Monday, April 21, 2014

Of chalk and cheese

People often look to make comparisons to make a point and often choose the most ludicrous examples, the classic amongst which is comparing the Palestinian treatment by Israel to the holocaust or apartheid, when a quick examination proves that they are no such thing which is not to minimise the issues, but simply make the point that exaggeration does nothing for your cause except make you look silly to an outside observer.
Church leaders renewed their stand-off with the Coalition over hunger in Britain using Easter sermons to speak of poverty and destitution, as one bishop claimed Government cuts were having “sinful consequences”.
The Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Rev Justin Welby singled out the experiences of people turning to food banks in the UK as an example of suffering in the world, alongside the crises in Syria and Ukraine.
He also said those who quietly man food banks were making a more powerful statement of the Christian message than figures such as himself who “shout” about religion on a national stage.
In his sermon, he spoke about sorrow and listed examples of people around the world shedding tears including bereaved mothers in Syria and people in Ukraine and Rwanda. He added: “In this country, even as the economy improves there is weeping in broken families, in people ashamed to seek help from food banks, or frightened by debt.
“Asylum seekers weep with loneliness and missing far away families.”
I'm sorry, but telling us the tears of families seeking help from foodbanks pale into comparison with what happened in Rwanda and what's happening in Syria. I'm also pretty sure that what's going on in the Ukraine doesn't really compare either.
The real trick about using comparison for effect is that you do not try and make yourself sound utterly ridiculous when you do it. The end result is to water down your point in a similar way the left watered down the terms fascist and racist to accuse anyone who didn't think like they did. By shutting down debate, they ensured that the problems got worse and people started to think about more extreme solutions.
Not that I think the Arch-Druid will shut down debate, just that he minimises the impact of his sermon by comparing chalk with cheese, I rather doubt anyone whose hobbyhorse isn't opposing benefits reform will take what he has to say seriously... assuming they even notice what he says anyway.
Telling us that those who shed tears of pride for using foodbanks in comparison to those who are losing or have lost their lives in Syria and Rwanda does himself and his cause no favours whatsoever...

1 annotations:

Anonymous said...

Welby – or was it his RC counterpart? – also said that the poor were Jesus’ first priority…

How wrong can a church leader be? Jesus was more concerned about a person’s spiritual health than fiscal wealth; indeed, I would argue that Jesus did not give two hoots about fiscal poverty. I know of no passage in the Bible where Jesus expressed any concern at all about whether or not a person could feed or clothe themselves; where there might have been a problem, he merely resolved it.

Radical Rodent