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Don't be so mean!

Posted by Ben on Saturday, January 28, 2006 | Permalink

MediaWatchWatch quotes Richard Dawkins' diary in the New Statesman, regarding those who say the recent Root of All Evil? documentaries failed to address both sides of the argument:

"The balance is (over-) provided by Thought for the Day, Prayer for the Day, Songs of Praise, the Daily Service, Faith to Faith, Choral Evensong, Sunday Half-Hour, The Story of God, Belief, Beyond Belief, and others. Mine was a brief opportunity to put the other side."

It does make me giggle when 'militant' atheists are moaned at for only presenting the bad side of religion. I'd be happy to pop a little disclaimer on each post of mine if only the religious bunch did the same. Ministers ending their sermons with 'of course, this is all speculation, and religion has inspired many awful crimes over the centuries, and encourages woolley thinking'. Bin Laden promising fiery death from above as it is the will of Allah, then signing off 'I might be wrong, mind. I guess being willing to do it despite having no evidence makes me even more of a despicable murdering bastard'.

But no, it's a rare sight, a believer addressing both sides of the argument. Yet there's even a sizable proportion of atheists who believe we should not be overly critical of religion, or always acknowledge its good points. How often are atheists extended the same courtesy? I can't remember the last time I read something about atheism by a religious writer that discussed the pros of our stance. It's just another example of the special treatment that religion demands. Apparently believers can sing about how marvellous they are and that's ok. But criticise them - and, worse, do it without giving the little disclaimer about how they're not all bad - and oh how arrogant you are, how rude.

This quote, by Don over at B&W, is rather apt:

"When you consider how religion has handled opposing views over the millenia then outrage at Dawkins' aggressive posture is rather like the school bully yelping when someone hits back."

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