Religion & Religious Practice

The waxing and waning of religion in Dracula

Over the New Year, the BBC ran a new three-part version of Dracula. It was unusual to say the least. Dracula was played as ironic, post-modern, cynical and smart-alecky. Van Helsing, his nemesis, was no longer a man but (wait for it), a nun. And not just any old nun, but an atheist nun, at...

A new survey reveals little faith in religion or politics

Every two years a major survey is published called the European Social Survey which investigates the attitudes of people from a range of countries, including Ireland, to issues like religion, politics, immigration, sexuality and so on. The latest findings are out, and faith in religion remains at a low ebb in most countries surveyed, but...

Religion declines, individualism and technocracy rise

Check it out. As religion declines in a society, rationality and tolerance go up, and a good thing too. This, at least, seems to be the barely concealed message of the latest British Social Attitudes report (BSA). Since 1983, the National Centre for Social Research has been charting the decline of religion in British society,...

Getting it wrong about science and religion yet again

It’s a pity Alfred O’Rahilly is not alive today to debate the topic of science and religion with Professor David McConnell of Trinity College Dublin. O’Rahilly was himself a scientist. He was President of UCC. He spoke and wrote widely on the topic of science and religion. He died in 1969. McConnell had an article...

The link between religion and greater happiness

The primary function of religion isn’t to make you happy. It is to draw you closer to God and make you a better person. In addition, every spiritual writer, every great novelist, every thinker worth their salt knows that sometimes we only become better people through suffering, which anyone who has ever cared about someone...

How we are turning politics into religion (again)

Despite the wish of some atheists, the religious instinct of human beings is basically ineradicable. When it doesn’t find a direct religious outlet, it will find other outlets, such as politics. By ‘the religious instinct’ I mean the wish to find meaning and purpose in life, something bigger than ourselves, transcendence, a belief in a...

Rise in numbers reporting ‘no religion’ in Census must be properly interpreted

Rise in numbers reporting ‘no religion’ in Census must be properly interpreted Many of those who don’t belong to a religion continue to believe in God October 12, 2017 – Census figures released today showing a sharp rise in the number of people saying they have ‘no religion’ need to be properly interpreted because many...

Religion in Ireland: current trends

Dr Stephen Bullivant of St Mary’s University in London analyses the religion results from Census 2016 and finds an Ireland where religious affiliation is falling but is still very high by European standards. You can view his presentation here.  He addressed the topic at a meetings of The Iona Institute held on August 24, 2017....

Just like religion, modernity has often been very violent

The recent terrorist attacks in Manchester and London prompts a writer in The Irish Times to ponder not the nature of Islam, as would seem natural given the stated motivations of the attackers, but to accuse modern Christianity of being an “exercise in cherry-picking”, one that leaves out the more difficult passages in the Bible....

Atheist Ireland’s secular State would reduce freedom of religion to freedom of worship

Michael Nugent of Atheist Ireland, has presented the usual litany of discrimination allegedly suffered by atheists and religious minorities in Ireland in an article for The Irish Times this week.  He calls a more secular state.  But what kind of secular State? The kind he wants would have almost no place for religion in public...