​Lord Bragg: tribal loyalty to faith.

British writer and broadcaster Lord (Melvyn) Bragg has defended Christianity and mainstream religions against atheist attacks in an Australian television interview, saying they were unfair and “profoundly wrong”.

Lord Bragg, who recently wrote a book marking the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, told Emma Alberici on the ABC’s Lateline on 20 March that atheists relied too much on reason. Religion was a neutral body of knowledge to be used and abused and it was a calumny to accuse religions of doing terrible things.

“Men caused terrible things to happen. Men lusting for power caused a terrible thing to happen.”

Ms Alberici: “But often in the name of religion.”

Lord Bragg: “In the name of anything, I agree with you, in the name of religion. In the name of anything they can get their hands on. In the name of ideology, in the name of magic, anything, or in the name of killing people. There’s nothing religious in the name of Genghis Khan. Twenty million people were killed in the Middle Ages… There was nothing religious about that. Pol Pot I don’t think was particularly religious, I don’t think Mao was, either.

“If people want to be atheists, that’s fine, it’s a respectable position. But this business of hammering religions, especially Christianity, was not only not fair, it was wrong. It was profoundly wrong. And if you get your history wrong in you’re in terrible trouble. As all countries know, when they conceal their history and they get it wrong, it catches up with them and they get in trouble.”

Lord Bragg said the King James Bible gave to the English-speaking world the basis of its language; was the instrument by which “the greatest abomination of mankind”, slavery, was abolished; helped create modern democracy by arguing against the divine right of kings; and was the greatest empowerer of women in the 19th century.

On Richard Dawkins, he said the prominent atheist misunderstood the effect of the Bible on slaves by saying that it was used to pacify them.

“What happened to slaves is they took hold of it and turned it into liberation theology,” Lord Bragg said.

“He (Professor Dawkins) was completely ignorant, he didn’t do his research.

“And the animus is hard to understand why he wants to attack this - a man who is heir to a great body of scientific knowledge – why he wants to attack this other body of knowledge which nurtured other great explorers of all time.

“Galileo was a serious Christian. So was Kepler, so was Isaac Newton – people who dwarf Dawkins. Why he wants to do that I have no idea – it’s his own little agenda, which is a shame.”

Lord Bragg said he was bought up as a strong Christian, but no longer believed in a personal god, miracles, the
Resurrection, the Trinity, the Eucharist, “body into blood, I don’t believe that”.

“I’m not much of a Christian, but I have a tribal loyalty to it,” he said.

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