Thursday, 14 February 2013

Why Valentine’s Day is like Richard Dawkins

by Nathaniel Charles


I’m aware the title is a little, um, odd and random, but the argument boils down to this:

I have great respect for the ideals of Valentine and the (controversial) view of atheism put forward by Richard Dawkins. What I don’t appreciate, however, is being slapped in the face with them.

Due to the massive commercialisation of Valentine’s Day many have forgotten what it actually stands for (and, no, it isn’t ‘special MandS meals for two). St Valentine was born into the Roman Empire circa 270 AD and helped soldiers to marry Christians, a forbidden act. What gained him his reputation as a saint of love was his miraculous healing of a jailer’s daughter; just before his violent and messy death at the hands of the Romans he wrote a letter to the girl, signing it “Your Valentine”.  

When, in the fifteenth century, Chaucer wrote ‘Love Birds’, St. Valentine’s Day became the epitome of courtly love and romantic tenderness, a noble ideal and quite sweet actually.

Atheism is the choice not to believe in any god and I have a great deal of respect for the fact that it highlights the sheer curiosity of humanity and its striving for scientific, empirical truth. David Hume was an atheist and his inconsistent triangle proved a genuine challenge to Christianity, Richard Dawkins, with his peerless work into evolution, has expanded humanity’s knowledge.

Now this is where I have a problem with both Valentine’s Day and Richard Dawkins; they both step far too close into my personal space and scream into my face.
Due to commercialisation, Valentine’s Day has lost its purity and is now merely an exercise in marketing that forces everyone to conform to sickly chocolate and swiftly wilting red roses. Richard Dawkins’ way of expressing his atheism is insulting and blind, yet, due to a significant T.V presence, there have been several documentaries on how religion is idiotic and all who follow Christianity are morons.

Please, I beseech thee! Celebrate Valentine’s Day but don’t let ‘the man’ tell you what to do; be romantic and let the chivalric ideals of Chaucer guide you in your courting of the light of your life.


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