Gruelling interview

Had an interview with a fictional character called Mrs Mountable – she is the creation of Nicky Clark, but her questions are frighteningly similar to real ones we get at the office…

My grueling interview with the head of the Human Atheists Andrew Copson

As I’m a very broad-minded Christian lady and although I don’t have time to go to church myself, I’m very keen to understand why anyone would choose not to benefit from the love of our saviour.
I’m well known for being kind and considerate and I endeavor to remain at all times open minded and keen to learn, so I spoke recently to the head of the Human Atheists cult, Andrew Copson to find out more about their ways and beliefs.
?Hello Andrew please could you state your full name for the record?
Andrew Copson
Thank you we will begin gently with a light question to put you at your ease. Is that all right with you?
Go ahead.
What is your favourite flavour of ice cream, why do you hate God and why are you trying to ban religion?
I don’t hate god because I don’t believe that such a thing exists, though I don’t like what the idea of god makes some people do. I don’t want to ban religion, though I do want to end the discrimination and privilege that many religions perpetrate and which the law in the UK currently allows. My favourite ice cream is cherry and chocolate.
Why do you want to destroy the institution of marriage by calling for equal marriage? It is already equal as it is open to both ladies and men, who are quite at liberty to marry one another. Also I’m married so that must mean that you hate myself and my husband. WHY DO YOU HATE MYSELF AND MY HUSBAND ANDREW?
I’m sure your husband is a perfectly charming, civilized and long-suffering man. The argument for equal marriage is simple. (1) Gay and bisexual people should not be discriminated against in access to human and civil rights. (2) The right to enter into a legal marriage is a civil right. (3) The right to legal recognition for your marriage should therefore be extended to same-sex couples. Rather than destroy the institution of marriage such a reform would strengthen it, by making it more relevant to our more tolerant and open society.
Why are you trying to ban Christmas? Does that not, by extension mean that your organization hates love and family and presents?
I love Christmas. Not just because I love spending time with my family and giving presents, though I do, but because I think it’s good to have a moment in the year when you take a step back, rest, and in the depths of winter, remember that we are halfway through it and that there is light and warmth in the world. That is the purpose of mid-winter festivals all over the word and was the purpose of them long before Christianity co-opted it and called it Christmas.
Can we address the fact that you are trying to ban the Boy Scout Movement. Brownie movement and Girl Guide movement. I myself was a sixer, and my husband Piers was very fond of his woggle Andrew, so I ask you this .Why? YES OR NO.
Both the Scouts and Guides say they want to be inclusive of all young people. A majority of young people are not religious and a very large number don’t believe in any gods. By making and oath or a promise to god compulsory, any organization is clearly not inclusive. If they want to be inclusive, they have to let in non-religious young people join.
Human Atheists claim that they don’t believe in God, Surely by choosing not to believe in God you are believing that He exists?
Firstly, you can’t just ‘choose’ what to believe exists. If you think something might exist you go me look for evidence that it does. If you find such evidence, it’s a good provisional conclusion that the thing in question exists. I can’t see any good evidence to believe in and god, so I don’t.
Michael Gove recently decided that he was introducing the teaching of The Theory of Evolution by known crackpot Charles Darwin to primary schools. How can you support this? Aren’t children deserving of our love and protection rather than being taught fairy tales and rumour?
In their science lessons, children should be taught ideas that have been subject to scientific investigation and have known validity as a result. Evolution is one such idea. It is foundational to modern biology and if our children don’t learn it, they will be justifiably thought ignorant in the eyes of the world and embarrassingly so.
In terms of aggressive human atheists Andrew, none is more sneakily aggressive than the well-known quiet explainer Professor Richard Dawkins. He may use measured tones and well thought out reasoned argument, but it’s simply a ruse Andrew. As you adopt the same approach please explain why we should listen to this offensive nonsense?
I don’t mind whether you listen or not. But I do think that reasoned argument, good manners and an open approach are a good way to conduct discussions in a civilized society. I hope you come to think so too.
Why do you want to ban the wearing of crucifixes? This is clearly oppressing and offending many people. Why?
I don’t want to ban the wearing of religious symbols but there are some circumstances where the wearing of them might conflict with an obligation of employment or affect the rights of others, and then we need to balance rights. An example is a primary school teacher who wants to wear a burqa. This would clearly interfere with her ability to do her job and the right of children to education.
Another example is a nurse who wants to wear a cross on a chain when working on wards. If it dangles in a way that might interfere with his duties, then it is reasonable to ask him to tuck it away or wear it on a pin instead. If a therapist working with people traumatized by clerical sex abuse wants to wear a visible crucifix, we might say that was inappropriate and insensitive or damaging to her vulnerable clients and say she could not do so.
You seem to have many supporters in the “show business community” can we understand from this that human Atheists have infiltrated every level of society to a TERRIFYING degree?
You can if you want to. Or you could take it as an indication that more and more people in every sphere of life are seeing the benefits of standing up for values and meaning in the here and now, a more humane approach to ethics, and a more open and fair society for all. I welcome that, perhaps some people may find it terrifying and I’m sorry that you do. But the right approach to fear is not to let it turn into anger and hate, but to be brave. If we are afraid because we feel in danger, we must be rational, cultivate a disinterested perspective from which to assess the real threat.  If we are afraid because we do not understand something, we must have intellectual courage: be brave enough to explore and be curious. If we are afraid of someone because we do not know them, we must take a leap and try to know them: be brave enough to understand them, try to use our empathy and imaginative sympathy.
Maybe you could try that?

2 comments

  1. Christopher Shell

    But, Andrew, it does you no credit to bypass the fact that you have so far been made aware (if you were not aware already) of over a hundred logical, scientific and statistical arguments against secular humanism and its various components. Had you or anyone else attempted to answer these, there is of course no guarantee that they would have won the argument. But in fact the situation is different: no attempt has been made to enter this statistical debate at all. And that shunning of science and social science is what all honest people will deplore. Can I ask: when will British humanists address the statistics which I and others have handed to them? Thanks.

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