaldBiscuit wrote:
Tom6187 wrote:
He's absolutely spot on, people who are capable of thinking for themselves know that religion is a far-fetched disgrace that has caused the majority of the world's problems. I'm totally open minded when it comes to how we got here but I do not believe the stories of old that were created by a human being whose aim was to use a book to control the masses. The fact that Muslims' are willing to kill innocent people and riot over what one person said is just hard to understand. Let science answer the questions, not a book written thousands of years ago.
Yep, religion is a tool for abuse of the majority by the controlling minority. Muslims are unfairly singled out for much stick at the moment because some of their followers, a small minority, are prepared to kill in the name of their religion which is based on their own twisted view. Worryingly, there are many negative stereotypes of muslims which give people the wrong impression.

Roy Hattersley is right in what he says. The worrying thing for me as an atheist is the fact that people of a faith will have more rights and priorities of those without. Religion has a snug mantle for itself giving its believers many rights. The fact that creationists of all persuasions have been murdering and persecuting each other since records began says everything. Look at the Nazi SS. On their belts, the words "Gott mit uns", God with us. Look at the catholic church and all the harm to races and abuse to children that has occurred by representatives of its faith undertaking gross human activities.

The Bible and Koran are fictional works created with extreme dogma and judgements over 100s of years. Mohammed had been dead 300 years by the time the Koran was finished.

Religions will tell you to not question what you hear, read or see, they instead tell you to just 'believe' often without question - "God moves in mysterious ways", "It's not for us to question why", "Don't try to work out why, just believe" - Statements that contradict the thinking offered by a good education. The key to disabling religion for good is to educate people to think for themselves and don't let other people do the thinking for them.

The human race has done pretty well to still be around but look at what it could have achieved without religion.
Well put, I couldn't disagree with any of it.
[quote][p][bold]ReginaldBiscuit[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Tom6187[/bold] wrote: He's absolutely spot on, people who are capable of thinking for themselves know that religion is a far-fetched disgrace that has caused the majority of the world's problems. I'm totally open minded when it comes to how we got here but I do not believe the stories of old that were created by a human being whose aim was to use a book to control the masses. The fact that Muslims' are willing to kill innocent people and riot over what one person said is just hard to understand. Let science answer the questions, not a book written thousands of years ago.[/p][/quote]Yep, religion is a tool for abuse of the majority by the controlling minority. Muslims are unfairly singled out for much stick at the moment because some of their followers, a small minority, are prepared to kill in the name of their religion which is based on their own twisted view. Worryingly, there are many negative stereotypes of muslims which give people the wrong impression. Roy Hattersley is right in what he says. The worrying thing for me as an atheist is the fact that people of a faith will have more rights and priorities of those without. Religion has a snug mantle for itself giving its believers many rights. The fact that creationists of all persuasions have been murdering and persecuting each other since records began says everything. Look at the Nazi SS. On their belts, the words "Gott mit uns", God with us. Look at the catholic church and all the harm to races and abuse to children that has occurred by representatives of its faith undertaking gross human activities. The Bible and Koran are fictional works created with extreme dogma and judgements over 100s of years. Mohammed had been dead 300 years by the time the Koran was finished. Religions will tell you to not question what you hear, read or see, they instead tell you to just 'believe' often without question - "God moves in mysterious ways", "It's not for us to question why", "Don't try to work out why, just believe" - Statements that contradict the thinking offered by a good education. The key to disabling religion for good is to educate people to think for themselves and don't let other people do the thinking for them. The human race has done pretty well to still be around but look at what it could have achieved without religion.[/p][/quote]Well put, I couldn't disagree with any of it. Tom6187

10:25am Thu 4 Oct 12

Firedrake says...

I find the world with religion bad enough; and a world without it too terrible to contemplate!
I find the world with religion bad enough; and a world without it too terrible to contemplate! Firedrake

11:29am Thu 4 Oct 12

Ignatius Lumpopo says...

Bless him
Bless him Ignatius Lumpopo

3:51pm Thu 4 Oct 12

hendom says...

Well said Mr Hattersley. It's a shame that too many politicians wait until they have left power before daring to criticise the ridiculous things one has to believe to be a person of 'faith'.
Well said Mr Hattersley. It's a shame that too many politicians wait until they have left power before daring to criticise the ridiculous things one has to believe to be a person of 'faith'. hendom

7:29pm Thu 4 Oct 12

MilkandTwo says...

ReginaldBiscuit wrote:
Tom6187 wrote:
He's absolutely spot on, people who are capable of thinking for themselves know that religion is a far-fetched disgrace that has caused the majority of the world's problems. I'm totally open minded when it comes to how we got here but I do not believe the stories of old that were created by a human being whose aim was to use a book to control the masses. The fact that Muslims' are willing to kill innocent people and riot over what one person said is just hard to understand. Let science answer the questions, not a book written thousands of years ago.
Yep, religion is a tool for abuse of the majority by the controlling minority. Muslims are unfairly singled out for much stick at the moment because some of their followers, a small minority, are prepared to kill in the name of their religion which is based on their own twisted view. Worryingly, there are many negative stereotypes of muslims which give people the wrong impression.

Roy Hattersley is right in what he says. The worrying thing for me as an atheist is the fact that people of a faith will have more rights and priorities of those without. Religion has a snug mantle for itself giving its believers many rights. The fact that creationists of all persuasions have been murdering and persecuting each other since records began says everything. Look at the Nazi SS. On their belts, the words "Gott mit uns", God with us. Look at the catholic church and all the harm to races and abuse to children that has occurred by representatives of its faith undertaking gross human activities.

The Bible and Koran are fictional works created with extreme dogma and judgements over 100s of years. Mohammed had been dead 300 years by the time the Koran was finished.

Religions will tell you to not question what you hear, read or see, they instead tell you to just 'believe' often without question - "God moves in mysterious ways", "It's not for us to question why", "Don't try to work out why, just believe" - Statements that contradict the thinking offered by a good education. The key to disabling religion for good is to educate people to think for themselves and don't let other people do the thinking for them.

The human race has done pretty well to still be around but look at what it could have achieved without religion.
Actually "Gott mit uns" was the Germany Army.

The atheist SS had "My Honour through loyalty" and, when killed in battle, SS men were buried under under a swastika rather than the Christian cross.

But the SS never hurt anyone did they? Bit like the other atheists Stalin and Mao. In fact, aetheistic movements like Nazism or Communism never hurt anyone in the 20th Century did they?
[quote][p][bold]ReginaldBiscuit[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Tom6187[/bold] wrote: He's absolutely spot on, people who are capable of thinking for themselves know that religion is a far-fetched disgrace that has caused the majority of the world's problems. I'm totally open minded when it comes to how we got here but I do not believe the stories of old that were created by a human being whose aim was to use a book to control the masses. The fact that Muslims' are willing to kill innocent people and riot over what one person said is just hard to understand. Let science answer the questions, not a book written thousands of years ago.[/p][/quote]Yep, religion is a tool for abuse of the majority by the controlling minority. Muslims are unfairly singled out for much stick at the moment because some of their followers, a small minority, are prepared to kill in the name of their religion which is based on their own twisted view. Worryingly, there are many negative stereotypes of muslims which give people the wrong impression. Roy Hattersley is right in what he says. The worrying thing for me as an atheist is the fact that people of a faith will have more rights and priorities of those without. Religion has a snug mantle for itself giving its believers many rights. The fact that creationists of all persuasions have been murdering and persecuting each other since records began says everything. Look at the Nazi SS. On their belts, the words "Gott mit uns", God with us. Look at the catholic church and all the harm to races and abuse to children that has occurred by representatives of its faith undertaking gross human activities. The Bible and Koran are fictional works created with extreme dogma and judgements over 100s of years. Mohammed had been dead 300 years by the time the Koran was finished. Religions will tell you to not question what you hear, read or see, they instead tell you to just 'believe' often without question - "God moves in mysterious ways", "It's not for us to question why", "Don't try to work out why, just believe" - Statements that contradict the thinking offered by a good education. The key to disabling religion for good is to educate people to think for themselves and don't let other people do the thinking for them. The human race has done pretty well to still be around but look at what it could have achieved without religion.[/p][/quote]Actually "Gott mit uns" was the Germany Army. The atheist SS had "My Honour through loyalty" and, when killed in battle, SS men were buried under under a swastika rather than the Christian cross. But the SS never hurt anyone did they? Bit like the other atheists Stalin and Mao. In fact, aetheistic movements like Nazism or Communism never hurt anyone in the 20th Century did they? MilkandTwo

9:37pm Thu 4 Oct 12

York Citizen says...

Disappointed by the misleading headline and highly selective editing of what Lord Hattersley actually said last night.

He did NOT attack religion, despite his own personal position. He criticised the interpretation of religious texts to justify inequality, pointing out that those who do this do so because they have something to gain or a risk of losing something. themselves.

His lecture was inspirational and focused on fairness and ways to improve equality - improving society for the good of all, rather than the few.
Disappointed by the misleading headline and highly selective editing of what Lord Hattersley actually said last night. He did NOT attack religion, despite his own personal position. He criticised the interpretation of religious texts to justify inequality, pointing out that those who do this do so because they have something to gain or a risk of losing something. themselves. His lecture was inspirational and focused on fairness and ways to improve equality - improving society for the good of all, rather than the few. York Citizen

7:51am Fri 5 Oct 12

mortandindi says...

good job he didn't attack the muslim faith like this, there would have been more global riots for sure. everyone is entitled to there opinion, his is accepted if not agreed with, I won't be starting any riots, other faiths take note !!!!
good job he didn't attack the muslim faith like this, there would have been more global riots for sure. everyone is entitled to there opinion, his is accepted if not agreed with, I won't be starting any riots, other faiths take note !!!! mortandindi

7:57am Fri 5 Oct 12

AnotherPointofView says...

A politician attacking hypocracy in others, well there's a thing....
A politician attacking hypocracy in others, well there's a thing.... AnotherPointofView

8:43am Fri 5 Oct 12

ClueDog says...

Hell DOES exist. It's an evening of the wit and wisdom of Roy Hattersley.
Hell DOES exist. It's an evening of the wit and wisdom of Roy Hattersley. ClueDog

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