The Sceptic Blog

Random thoughts of a random chappy

The Pope and Good Manners

with one comment

1.  Scottish atheists are welcoming the Pope with a special “Good Without God” protest.

2.  I know of no religion (including Judaism) that denies the ability to be a good person without religious belief.

3.  The more important question, however, seems to be whether people, religious or not, can bring themselves to behave decently nowadays, by the exertion of a modicum of commonsense and self-control.

4.  The journalists who managed to catch a photograph of the Pope with his face covered by his own shawl in the wind doubtless thought “what a scoop”; that is a reasonable first thought – but the second thought should have been “come to think of it, though, not very kind to publish such an indiginified picture – let’s just quietly bin it”.

5.  Similarly, whether or not atheists are right, might not sheer good manners lead one to think that a billboard denying God is an impolite welcome to Scotland?

6.  And the Cardinal expressing trenchant views about secularism in Britain may or may not have been airing an important issue, but simple good manners might have suggested that this was not the time, place or manner in which to do it.

7.  Perhaps we are all so busy nowadays being right, and fervent in our protestations of how right we are, that we forget to be well-mannered.

8. I don’t know who first said “manners maketh man”, but it has something to be said for it: manners are more than a superficial social etiquette – they are part of our instinctive knowledge of what is good and bad behaviour that forms part of the Divine image in which some of us believe we were created.

9.  The Pope has plenty of policy and religious issues to address (and so far as I can see he does not seem to be an unhelpfully complacent or self-satisfied personality): but there is a time and a place for everything – he is the head of a religion to which a few million of our fellow human-beings belong, and we owe it to ourselves to give him a welcome that exudes human warmth and a respect for human dignity.


Written by Daniel Greenberg

September 16, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

One Response

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  1. Thanks.

    I hope this enables me to receive updates

    Elliot Weider

    November 10, 2010 at 2:37 pm

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