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28 October, 2010

We don't need no education

The British Humanist Association is launching a campaign to persuade tell people with no everyday religious beliefs to acknowledge that fact on their census returns in 2011 – too many people select "christian" in particular, allegedly as a matter of cultural affiliation (respecting their upbringings rather than current, personal beliefs?) rather than the more accurate "no religion".

Ostensibly, it's a good idea, as the church and government could use inflated data to justify continued state funding which, needless to say, I totally oppose: I support the right to practice one's religion, but solely in private, at one's own expense, and without either state assistance or specific representation in government.

However, though I support the idea enough to publicise it here (I don't really consider it evangelism, merely consciousness-raising; what people do with their new awareness is their business), there's a problem I've mentioned before.

The BHA want people to select "no religion", the only option the census form offers to atheists and agnostics. That's not how I regard my atheism. I believe there is no god: that is my faith. I don't seek evidence or rationalisation, it's enough for me to believe. Yet belief in an absence is NOT an absence of belief – I don't have 'no religion'.

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