…there is a pot of gold that can fix some of Ireland’s problems. That gold is atheism. Sure, the Republic of Ireland is 92% Catholic, but only 48% regularly attend Mass. Is Ireland becoming more secular just like the rest of Western Europe? This blogger thinks so; slowly but surely.
In Carnival of the Godless #27, PZ Meyers challenged us to write about the virtues of godlessness instead of criticizing religion. I’ll briefly touch on the subject of religion, but in this post I’ll mostly postulate on the benign influence atheism can have on a nation torn apart by thousands of years of fighting.
The way I see it, atheism would be like a stitch to connect this Emerald Isle. It wouldn’t completely put it back together, but it would hold it firmly in place. Imagine if Northern Ireland, which is now roughly 60% Protestant and 40% Catholic, were to be 90% atheistic. Just imagine. Would we have as much fighting? Would we have anymore Bloody Sundays? Protestants and Catholics both believe their flavour of Christianity is the one true flavour and therefore see the other sect as inferior.
Personally, a few of my cousins are athiests as well and the younger generation is definitely far less religious than the older generation. Each successive generation is less religious than the previous, at least from experience in my family. But I’m sure it equally applies to other families in Northern Ireland as well. My mother, for example, is very religious (I mean, she was born in a city St. Patrick founded!) but me, I’m an atheist. My grandmother is very religious. Her mother (my great-grandmother) was the kind of ridiculously religious person who said the rosary 40 on her knees before she went to bed, and if she messed she up started all over.
Just imagine what happens when Islam’s growing population in Ireland gets into conflict with the Christians. More fighting. If there’s one thing that Ireland needs, fighting isn’t it.
A jealous green streaks down this faulty diamond
No bloody boots or crucifix
Can ever hope to split this emerald island
Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that if Northern Ireland were mostly secular all of its problems would wash away. It still has a lot of things to fix forbide that. Religion breeds fighting. But how much damage could a little atheism do versus 1600 years of Christianity.
Demographic Information gathered from Wikipedia