David Clark | Issue 08

David Clark | Issue 08

Religion

ďSex is fun; religion is funnier.Ē Some in my theology class took offence. The theology professor who issued the statement was one of my more entertaining ones. It was him who used to call me ďmister tippy-tappy.Ē

Apparently some in the class didnít think it appropriate to laugh about either sex or religion. I was astonished. In hindsight, I guess it spoke to the social taboo that still sits around both. Arguably, people are now more sensitive about the latter than the former topic.

Perhaps because more people have greater experience with sex than religion, it is more comfortable to speak about? In any case, Iím pretty comfortable having a poke at both (as the actress said to the Bishop).

Donít get me wrong, my religion is important to me Ė although an electorate MP by day, I am still a Presbyterian Minister by night. I just donít think I have all of the answers. I donít think anyone does. And I donít think scientists have all of the answers either. (Actually, in my experience, practising scientists *in particular* are forever saying they donít have all of the answers. Think Einstein.)

But letís not argue evolution versus creationism. Itís a red herring in my view. The Bible wasnít written as a scientific textbook. It was written in the language of poem, myth and logbook and became (is) a centrepiece for a community searching for meaning and purpose.

So, in my view, there is something to learn from people of different faiths, and from people of no faith. After all, they still have the task of understanding (finding meaning in) the world around them.

It is supreme arrogance to claim you have the absolute truth. False humility isnít right either. Either you think your philosophy or faith has something of value to offer others, or you donít. And it is a dull and decaying mind that shuts out questions, challenges and new ways of thinking.

Frankly, I doubt the majority of my fellow MPs would count themselves Christian today. Yet the founders of the Labour Party thought they were creating a form of applied Christianity. In my party, a passion for social justice remains.

Truth is: most people my age and younger have only a passing acquaintance, at best, with formal religion. That doesnít stop them wanting to create a better, more democratic, more sustainable and just world.
This article first appeared in Issue 8, 2014.
Posted 4:31pm Sunday 13th April 2014 by David Clark.