08 March 2006

A brief guide to Scottish Religion

The history of religion in Scotland has been driven by the impulse to divide and split into sects.
Religious people in Scotland are broadly divided into three religious sects the "Tims", the "Blue Noses" and "Pakis and Chinkies".
Now let us be clear on one thing first - your average Scot in considering the third group has no intention of being racist or discriminatory. It is simply difficult for the average Scot to understand that anyone does not fall into either the "Tim" sect or the "Blue Nose" sect and so there is then the tendancy to lump everyone else together into one group. As your average Scots exposure to people of other cultures is for many limited to going for an Indian or a Chinese meal then the tendency arises to lump all such people together.

Essentially the "Tims" are considered by the "Blue Noses" to all be descended from "ignorant Irish immigrants" who came across at the time of the potato famine in Ireland. The "Blue Noses" consider themselves to be the defenders of true Scottish culture against such Heathen barbarian invaders. The fact that both sects are in fact Christian (supposedly) is for both sides neither here nor there.

Now for the most part the Tims consider the Blue noses to be heretics from the true faith ( Catholicism) and have a great problem in understanding why the Blue noses profess to be "loyalists". Loyalists in this context means that the Blue noses say that they are loyal to the "Crown" - which is of course the monarch of the United Kingdom. Tims suspect that because of this "loyalism" the Blue noses are not true Scots as of course in their eyes no true Scot would admit to liking or supporting anything which has its base in England. ( Some Tims are in fact known to be genetically incapable of uttering the word English without spluttering).

It should be said at this point that these Scottish religious attitudes find their full flowering in the West of Scotland around Glasgow.

Advice to travellers: If you want to have some fun with a Scotsman from the west of Scotland - when he asks you what religion you are ( and he will, or he may ask you which school you went to - which to him means the same thing) tell him you are an atheist. This does not compute for him. He is likely then to ask if you are a catholic atheist or a protestant atheist. If you persist and reply neither don't be surprised if he then asks you for a chicken fried rice or a curry.

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