Jon Bialecki

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“Christianity and atheism are two sides of the same coin”

This is a nice reflection piece/vignette-ethnography, written by anthropologist Matthew Engelke for the Guardian, on Christianity, the New Atheism, Politics, and public ritual in the UK.

The article itself is worthy of attention, but just as striking is the way that the comments section has metastasized in less than a day. What is striking is how, despite the formal and substantive differences regarding religion in the US and the UK, the comments in comparable pieces in the US media read similarly (albeit it at a much lesser order of magnitude in the US case).

Putting aside whatever other points that might be gleaned from the Guardian comments section, and whatever judgements might be made about it, the tone and vigor of the comments suggests something that looks like an immure response to the idea of a role of the religious in politics in the UK. The open question, of course, is whether this is a reaction to an actual pathogen, an act of self-vaccination to ward off an American plague, or an auto-immune response, such as an allergy – or, perhaps, the body turning on its own self?