articles and opinions on the absurdity and danger of religious beliefs
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In which I despairingly turn to the Oscars for comfort
Posted by Ben on Monday, February 26, 2007 | Permalink
It never ends, does it
For the sake of form, let's skip through some of the dafter stuff:
- "Atheists like the Richard Dawkins of this world are just as fundamentalist as the people setting off bombs on the tube": presumably Colin Dee doesn't actually intend to directly equate a scientist writing a book about an evidence-free mass delusion with savage loons blowing up commuters, but it's a nice leap from one to the other mid-sentence.
- "Most of them would regard each other as destined to fry in hell." Atheists regard their opponents as destined to fry in hell? That's just...wait..what?
- Alister McGrath weighs in with "We need to treat those who disagree with us with intellectual respect, rather than dismissing them - as Dawkins does - as liars, knaves and charlatans." This seems to me to be a slightly odd thing to say unless you qualify it with "where the disagreeing parties both have reasonable cases to make", unless McGrath enjoys spending his days politely listening to flat-earthers. Actually, I wanted to make a quick point about McGrath, aside from his mind-numbing repetitions of "you can't prove God doesn't exist.", namely that this is a bloke who embraced Christianity for a number of reasons, one of which was his alarm at "some atheist writings, which seemed more preoccupied with rubbishing religion than seeking the truth". It's hardly the sort of thing that sends you running into the arms of the opposition now, is it? Is that any reason to embrace a different belief system, because people that shared yours were being mean? Another quick point, whilst I'm at it - for all McGrath's accusations of Dawkins' certainty of the non-existence of god and the need for doubt and suchlike, is that not a bit rich coming from someone who's so certain he's signed up to a specific religion? I mean, doubt's all well and good, but if you start sincerely celebrating the resurrection of our Lord does that not indicate a certain measure of decisiveness? All in all, I'm glad the first thing I ever wrote about him, back in 2004, was "he can piss right off".
- Now, in wondering "why such hatred for religion" festers (no doubt) in Dawkins et al, would you think it's best to a) read the books or b) ask a Rabbi? Because b) appears to be the favoured direction, and Julia Neuberger duly pipes up with "I think they're so angry about Muslims being so strident." She then goes on to spout the usual shite: "What I find really distasteful is not just the tone of their rhetoric, but their lack of doubt. No scientific method says that there is no doubt. If you don't accept there's doubt in all things, you're being intellectually dishonest." All together now - read the fucking books!
- The Rabbi's argument is enthusiastically taken up by Azzim Tamimi, who appears to offer Dawkins out for a scrap: "I refer to secular fundamentalism. The problem is that these people believe that they have the absolute truth. That means you have no room to talk to others so you end up having a physical fight....if someone seeks to deny my existence, I will fight to assert it." As Dawkins' book was not called The Assim Tamimi Delusion, I think we're spared that particular face off.
And it's at this point that I give up in despair once more and instead present a quip from the Guardian's coverage of the Academy Awards:
"Clooney is here to hand out the Oscar for best supporting actress. His line is funny, but it is effortlessly trumped by the response of Dreamgirls' Jennifer Hudson, which is purely hilarious. "Oh God," she screams. "Look what God can do." Needless to say this raises all kinds of theological issues. Principal among these is that if God's greatest miracle is His ability to bestow supporting actress Oscars on losing American Idol contestants, then one wonders if He is using His time as wisely as He might."