Hensher on Green

Philip Hensher has an amusing opinion piece in The Independent (unfortunately, a “portfolio” article – you have to pay for it) making fun of “the incorrigible self-publicist from Carmarthen”, Stephen Green.

Hensher expounds on the issue of “taking offence”, and concludes,

What we should be doing, and what Mr Green, the promoters of the Religious Hatred Bill, and all other forces now cheerfully threatening our liberty should be doing is not looking around for causes of offence, and deciding which of them cause us, personally, offence. We should just accept, as most of us have, that we live in a big complicated world; not everyone is like us, not everyone holds, or should hold, the same beliefs that we do; and from time to time we will prefer to avert our eyes or close our ears.

Fine words. Stephen Fry said the same thing rather more pithily in a debate about religious censorship at this year’s Hay-on-Wye festival: “You’re offended? So fucking what?”

66 Responses to “Hensher on Green”

  1. Christopher Shell says:

    ‘Willingness to make fun of’ people in general – yes, this is psychologically healthy. As is being willinbg to accept it in return.
    Especially selecting holy people to make fun of – no health there. YOu could understand if they chose criminals or dubious characters….
    Cynicism: Surely this is not a sign of health. I think she must have been confusing cynicism with either scepticism or wry/ironic humour, both of which are healthy. Cynicism, by contrast, is connected to endemic negativity and to bitterness.

  2. Andrew Nixon says:

    Obviously being cynical aobut everything isn’t ideal. But cynicism about nothing is very unhealthy.

    Not being cynical at all leads one into gullibility, and means one is more likely to fall for crap like religion.

    You still have failed to demonstrate any actual harm that JS:TO has caused or can cause.

  3. Andrew Nixon says:

    I do also question your pshycological health. Why do you come to a site when you know your views are largely considered to be full of crap?

    Why do you complain about us making fun of people, when this is one of the stated aims of the site?

    Why do you claim to want rational debate, when accepting that the resurection story is an actual event?

    The only person here who is psychologically damaged is you.

  4. Andrew Nixon says:

    As for your claim about making fun of “holy” people. To be frank, Jesus deserves to be made fun of. He went round claiming to be the son of a mythical being.

    If he was genuinely mentally ill, obviously making fun of him would be a bit dodgy, but if he wasn’t, then he deserves to be made fun of, just like any other idiot who walks round claiming to be the son of god. As do the people who have fallen for the big con trick that is religion.

    Besides which JS:TO makes fun of the Jerry Springer show and those who watch it/take part in it.

  5. Christopher Shell says:

    #53 is interesting. Do you think the cause of knowledge is advanced by people chatting with people who already agree with them. No – they will learn nothing, and their stereotypes will be wrongly reinforced.
    The way that ppl learn things is by debating with people who are coming from somewhere different from themselves. That’s how I learn things anyway. It forces one to see things from other angles, and the more angles one can see things from, the better one will be able to see more of the whole picture.

    Do people of psychological ‘health’ really just stick around people who already agree with them. Maybe people who want to be safe, and have their views reinforced, do that? Or people afraid of being different from the crowd? You tell me.

  6. Andrew Nixon says:

    It never ceases to amaze me just how much one man can twist what people say. Please Christopher, indicate where I said any of what you seem to think I said.

  7. Christopher Shell says:

    You were saying that because most ppl on this site disagree with a lot of what I say, I should avoid the site. This is what #55 was trying to refute.

  8. Andrew Nixon says:

    You were saying that because most ppl on this site disagree with a lot of what I say, I should avoid the site. This is what #55 was trying to refute.

    Please indicate where I said this. Also please indicate where I said what you claimed I said in #55.

  9. tom p says:

    Andrew, you did imply that he shouldn’t come here, even if you didn’t actually say so. That’s certainly what I tool what you’d written to mean anyway.

  10. Andrew Nixon says:

    I didn’t mean to imply that at all, I was actually questioning his motives for coming here, hence the “why do you come to a site……”

    I’m sure he’d ask exactly the same question if one of us walked into his church telling everybody that god does not exist.

  11. Christopher Shell says:

    Surely debate is always better than birds of a feather blindly flocking together.

    It was #53 which I took to mean this.

  12. Andrew Nixon says:

    Surely debate is always better than birds of a feather blindly flocking together.

    It was #53 which I took to mean this.

    But that isn’t what I actually said is it Christopher?

  13. Christopher Shell says:

    Not exactly. Because language is itself not exact. And therefore one can always split hairs if that is what one is inclined to do. (These pedants! Mutter! Mumble!)

  14. Andrew Nixon says:

    Just to confirm, that I welcome your presence here. You are a constant source of amusement to me. I’m sure others will share those sentiments.

    However, I do question your motives. What is it you hope to acheive? Rational debate seems to be your reason, but on some topics you start from fundamentally irrational positions.

    The question “why do you bother to come here?” is not intended to mean “piss off”.

    But I’m sure you would ask the same question to an individual who came to church and told everybody that there is no god.

  15. tom p says:

    We should all do that one Sunday – meet up and go along to a church and start pointing out the fundamental foolishness of their position and how there is, and can be, no god

  16. Andrew Nixon says:

    I’m sure Christopher would welcome us at whatever church he attends……