Home / News / UK Christians upset over media remarks that their biblical creationism beliefs are stupid, extremist
UK Christians upset over media remarks that their biblical creationism beliefs are stupid, extremist

UK Christians upset over media remarks that their biblical creationism beliefs are stupid, extremist

According to the UK's Christian Institute newscast (embedded below), the BBC admitted that Jeremy Paxman offended Christians when "talking about religious hogwash and saying that stupid people believed in a literal understanding of Genesis."

Paxman made the remarks while interviewing evolutionary biologist and professor Richard Dawkins during the BBC's Newsnight program.  Dawkins admitted that the biblical creation story was good as far as myths are concerned, but pointed out that in the United States, 40 percent of the people think that the creation story in Genesis is literally true.  "They probably think that Lot's wife was turned into a pillar of salt, for that matter," he added. To this, Paxman asked, "Do you really care that there are a lot of stupid people around?"

While admitting that Paxman's remarks were offensive to some viewers, the BBC Trust rejected the notion that Paxman's remarks broke the rules on impartiality, writing that Mr. Paxman's remarks "were offensive to some of the audience and that there was no clear editorial purpose for their use in this Newsnight item."

The Christian Institute also reports that evangelical Christians are upset that they were categorized as extremist, along with totalitarian Muslims.

Commenting in the UK's Guardian concerning the vetting of applications by religious groups for free schools, Government Education Advisor Alan Judd wrote,

To ban believers from setting up free schools would be to exclude a large number of able, well-meaning and experienced people who can do much to raise levels generally.

The trouble is, as always, when it’s taken to extremes, whether it’s evangelical Christians, totalitarian Muslims or segregationist Jews. Such applications need careful vetting, not because there shouldn’t be far-out religious and ideological beliefs, but because the taxpayer shouldn’t pay to propagate them – and because children should be able to participate in a wider society without having their horizons narrowed by fundamentalism.

That is why Mr Gove is right to insist that creationism – essentially, the assertion that the universe is not evolving but was created much as it is by a single deity and centred on us – must not be taught as part of science. It may be taught in religious education as one doctrine among others, but not as one scientific theory among others, a rival to evolution.

For most of those who failed, the message should be: try again.

Steve Clifford, Executive Director of the Evangelical Alliance said that "It is wrong and worrying that a senior government advisor brands evangelical Christians as extremist. There are approximately two million evangelical Christians in the UK, the fastest growing part of the church worldwide. They take their faith seriously, but that does not make them extremist."


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About D. Beeksma

One of the growing crowd of American "nones" herself, Deborah is a prolific writer who finds religion, spirituality and the impact of belief (and non-belief) on culture inspiring, fascinating and at times, disturbing. She hosts the God Discussion show and handles the site's technical work. Her education and background is in business, ecommerce and law.
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  • Paul Burnett

    As Richard Dawkins has famously said, people who do not believe in evolution are ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked. Most fundagelicals are innocently ignorant or willfully ignorant, rejecting evolution in favor of the clearly mythological falsity of creationism. Some people may simply be too stupid to ever understand evolution, and a few of the purportedly religious who bleat about creationism may be literally insane (possibly Jim Jones or David Koresh, for instance). And then there are the wicked, who may even know better, but see a path to fame or riches from books and lectures and "Creation Museums" and such foolishness.

    • Deborah_B

      Simply upvoted — there's nothing to add.

  • http://twitter.com/Simon_Gardner Simon Gardner

    The US has it right. There should be no religious schools permitted and especially no taxpayer funding of religious schools. Britain is currently walking backwards towards greater superstitious primitivism.

    • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

      Thing is, we (the U.S.) do have religious schools. They just are not, at this time, supported by tax payers dollars. Now if the Religious Reich gets their way (hopefully they do not) they will be.

      • Deborah_B

        Well, Louisiana with its vouchers is paving the way.

        • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

          They most definitely are..

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QLHQRZRRG2ELD3C36WL3EWMJLE ChrisW

        Many southern states, if left to their own devices, would degenerate into full fledged southern-chrisitan theocracies at the exclusion of all other religions. This is precisely what the first amendment was intended to prevent, and it is why the separation of church and state requires constant vigilance.

        • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

          I know. I live in the Bile Belt.

  • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

    It seems to me that anyone who takes the Bible literally and insists it is the inerrant word of God and inspired by God, and only accepting Creationism and not actual science, is an extremist. Maybe not necessarily the violent sort, but still extreme in their views.

  • Peter

    We have these fundamentalist
    schools up here in Canada, too, and more are opening every year. And, of
    course, they are tax exempt and all taxpayers subsidize them and their noxious
    doctrines. In Ontario, not only are Catholic schools tax exempt but every
    taxpayer funds these religious schools, from grade to high schools. Schools,
    were if your not a Catholic you can't teach there. I know, because my daughter
    tried. So, were subsidising a whole generation of brainwashed kids. As Loyola,
    the founder of the Jesuit order said: "Get the child, you have the
    adult." And there is nothing we can do about it.

    • Deborah_B

      I didn't realize this was going on in Canada, too. Great comment and the "Get the child, you have the adult" is fundamental to these types of tactics. The 4-11 Window, for example, is a Christian evangelical/dominionist thing where they say children must be targeted in missionary efforts starting at the age of 4.

      • Peter

        Well, we do have a evangelical Prime
        Minister who belongs to the Christian and Missionary Alliance which is a Dominionist
        group. And, the government just set up a special bureau for religious equality.
        It has funds to sponsor faith based initiatives, sound familiar. A page out of
        George Ws book. Want to guess where that money will go to? Oh yes, it is
        happening up here and I don't know where this old Trudeau liberal can hide.

        • Deborah_B

          I've been seeing articles here and there about the dominionist influence that's starting to take root in Canada. What a shame.

    • http://www.facebook.com/robert.miller.31149 Robert Miller

      I have an idea! Don't know if we could do it but lets see if we can't get tax exempted Atheist schools. While the truth is Atheism isn't really a religion we are a group of people with similar beliefs so on a legal point we might be able to be considered a religious group giving us tax exempt status(at least here in the US). Then we can teach our children well above public school standards as well as teach them how to think(which is the most important thing IMO). With all this stuff going on in certain states here and the religious moving up into positions of power trying to push their beliefs into law I honestly don't know how much I could take before I decide to move to another country. The US boasts freedom but if the religious have any say there will only be freedom for those who believe a certain way.

  • Peter

    Their everywhere, their everywhere!!

    • Deborah_B

      Hopefully, Curiosity won't find any on Mars.

  • Herman Cummings

    The only Christians and Jews that are stupid are the ones that refuse to learn the truth of Genesis, namely the "Observations of Moses". Current Creationism is both foolish (young earth) and false (old Earth), and misrepresents the Genesis text.

    Herman Cummings
    ephraim7@aol.com

  • Songyi Fan

    people do not have right to comment on other's religious believe.

    • Deborah_B

      If a religious argument is being used to affect public policy, they should. And for educational purposes or legal purposes they should, too. If it is being done simply to be mean or hateful, I agree that it is not useful commentary.

    • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

      Really? Then you do not have the right to comment on people's disbelief, sexuality, or belief in Evolution. However, I agree with Deborah, if it said religious belief is used to affect public policy then people should speak up about it and say what they think, but if it is done out of hate, then that does not contribute anything except more hate.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QLHQRZRRG2ELD3C36WL3EWMJLE ChrisW

      Actually, we do have that right, and we will. This is the essence of free speech – to comment on things that other people find uncomfortable without fear of reprisal.

      This is why it is legitimate to criticize and to actively block religious extremists of all stripes, including christians, jews, and muslims.

  • David

    Is it just me who thinks the Christians are supposed to just forgive the media

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