Should Richard Dawkins be arrested for incitement to religious hatred?
With apologies to Job, is there a man on earth more obsessed with establishing beyond doubt the non-existence of that which does not exist than Professor Richard Dawkins?
Cranmer was asked during the week to fisk/respond to Professor Dawkins’ rant in The Times, but it is hardly worth it. He displays a sub-GCSE level of comprehension of theology and an utterly simplistic caricature of religious philosophy. If one were to critique evolutionary biology in such crass terms, Professor Dawkins would be the first to dismiss one as being an intellectually deficient ignoramus.
Yet it is a provocative piece of writing, inciteful even, for he appears to presume that the Revd. Pat Robertson is the archetypal Christian, and lauds him for his adherence to Christian orthodoxy.
What fate would befall Cranmer if he equated all Muslims with the ‘obnoxious’ Osama Bin Laden?
What persecution and injustice would he endure of he criticised the Qur’an; parodied the ‘nauseating’ and ‘barbaric’ teachings which emanated from the ‘nasty human mind’ of Mohammed; or said the ‘entire religion is founded on an obsession’ with killing the infidel? What if he mocked the ‘moral depravity’ of the ‘be-frocked and bleating’ imams; lampooned the ‘odious doctrine’ of Allah; or denigrated the sincerely-held beliefs of the ‘faux-anguished hypocrites’ who constitute the ummah?
Might he find himself in court, like Geert Wilders, accused of inciting hatred for daring to articulate a religious opinion?
Frankly, Cranmer is aghast that The Times has permitted Richard Dawkins to denigrate Christianity and Christians in this fashion.
Would they dare to print this address to British Muslims:
Bin Laden may spout evil nonsense, but he is a mere amateur at that game. Just read your own Qur’an. Bin Laden is true to it. But you?
You may weep for Pakistan where Bin Laden does not, but at least, in his jihadist, sub-Abu-Hamza ignorance, he holds up an honest mirror to the ugliness of Islamic theology. You are nothing but hypocrites.
Of course not. They would never permit such offensive invective against Islam or those Muslims who blamed the Indonesian tsunami on the 'loose sexual morals in tourist nightclubs'.
But neither would Professor Dawkins have parodied their beliefs or criticised their orthodoxy.
And it is also unlikely that The Times would have published such a tirade against Judaism and the Jews.
God forbid that they might be accused of anti-Semitism.
But Christianity? Yeah, why not.
Paedophile priests, bigoted bibles, patronising piety and corrupt congregations: drag the name of Jesus through the mud and no-one will really mind.
The wrath of Ruth Gledhill is the worst they have to fear.
And she is unlikely to challenge Dawkins’ monstrous fundamentalist caricature of the Christian God, not least because she does not appear to have the time (and neither does the other Times God-blog). And also they pay her salary.
Yet it is really quite astonishing that someone of Professor Dawkins’ academic stature should place the (largely inaccurate) secondary-source accounts of someone like Pat Robertson over the primary sources not only of Scripture but also over centuries of the considered and learned reflections of such literary theologians as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dante, TS Eliot, Gerard Manley Hopkins, CS Lewis… And over the labyrinthine theologies of Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Schleiermacher, Barth…
But Professor Dawkins prefers the two-dimensional spirituality of Pat Robertson and his one-dimensional god because it is easier for him to shred. When the choice is between that or Dawkins’ atheism, one can see the attraction of the latter.
But they are really two sides of the same coin of zealotry.
All religions profess a higher knowledge and supreme truth, and Dawkins is no exception. But he is not an atheist: he is religiophobic.
And phobic to the extent that many moderate and reasonable atheists will have no truck with his obsessive, demented, fundamentalist extremism and his fanatical hatred of Christianity.
While most atheists are content simply not to believe in God, Dawkins appears to be psychologically disturbed due to some trauma in his upbringing, for he loathes the very idea that God could exist to the extent that bitterness and bile pour out of every word he speaks. If God is simply an imaginary being somewhere up there with Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy, why does he get himself so worked up about it?
It is a quite irrational pursuit for an atheist.
The Professor needs to get out more and mix with a few moderate atheists. And he might learn from them that in many countries of the world the Christian faith is the tie that binds communities, gives them a moral framework, induces hope, inspires them to great acts of charity, and exhorts them to love their neighbour by doing all manner of good deeds.
Or did The Times pay him £1000 for his article?
Did he donate it to Haiti?
Or is he content to use their appalling plight to advance his insidious faith and demented doctrine and cash in on his prejudices, in exactly the same manner as he accuses Pat Robertson of doing?
It is wonderful that atheists should have the infallible professor to shepherd their flock: His Secularness Pope Dawkins.
But the man is a spineless hypocrite.
And The Times are evasive cowards.