LET THEM ALL EAT CAKE by Harry McAvinchey



There is no doubt that the Ashers Gay  Cake case in Norneverland , has exposed the idea that religious beliefs are sometimes not conducive to joined- up thinking …or running a bakery that can serve an entire community. Statements  issuing , straight -facedly from witnesses in  the  earthly High Court in Belfast, about  bakers eventually  standing before their God,  whose  wrathful displeasure would be so  evident, because they ‘d  deigned to bake a cake supporting gay marriage, indicates a paucity of intellectual depth of thought  and exposes some of these Stone- Age  tribal customs as little more than fictional, magical  belief -systems  that are virtually incompatible with the extant knowledge of the universe that is available to anyone who cares to throw off these time -worn  fears and indoctrinations for a truthful life in the 21st century .


Can anyone really still  believe in these ancient Stone -Age doctrines and still find a place in the 21st century, without  encountering some form of ridicule , or at best, critique, entering the conversation?It is impossible to escape the scrutiny of logical thought..Of course we are all free to believe anything we damn well please  in the privacy of our own minds …in the privacy of our own homes.It is a different game out there in the real nuts and bolts world of physical reality , though and not that area of dream-weaving between your ears. There’s no freedom on that scale , out there, where your thoughts have  to be proven logically ,to make a bit of sense.

We are talking about the difference between fantasy and reality here.

The idea that a cosmic deity of planet-shaping and cosmos- altering dimension, would also  be such a  petty busybody and nosey-parker,  as to poke his cosmic nose into the minutae of cake -baking….the sugar, flour , food colouring , fresh eggs, the printing of cartoon characters , not  to mention the   temporal human sloganeering and  slowly evolving societal-  changing marriage  bonds…..  is ,frankly, laughable and should never have been part of a discussion between sentient , thinking beings at all .They should know by now that  these religious beliefs have much more to do with patriarchal  tribal control than to do with  belief in a god or a discussion about  morality . Had the trouble- inducing slogan been written in Latin or possibly Swahili, maybe it would  have saved everyone a whole lot of hassle . The potential cake- makers might never have discovered that there was something to get their God excited about in the first place.

That this case should have energised right -wing evangelical “Christians” across this humble little planet, three stones from the sun,  reduces our  respect for knowledge  to a mundane level.That it should have brought them out singing in a chorus of prayer to the skies , hoping to catch the ear of an imaginary  patriarchal immortal ,reduces them  to frightened intellectual paupers , afraid of a darkness that they can  only  wish to control.Well , it’s just plain silly.

Where does a curious belief like this begin ; the idea that you will  someday present yourself before a judgemental deity after your death and have to explain all those little glitches in your criminal or pure persona.? Is this the same deity that  Peter Sutcliff, the Yorkshire Ripper thought ,had  instructed him to slaughter all those unfortunate women, he murdered around Leeds, Yorkshire,  in the 1970’s? I suppose it’s the same deity that Stalin and Hitler would find themselves shuffling their feet before and looking sheepishly around for excuses as to their disreputable behaviour during their lifetimes in the 20th century..

None of this thinking really  stands up to much scrutiny does it?The all-knowing and all -controlling  transcendent judge who already knows all the answers inside out , making these silly, just -dead humans ,sweat in his glorious  transcendent presence. Especially when he knows all about it already.He ‘s supposed to know all the answers already , having supposedly  set the whole bloody mess  in motion , after all.

Of course, then again, in clearer thinking mode, this omniscient astral  absolute,   may be  simply a made -up creature , a figment of imagining, in which case all bets are off and we’re just left with a lot of humans  scratching their collective heads ,who have  no real  idea at all.That some of them can bake cakes and sing ,is all very well and good,  but when they  actually  start believing  that any of that  dreaming and  their fantastical imaginings has anything to do with their business and the exchange of coin for service…..it really  doesn’t bode well at all.They are bound by certainty  to eventually fall foul of the law.

If any of us formed a religious grouping or a cult  that stated that all cakes are evil and a sweet abomination to the health of any  chaste body and  also declared that all bakeries carried the mark of a satanic goblin and as such , should be banned from the high streets for the universal  good of the fast -growing  tribe of the   obese …well the authorities might just declare that there was  a whiff of insanity in the air .

You see you really can’t have it both ways . There is no problem with having or not having a religious belief if that is what your life requires; you should be allowed to believe in faeries , aliens or ghosts ,if you want to  , but if that belief does not inform an equality   Mission Statement at your place of work ,  or  if attempts  are made to overturn sensible civic laws, you really are a specialist case who may only  be able to trade to a very specific few who possibly share your views ….but really , you cannot provide a service for all the public out there .In that respect you really cannot run a “public business” on those terms. You are really a  private , specialist club.There cannot be special cases  within the public realm ,if there is to be a fair society, especially if the prospective customers have broken no laws.

The bottom line is that there are some individuals out there , who because of the  strange beliefs they hold dear, and are entitled by law , to hold, are in themselves, unsuited to actually run a business because of those views .They would be better suited thinking of a different kind of employment , or at the very least ,forgetting about printing any kind of slogans on any cake . I’m sure the cake will taste every bit as good anyway.

Now that might be the compromise between fantasy and reality that they are groping for..  The world  really  does not revolve around them, and them, alone, but if it must , let us all eat cake without the sloganeering..

23 Responses to LET THEM ALL EAT CAKE by Harry McAvinchey

  1. Jim Neeson March 31, 2015 at 4:23 pm #

    Excellent article.Proper insight into a serious waste of money !!!

  2. Iolar March 31, 2015 at 5:39 pm #

    The theory of the absurd seems to suggest that one can have one’s cake and eat it.

    “I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn’t, than live as if there isn’t and to die to find out that there is” Camus

    • paddykool March 31, 2015 at 7:53 pm #

      In that scenario you’d enjoy checking whether or not he was capable of having a laugh, wouldn’t you? I suppose you’ d have to have a weird sense of humour or the absurd to have set any of this up….eh? So there may be room for a little light banter with this god or maybe a bit of negotiation….what do ya think?

  3. Cal March 31, 2015 at 7:31 pm #

    A thought provoking piece that, unfortunately, often succumbs to the intellectual snubbery one associates with atheists.

  4. ANOTHER JUDE March 31, 2015 at 9:53 pm #

    This Ashers case is a strange one, on the one hand I am loathe to support anything the DUP and Bible thumpers would be in favour of and on the other I can see why a committed believer woulld baulk at the idea of supporting same sex marriage. The problem is Unionists have never been in favour of equality and for that reason I agree with Sinn Féin`s position. Unionists simply can not be trusted when it comes to equality for all.

  5. Colmán April 1, 2015 at 3:03 am #

    Is Christianity a Stone-Age religion? It is the first time I have heard this, I was under the impression that it originated in the Iron-Age.

    You have made a lot of sweeping statements in this piece which I don’t think are fair and which I couldn’t imagine that you would say out loud in front of someone who is religious. Let us not forget that almost every culture in the world (if not all cultures) has developed some sort of religion. It would seem that they all came to the same conclusion. The cake row is strange but there is no need to tarnish everyone with the same brush. There are plenty of left-wing Christians as well and there are also a lot of gay Christians. Just as there are plenty of atheists who might find some of the views aired in this piece disrespectful.

  6. giordanobruno April 1, 2015 at 1:47 pm #

    You have done a pretty good job of pointing out the logical absurdity of belief in a god and specifically one that cares about every sparrow that falls.
    Having said that I think Ashers may win the case when we see the verdict, as they objected to the message not the customer.

    • Colmán April 1, 2015 at 1:58 pm #

      Are all people that don’t share your opinion absurd?

      • giordanobruno April 1, 2015 at 5:49 pm #

        Obviously yes!
        But mainly the absurdity is in believing not just in some kind of prime mover behind everything but developing an intricate web of ritual and superstition (I’m sorry but there is no other word for it) without any rational explanation.
        And compounding it, as some believers do, by dismissing the equally silly beliefs of other sects as though one were somehow better than another.
        None of whicbh would matter if those who believed in this stuff kept it to themselves and stopped pestering the rest of us.

        • Colmán April 1, 2015 at 6:40 pm #

          I think that belief in God has been and still is a necessary step in the evolution of thought. Almost every culture in the world has developed some form of religion. Can this be a coincidence? Religion allows us to think of the world and humanity outside of the daily contraints of life and ponder on the miracle of life. What is the reason for life? Or what is the reason for the universe? What is life? Theology and philosophy put these questions in our mouths and I dare say that the conclusion people came to across cultures was that all of this was part of a greater power. I don’t think this is absurd at all.

          • giordanobruno April 2, 2015 at 10:12 am #

            Pondering the nature of things is fine. I’ve wasted many hours that waymyself.
            But making stuff up out of imagination is a bit silly.
            Which aspects of Christianity should we believe. Creation,old testament miracles,God appearing amongst men, virgin birth, Christ rising from the dead, Heaven Hell,Purgatory, the power of prayer ???
            All this is unsupportable superstition. Not to mention allthe ritual handed down through generations.
            If however you are making a general argument that the Universe may have a Prime Mover,some kind of sentient being, well maybe,but who knows.

          • Jude Collins April 2, 2015 at 10:50 am #

            So if you don’t know, why are you dismissing it as superstitious rubbish, gio?

          • giordanobruno April 2, 2015 at 2:25 pm #

            What I am referring to as not knowing is whether the Universe the origin of the Universe itself.
            The other matters I listed are not consistent with any physicallaws we know and have no evidence to show they happened. Do you,for example,believe
            a) Christ rose from the dead and
            b) then ascended to heaven?
            That is a pretty basic tenet of Christianity is it not?

          • giordanobruno April 2, 2015 at 2:28 pm #

            Apologies for the hasty typing, In a rush here.
            First sentence should read;
            What I am referring to as not known is the origin of the Universe itself.

          • Jude Collins April 2, 2015 at 3:12 pm #

            So it might have been created by an omnipotent being, then?

        • Jude Collins April 2, 2015 at 8:35 am #

          I don’t find that Christians, for example, ‘pester’ people. Paisley used to gulder in front of City Hall on Saturday mornings,but no more…Btw, gio – do you apply reason in all areas of life? If so, I do hope you’re not married….

          • giordanobruno April 2, 2015 at 12:51 pm #

            Some examples of what I mean;
            The whole place closing down on a Sunday. Maybe you are not old enough to remember that.
            Pubs restricted opening on Good Friday.Why?
            Those who believe in a soul despite any proof of its existence seeking to prevent any abortion from the moment of conception onwards.
            The church seeking to prevent the use of contraception despite the obvious health benefits in many countries. This affects not just the individual who may believe in it but their entire family too.
            Missionaries bringing their evangelism to communities that neither want nor need it
            Businesses (see Indiana) looking the right to refuse service to members of the public on religious grounds.
            Muslim fundamentalists inspired by their faith to kill themselves and others.
            And so on.
            As for marriage, why on earth would I want some mumbojumbo man muttering his magic over me?

          • Jude Collins April 2, 2015 at 2:45 pm #

            Ah, I see now, gio. And have you personally suffered under many of these headings? You sound so …peeved, I’m assuming you have.

          • giordanobruno April 2, 2015 at 3:48 pm #

            I take it you are not disputing any of these examples of the religious interfering in the lives of others?
            I take it you are not responding to the simple obvious inescapable conclusion that Christianity is riddled with superstition, examples of which I have listed.
            Its funny how coy people become when you ask them if they believe Christ came back from the dead and rose into heaven. How is that not absurd?

          • Jude Collins April 2, 2015 at 5:01 pm #

            Well gio old sausage (I don’t mean that literally of course), I’m not disputing anything except your verb ‘interfere’. Follow that through and you’re now interfering with my evening ( hold on, the sod is…). I do agree that frequently the sword of imperialism went hand in hand (so to say) with the Bible of Christianity. I think your notion of superstition is different from mine. You see anything that can’t be coped with rationally must be mumbo-jumbo. So all the emotions we feel, all the idealism we follow, all the poetry that’s written is all tosh? No – it’s important to realise that rationalism takes us only so far and to use it solely in life, one would be literally mad. As to whether I believe in the resurrection of Christ, I am = or try to be – something approaching a Christian, so of course I do. And don’t say ‘coming back from the dead – ridiculous!’ too quickly. If you aren’t sure there isn’t a being behind the creation and maintenance of the universe, then you must see that should such a being exist, coming back from the dead would be a doddle.No?

          • giordanobruno April 2, 2015 at 8:29 pm #

            I’m as fond of a bit of poetry as the next man,indeed I always liked Ecclesiastes, but that doesn’t mean I have to believe it to be historical truth.
            Whether or not the universe was nudged into existence by an all powerful being is not answerable, but there is no reason to suppose that such a being if he/she exists should care about us in the slightest or that he should like us to drink his blood every Sunday, or that he might send us to hell for simply finding it too hard to believe in him.
            These are just made up stories Jude. Why believe one rather than another?

  7. paddykool April 1, 2015 at 2:54 pm #

    Apologies one and all …my internet connection has been down all day …probably weather -related …..So …what have I missed? Cal…Colman , Gio et al…
    Was that “snubbery” or “snobbery”, Cal ? Two very distinct behaviours, I’d imagine. Mind I consider myself an intellectual in any sense, nor a snubber nor a snobber . I’m just someone who reads and thinks …sometimes in a curious combination of the two…and argues a point based on my ideas of reason…..
    …Anyway I thought it was reasonable to point out that it is not the baking skills or the good baker that is at fault here, but only a specific illustration service that could quite easily be discontinued to save these bakers a whole lot of hassle.
    As for religions of all sorts , they are continually evolving throughout the eras and and each one is built on the one that preceded it …Stone age/Bronze Age/ Iron Age…and so on …each woven on the backs of the one that came before . Christianity is not unique in this, as are all the various religions in the world .They are all based on mythic storytelling.Christianity didn’t just spring out of a hole in the ground.
    As for my opinions …that’s all they are …my opinions .Just like anybody else..and they can be argued and debated just like anyone else. I do find absurdity in many religious beliefs.That is absolutely the case, but I understand that people’s upbringing, family bonds, fears and longings can drive them to embrace them.That doesn’t mean I think they are right . I fail to see how we can accept something as an absolute, verifiable ,truth when there is no evidence to support it. ….like people believing in miracles without questioning their impossibility is like believing that sleight -of -hand or hypnosis {for two examples} are actually magical processes….They are not .

  8. paddykool April 1, 2015 at 2:56 pm #

    That’s…”Mind I don’t consider myself an intellectual ….”…whooops!!