Haiti and the hypocrisy of Christian theology

We know what caused the catastrophe in Haiti. It was the bumping and grinding of the Caribbean Plate rubbing up … Continued

We know what caused the catastrophe in Haiti. It was the bumping and grinding of the Caribbean Plate rubbing up against the North American Plate: a force of nature, sin-free and indifferent to sin, un-premeditated, unmotivated, supremely unconcerned with human affairs or human misery.

The religious mind, however, restlessly seeks human meaning in the blind happenings of nature. As with the Indonesian tsunami, which was blamed on loose sexual morals in tourist bars; as with Hurricane Katrina, which was attributed to divine revenge on the entire city of New Orleans for harboring a lesbian comedian, and as with other disasters going back to the famous Lisbon earthquake and beyond, so Haiti’s tragedy must be payback for human sin. The Rev. Pat Robertson sees the hand of God in the earthquake, wreaking terrible retribution for a pact that the long-dead ancestors of today’s Haitians made with the devil, to help rid them of their French masters.

Needless to say, milder-mannered faith-heads are falling over themselves to disown Pat Robertson, just as they disowned those other pastors, evangelists, missionaries and mullahs at the time of the earlier disasters.

What hypocrisy.

Loathsome as Robertson’s views undoubtedly are, he is the Christian who stands squarely in the Christian tradition. The agonized theodiceans who see suffering as an intractable ‘mystery’, or who ‘see God’ in the help, money and goodwill that is now flooding into Haiti , or (most nauseating of all) who claim to see God ‘suffering on the cross’ in the ruins of Port-au-Prince, those faux-anguished hypocrites are denying the centrepiece of their own theology. It is the obnoxious Pat Robertson who is the true Christian here.

Where was God in Noah’s flood? He was systematically drowning the entire world, animal as well as human, as punishment for ‘sin’. Where was God when Sodom and Gomorrah were consumed with fire and brimstone? He was deliberately barbecuing the citizenry, lock stock and barrel, as punishment for ‘sin’. Dear modern, enlightened, theologically sophisticated Christian, your entire religion is founded on an obsession with ‘sin’, with punishment and with atonement. Where do you find the effrontery to condemn Pat Robertson, you who have signed up to the obnoxious doctrine that the central purpose of Jesus’ incarnation was to have himself tortured as a scapegoat for the ‘sins’ of all mankind, past, present and future, beginning with the ‘sin’ of Adam, who (as any modern theologian well knows) never even existed? To quote the President of one theological seminary, writing in these very pages:

“The earthquake in Haiti, like every other earthly disaster, reminds us that creation groans under the weight of sin and the judgment of God. This is true for every cell in our bodies, even as it is for the crust of the earth at every point on the globe.”

You nice, middle-of-the-road theologians and clergymen, be-frocked and bleating in your pulpits, you disclaim Pat Robertson’s suggestion that the Haitians are paying for a pact with the devil. But you worship a god-man who – as you tell your congregations even if you don’t believe it yourself – ‘cast out devils’. You even believe (or you don’t disabuse your flock when they believe) that Jesus cured a madman by causing the ‘devils’ in him to fly into a herd of pigs and stampede them over a cliff. Charming story, well calculated to uplift and inspire the Sunday School and the Infant Bible Class. Pat Robertson may spout evil nonsense, but he is a mere amateur at that game. Just read your own Bible. Pat Robertson is true to it. But you?

Educated apologist, how dare you weep Christian tears, when your entire theology is one long celebration of suffering: suffering as payback for ‘sin’ – or suffering as ‘atonement’ for it? You may weep for Haiti where Pat Robertson does not, but at least, in his hick, sub-Palinesque ignorance, he holds up an honest mirror to the ugliness of Christian theology. You are nothing but a whited sepulchre.

  • Athena4

    Mr. Dawkins, you are spot-on. Cue the haters in 5..4..3..2..1…

  • WmarkW

    Thank you for responding Professor, even if your comments are somewhat predictable.I note we haven’t had one response yet from any of the Muslim panelists.Are they t0o busy praising Allah’s infinite wisdom, justice and compassion?

  • Alex511

    fr the article:>…It is the obnoxious Pat Robertson who is the true Christian here….No, he is NOT “the true Christian” here. REAL decent people, Christian or not, do NOT blame earthquakes on a group of people “swearing a pact with the devil”, as robber$on claims they did.True Christians roll up their collective sleeves and either donate to a REAL charity, such as UMCOR or the Int’l Red Cross or go to disaster areas personally to help survivors. Maybe if your bff robber$on donated his planes and ill-gotten gaines from his Liberian diamond mines to help, then people would be more sympathetic towards a snake-oil salesman like robber$on.

  • minco_007

    Religious Decorum takes precedence over the fundamental teachings of Jesus Christ. And Hypocrites and Greed share equal footing in this arena. Great sums of wealth have been amassed for what purpose? Is there no power in the word? Haiti has become a fund raiser with no real results. 2 weeks out and fresh water has not reached majority of the populous. The entire sham is hidden behind the smoke of lawlessness and looting. You mean U.S. army rangers can’t land in the middle of Port Au Prince and distribute water??? Then give it to the Media cause they sure are there. How did they get there? Americans blindly follow without even the minimalist inkling or curiosity. How would you get water to the people? Your answer “is” the simple solution! NO need for protocols or over involved logistics. The only system of priority, (which by the way renders some people expendable) is fly over and drop it! Pat Robertson had the nerve to ask for money. Keep tabs on how much is collected and how much is spent folks! Ole Pat, the Red Cross, and the rest are probably thanking God for the quake as their treasure chest grow. WHAT A CROCK!

  • mgferrebee

    Boy that is one angry atheist! Being an atheist must be really hard work.

  • BobfromLI

    Thank (you)! It is so nice to hear the truth! There are probably one billion Christians in the world who have been brainwashed to believe that their lord/god/savior is benevolent as are their leaders. These are the same theological minds who gave us the Crusades and the Inquisition. These phonies are the same ones who want us to give to their churches for a ‘prayer offering’ which is then used to buy material goods for the church’s owner/pastor/priest. I note that major religions all have wonderful buildings into which traipse all the poor people who pay to keep it up…even if they don’t have enough to eat! Such is the ignorance they spread.No different are the other warrior religions which believe that there are apostates, infidels and unbelievers who must be converted or punished. They invented hell…let ‘em all go there.

  • sarahabc

    I’d say amen, but it doesn’t seem appropriate. So I’ll just say good work! Reason is a nice change of pace.

  • Mitchavery7

    Nice… Love from Seattle which has the lowest ratio of churches to population in the country.

  • Carstonio

    I read “The God Delusion” but that book was not nearly as angry as this article. While I agree with Dawkins about the horridness of the theology, his anger seems misplaced since moderate Christians have been very vocal about both Robertson’s hate and Robertson’s theology.”Just read your own Bible. Pat Robertson is true to it. But you?”Other than a short time in Lutheran Sunday school in childhood, I’ve never belonged to any religion. So I don’t know why Dawkins takes the same stand as Christian fundamentalists, which is that scripture should only be read literally and never interpretively. That sounds disturbingly absolutist. I admit that I get confused when moderate Christians insist that scripture was “obviously” meant to be read interpretively. But why assume that literalism is right and interpretive-ism is wrong, or vice versa?

  • Rationalista

    Right on, Professor Dawkins. Call it what it is–this is what Christians never do. “We’re all about love,” they say, while their religious legitimacy depends on a warped and blood-drenched bible. Theodicy is not the worst of it, either; misery for many groups of people (women, for example) is written into this “holy” text. Woe be to this country if Christians ever gain enough political power to put their true beliefs into action.(I’m looking forward to reading The Greatest Show on Earth. Thanks for your efforts, Dr. Dawkins.)

  • tmschlitzer

    Actually, the entire focus of Christianity, according to the apostle Paul, is on the cross, not sin.In Christianity, the penalty for our individual sin has been dealt with at the cross. That’s what the Bible says happened at the cross: Jesus became sin so that we might be as right as God (that’s 2nd Corinthians 5:21 in case anybody cares).Paul said the cross of Christ is a stumbling block to the Jew and foolishness to the Greek. But to those of us who are being saved it is the power of God to make us right.You can look at sin if you want to find Christianity – you might find the church in all of its earthly imperfection – but that’s just a culturally influenced caricature. The cross is where it’s at to find Christianity.

  • ggrant9170

    What happens happens, regardless of someone who chooses to write an article as this one! God will send warnings, He has messengers. God’s will be done. Haiti earthquake from God? As a Christian I doubt it but I really don’t know so I wouldn’t make a statement in stone. God sends prophets before His judgements is what I think. I see no prohpets warning in this earthquake.

  • Sojouner

    Just because you personally do not believe ‘sin’ exists doesn’t mean you are correct, of course. So, ‘hate away’ at Christians who do believe it does and that it took a Savior to deal with it once and for all. One day we will all find out who was correct.

  • Carstonio

    The issue isn’t whether “sin” exists. Strip away the theology and Robertson is essentially claiming that the suffering of the Haitians is a good thing. The real issue is that no one should judge whether another person “deserves” to suffer. That’s judge-jury-and-executioner thinking.

  • braveeli

    Religious values have led people of many faiths to contribute to Haitian relief and/or to work on the ground there.One wonders how much Dawkins has done, and whether time spent writing diatribes like this attacking strawmen wouldn’t have been better used supporting relief efforts.

  • massmedia77

    Atheists….maybe your ignorance will be your salvation. If you are so removed from your soul that you can’t feel the presence of God, if you can’t look up into the sky at night and realize that the Big Bang Theory is just as fictional as some of the stories in the Bible (which was written by man, not God), then I pray for your souls. The devil is the master of confusion, doubt, deception and lies. None of you atheists bring anything to the table, but the aforementioned. Too bad none of you can come back with the enlightened truth after you die….;^)

  • jessperr

    Dr. Dawkins, surely you jest; painting all Christians as biblical inerrantists/fundamentalists is disingenuous, and beneath your dignity as a scholar (one would hope). If all secular/scientist-minded folk reasoned the way you seem to, we’d still be using sharp stones to cut hide. Perhaps that’s all you intend to do–stone others for a public. show.

  • NorwegianShooter

    mgferrebee: The hard work is to avoid being permanently outraged at Christian theology, especially the bit about The Devil. The hard work is to show restraint when discussing abominations such as Mohler’s mushy justification of theodicy. The hard work is writing books and traveling around the world promoting naturalism. Writing this essay was easy.Hopefully a few people will realize that Pat Robertson is closer to a straight reading of the bible than “respectable” preachers and will thereby lose some faith that the bible is the word of a god. Let it be so.

  • wmpowellfan

    Anybody see the irony of atheists ranting in a panel “On Faith”?We get it, we get it. You don’t believe in anything, and hate people who do.

  • davey2

    The best advice that I can give to Dawkins would be to narrow the target of his rants to fundamentalists. He mislabels, and distorts what many people of faith believe, and then lets rip a completely off-target rant.

  • ggrant9170

    Why blame Crusades on Christ? One can do anything they choose and try and stick Christ’s name on it, don’t mean its true!

  • Please_Fix_VAs_Roads

    What everything boils down to for Christians is: “It’s My Way or the Highway.”I try to live a good life, using common sense, empathy, and humanity to guide my decisions. You thumpers can judge me all you want, because frankly, I don’t care what you think, feel, or believe. If there’s really a God out there somewhere, perhaps I’ll answer to it. The rest of you can go screw.

  • blr1961

    While Mr. Dawkins may enjoy schadenfreude in his “catching” moderate christians disavowing Robertson’s goofy statements, two members of the United Methodist Church, my denomination died in the earthquake in Haiti because they were there with the church’s relief committee and volunteers in mission prior to the disaster striking in order to better serve he poor of Haiti. Robertson is not significant enough a strawman to dismiss the majority of christians who read the Gospels and find a disavowal linking personal action and suffering. The parable of sheep and goats essentially gives the message that if we wanto be with God we need to be helping, the sick, the poor and suffering. Among other passsages Jesus specifically discounts a man who is blind has this disability as a result of any action of his family or himself. The only shame for a christian in relation to Haiti would to be unmoved by the suffering.

  • bruce19

    I do enjoy Dawkins writing. The New Testament was written expressly to subjugate the masses. This is truly a political tome, not religious in any way. It is a textbook for suppressing paupers and serfs, peons and commoners. The Jesus of Jewish origin never sought to injure or cause maltreatment of his flock. Jesus never wanted to cause psychological trouble or trauma to his congregation. This was the malfeasance of his bibliographers, the ones who made a deal with the Monarchies of ancient Greece and Rome. Words never spoken by Jesus, twisted for political purpose and repacked for mass consumption. This Christianity is a religion based on fear and doom. Sin is a great contrivance as everyone knows that perfection is not achievable, but sin is something that can be used to suppress a population into lock-step behavior with the threat of the Devil or not going to that “better place” upon death. The threat of sin keeps the ignorant in their place, no questions asked. Do not question the man behind the curtain, do not ask or you will go to H*ll! While the Church and Monarchy force you to work for slave wages they gladly take your tithe of 10 percent to feed the giant Church-Monarchy conglomerate, the first Multi-national Corporation, so to speak. This is Christianity. Used to cause fear and subservience. The love part is there to round off the sharp edges, but is only a minor key in the real purpose of this loathsome practice. Just ask Pat Robertson, who uses the political Bible as a scythe to attack the innocent.

  • serban1

    I do very much admire Mr. Dawkins books on evolution and I do not disagree with the basic content of his commentary. I don’t see , though, why it needs to be hurled with such incendiary language. Religious beliefs are full of contradictions but they are not

  • mickle1

    The only thing I would add to Professor Dawkins statements is that the true Christian is actually Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist church. The one thing that is consistent throughout the theology of Christianity is hatred. God hates this God hates that or something else. When people identifying as Christians but don’t share the hatred inherent in the religion, they simply refuse to think about it once they have denied it.

  • Carstonio

    Blr1961, my condolences, and your comment deserves a serious answer. The issue is attributing the disaster to the actions of gods. While this cause is possible, such a claim shouldn’t be made without testable evidence that such gods were indeed responsible. And from a moral standpoint, when someone attributes actions to the gods that he worships, it’s logical for others to suspect that the person sees those actions as inherently good or justified, because one wouldn’t disagree with or question one’s gods. This would be the case even if the person didn’t believe himself that the actions were good or justified. Since we cannot prove or disprove that gods cause earthquakes, the claim doesn’t deserve any serious consideration, and ultimately it doesn’t matter to the earthquake’s victims. When considering such horrific instances of suffering, why bring any religions’ gods into the discussion in the first place? Why does someone else’s suffering have to have a meaning? Why not simply have no beliefs about the suffering other than trying to alleviate it as much as possible?

  • bruce19

    I find it a bit amusing that the first government agency to arrive and get to work were the Israeli Army Medical and Rescue Squad. Yeah, the Jews flew 7000 miles and set up inflatable hospital tents with fully operational surgical operating rooms and ICUs, got crews out to pull survivors from the rubble and Israeli docs and nurses gave comfort to the sick and dying before any other country, beside China. Meanwhile, the Christian Missionaries were hard at work trying to convert the Heathens or Catholics or anyone who did not believe in their version of the New Testament. Pathetic.

  • BlaiseP

    To Dick Dawkins, prophet of a dumbed down age:Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, good communists used to rant at the injustice suffered by American blacks. They usually worked themselves up into a frenzy of indignation—helped them to ignore the gulags, the dissidents confined to mental hospitals and, especially, the cynical environmental degradation that their characterised their own country.Now, nowhere in the Bible—new or old Testament—do we find the teaching that we can derive God from nature or his works. Nor does the Church—you know, the one headed by (your words not mine) the “pimp in skirts”—teach that. A devout Christian My church lost priests—both missionaries and lay—and nuns. They died with their flock. But you won’t see that, will you? You will have your rant, won’t you? Like the Soviets of yore, you’ll be all anger and hatred. What are you trying to ignore?

  • richardemmanueljones

    A ‘sophisticated’ theologian mutilates his children’s genitals with a razor rather than a flint.

  • Carstonio

    To expand on my point, claiming that someone else’s suffering has some sort of universal or inherent meaning is offensive no matter what meaning is being claimed. That’s because it dehumanizes other people, treating them as merely actors in one’s personal morality play.

  • juliawillebrand

    The content was spot on. Too bad Mr. Dawkins’ tone is so nasty. He writes for a living; why not use the skill to convince the unconvinced instead of preaching to his choir?

  • cpwdc

    Let’s see – Mr. Dawkins feels compelled to post a hateful comment on progressive Christians commenting on Pat Robertson hateful commenting on Haiti. Apparently, Mr. Dawkins has run out of any original thought. Unless spewing hate counts as such.

  • NorwegianShooter

    Educated apologists commenting about fundamentalist strawmen: Do you deny that Christian theology is centered on celebration of suffering: suffering as payback for ‘sin’ – or suffering as ‘atonement’ for it?serban1: I pick on you because you seem persuadable, I disagree with others much more, but there’ not worth the effort.”Religious beliefs are full of contradictions but they are not all destructive.” Just how does one believe in a contradiction? No, they aren’t all destructive, but the more a belief has only a supernatural basis, the more destructive it is. “There is such a thing as Christian compassion and care for suffering even if many Christians do not practice it.” Then what exactly is Christian about compassion? What do you think about Muslim or Jewish compassion? Are they inferior to Christian compassion?Just because something is naturally selected, doesn’t mean it’s inherently good. Lower back and knee pain and/or injuries are endemic to humans, but that’s what natural selection gave to us.

  • osramirez

    The salvation of Christians is based on a paradigm that has been given the quality of a hydraulic system. May their beliefs and asylums give them solace from their self-imposed sins and fiction.

  • emonty

    Mr. Dawkins hates with the best of them!

  • Georgetowner1

    Why doesn’t Dawkins let rip against the Muslims? Surely he doesn’t agree with their beliefs. Or could it be that he knows its safer to slander Christians?Pathetic man.

  • WestTexan2008

    Dr. Dawkins,I am disapointed that you chose to lump all people of faith under the grouping, ‘The Religious Mind’; and then assign them global attributes of thought and behavior. This is the worst kind of stereotyping and sets up an obvious straw man for your pillorying. One would expect more from a former Oxford professor.

  • bruce19

    The whole Christian Missionary thing is disgusting to me. What is the purpose other than to stuff one set of White Man’s beliefs down the throats of poor Blacks, Indians, Latins, etc. Historically, The Christian Missionaries spread disease, both physical and mental, to indigenous peoples throughout the world. The Helpful Christians force these people to have more children than the families can handle. The Missionaries flock to Haiti and raise enormous amounts of money for their churches back home. Then, after indoctrinating these poor blacks, they steal their children for adoption by Middle Class White “Christians”, for a fee, of course. This practice should be investigated by our State Dept. Shameful.

  • ggrant9170

    I base my Christian beliefs on intelligence by reading and studying the teachings of the bible. Men claiming to be Christians start the crusades and attach Jesus’s name on it, don’t make it so!!! The more one reads and studies the teachings of the bible the more their faith is strengthened because of the evidences of the bible throughout history revealed!

  • BlaiseP

    Dear Barberio,Usually one does not proselytise by calling the ideas of one’s victim “loathesome”, or proclaiming they are infected with a deadly virus. After all, what one does (and Stalin, Trotsky, Mao, Pol Pot, Hotha–good atheists all–did do) with such an infected person is shoot them.What is your plan?

  • ggrant9170

    Christian beliefs is not just based on faith, its based on the teachings and history of the bible. 30% of the bible is prophecy, read Daniel, and you will find that predictive prophecy of Daniel is awesome and has been 100% accurate throughout history!!! Unbelievers try to say Daniel was written after the fact, not so, example the Dead Sea Scrolls the complete book of Daniel was found except 9 and 12, and the writings were considered very old the time of their writings! Our God is an awesome God. Our bible is the only religous book that has predictive prophecy that is 100% right! what an aweseome book! True Christian belief is based on intelligence folks, what a concept but true! Read and learn if JUST TO PROVE ME WRONG, you just might be wowed and encouraged and blessed!

  • Sheridan2

    A secular Amen!

  • maggots

    Robertson claims that the Haitians made a deal with Satan in return for help in overthrowing the French. This story makes a travesty of Christian theology. If a Haitian (or anyone) accepts Christ as his/her savior, it invalidates any prior agreement with Satan. Pat Robertson is essentially saying that millions of Haitian Christians are still in thrall to evil, and that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross did not save them.

  • agapn9

    Mr. Dawkins if you think Pat is a theologian let alone a Christian theologian God help you. Christians have always known that bad things happen to good people. Wasn’t Jesus the best of us all and we crucified Him. Anti-christians please quit holding some half construed bunch of crap up as Christian theology and telling us: “aren’t you Christians a bunch of fools” – no we aren’t – thank you very much.But Mr. Dawkins you are confused. Pat knows just like you do – how the earthquake happened – he can look it up and spit it out just like you did.What Pat and the President were trying to address is why not how it happened. And simply to restate the atomist answer – that it happened because pressure built up and it moved is still to be trapped in how and not why as Aristotle proved over 2000 years ago.And let’s face it the only person that really knows why it happened is God and He isn’t saying.

  • bran-solo

    MINCO_007Do you really mean to say that you cannot calculate the vast difference between a couple of media crews landing with enough food, water, and camera equipment to last themselves a couple of days and the task of transporting enough water, food, and medical materials to care for a city full of people whose infrastructure has been shattered? Wow. Roads and bridges have been leveled and it takes a tremendous amount of energy to transport meaningful quantities of food let alone water or delicate medical supplies by air. Is this energy available or has the energy infrastructure in Haiti also been leveled? How good was it to begin with? It doesn’t take an expert, just a couple of minutes of meaningful consideration by anyone who has travelled beyond their own backyard to realize the enormity of this task. Lack of protocol or logistics by the way is what by-and-large makes if possible for scam artists to grab the money and run in situations like these.Really, did you think at all before you posted that comment?

  • agapn9

    PS – atheists don’t like the Big Bang theory fellow believers because it proves that the universe had a beginning and if it had a beginning like it says in the Hebrew scripture and not always was like many Greek philosophers thought – how do explain how those poor Hebrews got it right and those great Ionic minds got it wrong?

  • Carstonio

    Agapn9, “why” is merely a corruption of “how.” If one asserts that god-beings cause events in the universe, that’s a claim of purported fact. If one asserts that those god-beings had specific motives for causing the events, that’s also a claim of purported fact. In both cases, testable evidence is required before saying that the claims are accurate or inaccurate. That is no different than claiming that a rock fell off a mountain because it was pushed by a human standing near it. Claims of purported fact shouldn’t be exempt from scrutiny. The earthquake very well could have been caused by gods. But that claim doesn’t allow for the possibility of evidence proving it wrong.

  • OneWhoSpeaksTruth

    AMEN!

  • MHawke

    Bravo to those who believe that we shoud serve “the least of my brethern”. This is a philosophy that does not need a religion to sustain it.Dawkins’ broad generalizations seem to ignore these folks.Apparently Pat Robertson did not read to the end of Matthew’s Gospel or he might of picked up on it too.

  • NorwegianShooter

    Maggots:”it invalidates any prior agreement with Satan.” Well, Satan is big on contracts, but possession is 9/10th of the law…WTF! Are you accepting the reality of deals with the Devil?Christian theology is a travesty with or without Pat Robertson.

  • Denswei

    Religous folks can argue the jot & tiddle of the law ad infinitum and ad nauseum, but Dawkins is not targeting the oh-so nuanced reasoning of religious scholars: he’s just taking issue with the face value meaning of religion & scriptures.

  • miglefitz

    wow! the professor is one angry dude.his hair, on the other hand, looks absolutely FABULOUS!

  • NorwegianShooter

    Agapn9:”And let’s face it the only person that really knows why it happened is God and He isn’t saying.” Why not? Wouldn’t he save millions of souls through conversion if he told everybody why it happened?

  • NorwegianShooter

    Denswei: A BS in Bible, huh? I think I have an honorary one.

  • Denswei

    agapn9, almost all atheists will be surprised at your assertion that they don’t like the Big Bang theory.

  • barferio

    An experimnetal html lesson for quoting and such.Use the preview button for experimentation, to see what the website allows.Surround your quotations of another’s post with the quotation for italics, as in

    … some paragraph you want to quote blah blah blah

    to get… some paragraph you want to quote blah blah

  • Denswei

    NorwegianShooter: Yup, a BS in Bible, an accomplishment I credit to youthful idealism, an anti-intellectual church environment, and utter lack of academic counseling. I figure I wasted about 2 years of education with that.

  • bpai_99

    Thank you, Mr. Dawkins, for that Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious. Religious people are among the most hateful, bigoted and intolerant people on Earth. What else is new?It has always been that way, since the raison d’etre of every religion has been to make its followers feel morally superior to all others and to provide a justification for exploiting and oppressing non-believers.

  • maggots

    NorwegianShooter:Christian theology is a travesty with or without Pat Robertson***************************************I don’t believe in Satanic contracts any more than you do. My point is that even if we accept that such contracts exist, they hold no power over anyone who accepts Christ. That is why Christ died on the cross – to take on all of our sins, whether they be violating the sabbath, being hateful to others, or cutting deals with the devil.

  • Bluefish2012

    I think it’s kind of interesting that this piece appears on the day Roman Catholics celebrate the conversion of another man who breathed fire on folowers of Jesus: Saul of Tarsus.

  • fare777

    Mr. Dawkins,thank you for giving voice to the outrage that many Americans feel. America is saddled with this ranting religious ignorance that has crippled our government and prevented social progress in this country since the founding. Hopefully, there will be less and less tolerance for this religious stupidity or it will cause America to fail completely in the modern world.

  • khote14

    This is one of my favorite christian efforts, the In Roman Catholic theology, “transubstantiation” (in Latin, transsubstantiatio, in Greek μετουσίωσις (metousiosis)) means the change of the substance of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist, while all that is accessible to the senses (accidents) remains as beforeThis is vampirism and cannibalism. How else can you define it? I mean, if you aren’t sucked into it already, and looking at it from the outside.

  • jamesmmoylan

    I have recently been contemplating that God is merely an unfortunate artefact of our evolutionary dash twixt african savanna and lounge suit.Why do I feel there is a vital correspondence between these propositions? (I don’t mean to sound too much like a modern-day Levi-Strauss but the following insinuations are, for me, almost irresistible.)Is the presupposition of animate and contingent agency upon appreciation of an impression or sign an evolutionary imperative? Perhaps those who instantly identify within a discordant grouping of impressions a pattern equated with (possibly malignant) agency will be more likely to survive than those who do not? Are we are hard-wired to presuppose a panther in the bush; a lion in the grass; a ‘ghost in the machine’? A commonality of mankind does appear to have entered the modern age with a developed concept of ‘God’. Most hunter gatherer societies do seem to imbue iconography and geography with emotional and spiritual implication. Is this a biologically determined outcome of physical attributes fashioned during the course of evolutionary history?If it’s true that human beings are hard-wired to imbue discordant groupings of impressions, or individual signs, with ‘agency’ – I believe this has significant implications for spirituality and religion.It has further implications for those battling religious idiocy and ignorance.

  • edbyronadams

    The movement of the earth is inevitable. Buildings falling down as a result are not. Poor countries, in which people build out of piles of rocks are most vulnerable. Poverty is not fixed however. It is a largely a product of how people organize themselves, including habits of thought. Religion has a great impact on these habits.So, in a loopy way, the deaths in Haiti are due, in part, to religious beliefs. Since no society has arisen from atheism, we have no example of how that might affect a society. I have my doubts that a society that has no belief in transcendent cause and effect would organize itself in a way that would cooperate in necessary ways to create wealth.

  • sperrico

    I’d like to find out what happens to Mr. Dawkins after he’s criticized Islam from Pakistan.

  • barferio

    I’d like to find out what happens to Mr. Dawkins after he’s criticized Islam from Pakistan.

  • spidermean2

    Stupidity and ignorance is self destructive. Hitler, Lenin, Mao and all the leading killers in this world were all true believers of evolution. More wars are coming until all believers of evolution will self destruct. Evolution is one of the major reason why Doomsday is coming.

  • Quine

    Thank you, Professor Dawkins, for putting it so clearly. Educated theologians know there was no ‘Adam’ and no ‘fall’ and thus, the bogus doctrine of “sin” does more real harm than all the rest of the magical thinking required by religion.

  • spidermean2

    Before a building crumbles, it must rot first. The rotting which Dawkins planted in Europe and in some parts of America is almost complete. Soon, they will self destruct. It is coming very soon.

  • djmolter

    I remind you that the view of God in the Bible is one written by humans. Whether you believe they were divinely inspired or not, what is now in the Bible has been edited by man for millenia and just can’t be trusted. Whatever God’s reasons are for whatever he/she does/doesn’t do, it’s man who makes the interpretations. And man, inevitably, screws up. How many wars have been conducted because someone thought God told them it was the right thing to do? How many innocent people have been slaughtered because someone thought God told them it was the right way to expand this or that religion? How many people have been shot, stabbed, blown up, chopped into tiny pieces, torn into big pieces, immolated, gassed, drowned, or otherwise shuffled off this mortal coil because someone thought some god somewhere told them this was acceptable? How many people have been killed because they were born with the wrong color skin, or worshipped the “wrong” god? To say that God causes natural disasters or send terrorists flying planes into buildings or allows the white man to kick the Indians out of their territory or causes cancer in a teenager to make a point or inspire devotion is to cheapen God’s motives. Our biggest mistake is in thinking that God, since he or she or they or it created us, necessarily must act like us and have the same petty outlook on life.Better not to spend so much time telling each other what God’s motives are and spend more time figuring out our own.

  • barferio

    Hey, it’s spidermean, he’s back. And with his favorite diatribe against evolution.One has to assume that the theory of evolution is the most damaging idea to his delusion, otherwise why would this obvious mental patient be blasting it so much? Seriously, spidey, you announce day in and day out that you are a true nut.Even though I think the christians are fools and cowards for believing what they do, I would never accuse them of believe the same crap that drives you.You are a nut, a true almondian, hazelnutian, pistachionistic idiot.

  • ripvanwinkleincollege

    There’s been a change in religious behavior in my lifetime, resulting in there being more people like Pat Robertson. After going through the tumultuous decade of the 1960s, many Americans turned to religion. Church attendance soared as Richard Nixon became our president. Then after the oil prices quadrupled in 1973, the religious fruicakes really started coming out of the woodwork in earnest as unemployment soared. Just like Obama said, when people lose their jobs, they cling to guns and religion. Never a truer phrase was spoken. And we have the legacy of this today, strengthened by four decades of allowing fundamentalist Christian churches to have their own private schools- something that was relatively rare prior to 1965. The result is that mainstream Christian belief has turned into a cult for many millions of Americans. And part of that cult’s behavior is adopting literal belief in the Bible, thus taking a step backward from the previous century’s practice among Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox churches.

  • spidermean2

    They say that chimps and humans share 97% of their DNA. The evolutionist don’t realize that despite this similarity, chimps don’t share even a 0.00001 percent of the human vocabulary. They can utter NOT A SINGLE WORD. How’s that for 97% similarity?Evolution is the BIGGEST stupidity ever invented. And this stupidity will soon destroy almost half of mankind or even more.The rotting is almost complete and it’s about to crumble.

  • spidermean2

    Dawkins does not understand Intelligent Design. In it is the process which enforces that any crime or sin does not pay.In the near future almost all of Europe will BURN. Waht will burn it, they will never know coz it’s quicker than their brain can process before it turns into dust.It’s coming and Haiti’s misery would seem like a walk in the park. There is intelligence in the leaves which is itself a solar cell, a battery, a food maker, an air cleaner, a medicine, etc. and yes that is part of nature but bear in mind that nature has no brain.The brain which made it will be the brain which will DESTROY the unbelievers.

  • jamesmmoylan

    “Before a building crumbles, it must rot first. The rotting which Dawkins planted in Europe and in some parts of America is almost complete. Soon, they will self destruct. It is coming very soon.”Spidey seems to think that Dawkins is some sort of an antichrist?(oops – now I’m accusing Spidey of thinking?!?)In the beggining there was dog…

  • exile_from_virginia

    Prof. Dawkins, suffering is not a payback for sin, but a consequence of it. In addition, please read the Gospel of Luke, chapter 13, verses 1-5.

  • spidermean2

    jamesmmoylan wrote “Spidey seems to think that Dawkins is some sort of an antichrist?The world is filled now with many anti Christ. That has been prophesied and so is doomsday.

  • jamesmmoylan

    Holy Christ! It’s Spidermean!Please keep it up Spidey – you are one of the best advertisements for the reality-based community I have ever encountered.

  • jamesmmoylan

    Hey Spidey – Many antichrists?I thought that your infallible comic said that there was only one antichrist?So you disagree with the writings in your Holy Recipe Book?Or do you only disagree with those particular writings that don’t quite fit in with your diatribe of the day?Our Father who farts in Heaven(see Spidey – I didn’t blow up – nor was there a bolt of lightening.)

  • detroitblkmale30

    God is real, sin is real, God’s word through the Bible is real…yes the God of the old testament was judging, call him a stickler for the rules, yes to Dawkins points on Sodom and the Noahic flood..what he leaves out however, is the God of the new testament, the God of mercy, of love of forgiveness, grace and redemption through his son Jesus. Convenient how agnostics choose to pick and choose scriptures and stories..Dawkings conveniently leaves out God’s response to the flood of Noah’s time..that he’d never again send catastrophic floods as punishment for sin, Sodom didnt fall so much because of the existence of sin, rather the lack of the absence of the faithful..Regardless a clear reading of the entire Bible, shows both a God of judgement and of compassion and love, and great concern for the poor. Even the Bible states it rains on the just and the unjust..Bad things do happen to good people..why?..we live in an imperfect world. The sin that contributed to this disaster was not Haiti’s violent past as Roberston so stated..if that was the case the US wouldnt exist, we have one of the most violent histories of any nation. First this was a natural disaster in an imperfect world, if there’s sin to blame..its the failures and greed of former leaders that contributed to a perpetually poor nation of unsafe and weak structures..such a quake would lead to casualties anywhere, but its only exacerbated in this locale..shame on Dawkins and Roberston for not being more “enlightened”

  • emoran1

    It’s intriguing that Rev. Robertson and Prof. Dawkins manifest similar strains of self-justified anger so far outside the normal experience of good-hearted non-believers and believers alike. Could it be each man’s harshly-drawn point of view unconsciously is driven by unique mutations of the same original unit of cultural transmission? Different facets of a fear-based meme, perhaps? It must be pretty miserable to pass through life so bereft of goodwill and love of humanity.

  • spidermean2

    Their weapon of mass destruction in their time was just swords and arrows and yet this man said that many years after his death, there will be people who will be against him by the millions and will be destroyed in minutes.The anti Christ is in the millions now. That’s the power of that man named Christ. He is a seer which Dawkins is not. Soon the destruction will follow suit. Only a FOOL would bet on Dawkins.

  • jamesmmoylan

    PS – I note that the majority of godbotherers on this site use an alias rather than their real names? Things like: detroitblkmale30 (or spidermean2).

  • Peter-Sarasota

    emoran1 – right on! Nothing like the religion of “no religion” – carried to the extreme. It’s merely an attempt to create a new faith with beliefs greater than the words. Is there nothing to be learned from the millions of years of religious faith … of the study of good and evil? Is it all to be thrown away because of the likes of Pat Robertson? The presumption that science and godless theology trumps religion is just egotistic nonsense. Any really good philosopher and scientist knows that we are just scraping the surface of subjects that our silly, tiny, limited brains can barely understand. The difference between a family that goes to church and prays for “God’s will” and Mr. Dawkins is the difference between humility and overdrawn, heavy duty, incompetent ego.

  • detroitblkmale30

    jamesmmoylan :millions of people religious and non religious use “handles” for message boards, perhaps you should be less assumptive and generalizing and more attentive to the world around you

  • MillPond2

    I basically agree with Mr. Dawkins argument, but I am put off by the stridency of it. When I read ” The God Delusion”, I was impressed by his assertion that his intent was to provide a strong but measured counter-argument to doctrinaire religious attitudes, conducted within the context of the spirit of a scientist who sees inspiration in the complexity of nature, and in the earnest desire to seek fairness of enlightened debate with religious scholars. I embrace that idea. Unfortunately, this column makes a sham of that stated ideal. I am saddened and disappointed. As we say here in the States, you are playing to your base. Recall the old adage concerning flies and sugar, Mr. Dawkins.

  • spidermean2

    “Dear children, the last hour is here. You have heard that the Antichrist is coming, and already many such antichrists have appeared. From this we know that the last hour has come.” (1 Jn 2:18)St. John was wrong to think that it’s in the thousands. Christ was referring to a worldwide phenomenon or in the billions or millions. Was Christ wrong in his prophecy of many antichrists? No. Is he wrong on the coming destruction?Don’t bet against it. It’s coming.

  • lmbell

    I’m sure this comment will be lost in the welter of unthinking responses. But Dawkins has missed the boat. Robertson (and Limbaugh) don’t stand squarely in the Christian tradition. There are many Christian traditions, from Baptist to Methodist, that range from the hellfire and brimstone version of God to the redeeming love of Jesus Christ who died for our sins and belief in whom forgives us all our sins. Whatever God may have done with the flood and Sodom and Gomorrah, he intervened in the world in a totally different way with the birth, career, death and resurrection of Jesus. Instead of wiping out humanity, he saved it by making his son the sacrifice for our sins. He does not intervene in a punishing way any more, and a great many Christian theologies understand this clearly (unlike Robertson, Limbaugh and their ilk). Dawkins should know better; he makes them a straw man for all Christianity, which they are not.

  • fliprim

    Well the religious fat is in the fire now. At last we come to the horrid nub of the matter of Christian faith. That a non-existent progenitor scrumped (stole)an apple and visited misery for ever more on his offspring.This truly hideous world view needs pulling out into the cold light of day more often until it is laughed into oblivion like other idiocies that have plagued us over the centuries, like slavery and scapegoating.Why has it survived for so long? Because nothing so enthralls a fearful people like guilt. Guilt from the moment you are born. A little chain running from the neck of each guilty girl and boy to the nearest priest. But my priest smiles and talks of Love you protest. My God died for me. (Er, no.) To wash away my sins.Guilt needs a makeover every now and then. Your smiling Love-talkers have swapped that old guilt for shiny new.”Your God died for you, bub. Now what are you going to do?”

  • jprfrog

    The Book of Leviticus….hm….children that mouth off to their parents should be stoned…adulterers executed….homosexuals (male…lesbians are not mentioned) also.How about it, literalists? if you believe this is the true word of God, why aren’t you pressing (as you do for abortion) for laws to enforce these measures? Indeed, if abortion is murder (as well as using embryos for research) shouldn’t the mother and the doctor be punished accordingly? The technician in the research lab? The source of the funds for the research (an accessory at least)?Cmon, Spidey, let’s hear you roar!

  • JCinTX

    It’s amazing. Where on earth does such bitterness come from? This is some of the most vile bigotry against Christians I have ever encountered. Would the Washington Post print a hate-filled, name-calling rant against blacks from a skinhead? Gosh, no, that would be way out of bounds. But it’s no problem to print this crap in which he hurls every vicious insult he can think of at Christians, and of course the haters just line up behind him to kick them some more. Absolutely pathetic.

  • TigerII

    The majority of earthquakes occur on or near tectonic plate boundaries. Haiti is on a tectonic plate boundary. When plates move, earthquakes occur. Not surprisingly, Haiti has had a history of major earthquakes in 1518, 1673, 1684, 1751, 1761, 1770, and 1860 (or god really has a chip on his shoulder). A baloney detection kit rules out the need for an all-powerful, supernatural, capricious, magical sky god either causing or allowing these events. It’s just physics folks, Earth’s natural forces at work. A little critical thinking, science and reason will go a long way in explaining why things happen in the world.

  • spidermean2

    jprfrog,To understand the bible, you have to read and understand the whole of it – old and new testament.Many parts of it is written metaphorically.

  • spidermean2

    “The majority of earthquakes occur on or near tectonic plate boundaries.”The mystical part of it is that majority of unbelievers would flock on that same spot.It’s not a coincidence that the liberal, gay marrying, atheistic people in America would reside on the most vulnerable northeastern coastal part in the wake of a nuclear attack.It’s also not a coincidence that as Europe embraces evolution, it is also becoming anti-America. Soon, they will realize what that means when…

  • cornbread_r2

    God is real, sin is real, God’s word through the Bible is real…yes the God of the old testament was judging, call him a stickler for the rules, yes to Dawkins points on Sodom and the Noahic flood..what he leaves out however, is the God of the new testament, the God of mercy, of love of forgiveness, grace and redemption through his son Jesus. Convenient how agnostics choose to pick and choose scriptures and stories..————Convenient how some Christians try to pretend that Jesus is not

  • spidermean2

    Unbelievers have no idea who is Jesus Christ. Listen to what he said :”But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” (Lk 12:5)What you guys are doing is very dangerous. Jesus was not lying. I pity Mr. Dawkins.

  • JCinTX

    jprfrog, Christians follow the teachings of Christ. Or is that news to you? Everything changed when He arrived. The Old Testament laws no longer applied. The Pharisees tried this same trick on Jesus, claiming the Hebrew law required an adultress to be stoned, and He replied: “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone”. You and many others here are quick to assume many things about the Bible and ridicule those who believe, but it’s apparent by your loopy statements that you’ve read not one page of it. It’s very curious that you think you are qualified to comment on the subject matter at all.

  • fliprim

    “It’s amazing. Where on earth does such bitterness come from? This is some of the most vile bigotry against Christians I have ever encountered.”And yet still they are only words. No different from the Bile unleashed on a hated president, say. It is exceptional only in that you are surprised by the anger and the complete failure to command automatic respect which you had previously come to expect.Yet increasing numbers will have a failure of respect for your faith as you will persist that we all have to be saved. Surely, any Christian worth his salt believes we are in need of saving? But saving from what? What have we done, what have I done to be in so desperate need. Someone “fell”. Not us, not me. So your rotten faith judged me when I was still in the womb. How can I respect such madness? How can any rational person.

  • TigerII

    Spidey, you have an answer for everything, don’t ya. Please try to frame your posts with a coherent thought in mind. You explain, “To understand the bible, you have to read and understand the whole of it – old and new testament. Many parts of it is [ARE] written metaphorically.”Which parts would those be? Who decides which are literal and which are metaphor? You?

  • bruce19

    One must realize that Pat Robertson is not and never was a believer in god, but an opportunist who uses the power of the carnival hucksterism to separate his followers from their money. All the big Televangelists are hucksters. Christianity (among other faiths)invites these carny scammers because it asks followers to believe in fairy tales. Once they got you believing in fairy tales, you are ripe for wallet pickin’ and dollar separatin’!

  • spidermean2

    “Which parts would those be? Who decides which are literal and which are metaphor? You?”One needs guidance to read the Bible. The Holy Spirit is that guide. By myself, I have no power to understand the bible. And neither is everyone except he/she be guided.

  • blasmaic

    Dawkins is as nutty as Robertson.Imagine an athiest professor of evolutionism in a country that’s a theocratic monarachy dictating to an American what his or her faith represents. That’s Richard Dawkins.

  • GabrielRockman

    The Washington Post actually pays this guy to produce hate speech? I guess they have to one-up the Washington Times’ association with Sun Myung Moon.

  • JCinTX

    Quine, I could challenge you in the same way. While there are many stories in the Bible that can be corroborated historically, it’s true most cannot. But neither can you prove them untrue. For Christians, however, the beauty is that proof is not required for faith; in fact, it would be faith’s undoing. Just as you cannot “prove” a mother’s love, Christians know there are some things that cannot and should not be proven in a laboratory.

  • JenDray

    Dawkins is spot on and the religious people commenting here either don’t follow his rather simple argument, or lack the courage to face it squarely. Why does your loving God bring children into the world only to kill them with earthquakes, famine and horrible diseases, before they’ve even had a chance to sin?Let me guess: it’s all part of God’s wonderful mystery. Sure. He just likes torturing 3-year-olds with cancer or bringing down nursery school roofs – ours not to reason why.You Christians are Christians for two reasons: That’s it.

  • Rationalista

    Spidey, Spidey–You say Dawkins is an expert on insects. If this is true (and I don’t know if this is his specialty or not–I know he’s a zoologist), at least we can say he’s an expert on something.You, however…Might we also say that Dawkins, as an expert on insects, would be an expert on you? You, after all, are the spiderman, and crazy as a bedbug.

  • JCinTX

    Fliprim, You say “And yet still they are only words.” My “rotten faith”? “Madness”? These are not “only words”. These are hate speech.

  • william27

    Richard Dawkins is a small part of the pantomime of fundamentalist atheists against Christianity (especially evangelical Protestantism). But he is the worst (and not the brightest).Ironically, his religious counterpart is evangelist Pat Robertson! So who is knocking at our door at night? Why it’s Ricky Dawkins and Patty Roberstson, so alike in their reductionism, “logic” (as in function and relation), and above all, modes of elementary language. They got it “all” down like nothing else in their minds, cornfed with cornfield clemency. But boring as hell, not even good heifer dust!

  • Chops2

    Here here Mr. Dawkins!!

  • LeeH1

    Christians go into places of trouble, and risking their lives and health, give aid and comfort to the sick, the dying and the hopeless. You can see Christian love in the many workers in Haiti, before and after the earthquake.So, where is the Atheist Relief Agencies? Nowhere to be found. Where are the masses of blood the atheists claim to collect on every “World Day of Prayer” to show that they, too, are charitable? Nowhere to be found.These are atheists without compassion, without charity and without love. No wonder they are so bitter!He accuses Christians of not being Christian enough in their compassion and love. You can read the cry of betrayal in his voice, and can only wonder who has hurt him so much in the past so that he is so vindictive against Christians today. Atheists like Richard Dawkins may claim not to have any Christian sin, but they have none of the many Christian virtues, either. Richard Dawkins is an incomplete man. He always will be, I’m afraid.

  • william27

    Richard Dawkins is a small part of the pantomime of fundamentalist atheists against Christianity (especially evangelical Protestantism). But he is the worst (and not the brightest).Ironically, his religious counterpart is evangelist Pat Robertson! So who is knocking at our door at night? Why it’s Ricky Dawkins and Patty Roberstson, so alike in their reductionism, “logic” (as in function and relation), and above all, modes of elementary language. They got it “all” down like nothing else in their minds, cornfed with cornfield clemency. But boring as hell, not even good heifer dust!

  • william27

    Richard Dawkins is a small part of the pantomime of fundamentalist atheists against Christianity (especially evangelical Protestantism). But he is the worst (and not the brightest).Ironically, his religious counterpart is evangelist Pat Robertson! So who is knocking at our door at night? Why it’s Ricky Dawkins and Patty Roberstson, so alike in their reductionism, “logic” (as in function and relation), and above all, modes of elementary language. They got it “all” down like nothing else in their minds, cornfed with cornfield clemency. But boring as hell, not even good heifer dust!

  • Athena4

    “the Big Bang Theory is just as fictional as some of the stories in the Bible”Of course it is. It’s written by a guy named Chuck Lorre, who has a history of creating brilliant sitcoms. Of course, it’s my curse to be married to a guy who acts like Sheldon sometimes. :DOh, you mean the scientific Big Bang Theory? Did you know that it was originally conceived by a Catholic Priest? Yep. Monsignor Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître. Look it up on Wikipedia.

  • JCinTX

    Quine, of course they were written by scribes. As I said before, Christian faith does not seek or need proof. I don’t try to “save” people who are opposed to the Word, and I don’t judge, much less attack, people who disagree with me. Because I was raised by parents who taught me manners and civility, I try to be kind and I hope to be treated in the same way by others. But apparently that is too much to ask of some people on this forum. Peace, Jill

  • VeroniqueD

    I cannot help but smile with clenched delight at the comments posted in anger and soulfulness against Dawkin’s polemic.Go Prof.!! Say it loud and clear. I would love to do the verbal delivery in front of house for you. Your voice is too mellifluous and gentle to do your written word justice.You need an Olivier to speak your words out loud. But you write what I and many others have been thinking.The hypocrisy of the Pat Robertsons of the world and the hurried distancing of other religites from this awful man would be funny if it weren’t so insulting to the rest of us looking on in disbelief at the shenanigans erupting from the churches and their well-heeled leaders.Disgusting is what I call it. If there should turn out to be a god, please save me from each and every religite on this planet.The apologists are no different form Robertson; they merely hide behind a veil of seeming good manners in their practice of theodicy.And yes, Prof., keep bringing the revolting punishments, described with such glee by the writers of the Old and New Testaments, to the fore. They need to be said in all their horror in this modern world that loves white-washing what is actually not acceptable as tenets of belief but is there for all to see.The religites want to have their old, outdated and horrid book as their guide in the 21st Century while bleating about turning the other cheek and being good Samaritans and believing in the most horrendous punishments for any imagined transgression of their imaginary religions.Religites all need your heads read. But in the meantime, stay out of my way or you will get the back of my tongue. No polite smiles from me; not now not ever.

  • blasmaic

    “based on oral tradition so we don’t know what was actually said, and it gets worse through the later writings”The oral tradition is actually a cleansing filter. In the oral tradition, people don’t remember the unimportant stuff. But if you’ve read the Epic of Gilgamesh and the New Testament too, then you know that the works by the early Christians are significant works of literature that step beyond the oral tradition. There are plenty of repititious structures that sound good when read aloud, but there’s also stuff that only reads well.

  • pgr88

    Richard Dawkins – high priest of Evangelical Atheism

  • Quine

    Calling someone a “fundamentalist atheist” is as silly as ridiculing a “fundamentalist mathematician” for being sure that two plus two does not equal five. First off, “fundamentalist” came from those who adhere strictly to written scripture. Atheists have no scripture. We simply do not believe in supernatural deities. It is not a choice, we recognize that people around the world have made up hundreds if not thousands of supernatural beings over the ages, who’s existence can’t all be true, but can all be wrong, and remain so until evidence is produced. We can’t prove Poseidon does not exist, and either can you. That does not make you a “fundamentalist atheist” with regard to Poseidon.In truth, the Atheists who get tarred with “fundamentalist” are simply those of us who are willing to publicly stand up and point out that religion is man made like the boy who pointed out that the “

  • spidermean2

    If you guys want to bet your lives on a person expert with insects like Dawkins as against the expert of life like Jesus, do it at your own risk.If it’s a boxing match, it’s a total mismatch. Who said that if there’s a cockfight nobody would bet on a duck? Amazingly, there’s plenty of them who would do so.

  • spidermean2

    “Atheists have no scripture.”Very clearly, they also have no logic and common sense because only a fool can’t see the intelligence that abounds around us like the leaves, insects, and every living organism there is.

  • Robster1

    Dawkins, aren’t you the dude that’s afraid to debate Dr. William Lane Craig? He’d clean your clock.

  • sperrico

    I’d like to find out what happens to Mr. Dawkins after he’s criticized Islam in any forum, radio, television, newspaper, in any country where Islam is the predominant religion. He would be butchered. But Mr. Dawkins, since your existence, by your own words, is meaningless, why not accept the challenge?

  • spidermean2

    In the eyes of atheists, if there’s one place on earth that won’t oppose the thinking of Dawkins, that would be heaven for them.Guess what that place is?North Korea. These people don’t see the stupidity they’ve been doing. They should be thankful for people who oppose them for their stupidity.

  • spidermean2

    It means he won’t be butchered by the people he accuse as hypocrites because Christians are not what he thinks they are.

  • spidermean2

    As usual Dawkins is foaming with lies. It’s no wonder of course coz atheists are normally ignorant. They are a bunch of people without common sense.Imagine, he can’t see intelligence inherent in leaves despite his being scientist? A scientist in what? Classifying insects? What a pity. I don’t consider that as science at all. Any ordinary kid can do that. It’s more like a work of an office clerk.

  • sperrico

    As long as there is a nation on Earth where Christianity is the predominate religion as opposed to say a Islamic country, Mr. Dawkins can spout off his rhetoric against Christians.

  • jprfrog

    Actually I have read the whole thing, and some parts of it many times. What strikes me most is that if you read it metaphorically as Spidey suggests, you can make it mean almost anything that you want it to. I hear much more of Revelation (a book about which Martin Luther, for one, had grave misgivings about) than the Beatitudes in many so-called Christian voices. If you don’t think the BIble is true in every particular, than I was not aiming my comment at you. It also strikes me that in the tone which Spidey, and to some extent others, uses, I hear hate and anger much louder than Christian love. That strikes me as odd (putting it gently).For the record, BTW, I agree with Dawkins’ basic opinion about institutionalized religion, but I agree that his tone gets too confrontational and harsh. But if I understand him correctly, this stems from his serious concern that a certain brand of religious certainty wants the Western World to become a theocracy, which he (and I) would resist for many reasons…not least that as an American who has always believed in our form of government, such a development would put an end to our “Great Experiment”. You may disagree, but that doesn’t make me an agent of Satan.

  • bronnie

    Very well said, Richard.Religious people need to take a good hard look at what it actually means to believe in their “all-loving” god.”Love me or burn in hell for all eternity” = “Love me or I will torture you forever”.Sounds like a sentiment a wife-batterer might utter. Why would anyone worship such a hateful thing, even if he weren’t a figment of their over-active imaginations?

  • mmurray1957

    Well said Richard Dawkins. Telling it like it is as always.Theists can throw all the venom and bile they like but it only underlines Dawkin’s point. Original sin, the suffering of Christ, hell and damnation are vile products of nasty minds.

  • spidermean2

    “But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” (Lk 12:5)Being butchered should be the least of Dawkins’ worries. This verse is more worrisome.

  • freestateofmind

    Isn’t it such a double standard when believers who are passionate about their beliefs are labeled as “good” or “strong” believers, but when nontheists who are passionate about their beliefs are labeled as “angry” atheists? They label anyone who doesn’t shower them in glowing terms as being “angry” or as someone who is obviously “militant.” I suppose they may find it threatening that nonbelievers can have just as much “gusto” as he or she may have for a particular religion or deity.

  • frankus1122

    It is interesting to note that there are no intelligent responses to the points Richard Dawkins makes.”As usual Dawkins is foaming with lies.”Specifics and rational refutation of those “lies”?”It’s no wonder of course coz atheists are normally ignorant.”Of coarse they iz.”They are a bunch of people without common sense.”The problems in Haiti are the result of sin.

  • frankus1122

    “”But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” (Lk 12:5)”Aww, more Christian love. Cute.Yea, verily I say unto you, it hath reached the year of two thousand and ten. Time to move on.Seriously. Wallowing in the notion of sin and punishment is so pre-industrial.

  • volkmare

    Richard,Although you are right about some Christian faiths, your position does not hold water with Christian faiths that don’t inject their own doctrines in order to gain control over the people.Did God cause the tsunami, or the Haitian earthquake? Absolutely not.When God decides that a group of his children are not going to achieve the purpose for being on this earth, he sends them back. Sodom and Gomorra was a good example of this.If he were to do such a thing in our time you will know he did it without question. In this case, he is watching how we respond, but he did not cause it.Anyone who thinks he did cause the quake, does not know his/her scriptures very well.Mark

  • rajivmedanki

    It is amazing how often people condemn atheists like Dawkins for being “too confrontational. Why not use that term for the religious, who assert that non-believers will go to hell for their unbelief?The theists writing with impotent rage on this topic have not come up with anything from their book of fairy tales to refute the substance of what Dawkins is saying here. Ad hominem attacks and a gratuitous display of the most profound ignorance of elementary science are all they can muster.

  • post_reader_in_wv

    Richard Dawkins wrote [This is the very last sentence of his article--everything else is omitted--after all, you read it, too]: “You [educated apologist] are nothing but a whited sepulchre.”Full disclosure first: I am a committed Christian. I bet you THINK you know what that means, but wait . . .I understand and agree with Dr. Dawkins’s rejection of Pat Robertson and his stupendous stupidity. But that, as we all have read, isn’t the point of his article. The point, crystal clear throughout, is to lump all Christians together (after all, we’re Christians and accept SOMETHING(s) in common–although Christians themselves acknowledge the enormous variety in Christian beliefs, but I digress) and to denounce the lot of us. And those of us that reject the “Christianity” of Robertson are in Dawkins’s eyes even worse than Roberstson himself, because at least Robertson in his ignorant honesty reveals the ugliness of Christian theology. Belief itself is nothing but ugliness. Well, then . . I once had a professor who warned me against the intellectual sins of “nothing-but-ism.” That is, to reduce a cluster of ideas or (here) a group of persons to a single, loathsome thing (e.g.: “You are nothing but a whited sepulchre”–thus making a more inviting target of them) is to ignore the complexity of the issues involved. Dawkins presumes to know what my theology is, another logical “sin” (oops, I used that religious word. Again). But that hardly matters: he knows that it is ugly, simply because it IS theology.I guess I needn’t bother to debate someone who has it all summed up beforehand. My theology (being theology) is ugly. Kinda wished he had been tolerant enough to ask what my theology was, but why should he bother?

  • spidermean2

    “Yea, verily I say unto you, it hath reached the year of two thousand and ten.”Just wait a few more years and you’ll see the events toward doomsday unfold.Rotting is a slow process. A rotten building will collapse in due time. The time is almost due.

  • NikolausHeger

    “Religious values have led people of many faiths to contribute to Haitian relief and/or to work on the ground there.”Mr. Dawkins,I think it’s time to differentiate between what religious people call religious values, and what others may call ethics, and the fundamentalists which are such an easy target.It’s time to differentiate between our greatest spiritual teachers, and that which has become of it in the hands of the less enlightened. Jesus, Mohammad, and Buddha all had very important messages for mankind – their teachings speak of a truth that they saw, and that all of us are destined to seek. Hence the popularity of religion, and religious beliefs.However, hierarchies and organizations have a way of becoming self-serving, and that’s certainly what has happened to all the major faiths – to some more, to some, less. It’s obvious in the fundamentalists, which seem to be alive and well in many muslim countries, and also in the USA (christian fundamentalists). These trends deserve dismissal, but not an obsession with them. They are sad, maybe, but I feel like they also serve as a deterrent from taking spiritual matters seriously for many thinking people. I was one of them – I know. As Jesus said – forgive them, for they know not what they do. You have not forgiven, clearly – yet it would serve you, and those who follow you better to stop holding a grudge against the idiocy of these people and their false prophets, and to join the rest of us in advancing human enlightenment. Does Pat Robertson deserve so much attention? I think not. I think he deserves our ignorance. I do not believe that most Christians, or people from any religion, are actually stupid fundamentalists. Many have maybe been led astray, but that’s because every religion has some core truths which appeals to people. Those core truths have survived the aeons and are worth exploring.regards NH

  • volkmare

    mmurray1957“Original sin” was an invention of the “holy roman empire” (and I use the term ‘holy’ loosely). Moreover, it was a political move to gain control over the people.You will not find it anywhere in the bible.Baptizing babies is another political maneuver of the Romans that you will not find in the bible.Mark

  • spidermean2

    Stupidity is self-destructive. That is the BASIC LAW of life. Wherever field you go, whether in finance, biology, engineering, driving, or any accidents, etc, stupidity is always at the center of failure.What most people don’t know is that God’s word, the Bible, is a cure for stupidity. The big problem is that most of the stupid can’t understand the Bible despite the simplicity of the word. Catholicism, Atheism, Voodoo, Islam, Buddhism, HInduism, Judaism, liberal Protestantism means stupidity if they don’t believe in Christ, who have shown that He is able to turn water into wine, and yet they don’t believe his teachings. If one disobeys the teachings of God, this is what happens : ” SO THEY EXPERIENCE AMONG THEMSELVES THE PUNISHMENT THEY DESERVE FOR THEIR PERVERSION.” (Romans 1:27)Pat Robertson is right. I guess it’s the timing that was not right. He should have said it much earlier. What Im saying now is Doomsday is coming. When it finally comes, the people would know why it happened and no need for me to speak then.

  • volkmare

    spidermean2ROFLMark

  • Fate1

    So Dawkin’s point seems to be that Robertson is acting according to the way the religion is taught and all the other caring Christians are not. Well, I would agree with him if we were dealing with absolutes, but Christianity has never been an absolute. Even Catholics have modified their positions on things, like evolution, like women attending mass, etc. It seems Christianity keeps the nasty stuff in reserve and only preaches the good and nice stuff, until a need arises.Not sure what Robertson’s need was to claim the devil was punishing the sons of Haiti for the sins of their fathers, including non-Haitian christians. I also wonder why Robertson is silent every time a tornado rips through the bible belt, the only place they seem to happen. Its clear that Robertson is one of those who picks and chooses events to suit his needs. And the fact that most christians, I’d even go as far as to say the vast majority, have not only ignored Robertson but disagreed with him says something for christians. They do believe in the good christianity talks about. But Dawkins demands they admit to believing in both, and that seems to be his major emphasis here, forcing the parts of the religion most christians ignore out into the open.So I think what we have is Dawkins attacking christians for being good when their religions say they should also be bad like Robertson. I think its worth noting the disconnect christians have with the nasty side of the religion but refreshing to see that most do not subscribe to its nasty side. Two things I would point out to christians who have this issue with the angelic and demonic side of their religion:

  • ClioSmith

    The Dawkmeister has one good point–Christians can’t wipe themselves clean of the sins ascribed to them by the New Atheism (or even the old atheism) by cursing Pat Robertson.

  • spidermean2

    Mark****Everybody seeks the truth. the main problem with this is if the man seeking it is not guided by the Holy Spirit. Seek the truth Mark and ask for guidance.There are many types of deaths. There are natural deaths, murder, accidents etc but the most horrifying death of all is when God kills the person.”But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after HE HATH KILLED hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” (Lk 12:5)”God kills, afterwards, He sends them to hell. God is very merciful and patient but there is limit to that patience and the punishment has no limit.Horrible but that’s the truth. If you want to challenge the words of Jesus, do it at your own risk. Im just a messenger and the message is not so pleasing to hear. A wise person would listen and ponder, while the fools …

  • frankus1122

    SPIDERMEAN2″Stupidity is self-destructive.”You have convinced me.Actually, it won’t work.

  • Fate1

    spidey, you have said doomsday is coming for years. You’ve also said it will come from a nuclear war. Assuming all 5000+ nukes were launched at once, just how would that destroy the earth? Its a big place you know. They would do a lot of damage for sure, but kill off humanity they would not. Life, including human life, would survive in places. Think of another way. Jezzz even the volcanos and massive asteroid didn’t kill the mammals 65 million years ago. You need something much more powerful than nukes or even asteroids. I’ll leave it to you to ponder, I have better things to do that figure out how your imaginary man can kill off humanity because he just can’t get his creation right.Oh, and did you ever figure out how the earth was submerged in water during the flood? Even mountain tops? How does the math allow such a thing? How about after the flood? How did the kangaroos hop to Australia? Oh, I know, don’t bother you with annoying facts about reality. I understand its like living in Disneyland 24 hours a day, with Mickey always at your side.

  • gkam

    I have a question for spider: How does God know if we are really what we pretend to be? How many folk in churches are really not convinced? Most of them. They hope and pray it is all true, but few really believe it. How does he know if we really accepted him or just pretended to do so? If he knows, then why put on the show?And what kind of perfect being would need to be worshiped, whatever that means?

  • spidermean2

    “100% of the world’s deadliest tornadoes are inflicted on the Bible Belt?”Destruction, yes. Deaths, just a few.

  • scottiesr1

    All you christians that claim athiests are “ignorant” please learn the definition of ignorant!! 99% of the members of the Academy of Sciences are Athiests while 99% of people in jail claim to be christians. The most intelligent people on this earth are athiests!! The athiests invent technology, exceed in the medical field, win Nobel prizes, etc. It is very difficult for Christians, who only read one book, to understand the meaning of intelligence. How could anyone expect christians to be smart when they don’t understand physics laws, genetics, evolution, round earth theory, the theory of gravity and all other scientific FACTS that run the world!! Keep your superstitions to yourself!!

  • Fate1

    spidey wrote: “But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after HE HATH KILLED hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” (Lk 12:5)” … If you want to challenge the words of Jesus, do it at your own risk. Im just a messenger and the message is not so pleasing to hear.”And who was Luke? Did he walk with Jesus? Where did he learn about what Jesus said? According to Luke’s own words he never met Jesus:Luke 1(KJV): So, if Luke never met Jesus how can you quote Luke’s writings as the word of Jesus?

  • spidermean2

    “Assuming all 5000+ nukes were launched at once, just how would that destroy the earth?”It would not destroy the earth. But it will destroy most of the godless evolutionists. Stupidity will self-destruct and then 1000 years of peace will take place.The rotten ideas Dawkins helped planted is almost due to collapse or self-destruct.

  • Martial

    Professor Dawkins, did you ever think that you are a scientist and not a theologian? It is marvelous for you to speak as though you possess some authority on the subject, but you do not. You are a zoologist who put on an athiest Pope’s mitre, one whose circular staff is attempting to lead his flock according to his beliefs, no more sound than any other moral philosophy. Why don’t you do something useful with your tenure, like trying to help out all those poor PhD’s who lack work? That you could much more readily accomplish.

  • spidermean2

    “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)If you can’t trust the book of Luke. How about Matthew?

  • Fate1

    spidermean2 rationalized about tornadoes in the bible belt: “Destruction, yes. Deaths, just a few.”Hmmm, so God makes christians suffer the destruction of tornadoes, which kill a “few”? One has to wonder why. I’m sure you have a theory spidey, wish to share it? Is it God tidying up his bible belt, getting rid of a few not so good souls? Testing the faith of others? Sounds like being a christian is to ask God to mess with you while leaving the unbelievers alone. Makes one wonder why God loves christians when he torments them so.

  • owlafaye

    When it comes to religious discussion, Dawkins is the only person that makes any sense.

  • ryanvilbig

    Folks, it seems to me we have two options. Either nature makes errors or it does not. If nature makes errors, this implies that it has a purpose from which to deviate and hence error.If nature does not error, then it is perfect, because it does not make mistakes.In the first case, nature has purpose. In the second case, nature is perfect. Both options force me to conclude that there is a God.Discuss.Ryan Vilbig

  • ryanvilbig

    Folks, it seems to me we have two options. Either nature makes errors or it does not. If nature makes errors, this implies that it has a purpose from which to deviate and hence error.If nature does not error, then it is perfect, because it does not make mistakes.In the first case, nature has purpose. In the second case, nature is perfect. Both options force me to conclude that there is a God.Discuss.Ryan Vilbig

  • spidermean2

    “All you christians that claim athiests are “ignorant” please learn the definition of ignorant!!”When one sees a leaf which in itself is a solar cell, a battery, a food maker, an air cleaner, a medicine, etc and proclaims that there is NO INTELLIGENCE in there, something is wrong with that person.He is called IGNORANT.Those plants apply a very high intelligent kind of science in which a lot of engineers now continue to ponder about.

  • owlafaye

    Hey spidermean2 Evolution is just a “fad” and people will have forgotten about it in 15 years, right?BwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaHaHahahahahahahahahahahaha

  • frankus1122

    @FATE1″Just trust that what He said about right and wrong is correct. Help the man who was injured on the side of the road. Give to the poor, don’t judge, etc. That what most christians do it seems.”That is what most PEOPLE do. You do not need an ancient book to tell you what is right and wrong. But let’s leave that aside for now.The claim made in the article is that a basic belief of the Christian faith is that natural disasters are a result of sin. The world is as it is because of the original sin of Adam. That may just be a story, a metaphor if you like. But the idea behind the metaphor is that humanity turned against God and as a result bad things came into the universe. Man knew death.Is that not true?If it is, then natural disasters are not God’s fault. They are necessary because of what Adam (or what he represents) did. (Why ‘necessary’? I dunno. Ask God).This is the idea that Richard Dawkins is saying is nonsense.

  • Fate1

    spidermean2 wrote: “It [nukes] would not destroy the earth. But it will destroy most of the godless evolutionists. Stupidity will self-destruct and then 1000 years of peace will take place.”So how will that happen? Nukes will hit the heads of evolutionists but not the heads of believers? I wonder how precise God will have to be with those nukes to accomplish that. You would think he’d use tornadoes, but he seems to like whacking christians with those.spidermean2 wrote: “The rotten ideas Dawkins helped planted is almost due to collapse or self-destruct.”What has Dawkins said in this article that is wrong? Did he ascribe anything to Christianity that christianity itself does not have in its scriptures? He is only repeating the words in your bible and the words of christian ministers and theologians. Sorry if the truth hurts but Dawkins, though crudely, has not said anything not found in the holy texts. If he has please point them out and stop threatening to blow up the world to avoid the subject.

  • owlafaye

    You can barely sit still for an hour of worship on Sundays, what are you going to do about 24 hour worship in heaven?You can only be good if a God threatens you? Just be good for goodness sake.There is little chance of a God so relax and enjoy a GOOD life.

  • spidermean2

    “Hey spidermean2 Evolution is just a “fad” and people will have forgotten about it in 15 years, right? “Wrong. Evolutionists will self destruct. The rot that they planted will be eating them.Rotting is a slow process. A rotten building will collapse in due time.Evolution will collapse by it’s own weight coz the foundation is rotten.

  • Fate1

    frankus1122,I’m not a believer in the myth but was schooled in it and have seen it twisted this way and that. But the biggest mistake christians make is to accept the old testament when God said he gave his son as a new covenant, that the old covenant was no more. Yet as they speak these words they go back into the old covenant, the old testament, and pull out all sorts of tripe to spout to the flock. I’m just saying that the bible has its good points, as does my other favorite book on wisdom, Aesop’s Fables. The problem is these preachers keep bringing up the old covenant. They know its laws are no longer valid according to christianity, otherwise they’d be sacrificing lambs all the time. And that includes the 10 commandments, the core of the old covenant, yet that somehow is never mentioned at church.

  • spidermean2

    “So how will that happen? Nukes will hit the heads of evolutionists but not the heads of believers? “Like in the time of Lot, believers will have a grace period or time to evacuate before the place burns.What city are you from, fate1?

  • owlafaye

    The street corner preachers of imminent ruin are here folks…run run run

  • spidermean2

    In the time of Moses, Israel was in bondage when the plagues came.In the same manner, Israel will be in bondage again or be occupied by foreign forces.That would be a sign when doomsday is coming. To the atheists, Im helping you now. Remember this coz it might save you from the coming Doomsday.

  • Fate1

    spidermean2 wrote: “Evolution will collapse by it’s own weight coz the foundation is rotten.”Its foundation is hardly rotten. 150 years of evidence, corroborating evidence, and now even more evidence as DNA sequencing has allowed us to see just what the genes have been doing over the generations. More fossils are being found, predictions of intermediate fossils are turning up, etc. Its more solid than the theory of gravity, which I assume you believe exists. No spidey, evolution is not going away. Its based on verified evidence and truth. And if the only way you can think of making it go away is global destruction, well, I just have to wonder what Jesus would have said had he heard you say such a thing.Just what is it about evolution that has you in such denial anyway? Is it the millions of years needed? Is it that God could not have created man in the beginning based on what evolution says? Why do you accept other areas of science but not evolution? Do you deny dogs have been bred into various shapes and forms through artificial selection? Do you deny artificial selection? Because natural selection is not different in the way it acts. What other area of science has a world wide conspiracy going on within it? Oh yea, climatologists and global warming, yet they get the forecast right most of the time, right? I find it a little strange how someone can trust one area of science and yet see another area as full of conspirators out to fool you.

  • spidermean2

    “No spidey, evolution is not going away. Its based on verified evidence and truth.”We’ll see who’s telling the truth. Let’s just wait and see.

  • Fate1

    Spidermean2 wrote: “Like in the time of Lot, believers will have a grace period or time to evacuate before the place burns.”And you know this how? Lot was a funny guy you know. His daughters “knew” him. Sounds like he should have been burnt in the hellfire too, or at least his daughters.How many children died in Sodom? How many fetuses, which I assume there were many of due to what has been said of the local population. I seems God had no problems killing them, but Lot, now there was a pure soul. Aesop wrote better lessons of morality than this story.

  • pvilso24

    Silly man. On Jan 13 on The 700 Club, during a segment about the devastation, suffering and humanitarian effort that is needed in Haiti, Dr. Robertson also spoke about Haiti’s history. His comments were based on the widely-discussed 1791 slave rebellion led by Boukman Dutty at Bois Caiman, where the slaves allegedly made a famous pact with the devil in exchange for victory over the French. This history, combined with the horrible state of the country, has led countless scholars and religious figures over the centuries to believe the country is cursed. Dr. Robertson NEVER stated that the earthquake was God’s wrath.If you watch the entire video segment, Dr. Robertson’s compassion for the people of Haiti is clear. He called for prayer for them. His humanitarian arm has been working to help thousands of people in Haiti over the last year, and they are currently launching a major relief and recovery effort to help the victims of this disaster. They have sent a shipment of millions of dollars worth of medications that is now in Haiti, and their disaster team leaders are expected to arrive tomorrow and begin operations to ease the suffering.What has Dawkins done for Haiti ?

  • wiccan

    Gimpi-May I take this chance to tell you how much I enjoy your posts? They have been intelligent, insightful, and courteous. Even if I didn’t agree with you most of the time (which I do), your posts are invaluable in showing how to get your points across without indulging in negativity, as I sometimes do. Please don’t desert these boards; I for one would feel the loss. Blessed Be!

  • MelJM

    I’m grateful that Richard is doing this. He’s giving the holy men their due.As for morality, Xnity starts with faith, which is a vice, and gets worse and absurd, thus effectively depriving people of a reality based system where one can answer “why” questions with something other than the “God says so’ of a commandment type metaethics and the psychopathology of rationalized hacks to defend the nonsense.Hint: the 1st virtue in a rebirth of ethics is reason which a commandment system implicitly forbids. Get lucid and get out!

  • akula

    Garoth:… There is no doubt that religion can be harmful. but it is no less harmful than to live without a sense that life has some meaning and purpose, or to live without a sense of hope. Religion gives voice to these things.—————————————–Many atheists live lives with meaning and purpose. Id say that many have a sense of hope as well. These are real however.

  • GMartin-Royle

    Ah yes, the god of the new testament, the one who introduced the concept of hell and eternal punishment. Yep, real loving that, love me, as I want you to love me, or I’ll torture you for ever and ever and ever and ever and ever…..(you get the picture). That’s a rather strange concept of love to me. It sounds much more like an illness. If that’s love, I’ll go without, thanks all the same.

    detroitblckmale30Nope, sorry, still an illness, not love. Indeed it’s more like an obsession. Sounds more and more like your deity needs some serious medical help.If that is what you think that love is, then you never encountered real love and in that case I can only feel sorrow for you.

  • GMartin-Royle

    The Bible says God is the same yesterday, today and ever more..is mankind that changes..no one is saying God is different, yep was the same God in both testaments.but if you want to get technical, Jesus, is not introduced by name until the NEW Testament..you miss the point of course, the point being that God is not just a stern God he is also a loving one..something Dawkins conveniently excludes

    Already been answered once.Ah yes, the god of the new testament, the one who introduced the concept of hell and eternal punishment. Yep, real loving that, love me, as I want you to love me, or I’ll torture you for ever and ever and ever and ever and ever…..(you get the picture). That’s a rather strange concept of love to me. It sounds much more like an illness. If that’s love, I’ll go without, thanks all the same.

  • tjmlrc

    Mr. Dawkins,Since you have such a large set of accessories on yourself, why don’t you slap chop the muslim religion as you have done the Christian religion.

  • Tezcatlipoca

    Posted by: pvilso24 -”Just a few days back.. on CNN they pulled an 80-year old woman from the rubble… she survived a week under the rubble with a badly broken leg.. no food or water.. sustained only by her faith. She was singing as the pulled her out according to Anderson Cooper.Not 15 minutes earlier…Posted by: billaldridge-”I was struck by the explanation for her survival after days buried in the rubble from the Earthquake. “I lived because God loved me.” Of course! God hated the other 200,000 who died!I’m pretty sure the vast majority of the 200,000 who died were also “Christians”. Why aren’t they mentioned in these types of pretty anecdotes pvilso24?But that’s all an aside. Prof. Dawkins piece is not about Pat, it’s not about Haiti, it’s not about the next tsunami/earthquake/tornado/volcanic eruption etc. It’s about this odd notion of original sin.In case you missed SteveM50′s comment here it is again.Fantastic piece from Richard.All the rest, the “metaphor/fact/whatever” is just discordant noise and delusion.

  • mnjam

    Dawkins shows once again that atheism is a religion as zealous, bigoted and intolerant as any other which he condemns.Maybe he should revisit the Story of Noah, which he has completely misread and misinterpreted.

  • slamming

    sux123: I should have been more clear in my post: My cousin hasn’t done drugs in years and only drinks now occasionally. He’s been with the same woman for quite some time, and was NOT drunk or high when this happened…just very sick. He doesn’t go to church, but definitely believes in God and to this day…when he talks about the experience…still has amazement in his voice that it would happen to HIM, because he doesn’t see himself as worthy of something so … awesome, is the only word that comes to mind right now.

  • severalspeciesof

    I haven’t been able to read most of the comments here, but from what I’ve gleaned from many is the idea that Richard Dawkins is attacking Christians in a personal sense…He is attacking the idea of Christianity, and whether one likes it or not, once you assume the moniker of ‘christian’ you are, by default in an unholy alliance with Pat Robertson, else one needs to jettison the core of christian belief, that of the idea of suffering to acquire and give forgiveness…That is what keeps the boat of christianity afloat, no suffering on the cross, no way for god to forgive…

  • akula

    @Gimpi:”…For me, discarding the Christian gospels was more straightforward than re-interpreting them to explain away the tribalism, injustice, superstition and savagery in them. For others, however, re-interpretation works just fine. They CAN and DO find kindness, beauty and reason there. I have no desire to tell them they must change to be more like me.In the end, does it really matter? I, personally would prefer people take a rational, reality based worldview, but I have known many who are fine people, generous, caring and compassionate, while believing things that strike me as frankly goofy. To quote scripture, “By their works shall ye know them.”"———————TY for your comment

  • GMartin-Royle

    garoth 12.17hrsReligion tries to aaddress the “whys” of life. For those who find religion important Dawkin’s answer of “s*** happens,” will not suffice. While some rush to judgment (literally), others see connections and meaning in such events. The symbols of religion help them to deal with suffering, giving it meaning and them a sense of hope.That doesn’t make any of it true though.

  • Tezcatlipoca

    I call Godwin…time to close it down…DCBUCK-”Lumping all Christians in with Pat Robertson is about as accurate as lumping atheists like Mr. Dawkins with his fellow atheists, Hitler, Stalin & Pol Pot.”Here’s a phrase for you. You’ll find it on the belt buckles of all those evil, godless hordes that were led by Herr Hitler. “Gott mit uns” It’s translation is “God with us”. LOL! If you don’t believe me I’m sure the Pope can translate it for you. He may still have his belt…

  • Ynot1

    Why is “sin” always in “quotes”? Childish stuff.

  • garoth

    “Again, that assumes that meaning and purpose have to be inherent. Each of us creates our own meanings and purposes for our own lives. Hope is something that we have to create ourselves. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to live according to a meaning and purpose created for them like a Social Security number.”I think the problem here is that the meaning and purpose of our own life is necessarily connected to things outside of us as well – other’s lives, and the creation. It isn’t something created for them, “like a Social Security number.” Genesis speaks of it as something created with God – in the story, God created humankind, then gives humankind the ability to “co-create” by nameing (to name is to place it withing his/her world, as well as to gain power over it in this way). Some, in fact, do see this “purposing” as a kind of given – that we fit into a plan God has already designed for us (predestination). But this form of determinism is not the only way of understanding this. What I can say, however, is that I cannot simply create my own meaning and purpose – it is always created in relation to another, higher purpose in which all things participate, in relationship to the things around me, and in the process of living itself.

  • bobdog3

    Surely one of the more hilarious sideshows of Christianity at its best is on television reality shows. Born-again, professed Crhistian contestants will invariably pray to Jesus to help them win extra food, fabulous prizes or the whole show. And they supposedly “believe” that Jesus actually will help win the game show because they have been told by their religious leaders that if you pray, Jesus will answer, in your favor over that of non-believers. I am amazed that Christians don’t win every single reality show. You also have to love American Christians who are sending boatloads of Bibles to Haitian survivors. Athiests, on the other hand, are sending food, clothing, medical supplies and money to rebuild their devastated country. And athiests don’t demand that Haitians agree that this was a punishment from God before they give them the money.

  • cassie123

    Mr. Dawkins – Although I disagree with what you said, I enjoyed reading your article. I found it interesting and completely on par with how many people view suffering and Christianity and/or God. I have a few comments:

  • eddie111

    As a devout absurdist I find these postings infinitely entertaining. Believers will argue at great length about the love and charity of their faith in the face of millennia of atrocities and evidence to the contrary. Atheists will argue that people of faith are suffering from delusion and the worst of them are nothing more than charlatans and snake oil salesmen. Why not consider for a moment that it doesn’t matter? If God exists I doubt very highly that he will be the God believers have been worshiping all their lives. He or she or it is far more likely to be someone/something with a far more acute sense of humor. And if there is no God then surely we must laugh at the fact that we have shaped our whole human history around the need to believe in anything but ourselves.

  • ladyliberty1

    There are so many diverse messages that come from Christians as evidenced on this very board.People do not like confrontation, and that is why Christians try to sell the Gospel as forgiveness of sins(that people do not realize they have) and eternal life(which they do not necessarily care about) apart from the condemnation of God on sin.The real message of the Bible is that man is diseased with sin, as with leprosy. And, just as there is no cure for leprosy, there is no cure for man’s sins. Man’s sins are an offense to a Holy God, and His Justice demands His wrath on sin. Thus, man has an incurable disease and there is nothing that he can do to heal himself.How can man, who is sinful have a relationship with a Holy God? He cannot of himself. Atonement must be made for sinful man, but how?God, Himself, must provide a sacrifice. God, incarnate, Jesus Christ became the living sacrifice for the sins of all who would believe on Him for salvation. John the Baptist proclaimed of Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the whole world.” The Jewish people would have fully understood that phraseology. For centuries, they had been sacrificing lambs at their temple to atone for their sins. They had even slaughtered a lamb and put the blood on the door posts and lintel when Moses was leading them out of Egypt and the death angel killed all first borns who did not have the blood on the door posts and lintel. That episode in Jewish history was called passover because the death angel “passed over” the Jewish homes – IOW, spared the first born of the family. Even so, Jesus was sacrificed on Passover nearly 2,000 yrs. ago for the sins of the people. Salvation is being delivered out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. It is being delivered from lies and deception to truth. It is being delivered from the power of sin. We are no longer slaves to sin, but to righteousness. We walk not according to the flesh, but according to the spirit. Salvation is being made a child of God, filled with His Spirit. It is being made a new creation. We now have fellowship with God the Father, through His Son, Jesus Christ. We have been made heirs of the Kingdom and fellow heirs with Jesus Christ. And, ultimately, salvation will be consummated when we live in resurrected bodies with Jesus in the Kingdom of Righteousness. There will be no more sin, sorrows or suffering. Those who follow satan will live with him in his kingdom forever where there is sin and sorrow and suffering.

  • JM16

    Christianity espouses that people are not perfect but, despite that, God actually gives a damn about us and has a better day in store for us. If you choose not to believe that, that is your perogative. If others, including Haitians, choose to believe that, that is our/their perogative. Yes, there are a lot of “Christians” who are hate-mongering jackasses; Jesus had something to say about those people. Your words are no less dripping with poisonous hate than theirs. You seem to think that you are all-knowing. Neither my words nor yours will change the truth–whatever it is. We shall all see WHEN we see–what the truth actually is.

  • SkepticPete

    “Dawkins shows once again that atheism is a religion as zealous, bigoted and intolerant as any other which he condemns.”But to the subject at hand…Which is worse, a father who kills their own child, or a father who allows their own child to run under a bus and does nothing to help?Moderate Christians denounce Pat Robertson for claiming that God may have caused this earthquake to happen. According to them, he simply allowed it to happen.To me there is little difference between a wrathful God and an apathetic God. They both suck, and neither deserves respect or worship.

  • bobdog3

    spidermean! Good to see you’re here. This is definitely your kind of intellectual discussion. Rave on, ya crazy wacko!

  • garoth

    “Sin” is often put in quotes, not because of the childish author, but because of the childish notions often attributed to it. To some, “sin” is that which occassions a slap on the hand: dancing, card-playing and other “morally incorrect” behavior. The concept of sin is something larger – the acknowlegement that we live in a world that is not as it should be, one that can be, at one time wonderous, full of awe and mystery, where we may experience domething so divine as love; yet at the same time a place flled with violence, hatred, bigotry, and every form of evil. The same word is used to describe this as to describe a “moral indescretion.” That’s why the quotation marks – to mark the difference in a language which does not discriminate between the two.

  • cassie123

    The concept of God and suffering are hard to swallow for many people – as this article illustrates – which is completely understandable. I think this is a result of a misunderstanding of the nature of God. Suffering clearly exists in this world. The Bible clearly says that God is perfectly loving which is why God allowing people to suffer in this world just doesn’t seem to fit. But we must remember that God is also described as perfectly just. How can he be both? Both perfectly just and loving??? It doesn’t seem possible. This is how I think about it…God created the world perfect, it was man who sinned. Man’s sin has cause the decay of the world (i.e. natural disasters, death, wrong-doing). God, being perfectly just, must punish this sin. But, since God is also perfectly loving, he provided atonement for our sin. All we have to do is accept the gift. So, suffering does exist in this world — the question is how will you respond to it? If you believe that this is all there is…then what a meaningless horrible life that must be. There is justice if not in this life, in the next.Thank you for the article – interesting read.

  • Tezcatlipoca

    JM16-”We shall all see WHEN we see–what the truth actually is.”A Pascal’s Wager variation. How quaint.

  • Carstonio

    Garoth,When a human creates an object such a tool, the purpose of the tool isn’t inherent in the object, but is part of the mental concept that humans have of the tool. If humans ceased to exist, the tool would become simply an object. It’s possible than an alien race discovering the object would not deduce how humans used the tool, which is different from the aliens figuring out that the tool is useful for a given task. Often we don’t even know how ancient humans used the things they created, such as Stonehenge.Can you provide testable evidence and proof that there are god beings who plans for humans and for the universe? Or that any “higher purposes” exist? I’m not arguing the opposite. I acknowledge that it’s possible that meanings and purposes have some sort of inherent or pseudo-corporeal existence independent of the human mind. But the burden of proof is on the assertion that they can exist that way.

  • justillthennow

    Hello Garoth,”But this form of determinism is not the only way of understanding this. What I can say, however, is that I cannot simply create my own meaning and purpose – it is always created in relation to another, higher purpose in which all things participate, in relationship to the things around me, and in the process of living itself.”I have some challenge with this in it’s more pure statement, less if I carry the concept out in my own way.I believe that we certainly have the ability to create our own meaning and purpose, and that is the more clear as we go through dramatic changes in life and fundamentally change our direction and view. Mid life crisis, death in family that unmoors us and we make a sea change in life. This seems never, (as seems true with all aspects of life), a purely independent action. We are always interacting with ‘other’. Family, friends, work, culture, conditioning of upbringing (our parents voices inside of us). Your qualifier that “it is always created in relation to another, higher purpose in which all things participate” I buy if the assumption is that the collective “circle of life”, (to borrow a related but separate phrase), is innately greater. But our choices are not necessarily greater, and we do not always choose from the grounding position of the greater collective. Sometimes we choose from purely selfish intent that has little interest in something greater than ourselves. Unfortunate, but I believe true.That said, we can never separate from the need to interact with a wider collective and can never be purely individuated, in choices or in outcome.

  • gm123

    Wow. Well, if you really think that Pat Robertson speaks for all Christians, I could see your point. But that’s like saying that Osama bin Laden speaks for all Muslims.Or better yet, that’s like saying that Chairman Mao and Stalin spoke for all athiests.I love it when atheists make themselves look even more stupid than Pat Robertson. That’s so hard to do, and yet this author did it so well!

  • timbrown2

    Although Dawkins treads heavily, he speaks the truth.

  • garoth

    Responding to AKULA:I’ll set aside the last “these are real, however” comment, since I believe that the reality of what believers experience is also real. This comment is not an attack – but rather an appeal. I have tried, for many years, to find a sense of purpose and, mostly, to find hope beyond the idea of a God. I honestly do not know how to do it. Perhaps you have some wisdom for me. When you are feeling that life is empty and without purpose, how do you hold on?

  • lobotommy

    Mr. Dawkins, donate money to Haiti. Doesn’t matter what you think. Do something. Donate money.

  • severalspeciesof

    CASSIE123″This is how I think about it…God created the world perfect, it was man who sinned.”So where did ‘sin’ come from?…If god created the world perfect, I am well within my right to assume god created human perfect and without sin/imperfection…Where did god go wrong?

  • CalP

    Mr. Dawkins has every right to state that there is no God; but the evolution of man does not explain the origins of all life, such as the blue green algae that appeared after the Azoic (without life) period of the earth. Unless Mr. Dawkins actually believes that man appeared on the earth on the first day, how does he use evolution etc. to prove there is no God.Science can no more prove there is no God, than Religion could prove the existence of God. However nothing could deny that there must have been a beginning to earth and science is able only to go back to the instant after the big bang. Until Mr. Dawkins can explain what came before, he is in the same position as Christians who are on the opposite side of proof.If it is man’s science that permits the design, engineering, intelligence that allows us to have a space station orbitting the earth, why is it that there was no design, engineering and intelligence in the superior system of our universe where earth and other planets orbit the Sun. Even with our miniscule space station, by comparisson, man has to tinker with the space station from time to time to keep it operating successfully. Can science explain how our solar system continues to operate without any empirical proof of maintenence etc? Can science produce even a tree from nothing? Science cannot discover anything that does not exist, nor can it develop any process or procedure that is not possible. Science cannot and does not explain everything as yet. It might , one day, do so, and then Mr. Dawkins could, if he so chooses laugh out loud at all of us.I do not know who, what, or which Presence is God. But for me, faith in a Divine presence gives meaning and purpose to my life, and life without meaning and purpose is not worth living, in my view. I do not know, who, what or which was in the “Beginning”, but I know there was a beginning and the consistency of nature assures me that the earth, the planets and life of plants and animals on earth is not just a product of chance. Given the yet undetermined number of celestial bodies, it would be impossible to compute the chance of life just on earth. Man must have won some divine kind of lottery that science could not determine until the complete universe and prerhaps other universes are factored into the equation(s).Perhaps the destructive forces that have struck the island of Haiti often in the past few years are designed to draw man’s attention to our failure to take care of our brothers and sisters. Perhaps it is the result of this catastrophe that could result in a better Haiti, that is the event that we should be focussed on. The resulting “good” from “misfortune” does not have to come about in our own life time, but having faith that eventual good will come about does not reduce the spirit of man, it elevates it.

  • tjmlrc

    Quine saidYou are advertising the fact that either you aren’t the sharpest knife in the drawer or you can’t read. No where in my post did I say what you printed. What I said was that the writer of this article is lashing out against Christians but he isn’t lashing out against muslims. And is he too cowardly to say anything about that religion?

  • Tezcatlipoca

    tjmlrc,what you have is known as “Fatwah Envy” I believe there is a cream or some sort of counseling that may help you deal with it.

  • brattykathyi1

    Religions are a collection of the fairy tales, rites, rituals, and superstitions of cave men. Its hard for me to understand how any supposedly evolved person could take religions seriously. Christianity has to be the worse. One has to be able to completely deny reality in order to believe the Christian Bible.

  • severalspeciesof

    “Mr. Dawkins, donate money to Haiti. Doesn’t matter what you think. Do something. Donate money.”He has…See here:

  • tjmlrc

    Tapioca,+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

  • dab4

    Richard Dawkins and Pat Robertson both confuse pantheism with Christianity. And they both misstate the role of scripture in Christianity: Christianity predates the New Testament, obviously, and the Bible is mentioned nowhere in the universal creeds of the faith, except to say (in some translations of the Nicene Creed) that Christ’s resurrection fulfills Hebrew prophecy. But Richard Dawkins only ever deals with the caricature of Christianity that people like Pat Robertson are only to happy to provide him. Let ‘em debate each other to death — Dawkins critique of Robertson’s (distortion of) Christianity is spot on. But Dawkins obviously has not a single inkling what actual Christians believe, practice, doubt and preach if he thinks the Bible authors’ various descriptions of God and God’s role in history is the same thing as Christian belief in who or what God is, does or has done.Christianity is not a literalist, biblicist religion, despite some latter centuries’ evangelicals (and now Richard Dawkins’s) attempts to make it one, even though they all know that generations of Christians, over time, determined what was and wasn’t the canon of scripture … and it isn’t scripture that determines who or what is or isn’t a Christian.

  • gimpi

    Wiccan,Thanks so much for the complement! I really try to keep the negativity down, and to express my opinions without attacking others, sometimes rephrasing several times, until I feel I have obtained that goal. It’s nice to know someone feels I come close. I have no intention of deserting this web, however I disappear occasionally, due to deadline pressure. I’m a graphic artist and web designer, some of our household income comes from freelance projects, and when I’m busy, blogs go by the wayside.

  • gimpi

    Wiccan,Thanks so much for the complement! I really try to keep the negativity down, and to express my opinions without attacking others, sometimes rephrasing several times, until I feel I have obtained that goal. It’s nice to know someone feels I come close. I have no intention of deserting this web, however I disappear occasionally, due to deadline pressure. I’m a graphic artist and web designer, some of our household income comes from freelance projects, and when I’m busy, blogs go by the wayside.

  • brattykathyi1

    How many millions of people have died at the hands of Christians? The Crusades, The French Inquisition, The Spanish Inquisition, The Indigenous Peoples of North, Central, and South America. WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia, Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan.

  • gimpi

    I apologize for the double-post. Stuttering fingers.

  • tjmlrc

    I am all for reading and suggest you read “The God Delusion” by Professor Dawkins so you would know that ALL religions have no evidence for being anything more than people telling stories to each other. In this thread the Professor is writing about the basic fallacy of divine retribution because Pat Robertson used it to hijack the disaster in Haiti. In other writings Professor Dawkins has written against Muslim practices that inflict violence against women and others. Your pleas of “what about the Muslims” remind me of when my children would try to find some other kid who was doing something worse when caught in their own misdeeds. They grew out of that dodge (didn’t work, anyway), perhaps you will too.

  • detroitblkmale30

    How many millions of people have died at the hands of Christians? The Crusades, The French Inquisition, The Spanish Inquisition, The Indigenous Peoples of North, Central, and South America. WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia, Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan.—–

  • treeez123

    Pat Robertson doesn’t speak for all Christians..but I think we already knew that. You seem to be writing the article as a means to continue venting your anger.

  • tjmlrc

    Why do you care so much what we believe?

  • ladyliberty1

    Quine wrote: What? Robertson’s views on “The Fall” and the corruption of otherwise perfect Creation by “sin” is not the basis of Christianity? If no “Fall” then no “Redeemer” how can you square that? You can’t get away from the basic design of Christian theology as a fulfillment of the Hebrew bible. Twist and turn you may, but you are stuck with it, and stuck with the basis of the nonsense propagated by Robertson.You are absolutely right. Though you consider it nonsense, you understand what many who proclaim Christianity do not, and that is that sin requires atonement and atonement requires a Redeemer. Sadly, many who claim to be Christian do not know the theology of the Bible. They have pieced together a theology of their own making, that saves no one. They base their theology on “God is love.” And, then they go on to define love in their own terms. Their god is not a god of wrath. Forgiveness and love, is what they proclaim, but it is meaningless without the understanding of God’s wrath on sin, and the need for forgiveness.Pat Robertson’s theology is Biblical. A true Christian is one who believes the truth as presented in Scripture, and Scripture says that God is angry with the wicked everyday. God’s wrath rest on the wicked. His Mercy is available for the one who will call upon Him. Pat Robertson was speaking of the history of Haitians. He was not saying that God’s wrath was in the earthquake. However, the Haitians saw God’s wrath on the corrupt government through the destruction of the government buildings. It is hard not to draw a similar conclusion. However, God does not always judge sin in this life. Many, will experience God’s wrath here, but most will receive His judgment when He says, “Depart from Me. I never knew you.” Isaiah 66 says, vs. 23 “And it shall be from new moon to new moon and from sabbath to sabbath, all mankind will come to bow down before Me,” says the LORD.vs. 24 “Then they shall go forth and look on the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched; and they shall be an abhorrence to all mankind.

  • jhtlag1

    Hypocrisy is having no moral reasoning as is true with secularists then ranting about other people’s actions. Your only legitimate response is a Vonnegut “So it goes.”So SFU. What kills me are all these people that point to Darwinism as a reproof to religion then don’t bother to follow its fairly obvious corrallary: Eat or be eaten. Helping Haitians is certainly not a response that an honest “secularist” should come up with. They say “be nice” with no reason to back it up.

  • garoth

    Carstonio, thank you for your ocmment. There are so many rants here, it’s nice to hear from folks that are really engaged. The biggest poblm, right now, seems to be dealing with the volumeof blogs – I have to keep trying to find the messages!You are right, of course – there is no way to “test” purpose. It’s always a guess, if you will. Otherwisse there wouldn’t be so many philosophies and religions (or maybe there would – people do like to hang on to their beliefs, regardless of the evidence – I guess I might be accused of that by some as well!). It may be that there is no higher purpose to living than living itself. Personally, I have a problem with that. I like to think that there is a reason why I am here, other than happenstance. It may also be that I am delusional (you’ll have to ask my wife!). I just find it hard to live without a sense that there is no reason for my being here. I also find it hard to to find a basis for any sense of virtues or ethics if there is no purpose to life. It seems to me that, without some kind of fixed point, we simply are picking out our own star, and calling it “north.” I don’t think science can provide this for us. When you say, I acknowledge that it’s possible that meanings and purposes have some sort of inherent or pseudo-corporeal existence independent of the human mind. But the burden of proof is on the assertion that they can exist that way,” I think you are correct. meanings cannot exist independently, on their own. That is why religion posits a mind of some sort in which they exist – God, however he/she/it is conceived. It is te sense that the universe not only exists, but is headed somewhere – that it also hs a purpose, and that somehow we are connected to it.Again, thanks for your comment.

  • gvelasco

    Professor Dawkins – The dullness and spiritual ignorance/weakness of your remarks serves to cast the ever-present dark shadow on the souls of the un-initiated. Your material/physical worldview severely limits your capacity to understand all that is Holy. May Jesus enter your life (if only you would accept Him) and shune His Light on you. God Bless…

  • Tezcatlipoca

    tjmlrc,”Tapioca,Ah yes, but I’m not the one putting forth commnts such as;1.Since you have such a large set of accessories on yourself, why don’t you slap chop the muslim religion as you have done the Christian religion.2.Are you willing to bet your life on it?3. What I said was that the writer of this article is lashing out against Christians but he isn’t lashing out against muslims. And is he too cowardly to say anything about that religion?From RationalwikiFatway Envy-Fatwa envy is the term used for Poe-like behavior of wingnut Christians online. These people generally complain that criticism of their religion or themselves is wrong because the criticism would never be directed at Muslims for fear of violence or death. The rants of Fatwa-envy-filled posters generally start angry, upset or frothing at what the person said or did. The screed then turns to how the other religion would not tolerate what was said (almost as if the person ranting wishing he/she or fellow religious brethren would turn to violence or killing). And to complete the rant, the person usually prays for or forgives the person, or explains that he or she will be going to hell if he or she does not repent for alleged sins. Fatwa envy is full of lulz because the ranter does not understand that a loving and forgiving religious person would not rant in the first place, and forgive and forget any supposed wrongs before sending off an email or posting a reply to a blog or forum. —-”You don’t get it and if I spelled it out I doubt that you would get in then either. “Political correctness” prevents you from accepting the truth. You have my sincere sympathy. I’m off to church now. Will say a prayer for you and Mr. Dawkins too. Just because someone is a “professor” doesn’t mean they are knowledgable. I know college grads today that wear their degrees like a banner and they can’t spell. I’m not talking typos. I’m talking cannot spell. Don’t you have a suprise coming to you? : – )lulz!p.s. what do you have against tapioca? I bet you’re too cowardly to say any of these types of smears against chocolate or vanilla or butterscotch! I will non-pray for you!

  • BlaiseP

    As a Catholic, I could never accept the idea of predestination: ie that we only believe if we have faith and that Still, Christ told us to go forth and teach the nations. And that we must do, as best we can.

  • justillthennow

    Hello gvelasco,That was a nice prayer for Sr. Dawkins. I am all for prayer and mindful affirmation and blessings. All help is good help, and perhaps through compassionate communication we will be able to more easily find commonality, and so peace. It was thoughtful of you to respond in this way to what may have been repugnant to you morally. Cheers!That said, attention to detail is valuable. Your post ended thusly: “May Jesus enter your life (if only you would accept Him) and shune His Light on you. God Bless…”I do not imagine that your prayer is that Jesus shun His Light on Dawkins. Shining might be closer to the spirit of where your comment to him started. Peace on you!

  • garoth

    justillthennow:Thank you, and I agree. I think that this sense of God has to do with the desire to be in harmony with a greater purpose and a greater good. As I mentioned to another blogger, it may be delusional (as some have suggested), but it is not one I find that I can dismiss. The sense of belonging to a higher good may lead some to do terrible things, or to be heroic. I don’t think that this sense – of their being a purpose to it all – is something science can provide for us. There is no emperical test for it. It is certainly true also that our “purposes” may be entirely selfish. We’ve seen plenty of that. I also appreciated your comment about how people and events change our concept of purpose. I’ve been undergoing a sea-change in the last year, since my grandson died. I’ve dealt with a lot of deaths in my life, done a lot of counseling of others who faced such things, and thought I had things pretty much together. How wrong I was!Thanks for your reflective post!

  • garoth

    Just a note to BlaiseP:Predestination is not a Lutheran idea. We may go wierd on a lot of stuff, but this isn’t one that can be pinned on us! Try Calvin. Some of his followers even believed in double predestination – that some are predestined to heaven and some to hell, and there’s not a thing you can do about it! Luther said, “God may know. We don’t.” He focused more on living the life of trust in God, and taking care of the neighbor. Speculation on whether we are or are not members of “God’s chosen,” he felt, is just sin – another example of our over-concern for ourselves.

  • BlaiseP

    PS You might try my wager: SECTION III
    OF THE NECESSITY OF THE WAGER
    184
    A letter to incite to the search after God.

  • gimpi

    “In fact, a lot of scientific evidence suggests that intelligent design is a more viable theory than evolution (unfortunately that is generally not “allowed” to be published in many circles).”Posted by: cassie123 Cassie123, that’s not really correct. The supposed “scientific evidence,” most of it produced by the Discovery Institute, doesn’t really come up to scientific standards. They do no experimentation and they never attempt to disprove their own theories, which is fundamental to science. They rarely submit papers for peer-review, in part, I’m sure because they feel they will be rejected, but in part because they simply don’t have the evidence to survive the fact-checking and review process. In the end, you have to look at the outcomes. Evolutionary biology has been able to crack the human genome and produce medicines, geology that takes into account the evolution of life, (and uses index-fossils) has been able to find minerals, and an evolutionary understanding of astronomy has helped us to understand the way the universe is in motion.Many of the Christians I know take Genesis as an analogy for the coming of sapience to humanity through the process of evolution. If the story of Adam really speaks to you, but you discover the physical reality of the evolution of life on earth, that might be a way to keep a belief that helps you, while accepting scientific fact. Just a thought.

  • BlaiseP

    Garoth:Re: Calvinist, not LutheranNo offence meant, and I am sorry. And what can we do? Not much. Although, I still think my wager is not too bad a try, considering all that is at stake.

  • garoth

    BlaiseP:Sorry, it’s me again. Rereading your post, part of what you said is right. Luther believed that faith is a gift – that we can’t even do that muh for ourselves. His point wasn’t that God condemned us because he didn’t happen to give someone that gift, but that we shouldn’t worry so much about whether we have it, or how much we have, whether we have eough faith, etc. If we know that we are loved, we can simply rest in that love, and go about doing our business of loving the neighbor. Heaven and hell are God’s business, which he can handle very well by himself – let’s mind our own business, which is taking care of our neighbor and being good stewards of our world!

  • eraskauskas

    This is a report to the Washington Post that Mr. Dawkins comments on religion and religous people are offensive, and as objectionable to me in civil discourse as polemics in which vulgarity or obscenity is employed. It’s amazing that as long as he has been in contempt of religion that he remains so obviously angry. Let’s say a prayer for him, poor soul.

  • BennyFactor

    The Jewish God of the Old Covenant was a vengeful God who relentlessly spanked huge swaths of people and forgave remnants to carry on in His name. The Christian God of the New Covenant does much the same – but in a one-on-one fashion for each believer. He does not not avenge individual sin with mass destruction. However, Mother Nature does whatever is needed to survive – including floods, earthquakes and other events that are erroneously attributed as “Acts of God”.

  • gvelasco

    justillthennow – Thank you. Yes, may the “Shining” take place. We need more of Dawkins’s babble to stir our souls and place God in His righful place. Perhaps he is “God-sent?”. Peace on you, too!

  • alexanian

    I am afraid Dawkins’s hate and irrationality muddles up, if not blinds, his moral mathematics. Here one person, Pat Robertson, is being counterbalanced by the multitude of Christians that are working to abate suffering of Haitians by being on the island helping directly or by monetarily contributing to the cause. What a jackass!

  • Freestinker

    “This is a report to the Washington Post that Mr. Dawkins comments on religion and religous people are offensive, and as objectionable to me in civil discourse as polemics in which vulgarity or obscenity is employed.”———–Eraskauskas, On which particular point do you disagree with Mr. Dawkins?Please give us an example of where he is wrong?

  • JoeT1

    the commenters here, by and large, seem to have missed Dawkins’point, which is that clerics who run from Robertson’s patently absurd comments are hypocrites because the religion they preach is perfectly consistent, if not predicated upon, Robertson’s hypothesis. and Dawkins throws in for good measure the dirty little secret hypocrisy that Adam’s original sin isn’t even accepted by theologians any more, but they don’t tell their flocks that they are now missing an original sin, without which not much of Jesus’ story makes a lick of sense.

  • jfbyers

    The best way to deal Richard Dawkins is to simply state; Dawkins those are your opinions. They are what they are only opinions that cannot and are not based on Fact. The fact of the matter is that no one knows what causes the earth to do as the earth does. Only God knows that answer. I do not deny evolution; I only want to know how God created it. Your faith in science will fail you; it will not save your soul. If science where God it would have figured out by now how to stop all the pain and suffering world wide, it would have stopped those that believe as you do from mass murder. The snake you serve will bite you in the end and your soul will cry out for salvation but it will not find you. Your end will be as is the end of all things and you will return to dust. The dust that God assembled in the beginning to create Man, you shall become that dust. The wind will carry your physical dust to the four corners of the earth and you shall be no more. You are without clue as how the earth is and what it does. Know one knows how, when or why these things truly happen. Science cannot say when the next one will be, you cannot tell me how the wind will blow and what direction it will be from, you cannot tell me when it will rain or when it will snow, you have no idea of the simple things of this earth how can you tell us of the complex. As you mind fails you and your angry controls you; you become more of the evil you serve rather than the good that you could be. Giving to Haiti why, that is a Christian thing to do Dawkins. Dawkins charity is Christian. Just thought I would let you know that you are acting as a Christian.

  • medogsbstfrnd

    might Mr. Dawkin’s link us to the atheist foundations, hospitals, orphanages and medical missions raising funds for Haiti relief? Robertson is a straw man and the rhetoric of the inflamed Mr. Dawkin’s kool aid for the atheist herd. Now let’s get back to helping the victims.

  • fliprim

    JCinTXI am sorry you failed to address my concerns over the general practice of the Christian faith. I am sorry you didn’t acknowledge the point that the tenets of faith are no more worthy of respect than say politics. The tenets of your personal faith are unknown to me, and may well not include the notion that we have been saved by Christ if only we would let him into our hearts. Good on you if so, but you will be in a substantial minority. It may be that you have not examined what it means to be told you need to be saved. You have not engaged. You have only expressed concern that I used language expressing anger (not hatred, I assure you) and anger not at you personally but at your rotten faith (I can say this about any idea).JCinTX talk to me about the need for your and my salvation as you see it.

  • oysteinelgaroy

    Brilliant article. The hypocrisy of the religious moderates on this matter deserves to be pointed out.

  • BlaiseP

    Well, Quine, I’ve never been a drug addict so I wouldn’t know how that feels. And why do you assume that I’ve been a believer all my life? I left Catholicism for many years, came back after not good news but bad news. Clawed my way back, slowly…Then asked God And–you So, I had help. But I had to ask. Anyway, for me, Pascal’s writing is the best, better than any Jesuit, who btw he fought a running battle with all his life. Read somewhere he was too Catholic for the Protestants and too Protestants for the Catholics. Must be the right man.

  • maryannevans2

    “True Christians roll up their collective sleeves and either donate to a REAL charity, such as UMCOR or the Int’l Red Cross or go to disaster areas personally to help survivors.”

  • BlaiseP

    Pascal was not a philosopher nor did he believe that man could access God through logic or reason alone, without faith: ie we believe in order that we should know. He was a mathematical genius vexed with this problem. You need to read the wager in the context of the rest of the

  • justillthennow

    Hello Garoth, “As I mentioned to another blogger, it may be delusional (as some have suggested), but it is not one I find that I can dismiss. The sense of belonging to a higher good may lead some to do terrible things, or to be heroic.”The first part here I agree with altogether. And when contemplating the first through the lens of the second part it becomes clear that some WILL see it as delusional, others will see it as obvious and essential and correct. Yet the need for understanding for ourselves a deeper understanding of life is important and common to all. The second statement is scarier. For one person the greater purpose of life they find and align with drives them to do violence and evil on another, while someone else may choose meaning in doing good. It is easy to define what does evil as evil, and even easier to define what WE choose to align with as good, and what we DO therefore as good. So, we may get back to delusion after all, hmmm?”I don’t think that this sense – of their being a purpose to it all – is something science can provide for us.”"It is certainly true also that our “purposes” may be entirely selfish.”And perhaps that gets to the core of it. At that core, all we do is self serving. So, if true, (I am aware the concept goes against fundamental beliefs!), then we are serving ourselves and our alignment to a perceived ‘greater cause’ is done for self serving purposes. It does something beneficial to self.Thank you for a bit of your story. I am sorry for the loss of your grandson. These things are terrible and can cause great pain in life. And they can be calalysts for growth. May that be so for you!Peace on you.

  • garoth

    Hi again, Carstonio, ad it’s nice to have this discussion. When I referred to science not being able to provie this point, I wasn’t really refering to yur argument, but to a common argument on this blog – that science or reason can provide that “fixed point.” My point was simply that it is no better than religion at thi point, and perhaps somewhat less able to, in fact.Certainly people in general seem to have a common sense “life should be valued and suffering should be avoided or alleviated,” and, t some degree at least, believe that we should empathize with others. There, howeve, are not universal values. For instance, most ancient cultures held empathy in low esteem, as a sign of weakness. I’m not generally one to argue in favor of absolutes, and you are correct that “absolutists” tend to see the only alternative as anarchy. Is there some middle ground, or some other alternatives? The other problem, of course, and one of the fallacies of Mr. Dawkin’s argument against Christianity, is the assumption of a single set of absolute values even within Christianity. Even a cursory reading of the Jewish and Christian scriptures reveal an evolving understanding of these values (perhaps I’m even arguing against myself here!).When I said, “it is the sense that the universe not only exists, but is headed somewhere – that it also has a purpose, and that somehow we are connected to it,” I guess I am referring to what I would think of as the “religious” sense (you may identfy it differently), that I am part of something greater than myself, or even clan, nation, or earth. Science tells us that the universe might perhaps be best compared to a three-dimensional rubber mat which, when pressed at any point, moves at every point in response to that pressure. One atom may be spun at one place, and another, millions of miles away, will respond exactly to it. It is this sense that all of this is connected, and that we are also connected to it – not simply in a physical way, but also to the meaning of it – to which I am speaking. In the Unitarian church, they speak of a “cathedral with many windows.” Perhaps none of us see the whole truth, but the light comes from the same source. That is what I mean.

  • AChakra

    I remember Camus’comment: “Lucky Christians! They kept grace for themselves, and left us charity.”

  • Cthulhu3

    Dawkins dude, you are trying way too hard. Why are you angry at people who believe in sin and myths? Their beliefs are a product of human culture, which is a product of physical and biological evolution. To be angry at them is to be angry with the results of blind, valueless, purposeless materialistic processes which created people and the state in which they presently live–they very same processes which you study through the scientific method. Your anger at a god that doesn’t exist and at people who believe is like a form of self-hatred. Pat Robertson is a product of evolution, dude, so you have nothing to blame but material evolution itself.

  • Aurellano

    Mr. Dawkins please explain the eating the body and drinking the blood stuff. I never understood that. Isn’t that called CANIBALISM?

  • DavidFalconer

    Christians, those who truly know Christ’s love and follow His teachings, get for free what they know they don’t deserve, and are thankful for it. That is salvation from damnation and eternal rest. Those who don’t believe in, or don’t follow Christ, strive, or wish for, or try to avoid, what they think they deserve.

  • Cthulhu3

    Quine, how is his anger at Robertson any more justified than a child’s anger a toy that won’t work? Being an atheist means believing that there is no ultimate moral arbiter–moral “anger” or “outrage” requires an arbiter. Humans might have reason, but that is no more “justified” than insanity–because there is no absolute, call it God, Reason, whatever. Just blind, purposeless material processes. What strikes me about people like Dawkins–and you–is that you want to have your cake an eat it too. You are the “cafe atheists” to borrow Camus’ phrase.

  • SteveM50

    Fantastic piece from Richard.Very insightful of Richard to spot the widely accepted implications of Christianity’s central idea lurking in plain view in Robertson’s widely repudiated bile.Bravo.

  • Freestinker

    Reading through these posts, I am hard pressed to find a single factual criticsm of Mr. Dawkins’ main point. People don’t like his attitude, I get that but what about his main point?Pat Robertson is being true to the Bible. It’s an ugly truth to be sure but none of the apologists here have yet to refute Mr. Dawkins’ central point … that the god of the Bible is petty, mean, vindictive, and isn’t very charitable by any measure.Christians who rebuke Robertson are also rejecting many of the basic assumptions of the Christian Bible.I’d be interested to hear a calm refutation of Mr. Dawkins central point instead of all the sniping at his character or delivery.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Martial, Long time! Interesting post. A hasty scribbling from yours truly. Dawkins has a number of serious problems all of which render him ineffective in atheist/agnostic causes, if there are any, aside from freeing the government of Religionism, and allowing the rest of us to live in peace, blind though we may be from the perspective of believers.As a muse, Dawkins is uninspiring. He has resurrected an argument with ancient roots that came to full fruition in the Renaissance and Enlightenment, viz, Reason vs. Faith. Aside from the fact that after centuries, this debate has become all but ossified, it omits stunning critiques of Reason, perhaps, first and foremost that of Adorno, without which we end badly, in Auschwitz, for example.There are better, more intelligent, certainly, more scholarly ways to approach this issue. If you haven’t read Jennifer Hecht’s “A History of Doubt,” I would strongly recommend it.Second, he is free with Tanakh, but like Finally, he does not grow. He was struck by a group of renegade memes decades ago, and has been frozen in place ever since.Dawkins appears to be about advancing Dawkins, not philosophy, not logic, certainly not morality.Regards,

  • Freestinker

    “Being an atheist means believing that there is no ultimate moral arbiter–”——CATHULU3,No it doesn’t. It just means that they don’t believe in the supernatural. That’s all.Besides, there is no such thing as an “ultimate moral arbitor” anyway. All morals are subjective, even yours.

  • frederic2

    May I correct some ad nauseam reiterated arguments against atheism. When someone correctly states that millions and millions of people were slaughtered in the name of this or that religious fairy tale, the usual answer is “yes, but what about Hitler and Stalin etc.”? Nazism was not identical with atheism (religion lessons in the schools were still mandatory up to 1945!), and Stalin (brought up in a Christian orthodox “madras”) did not commit his atrocities under the banner of atheism:Hitler talked about “providence” all the time. In his terrible delusion he thought he was providence’s tool for bringing the “race” up to its rightful place. He proclaimed the extinction of the Jews as simply enacting the writings of Luther, who demanded just that. Stalin’s “philosophy” was not atheism; he killed millions of people to enact a demented ideal of communism, or forced “égalité”, dating back to the French revolution and the (actually in large parts misunderstood) philosophy of Karl Marx. Of course, the orthodox church was an obstacle for him to be annihilated, but atheism was not the primary motive of his awful crimes.

  • argo

    Perhaps Mr. Dawkins is guilty of excessive zeal in finding fault with Christians’ belief at every opportunity. Obviously, his cage got rattled by Robertson’s raving about Haitian folklore.

  • spidermean2

    Freestinker wrote “It’s an ugly truth to be sure but none of the apologists here have yet to refute Mr. Dawkins’ central point … that the god of the Bible is petty, mean, vindictive, and isn’t very charitable by any measure.”To the unbelievers he’s the GOD OF WRATH. THE SUPERLATIVE of destruction and pain. To the believers, he is the exact opposite. THE SUPERLATIVE of goodness and love.Only the idiots would choose the former and sure enough they will get it a million fold. Eternal Damnation. Impossible? Sometimes I think so, but Jesus didn’t lie with this verse :”But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after HE HATH KILLED hath power to cast into HELL; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” (Lk 12:5)”Dawkins and his ilk are the dumbest people on earth. They fit to the category when Christ told Judas that it would have been better if he was not born. Judas and Dawkins would “singing” in hell’s choir like crazy. It would be an eerie CRIES of pain.When Christ said that there will be antichrists after he dies. It became true. there are lots of them now. What he had said, it ALL HAPPENED. He didn’t missed a single prophecy.

  • ThishowIseeit

    Interesting article, but Prof Dawkins, you seem incorrect about the new progressive american christians: they do not consider suffering as a payback to sin any more. I’m agnostic but I like to be fair.

  • akula

    Freestinker wrote:Reading through these posts, I am hard pressed to find a single factual criticsm of Mr. Dawkins’ main point. People don’t like his attitude, I get that but what about his main point?Pat Robertson is being true to the Bible. It’s an ugly truth to be sure but none of the apologists here have yet to refute Mr. Dawkins’ central point … that the god of the Bible is petty, mean, vindictive, and isn’t very charitable by any measure.Christians who rebuke Robertson are also rejecting many of the basic assumptions of the Christian Bible.I’d be interested to hear a calm refutation of Mr. Dawkins central point instead of all the sniping at his character or delivery.————————-I agree with that. Id appreciate if somebody just disregarded the insults in Dawkins’ post and attempted to explain to the ignorant and immoral of us what is wrong with his main point. I think the only meaningful response that I caught so far was that some Christian denominations that exclude old testament. Also the interpretation of Christ’s sacrifice as atonement for the sins of humankind is not accepted by some denominations. Christians who criticize Robertson must therefore reject both.

  • spidermean2

    ARGO wrote “It is that convenient excuse to keep on committing the sins just as long as they “accept” Christ into their lives.”You have not found a true Christian yet. Haven’t you seen pastors banished from his church because of grave sin? There a aplenty. Ignorance will fail you. Hinduism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Judaism, Islam are all FALSE RELIGIONS coz they rest on man’s ability to save himself.

  • blasmaic

    Quine wrote, “if Professor Dawkins has made any theological mistakes, please explain them to us.”I’m aware of a significant theological error that Dawkins has made, but what change would you make in your thinking if I disclosed it to you?

  • southingtonian

    to all output from ‘Reverend’ robinson and followers: Hosea 9:

  • Freestinker

    AKULA worte: “I think the only meaningful response that I caught so far was that some Christian denominations that exclude old testament. Also the interpretation of Christ’s sacrifice as atonement for the sins of humankind is not accepted by some denominations. Christians who criticize Robertson must therefore reject both. “———Exactly. If you reject Pat Robertson’s view on Haiti, you are likewise rejecting two of the most basic assumptions of tradtional Christianity. Either you agree with Robertson or you reject the central assuptions of your religion. Talk about being caught between a rock and hard place!

  • fliprim

    blasmaic”I’m aware of a significant theological error that Dawkins has made, but what change would you make in your thinking if I disclosed it to you?”I can’t speak for anyone else but I would ALWAYS be prepared to change my mind in the face of facts supporting reasoned argument. It would be a disgrace to do otherwise. I suspect there are many here that feel as I do.May I urge you to share your knowledge with we others?

  • corylus78

    The agonized theodiceans who see suffering as an intractable ‘mystery’, or who ‘see God’ in the help, money and goodwill that is now flooding into Haiti , or I don’t understand how suffering can be ‘made sense of’ by the contemplation of more of it.

  • Freestinker

    QUINE wrote: “… I read his article as a call for religious people to reject the unethical practice of blaming people for natural disasters based on superstition.”———-Exactly. But the problem for most Christians is that the unethical practice of blaming people for natural disasters is based entirely on the central assumptions of their superstition. So rejecting the practice means rejecting the central assumptions which means rejecting the very basis for the superstition and superstitious people are not likely to even challenge much less change their own superstitions. It’s a vicious circle that is difficult to escape.

  • blasmaic

    Quine wrote, “if Professor Dawkins has made any theological mistakes, please explain them to us.”I’m aware of a significant theological error that Dawkins has made, but what change would you make in your thinking if I disclosed it to you? Dawkins is your God, your alpha and omega. He can do no wrong. Would you change your religious belief in Dawkins if I showed you his error?

  • spidermean2

    With Voodoo being a mainstream religion in Haiti, Pat Robertson is correct that the earthquake is a consequence of their sins.Despite that, we are not suppose to look down on them but it should serve as a reminder to us that we should live a righteous life or we’d taste the same fate.Guess what? The world will experience worse than what Haiti got.

  • GMartin-Royle

    It would appear that the main problem for all the xtians writing about this post is that they do not like the way Richard Dawkins has held a mirror up to their beliefs and shown them where they come from. The sight of all that hatred and bile must be disconcerting.

  • fliprim

    Blasmaic”Dawkins is your God, your alpha and omega. He can do no wrong. Would you change your religious belief in Dawkins if I showed you his error?”You may be surprised at how often Dawkins is complained about and disagreed with by atheists. There is no dogma bought lock stock and barrel. You may be surprised to see that Dawkins issues apologies and corrections when he realises his mistakes.This principle of being genuinely open to change is seemingly a central factor in his (and other rationalists’s) characters.Your slur is the one most likely to be argued with from “our side”. Please feel free to put it to the test.

  • pgibson1

    with your religion, at a ripe old age of …maybe 2000 years, and you still haven’t really figured it out, have you?note: this discussion is a great place to start seeing the futility of your human aspirations to be in touch with God.Evidently it could take another 2K years before you REALLY know what you have there ….lol.

  • momof20yo

    There are plenty of people like Pat Robertson who misuse the word ‘Christian’ to spread their message of hate. Do not put all Christians under Pat Robertson’s umbrella.

  • Alyosha1

    Blasmaic,1) Christianity has long condemned the heresy (first propogated by teh gnostics) that the god of the OT is somehow different than the god of the NT.2) Dawkins does include NT examples, such as the Garasene demoniac.

  • VicG

    Right on Mr. Dawkins. Taken at face value I enjoyed your article. I liked the fiery prose and I especially enjoyed you reference to Pat Robertson’s intelligence as…hick, sub-Palinesque ignorance. Nicely done taking out two bozos with with one line.However, on deeper reflection, I can not generalize regarding all Christians being one way or believing one particular doctrine. Each religion seems to have it’s extremists and literalists. It is a test of faith to believe in spite of known problems or inconsistancies. Who really knows what Jesus’ game plan was or what in fact was actually said by whom over two thousand years ago. It seems to me the Bible was as much a political club as a religious one.Regardless, thanks for a great read.

  • snapplecat07

    Richard is one angry angry man…why so angry ?

  • CHICO13

    Ah, the old broad brush technique. Nice. How about all the true Christians that are down in Haiti right now doing God’s work? Lumping us in with Robertson is moronic and lazy writing.

  • ttj1

    Dawkins’s reading of “Christian Theology,” is, of course, selective. Based on the knowledge he demonstrates here, he wouldn’t even be able to pass a Sunday school exam.With the intent to call Christians hypocrites, he actually makes an argument in favor of Pat Robinson. The greater lesson he unwittingly teaches is that readers of the Bible need to be prepared to detect and discard superficial and errant interpretations of scriptures whether they are made deliberately or in ignorance.

  • fliprim

    BlasmaicSadly on this occasion not at all. Your information was not new and indeed has figured in my own posts in this thread.The key question for you in your attempted proof of the complete divorce of the NT from the OT is-Forgiveness from what? Where and when was the sin that needed forgiving and whose was it?

  • fliprim

    CHICO13″Ah, the old broad brush technique.”No. One used with quite particular finesse. The thesis is that moderate Christians in following a Saviour acquiesce that they need salvation. There the moderate stops dead. Of course, I must have done something wrong. We are all sinners after all the thinking goes.But no, we are told we must sin because we have fallen from grace. Let him without sin cast the first stone…..and of course none do.Yet I know people of blameless lives. They are not in need of forgiveness.Acknowledge the roots of your belief in salvation or admit you are a Christian in name only.

  • bran-solo

    So unlike every other narrative which has ever been put down to writing since the dawn of human civilization we are to believe that the Bible- a collection of disparate writings in actuality, already thousands of years old which has undergone numerous translations- can be distilled down into a single universally understood and agreed upon interpretation with absolutely no room whatsoever for personal interpretation or consideration? And just who is the keeper and arbitrator of this ultimate decoder? Why none other than Pat Robertson and apparently Mr Dawkins himself who apparently believes that an enormous geographic, ethnographic, economic, racial, and cultural cross-section of the entire human population can similarly be categorized. They have all read the same book so they must think and feel the exact same thing. Mr Dawkins has nicely demonstrated that secular extremists can easily be as dogmatic and unhinged as religious extremists. Honestly, where in the Bible does it even begin to suggest that if God caused one flood or saw to the destruction of a city that therefore every natural disaster that ever occurs can be traced back to divine displeasure? That’s like saying that just because alcohol is involved in a lot of car accidents that one can automatically assume that every car accident that ever occurs must be the result of drunk driving. My interpretation would be just the opposite- that if God were to send a natural disaster down as some divine punishment he would go to particular lengths to make his involvement known just as he did in those instances. This point seems equally lost on both Mr Robertson and Mr Dawkins. But really who am I to try to think for myself? What I really need is for Mr Dawkins to come tell me what I think. A mean spirited opportunistic little attention seeker who sees in a catastrophic natural disaster which has inflicted enormous human suffering merely an opportunity to boost his own profile. Mr Robertson and Mr Dawkins are like two peas in a pod here.

  • MarianoApologeticus

    VicG.,Relying upon Bart Ehrman is faulty as his books contain millions of variants:

  • MarianoApologeticus

    Oops, the below was meant for Quine.

  • bobmoses

    Like most bigots, Dawkins is ignorant of which he speaks. Christian churches were among the earliest and most generous supporters of the Haitian people after this crisis.There is nothing more absurd than calling this blog “OnFaith”, as it is clearly geared towards demonizing faith and giving bigots a place to congregate and spew their ignorance. What is most laughable is that most of he bigots consider themselves to be “tolerant”. What a joke.Anyone who thinks that 60% of the American population can be described with one blanket stereotype is ignorant and Dawkins clearly fits that description.Keep up the hate, bigots. It’s so much easier than accepting spiritual views that are contrary to your own.

  • barferio

    Do you remember the Heaven’s Gate people?They committed suicide:…Heaven’s Gate members believed that the planet Earth was about to be recycled (wiped clean, renewed, refurbished and rejuvenated), and that the only chance to survive was to leave it immediately.People who believe insane things are more likely to do insane things than people who do not believe. These people did it to themselves … but who is to say what insane things they might have done if their religion told them to … as the muslim terrorists claim there’s does.It is the belief in insane things that is the start of all of this. What kind of purposeful insanity must one commit in order to believe in any of the gods people believe in … the christian gods for example?You have proven yourselves to be willing “insanes” by believing in this nonsense. What insane acts are around the corner for you?

  • aahpat

    The thing that scares me most is that people as ignorant as pat robertson and Richard Dawkins have access to the young minds of American college students.Robertson is a sociopath who preys on the suffering of others by misrepresenting his own doctrine to manipulate people into sending HIM money that otherwise would go to relieve the suffering.Dawkins waste time on theology that he obviously knows nothing about to righteously attack people for all the wrong reasons.Predators and idiots. The both of them.

  • flonzy3

    How about we talk about liberal hypocrisy while we are at it.1) They get angry at people for lumping all Muslims in with terrorists and yet lump all Christians in with Pat Robertson.2) Most Christians rich and poor will give an fortune in donations to aid groups to help the Haitians while most liberals will sit on the side lines expecting the government to send aid.Signed an Atheist tired of Christian bashing.

  • gvelasco

    Securalists (atheists) want the facts of God’s existence before they can believe in Him. Facts are finite – they are not capable at arriving at an absolute truth. This is because there is much that we don’t know. Therefore, facts as they exist are truncated, devoid of absolute truth. God bridges this “truth” gap by having the Holy Spirit instill in believers (yes – Believers in Christ!) a deep faith that gets us closer to the essence of God, revealing much more of the truth than we could ever have imagined. Whimperers like Professor Dawkins (bless his soul) are devoid of the wisdom necessary to go beyond the world of facts and are unable to discover the truths that are revealed behing the “Cloud of Unknowing”.

  • ladyliberty1

    ladyliberty1 wrote: “Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice.”Hmmm….United sheep of America….clever….but, not exactly true. Actually, far from truth. Not many true Christians in America. Far more true Christians in countries where they are being persecuted. Persecution always reveal the genuine from the counterfeits.But, about Sheep….most people know very little about sheep, but the writers of the Old and New Testament knew about sheep and shepherding. Sheep KNOW the voice of their master, and they follow. They will not follow a stranger. So, when Jesus said, “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.” He gives a parable about the one sheep that was lost, and the 99 in the fold. He goes and looks for that ONE sheep.” So that message was meaningful to hearers of that day. And, 2000 years later, that message is relevant to “His sheep who hear His voice.” Psalm 23 has been repeated as a source of comfort for thousands of years. The LORD is my shepherd,

  • spidermean2

    “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (Jn 10:26-27)The Bible is the word of God. Those who can’t understand it are not His sheep. It is that simple.Dawkins is a sheep wandering in darkness. Very lost even at the point of calling chimps as his great great grandpa.

  • cornbread_r2

    Regarding the concept of the Original Sin:While many Christians are allowed to interpret some of the elements of the story of the Fall — a talking, walking snake, the apple, a tree — as metaphor, certain other elements seem to be essential and beyond interpretation. The first is that the sin, whatever it might have been, must have been

  • Frank57

    Religions are for paranoid, self-centered, superstitious, mostly ignorant people, with Christianity leading the pack as one of the most insidiously evil of them all (think burning people alive as “witches”, the Inquisition and unspeakable acts of torture, organized pedophilia — and the list goes on.)There is no ‘enlightenment’ in religion, just as there is no innovation or critical thought by those who follow any religious dogma or doctrine — especially ones that were cooked up by Middle Eastern tribal desert peoples thousands of years ago.But humankind will always have these weak-minded and hypocritical people who will die trying to promote the fact that their particular god is better than anyone else’s, and it will always be difficult to educate such people as to just how insane that sort of thinking is until such time as the human gene pool matures somewhat further.Dr. Dawkins, I salute your bravery and your efforts in Evolutionary Biology. I only wish there were a million more true-hearted, courageous, enlightened and human-compassionate men and women like you who have chosen to stand up and try to educate these mindless stone-throwing Neanderthals — whereas many like me often just wish to ignore them and let them drown in their own putrid, selfish, arrogant goo.Cheers!

  • tlusk58

    Mr. Dawkins starts with a false premises and therefore, gets a false result, in my opinion. The Christian religion, just like the Jewish religion from which it was born, is a part of a living community. Living communities evolve with each generation. It is my belief that when they are healthy, they keep deep truths from the past while accepting the deep truths that the present time gives them.

  • drumprof

    This comment by SteveM50 deserves reposting…it says it all best.

  • spidermean2

    Frank57 wrote “Dr. Dawkins, I salute your bravery and your efforts in Evolutionary Biology.”What? Thanking Dawkins for saying that his great great grandpa was a chimp? Strange people nowadays.I wonder what kind of salute Dawkins will get if he tells them that their great great grandpa was a cockroach.

  • blasmaic

    fliprim,Christianity doesn’t divorce itself from the Old Testament, but it can’t be defined using only the Old Testament.When you think of the God of the Old Testament, remember “an eye for an eye.” When you think of the God of the New Testament, remember “turn the other cheek.” You ask, “forgiveness from what?”Your answer is — Christians believe that people require forgiveness for transgressions and offensives large and small against God and other people too. Christians are taught that forgiveness from God for their own sins and transgressions comes as they forgive others. Why is forgiveness so offensive to Dawkins?Of course, the entirety of Christianity isn’t about just forgiveness. Another major topic that Jesus is said to have spoken about frequently is love. And another charity, since Haiti is on our minds these days.Dawkins is theologically and logically in error when he defines Christianity with only Old Testament examples. But, as I said earlier, he isn’t in truth making an intellectual argument based on reason. He’s just fomenting hatred.

  • tryreason

    Thank you once again Richard for an illuminating look at the religious and the role they play in everyday life. I hope people will take the time to revisit history and explore the complicity between religion, the wealthy and corporations in bringing poverty and abject misery to the Haitian people. Although the ties are frequently indirect, they are there for all, who are interested in the truth, to see. I know because I watched some of it happen in my lifetime and read about the rest. Even sixty minutes has commented on the sweat shops that past policies have enabled.

  • mus81

    Thank you Prof. Dawkins for pointing out the failures of moderate christians to eliminate their flawed representatives and the flawed scripture that enables them.

  • spidermean2

    In North Korea, they salute their “dear reader” for locking them up. Atheists are a strange kind of people.

  • spidermean2

    In North Korea, they salute their “Dear Leader” for locking them up. Atheists are a strange kind of people

  • tacheronb

    I’ve seen this Richard Dawkins guy referred to over and over in awed reverential tones by the liberal elite cognoscenti as some sort of philosopher sage. This has been my first opportunity to actually read him.Wow, what a really angry jerk!Just about everyone realizes that natural disasters are not divine retribution. Just about everyone, with the possible exception of guys like Richard Dawkins, has a lot of sympathy for the victims.Rather than the extreme anger and attitude about whatever you appear not to appreciate about your life, Mr Dawkins, why not pack yourself off to one of these natural disasters and try to help out a bit?Mr Dawkins, your attitude makes me sick, and I’m not the least bit religious.

  • spidermean2

    cornbread_r2 ,The bible can never be understood on the presumption that it is flawed. Catholicism is a false religion because many of them see it that way.If some portions are very hard to understand, it is because that is its intention. It will be reveal at the proper time and only to the people who have great respect on it.

  • US-conscience

    proof once again that You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence, but You Cant Make Him Think.

  • spidermean2

    Quine to Gvelasco “Do you have anything to present about the points Professor Dawkins makes in the article, or is this ad hominem attack all you can do?”If Dawkins was shooting a target, the bullet is going towards the moon. It’s way off the target. The guy is a loose canon without common sense.

  • cornbread_r2

    Anyone who thinks that 60% of the American population can be described with one blanket stereotype is ignorant and Dawkins clearly fits that description. — bobmoses Do the majority of Christians in this country believe in the doctrine of Original Sin; the resulting flawed nature of humanity; and humanity’s need for forgiveness and redemption because of that sin? I haven’t surveyed every Christian in this country, but those seem to be the consistently held beliefs of the vast majority of Christians I’ve encountered. Would you disagree?

  • gvelasco

    In response to Quine: Yes I have, but in the interest of NYT’s comment space, I refer you to one of Professor Dawkin’s peers – Dr. Gerald Schroeder, and his book, “The Science of God” and “GOD According to God”. Also, for a wisdom-filled perspective on the Bible, please read Moses Maimonides’ “The Guide For The Perplexed”. Do this and circle back to Professor Dawkins’s rantings. Note: Please don’t misunderstand. As my previous post makes clear, I am not “attacking” the good professor, I’m only trying to alert others of the egregious error of his ways. Having read Professor Dawkins’s “God Delusion”, I can safely say that he is a lost, confused soul in need if Christ. May God bless you.

  • tacheronb

    TLusk:I just read your post and could not agree with you more.I too believe that what people do is many times more important than what they say. A coworker of mine just got back from working in Haiti (he’s an orthopedic surgeon) where he took care of all comers in dreadful circumstances.If I had to choose between the doer and the talker (such as this Hawkins jerk), I’ll pick the doer every time.I sure hope that Hawkins doesn’t have a publicly funded job. I’d feel quite sorry for the British taxpayer if that was the case.Maybe it’s not too late. This guy could be dumped from whatever museum or university cellar he dwells in, and someone who does something of value could be hired instead.

  • spidermean2

    Quine to cornbread_r2 “You have not shown either the existance of what you call a “soul” or “sin” “Existence of sin? How do you feel if somebody spit you on your face or steal all your belongings. Are you dreaming?

  • tjmlrc

    Richard,Your anger at anyone who believes in the one true GOD is perplexing. You don’t believe yourself and that is, as you know, your free choice. I would expect someone who doesn’t believe to be dismissive however, you are angry. One can feel your seething hatred of Christians.

  • arjay1

    “Where was God in Noah’s flood? He was systematically drowning the entire world, animal as well as human, as punishment for ‘sin’.” It might be worthwhile to consider how an event like the flood of the Black Sea, a scientifically well established event that occurred next to Mount Ararat in Turkey, took place around the beginning of 60th century before the Common Era but appeared in written records only after the 15th century BCE. This involves a temporal distance of 4500 years within physical distance of 800 kilometers from the original written records of the flood, even though the records contain an accurate description of what happened to human and animal life in the Black Sea Basin. Even if one referred to the time difference of 4500 years as a Dirichlet Brane event horizon, there would have to have been a spiritual presence that transferred the holistic images of the Flood across the local space-time. Perhaps some of the ‘ancient’ definitions of holy spirit (which always assumed time exists) need redefining in terms of the actual world that has been created.

  • spidermean2

    Dawkins helping Haiti? If he did it silently, it should be commended but it shows that he is doing it for SHOW.The Bible said that evil people do good things too. But mostly for show.

  • billaldridge

    I was struck by the explanation for her survival after days buried in the rubble from the Earthquake. “I lived because God loved me.” Of course! God hated the other 200,000 who died!

  • InYourFaceNewYorker

    tacheronb, I agree with you. Richard Dawkins is an angry jerk!How dare he state his opinion in a direct way? How dare he reach out to a total stranger 6000 miles away and mentor her during her escape from Islam (re: Lisa Bauer)? How dare he take a couple minutes to talk to a fan who is giving him a drawing and a short satire, at Barnes & Noble when a long line is forming behind her instead of just muttering “thanks” and shooing her away (re: me)? How dare he give advice to people on this forum who seek it when he probably gets thousands of emails per day?Yes, you’re right. Richard is nothing more than a spiteful person.Love and Kisses,Julie

  • barferio

    There are foolish ideas, and then there are the fools who believe them.If I decide to say unkind or unfriendly things about the foolish ideas, and the believer chooses to see that as being unkind or unfriendly to their person as opposed to their ideas, well … that’s just too bad. I am not responsible for your misinterpretations, nor am I going to try to “be nice” how about stupid your ideas are in order to prevent you from thinking I’m saying how stupid you are.If you can’t see the difference, then perhaps you are stupid.

  • saf62

    Wow, excellent, Mr. Dawkins. I’m daily amazed that people choose to worship such a hating and violent god. Yet, the very essence of Christianity is built upon the premise that an innocent (jesus christ) was born in order to die a terrible death because his angry Father needed to have a scapegoat in order to forgive his own creation that he could not control. Amazing in this day and time that people still bow to that belief and, at the same time, fail to see their own hypocrisy and the fact that, really, they don’t truly believe it at all. If they did, they’d live it (sell everything they have, give it to the poor, etc. etc. etc. Instead they’ve found a way to stay spiritual and yet have their material comforts, as well. People believe something out of ignorance, fear, and guilt–as has always been the case as long as humans have walked the earth.

  • pvilso24

    I just re-read Dawkins article. He comes across as a angry fellow. I think he subscribes to a “Never miss a natural disaster opportunity to bash Christianity”.Just a few days back.. on CNN they pulled an 80-year old woman from the rubble… she survived a week under the rubble with a badly broken leg.. no food or water.. sustained only by her faith. She was singing as the pulled her out according to Anderson Cooper.I wonder if she was a Dawkins follower.. would she have survived ?

  • paul441391

    The Washington Post lets you report “offensive comments”. But it was the Post itself that chose to print an article that was calculated to insult and offend Christians. The Post wouldn’t print a piece that denigrated African-Americans, Jews, Asians, Muslims, or Jews. Why are Christians the fair butt of someone’s gratuitous insults? Washington Post: this Christian would appreciate an answer.

  • dangeroustalk

    Admittedly, the philosophical problem of evil was the catalyst for my break from religion. However, as I learned more about the Abrahamic religions, I started to dismiss the problem of evil in favor of more compelling arguments.However, after listening to Christians attempt to respond to the problem of evil, their responses seem incomplete at best and quite possibly just plain silly. As such, I have gained a new found respect for the problem of evil.You can read the rest of my response to this topic: I will be responding to every issue posted in the ‘On Faith’ section. If you would like to be notified when my new response is up, please subscribe.

  • ladyliberty1

    Rationalista wrote: “Woe be to this country if Christians ever gain enough political power to put their true beliefs into action.”The above poster must have been educated with revisionist text on the history by our Founding Fathers, many of whom were devout Christians. George Washington delivered a message to the nation called “The Duty of a Nation is to Obey God.” Wow, I wonder what the poster would think of that message?Then, John Adams, our country’s second President delivered a message entitled “A Call to Prayer and Repentance.” Imagine that…prayer? and repentance? Why that would mean that they believed there is a God to pray to, and that people are sinful and need to repent(turn from)of their sins. Unthinkable for the above poster. And, the above poster fears what would happen if Christians ever gained enough political power to put their true beliefs into action….WHY, a nation was born through just such beliefs…the United States of America. Imagine that! And, there is evidence carved in stone all over our nation’s capital. Hmmmm.

  • slamming

    I have a cousin who has led a pretty wild life…drinking problem…drugs,etc. He was so sick he couldn’t get out of bed one day and said “Jesus Christ, make it stop.” He didn’t say it in a respectful, reverent way, but in a way of someone using God’s name in vain. My cousin DOES NOT LIE, and he has confided in his mother, his girlfriend and myself that on that day after he said what he did Jesus appeared at the foot of his bed, said “Peace Be With You’, waved His arms outward, and my cousin was able to get out of bed, go to the bathroom, and felt well again. (Meaning in the physical sense.) Now, whenever the subject comes up in conversation, my cousin always says “I don’t BELIEVE there’s a God; I KNOW there is! Laugh if you like…this REALLY HAPPENED!

  • ladyliberty1

    Rationalista wrote: “Woe be to this country if Christians ever gain enough political power to put their true beliefs into action.”The above poster must have been educated with revisionist text on the history by our Founding Fathers, many of whom were devout Christians. George Washington delivered a message to the nation called “The Duty of a Nation is to Obey God.” Wow, I wonder what the poster would think of that message?Then, John Adams, our country’s second President delivered a message entitled “A Call to Prayer and Repentance.” Imagine that…prayer? and repentance? Why that would mean that they believed there is a God to pray to, and that people are sinful and need to repent(turn from)of their sins. Unthinkable for the above poster. And, the above poster fears what would happen if Christians ever gained enough political power to put their true beliefs into action….WHY, a nation was born through just such beliefs…the United States of America. Imagine that! And, there is evidence carved in stone all over our nation’s capital. Hmmmm.

  • jewishmother

    This is very easily the smartest article I’ve ever read in the Washington Post.Wow!

  • spidermean2

    Julie,I agree with you. Richard Dawkins is an angry jerk!If you’re a fan of him, bear in mind that hitler, mao, chavez has lots of fans also. Just be careful who you idolize. Im very sure you’ll feel sorry for it in the near future.

  • fliprim

    bobmosesDawkins of all people is the first to admit to the innate kindness of all people to strangers. He will give you good evolutionary reasons for it, too.He outlines nothing more than the common roots of the hateful rants of Robertson and the (intended kindly) warm words of the moderate Christian.Most modern, moderate Christians run a mile from Robertson, (though sadly condemn him all too infrequently in public.) Is it perhaps that the language and imagery of their religion hampers the clarity of distinction?This is a smack in the chops for moderate Christians simply for their unthinking adherence to immoderate language and symbolism, whose true expression is found in Robertson, not in their natural inclinations to humanity and kindness.

  • moxford0

    Give me God,Allah,The Great Spirit and the other names which he is called. Give me JESUS the CHRIST. Give me Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. Just don’t give me the kind of garbage Pat Robertson spewed forth. What a joke and a poor joke at best. Sign me off as a new ager and proud of it.

  • Carstonio

    Pvilso24, different people can find emotional support in different ways. Another person may have found the strength to endure without believing in the existence of any gods, and a third person may have found that his belief in the existence of gods may not have sustained him. That support or the lack of it has nothing to do with whether gods actually exist, or which claims of fact by different religions are accurate or inaccurate. The goal here is to determine which fact claims are accurate, not necessarily to develop a belief system to sustain people emotionally. According to that goal, there is no practical difference between believing in unprovable assertions and believing in false assertions. The risk of believing in the former is that one could be wrong and not know it, and this applies just as much to atheism as it does to any religious claim. It should be possible for people to find emotional support while taking positions on questions only when the answers can be proven or disproven, taking no position when the questions are unprovable. While being happy is important, it’s also important to be accurate.

  • tacheronb

    Quine and Julie:I stand by my remarks. I’d like to add that those of us who go on relief missions around the world have a variety of motives for doing so. i’ve helped care for kids who need medical care in third world countries and have worked alongside Quakers, evangelical Christians, Rotarians, agnostics, Mormons, Buddhists, and a variety of others.The amount of diversity of language, belief, and circumstance in the world is simply astounding. There’s nothing better than getting to understand someone else’s belief system. But it doesn’t hapen if one lacks empathy.Better face it. The vast majority of inhabitants of this planet have a belief in a deity. Those who ridicule anyone who believes in a deity, especially “activist” atheists like Mr Dawkins who show such disdain for the beliefs of others that they advertise their obvious feelings of superiority to anyone who believes in religion, simply lose out on the opportunity to understand humanity.

  • tjmlrc

    “it should be about the ideas and not the people who believe in them.”

  • cchipikiri

    The writer misses the point on why Christians disagree with Pat Robertson. Haiti need not have sinned for them to be hit by this earthquake. Earthquakes are natural, and nature is under the control of God. Christians know very well that Jesus did say these things will happen and will be a sign of the times. This quake could have hit any part of the world. Pat Robertson’s error is to attribute the quake to the Haitians past sin. That is what Christians are objecting to. All the earthquakes and natural disasters of the recent past are a sign of the times and Christians who await the return of Christ Jesus need to understand that these are the times Jesus spoke about in Matthew 24.

  • InYourFaceNewYorker

    Spidermean2, I commend you for your brilliant strawman arguments.

  • therev1

    “Loathsome as Robertson’s views undoubtedly are, he is the Christian who stands squarely in the Christian tradition.” This boy Dawkins is not a social scientist nor an intelligent person. He is to science what Pat Robertson is to Christianity. Dawkins too hates anyone who doesn’t believe as he does. His scree is typical of those with no intelligence to back them up thus they rely on noise rather than knowledge.

  • fishcrow

    Poor Dawkins. Atheism just never catches on.

  • 0penM1nded

    Will the religious types please stop the bleating! You are missing the point….Your theology / world is seriously flawed and does not stand the test of reality!Your hearts and good intentions are not being questioned – theists, deists, and non theists alike all feel the same empathy and give what they can!Your religious philosophies are being challenged and you have no reasonable response but an appeal to gods mysterious ways! It isn’t like you have no choices, sacrifice your gods at the alter of reason – yes you can still keep your loving, kind, generous and thoughtful attitudes!

  • jmartinc

    Prof. Dawkins is probably subconsciously angry that he has to wear glasses and is getting old with nothing to believe in, and subconsciously jealous of those who believe in God and Christ and Allah and whatever without subscribing to Robertson-style nonsense. Angry Dawkins got caught gawkin’ at powerful remnants of the mideaval mind. He likes science, but then, sigh, hence, replaces lovegod with nihilism. He can’t see straight.

  • tacheronb

    Just now, I got to thinking that Dawkins’ ugly screed against religion reminded me of another scientist: Michael Mann and all the global warming stuff. I thought: “I bet this guy has a big self-promoting web site just like Mann does!” Googled it. Yep. There it is, the shrine to the brilliance of Hawkins. Don’t believe me? Look it up for yourself!I’ll say it again. Why should anyone pay attention to self promoters who try to look better by insulting every one else?Once Dawkins gets back from his relief trip to Haiti, I will be happy to listen to his views…. about his trip to Haiti.His views on religion are that of a total blowhard, and I will support his right to practice any religion (or, obviously, lack thereof) as he sees fit.

  • spidermean2

    “Spidermean2, I commend you for your brilliant strawman arguments.”A straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position. What better term to describe atheists. It sure fit the bill.These people argue as if they are dreaming. Waht they say are all fantasy.When would they come to realize that soil + time cannot produce brain. They are SOOOOOOOOO SOOOOOOOO DUMB.

  • mirandaceleste

    No matter how progressive, enlightened, or sophisticated a Christian may think they are, they cannot, in the end, distance themselves from the vile and vicious God of their “Good Book” without practicing a galling level of intellectual dishonesty. In that sense, Robertson certainly is the honest one here. He’s an utterly contemptible and awful person to be sure, but it cannot be said that he does not practice exactly what he preaches.

  • buckminsterj

    Spidermean2: “In North Korea, they salute their “Dear Leader” for locking them up. Atheists are a strange kind of people.”and christians praise their “dear leader” for sending earthquakes and hurricanes. all praise the celestial kim jong il!

  • 0penM1nded

    Tacheronb…Aren’t you close to making the same mistake by dismissing Dawkins?I have never met the guy, and have never been in the same room (or even building) as him. Over the years, I have seen many of his interviews, read several of his books, and watched a lot of religious venom directed towards him.Unless you have first hand experience to the contrary, he seems like a reasonable, mild mannered and polite sort!As long as Xians have the right to spout their unfounded fairytales (moderates) or their damnation hypocracy (Robertson and the like), then why shouldn’t people of other persuasions also get their say?The only bad time to express reasoned opinions such as what I read (mixed with some anger), are insenistive times. After 2 weeks, and after the majority of aid efforts / money are now flowing I think the ‘sensitivity window’ is closing (I hope that doesn’t sound too insensitive?).Anyway, I am more interested in factual, reasoned arguments rather than ad hominem attacks. Putting Pat Robertson aside (who I think is fair game for ad hominem attacks from religious and non religious) I think the article was direct, raised some very good questions, and yes express some of Richard’s frustration – which I think a lot non theists also feel!

  • tjmlrc

    “Just one of the how many different christians who saw the end of the world, the “end times” during his life. This is a truly fascinating story of how these people fooled themselves into believing this nonsense.”

  • blasmaic

    barferio wrote:”How many end times have we experienced in the past, say, thousand years?”Missed it by 10. There was a widespread belief that the end of world would occur at the first millennium — the year 1000 and exactly 10 years beyond your 1000 year timeframe.

  • SavingGrace

    Just goes to prove that there’s a place in the Post for the most extreme views on nearly any subject. Randolph Hearst would be proud.

  • tacheronb

    quine:I have.The vast majority of the people on this planet believe in a deity.Belief in a deity (unlike progressive liberalism) does not require the existence of boogeymen, objects of hatred or disdain.Many ethical systems are grounded in religious belief.When one insists, as Dawkins does, that all must adhere to his personal belief in a lack of a deity, one loses the ability to connect with the ethical system of the vast majority of humans, or at least to understand their systems of ethical belief.I have shown you that Dawkins has a selfpromoting website. Once again, is that a commendable thing for a “scientist” to do? Or is he something else, ESPECIALLY when he advocates for a specific political party?

  • MILLER123

    The Atheist who wrote this article is trying to justify his belief by using the Pat Robertson situation. He can’t stand on his own. However, he and Pat do have something in common. They lack wisdom and compassion in their thought processes. Their tongues in their mouths are like ships without sails. If I were an Atheist, I wouldn’t waste my “religion of non belief” on crusifying Christians.

  • tjmlrc

    “Your theology / world is seriously flawed and does not stand the test of reality!”

  • dcsuburb

    Richard Dawkins, premier front man for Darwinian Evolution, has revealed the truth. While he and those of his stripe would like for us to see them as rational scientists, examining the evidence with no agenda, Dawkins herein reveals himself to be otherwise. Herein, we see his underlying hatred of the God of the Bible, and of the whole notion of sin, accountability, and forgiveness in Christ. Agree with him or not, see him for what he is. He is not a cool, rationally motivated man. He is driven by hatred of a philosophy.

  • tacheronb

    Dear openminded:Of course Dawkins has a right to his opnion and to express it.He should also expect pushback from those who are religious, and from those who feel that one’s religious belief are no one else’s darn business.Over the years, the most fascinating people I have ever met were those who believed strongly in something AND DID IT.Those who SAY they believe in something, and set up a website to shout from the rooftops that everyone needs to feel the same don’t hold much sway with me.

  • spidermean2

    The ministry of Pat Robertson is global. The guy has helped fixed many lives.On the other hand, Dawkins and his ilk have produced “animals” who truly believe they are an offspring of a wild beast.”Does sin exist?” said atheist Quine.Slowly he’s acting like an animal coz animals has no clue what is sin. These people would soon realize the rot they have contributed to mankind.

  • BlaiseP

    A Fable: The Return of Deaf Robinson After being shipwrecked deaf Ma & Pa Robinson staggered to their island with their oldest kiddy (Ma about to have another), she gave birth to the second. They taught their (deaf from birth) youngsters to sign and all was well. Fast forward 30 years or so, Ma & Pa have gone to that big orchestra in the sky and the first Robinson child has also died, when #2 is rescued! Same as Dicky Dawkins et al can’t hear the music of the heavenly spheres. Poor them. They are deaf and dumb. They speak no sense. Because the folk who love music will never stop listening. And similarly, God’s children will never turn away from Him.

  • akula

    Dear ProfessorIts pointless to write such comments because you are arguing with ppl who do not believe in truth or logic. That is they will bend the definition of truth to fit their purpose. In fact I believe that youre doing a disservice to truth and logic by engaging them, because you publicly legitimize their argument. Let us keep science (logic and truth) and religion separate. This my comment pertains not only to this blog entry.

  • cornbread_r2

    Quine:BTW, I do believe in sin, but not in a theological sense. For me “sin” is shorthand for “violating the golden rule in some way”. These days that would include other animals as well.

  • acebojangles

    I couldn’t agree with Mr. Dawkins more. After reading some of the responses, it seems that many people either have not read the bible (even thought they base their faith on it) or are so blinded by Mr. Dawkins’ reputation that they can’t read anything he writes objectively.The god of the bible either directly killed large numbers of people or commanded the Isrealites to do so repeatedly. You can ignore that fact and only ascribe the positive events of the world to god if you want, but you’re not being honest with yourself.

  • ladyliberty1

    Mr. Dawkins says Mr. Robertson is the true Christian. Who’d ever thought that he would say that? But, he is right.Too many professing Christians do not know the God of the Bible, but have created a god in their own image. The Joel Osteen version. All smiles, compassionate, non-judgmental. That is not the God of the Bible.The God of the Bible requires payment for sin, like a criminal deserves to be punished. Would we let a murderer go free? A pedophile? Is that just? God is Just.The God of the Bible is Holy. He demands that we be holy. But we are not.So, we are not holy, and we are condemned because of our sins. What are we to do?From the beginning of time, God promises a Redeemer, one who would atone for our sins. In the OT a lamb was sacrificed and the blood shed provided for temporary atonement.Thousands of years later, the Redeemer came, as recorded in the Gospels. His blood was the perfect/permanent sacrifice needed to satisfy God’s demand for justice.So, God was satisfied. The blood of Jesus, God incarnate was the atoning sacrifice. Jesus said, “I and the Father are One.” In other words, Jesus said that He was God, and it was for THAT reason that the Jewish clergy had the Romans crucify Him. So, God who is Spirit, took on flesh and died for the sins of the world. That is a picture of sacrifical love. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world,” and those who are born of the Spirit of God walk in that light. They know right from wrong. Those who walk in darkness do not have the Spirit of God, they cannot discern right from wrong. Their consciences have been seared as with an iron.It is always those who walk in darkness who persecute those who walk in the light. Darkness hates light. And, they hate the messengers of light. In our society, every message, from homosexuality to abortion is to be tolerated according to those who walk in darkness, but they cannot tolerate the message that “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.” They hate the message because they love their sin, and they do not want to be called sinners. As Jesus said to the Pharisees, “If God were your Father, you would love me. You are of your father, the devil.” Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice.” Those who do not hear His voice are not His sheep. The message of the Gospel is calling those who are the sheep into the fold. All others will not hear. Mr. Dawkins shows no evidence of being one of the sheep of the Great Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ. He doesn’t have ears to hear or eyes to see. His inheritance is in this world. Our inheritance is in the Kingdom of God when He comes to establish a Kingdom of Righteousness.

  • em71

    If you are a true scientist, you must be willing to draw conclusions from facts, not emotions and opinions. The facts are that atrocities are committed by the believers and the non believers alike, and that the concept of God cannot be proven or disproven by additional academic rigor to the subject. If you had been a liberal arts major instead of a hard scientist, you might have learned the skills to identify and embrace the nuances in philosophical thought that distinguish between Pat Robertson and the nun who has been in Haiti for decades caring for orphans. As Dr. Oliver, my neurobiology and religion professor at Emory, once told an evangelical foaming at the mouth over a lesson plan, “You are evidently angry that not everyone agrees in your interpretation of Christianity. You may think it is because you have greater faith, or that you have studied it at a higher level and wish to teach those of lesser education. As I have a PhD in this and you do not, I can assure you this is not a result of a lack of academic rigor on my part. Rather, your anger is a manifestation of the lack of faith you have in your own ideas, and the misguided hope that if others join your in your conclusions that you may feel some comfort in numbers. Good luck with that.” I think that advice might apply to you as well, sir. Not everyone comes to identical conclusions after viewing the same set of data, and that is something to be celebrated rather than ridiculed.

  • veganatheistman

    This is great to see, and I hope all media in the US begins featuring more of this kind of rational commentary. It’s the 21st century, and it’s time all adults started facing their lives, the world and its problems without clinging to childish fairy tales. The sway of religion in human affairs even in this age is just so embarrassing. It’s hard to be patient with the small-minded sheeple that follow it. So, Dawkins shows remarkable restraint yet still delivers in a tone that is entirely appropriate. Well done!

  • detroitblkmale30

    Ah yes, the god of the new testament, the one who introduced the concept of hell and eternal punishment. Yep, real loving that, love me, as I want you to love me, or I’ll torture you for ever and ever and ever and ever and ever…..(you get the picture). That’s a rather strange concept of love to me. It sounds much more like an illness. If that’s love, I’ll go without, thanks all the same.GMartin-Royleif you look around, you’ll notice that thats the way the world is already lol.. you make a bad choice often times there are bad consequences..rob a bank go to jail etc..sorry but there is no such thing as life without choices and consequences..you have the free will to go with out.perhaps you should re read the Bible..thats not what God says..he said I love you enough to save you from all of that torture, come live an abundant life with me on earth, and enjoy a wonderful eternal life in heaven..sounds good to me..where do i sign..now you can take the cynical negative view of it, thats your free will.. a gift from God as well..the real illness is the sin.Yep, sounds like a loving God to me..but you’re free to do without no one is forcing you

  • devin3

    Poor miserable Prof. D… I’ll pray for you, hehehe…

  • BlaiseP

    Well, Akula, science and religion Truth, and logic and their relation with religion. Well, Jesus did say “I am the way, the truth and the light” John 8:12.

  • Kas300

    I’m not even going to go back and read any comments until I shout out, “This is why I adore Richard Dawkins!” And thank him profusely. I only wish others had the courage to speak out and point to that Emperor over there who hasn’t a stitch on.

  • mmurray1957

    Spidermean2: “On the other hand, Dawkins and his ilk have produced “animals” who truly believe they are an offspring of a wild beast.”Look in the mirror. Humans are animals. “Guess what? The world will experience worse than what Haiti got.”Oh dear how you can believe these things ? It’s just sad. Tell me you are just pretending to be a religious nutter please.Michael

  • cornbread_r2

    When one insists, as Dawkins does, that all must adhere to his personal belief in a lack of a deity…Lie. Or is he something else, ESPECIALLY when he advocates for a specific political party?Evidence please.

  • spidermean2

    Original sin or not, for as long as man has the capacity to THINK, he also has the ability to sin.Don’t blame anybody else (ADAM) for your sins coz we alone is responsible for our act.With regards to the existence of soul, try reading about “near death experiences”. There’s a blind woman who said that the only time she saw herself was when she had a near death experience after an accident.Did she lie? They are thousands of the same experience and most importantly, the Bible which is the word of God said that it does exist.If you want to bet on the contrary, it’s up to you. I can only say that you’re either not a thinking man or simply just crazy. Probably a result of Dawkins’ “animal” argument – that men were beast. And should I add, with animal brains incapable of THINKING but with a soul. Unlike real animals, you won’t escape the wrath of God. It would have been better if atheists were true animals for they won’t pay for their stupidity.

  • BlaiseP

    Not everyone comes to identical conclusions after viewing the same set of data, and that is something to be celebrated rather than ridiculed.
    Posted by: em71 | January 26, 2010 11:08 AM Indeed, I would say that it is the only way progress in the social sciences (at least) can take place. What was that about the method? Thesis/anti-thesis/ synthesis? Although you might not agree.

  • detroitblkmale30

    Convenient how some Christians try to pretend that Jesus is not the same god as the one in the Old Testament. When the God of the OT was commanding his followers to kill every last man, woman, child, goat and ox of their Canaanite neighbors Jesus was there too — because it’s the same God! The Bible says God is the same yesterday, today and ever more..is mankind that changes..no one is saying God is different, yep was the same God in both testaments.but if you want to get technical, Jesus, is not introduced by name until the NEW Testament..you miss the point of course, the point being that God is not just a stern God he is also a loving one..something Dawkins conveniently excludes

  • 0penM1nded

    TacheronbAre we supposed to use comment sections for dialog? Assuming it is acceptible…I really don’t think many would (publicly) jump to Robertson’s defence, and I don’t want to seem to be needlessly jumping to Dawkins defence!I would agrre that someone else’s private religious beliefs are none of my business, but folk just won’t keep them private!My individual religious persuasion is of no interest to anyone but myself, UNTIL I go making public statements or finding soap boxes.Reading between the lines (please correct me) you seem to be suggesting that Dawkins is himself being hypocritical, in that he talks the talk, but doesn’t walk it! It would definitely be a good line of inquiry to point out such hypocracies / inconsistencies.Of course, it is probably harder to identify hypocracy in an atheist as they are free to mould and reinvent their philosophy based on their world experience rather than religious dogma.From what I can see and read, religion took the first volley over Haiti!Personally speaking, having been brought up as a Xian (which qualifies me for some semblance of knowledge about the religion), I can definitely see the problems with the big holes that Richard identifies, and it should at least make most thinking Xians stop and consider the problems!

  • fast2write

    Dawkins is right, of course. See my column on

  • tacheronb

    to veganatheist:Einstein was religious. He also did something.So, do you like to eat your carrots with hummus? Gee, that’s nice.Thanks for being so generous with the small minded sheepie.

  • tjmlrc

    Can I be disrespectful of fools now? Your concrete is regarding millerites or something.: – )

  • spidermean2

    Quine wrote “he (Dawkins) lacks a belief in a deity because there is no evidence for one.”Soil + time can never produce a brain (insects or human) without the existence of a “higher brain”.This is common sense. Why are atheists SOOOOOOOOO SOOOOOOOO DUMB as if we’re talking to monkeys who can’t digest information.Are you guys true monkeys in the form of human?

  • starling53

    To any sane person, the big miracle would have been to not produce an earthquake in the first place, or maybe move the epicentre away by a mere 100 miles or so. Instead, it seems god preferred to deliberately kill 150,000 people in order to subsequently conjure up a few dozen miracle rescues for the U.S. 24 hour infotainment channels.

  • tacheronb

    Quine:You need to re-read Dawkin’s article. He is most certainly making political comments against Republicans. openminded:Atheists are as prone to hypocrisy as anyone else. In particular, the belief that no god exists is a belief about religion, and therefore a “religious belief,” regardless of what some of you guys said on NPR a few months ago. Dawkins is to be commended if he simply states that there is no proof of a god, and this not the same as what Hitchens says, for instance. I don’t know what Dawkins’ stance is, so I have no comment.My reaction to the article is to the narrow-mindedness of it, which in essence is no different than Robertson’s brand of religion.I’m all for all religious belief (or lack thereof) that believes in live and let live, trying to understand other peoples’ points of view rather than disparaging them, helping people when you can, and realizing that there are a lot of paths to the same goal.And the path matters, not the talk.

  • spidermean2

    1 billion years ago or less, there was only soil. With time, it cannot produce any insect with brains, let alone a human with brain.For it to happen, there must be some sort of a “higher brain” or mind to make it happen.soil + time cannot produce a brain. That is common sense.

  • Matthew_DC

    Dawkins always reminds me of reading some orthodox Soviet writers from the 20s and 30s, outraged at the sins of capitalism and vastly oversimplifying the complexities of the human experience so they can be shoved into a neat and tidy Marxist schema and cured with a simplistic Marxist solution. This is not unlike the fundamentalist Christian preachers Dawkins so despises. It’s a shame that what good he has to say is overshadowed by this glaring fault. Living proof that amassing vast amounts of information does not protect a person from becoming an outraged fanatic of one creed or another. He comes across as a more polished version of Pat Robertson.

  • akula

    Dear ProfessorIts pointless to write such comments because you are arguing with ppl who do not believe in truth or logic. That is they will bend the definition of truth to fit their purpose. In fact I believe that youre doing a disservice by engaging them, because you publicly legitimize their argument. Let us keep science (logic and truth) and religion separate. This my comment pertains not only to this blog entry.

  • 0penM1nded

    spidermean2…One mans sin is another’s pleasure, and you are going to have to better define sin! I would not disagree that certain actions cause hurt to others and these actions should be severely restricted. However why should homosexuality, divorce, abortion (before a certan time), contraception (for some religious sects), etc be considered sin – they hurt no-one!As for Near Death Experiences, you should probably research the skepticism that is out there. Eye witness testimony (no pun intended) is the absolute worst. How can a blind person know what they look like?Dawkins didn’t invent evolution, niether did Darwin! The latter had the courage to publish his discoveries which flew in the face of most thinking at the time, while the latter is a foremost expert in the field. I don’t think any evolutionist would disagree that evolution is a bad model for human society, but is nevertheless a proven fact! At least we are the first animals that get to choose which model to use for our society!Where is this soul and do you think any evidence is required?As soon as leave the world of evidential science you are free to invent any god, or fairy, or flying spaghetti monster you like! I can never disprove them, but others can point out the inconsistencies and give you a chance to refine you theology – these days it is a little harder to rewrite the ‘holy texts’ to represent the new ideas!BTW: What if you have picked the wrong god? There are so many to choose from, and even within one religion there is so much disagreement!

  • spidermean2

    If you guys continue with your idiotic kind of science that there is no evidence of a God, you are simply proclaiming that you are as intelligent as a REAL MONKEY.You guys are true monkeys in human form. Maybe it’s called “devolution ” in which the human brain begins to evolve and think like a monkey- devoid of logic.

  • sux123

    You don’t think Pat Robertson really believes what he says do you. He only says what he does to instill enough fear and guilt in people for them to send him money. His “faith” is just his shtick – every con man needs one – to part the rubes from their money.

  • spidermean2

    “How can a blind person know what they look like?”She said thru the length of her hair and the 3 rings she wore. She recognized the forms of her 3 rings.

  • 0penM1nded

    I think it is time to take some of these topics to their own unique thread where they can be discussed with a less ambiguous subject title…Any suggestions?

  • joelpalmer

    Dr Dawkins is dead on in his indictment of the total falsity of religion; it is stew of superstition, mysticism, cant and outright lies that even a child can see through, if given an opportunity. If we forbade religious education, let’s say,up to the age of even seventeen, how many followers do you think there would be? The only reason that there are any religious people in the world at all is because we have brainwashed them as children

  • spidermean2

    “However why should homosexuality, divorce, abortion (before a certan time), contraception (for some religious sects), etc be considered sin – they hurt no-one!”—-I don’t consider contraception as sin. It’s only a catholic idea. They should speak more loudly about fornication and adultery.About homoxexuality, divorce and abortion, how do you know taht it won’t hurt other people? God know better than men.

  • SimonBarsinister

    So if the Judeo-Christians are correct and all this death, destruction and suffering is the will of God and is punishment for sin, then why is everyone trying to circumvent God’s perfect will by offering the punished sinners relief from God’s wrath? Taking up donations for Haiti, must really piss off God, since you are telling HIM that you do not agree with HIS will and punishment.

  • pierrejc2

    “Dawkins always reminds me of reading some orthodox Soviet writers from the 20s and 30s…”

  • bruce19

    Ladyliberty write: In our society, every message, from homosexuality to abortion is to be tolerated according to those who walk in darkness, but they cannot tolerate the message that “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.” They hate the message because they love their sin, and they do not want to be called sinners. As Jesus said to the Pharisees, “If God were your Father, you would love me. You are of your father, the devil.” Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice.”Infantilized thought. Time to put the toys away and grow up. But, I forget. We live in the United Sheep of America.

  • sux123

    I have a cousin who has led a pretty wild life…drinking problem…drugs,etc. He was so sick he couldn’t get out of bed one day and said “Jesus Christ, make it stop.” He didn’t say it in a respectful, reverent way, but in a way of someone using God’s name in vain. My cousin DOES NOT LIE, and he has confided in his mother, his girlfriend and myself that on that day after he said what he did Jesus appeared at the foot of his bed, said “Peace Be With You’, waved His arms outward, and my cousin was able to get out of bed, go to the bathroom, and felt well again. (Meaning in the physical sense.) Now, whenever the subject comes up in conversation, my cousin always says “I don’t BELIEVE there’s a God; I KNOW there is! Laugh if you like…this REALLY HAPPENED!—————

  • fliprim

    FarnazMany thanks for the additional info. It is helpful, though I would have wished for a little more on your issue with Hecht.I entirely agree with you on the Judaic interpretation of (their!) religious texts. The issue here is entirely the uses to which it is put by Christians in the furtherance of their faith.I thank you for your interesting points here which I believe contribute to the view of an integrated reading given by Christians to the OT and NT, which is the nub of the complaint.If the thread is still alive after reading Adorno I will respond here.

  • sux123

    Hey, it’s spidermean, he’s back. And with his favorite diatribe against evolutionI still have to beleive that Spidermean is really just a bunch of high-school kids playing a joke on all of us. Nobody could be THAT delusional and still manage to type on a computer.

  • gimpi

    I must admit to being a bit disappointed in Professor Dawkins’s comments. While his facts are, as usual, spot on, his tone is brutal. He may see that brutality as a sort of “cruel to be kind” expression of something people need to hear, but he, instead, will just drive people away. For me, discarding the Christian gospels was more straightforward than re-interpreting them to explain away the tribalism, injustice, superstition and savagery in them. For others, however, re-interpretation works just fine. They CAN and DO find kindness, beauty and reason there. I have no desire to tell them they must change to be more like me.In the end, does it really matter? I, personally would prefer people take a rational, reality based worldview, but I have known many who are fine people, generous, caring and compassionate, while believing things that strike me as frankly goofy. To quote scripture, “By their works shall ye know them.”If atheists insult believers aren’t they as annoying as persistent missionaries? If atheists insist that all Christians be regarded with the same contempt as Pat Roberson courts for himself, aren’t they just a guilty of generalization as Christians who insist that all atheists are guilty of Stalin’s crimes?In the devastation of Haiti, what matters most is getting help to suffering people. Let’s focus on that. We can always snipe at each other later.

  • Rationalista

    Matthew_DC:You’ve got to be kidding. You say Dawkins is “outraged,” and is oversimplifying life’s complexities. You say “This is not unlike the fundamentalist Christian preachers Dawkins so despises. It’s a shame that what good he has to say is overshadowed by this glaring fault. Living proof that amassing vast amounts of information does not protect a person from becoming an outraged fanatic of one creed or another. He comes across as a more polished version of Pat Robertson.” You’re making that move that the media is so often guilty of making; there always have to be “two equal sides” in any controversy. So they’ll put a holocaust denier up against an historian of the holocaust as if the denier has any legitimacy at all. What is Dawkins’ “creed”? Logic? Reason? People who are logical and reasonable are not the same as those who believe in imaginary sky daddies. The reasonable are operating from the quite correct belief that extraordinary claims require evidence. You just can’t equate Dawkins and Roberson on this basis. Maybe it’s Dawkins’ passion that makes you think he’s the same as Robertson. I’ll grant that Dawkins has been getting more and more passionate about his subject, but why does this fact “equate” him with Pat Robertson? Reasonable people can be passionate about reason without being compared to religious fanatics, surely.

  • em71

    “But to respect all conclusions as being worthy of equal celebration assumes all conclusions are equal. And clearly they are not. So your statement may sound nice, and make you feel good for having said it, but essentially it is worthless.”Oh, it’s not worthless at all. Accepting that others believe differently than you is called tolerance. You want a world without tolerance? Move to Saudi Arabia.Do I believe all beliefs are equal in validity? No, of course not. I’m not talking about questions of morality, I’m talking about questions of academia. Many questions can only be answered with a yes, a no or a maybe. Is there a God? Do Monkeys pray? Can time machines be created? We can all make guesses based on the evidence, but to act like a jerk because I don’t agree with you on a hypothetical question is absurd.

  • garoth

    I get so tired or reading the same nonsense, by people who, if they actually bothered to look into the truth of the matter, should know better. Dawkins, when it comes to Christianity (not unlike some of the bloggers here), has a fixation, insisting on coloring all Christianity with the same brush (of couse, his fixation extends to all things religious).For one thing, Christianity, as well as all major faiths, is multifaceted. For instance, the current eangelical fascination with “substitutionary death” was only one explanation offered by the writers of the New Testament – an idea picked up later and expanded by Anselm. The idea of a substitutionary death is not found in the synoptic Gospels – only in John and some of the later Epistles (like Hebrews, although even in Hebrews it is not the same as John’s.) Religion tries to aaddress the “whys” of life. For those who find religion important Dawkin’s answer of “s*** happens,” will not suffice. While some rush to judgment (literally), others see connections and meaning in such events. The symbols of religion help them to deal with suffering, giving it meaning and them a sense of hope. As one blogger said, one of Dawkin’s ilk, not finding any meaning or purpose in their suffering, would see their suffering – and perhaps their life as well – as without purpose, and simply give up.There is no doubt that religion can be harmful. but it is no less harmful than to live without a sense that life has some meaning and purpose, or to live without a sense of hope. Religion gives voice to these things.

  • kenc1

    Mr. Dawkins, you would not do your scientific work in conversation with its worst examplars, so why do you engage with the worst examplars of religion as expressing THE religious mind. In the index of one of your books, I found not one reference to theologians I assigned to my classes. Why not engage the best theological minds? Have you ever read Paul Tillich, Reinhold Niebuhr, or David Tracy — all of whom gave the Gifford Lectures? You will not find in them what you take to be THE religious mind, but were/are Christians who are your intellectual equals. Until then you only irritate me with your theological kindergarten. I hate bad religion as much as you do. But you equate the worst with its normative substance. Bad thinking!

  • patmatthews

    People die and others blame their faith on how other people die. The evangelic has lost a few lately whom died terrible deaths. Can the evangelics deaths be construed that their theology is BAD too just like Katrina, the Tsunami, and earthquakes. California has eqrthquakes, is California to be left to the the fatihless or is this just nature at work?

  • curtb

    Religion poisons everything, take your pick. Relgion is the greatest reason for prejudice that humanity has yet to come up with. Here in America, a large sector of Christianity has been sold to politicians, at least the party that alway courts Chrisitanity when it needs votes, and wants to recruit the Robertsonians to verify that the GOP is the most godly of the two. Then you’ll hear things in church like “We know the name of evil – Democrat!” I actually heard this uttered in an elderly aunt’s church by an Air Force officer who was a “guest speaker”. And let’s not forget all of those fine child molester priests who were aided and abetted by the Catholic church when they weren’t threatening excommunicating someone over abortion. Christianity is a tool for politicians an bigots.

  • gimpi

    One more comment, to all the folks who see Professor Dawkins’s commentary as “hate,” please reconsider. He is testy, but he doesn’t call for believers to be denied any rights, doesn’t call for attacks on believers, doesn’t demand superior status for himself those like him. (Unlike, for example, Fred Phelps.)There is a difference between being disliked and being attacked. It may be rude to call someone’s deeply-held beliefs stupid, but it’s not hate. Hate comes into play when you call for legal sanctions against those holding those beliefs.Everyone has a right to their opinion, and the web has become the venue of choice to express those opinions, often in very nasty ways. I, personally, would wish for a more civil web, but we must understand the difference between true hate-speech and firmly-held (and loudly-shouted) beliefs. For me, the bright-line division is a call for action. When someone says group A is wrong, foolish, immoral, whatever, they are expressing an opinion. It may be in error, but it’s still just an opinion. When they call for group A to be denied rights granted to the general population, to be investigated, to be imprisoned, to be killed, that’s when it becomes hate, to me. This might be a useful guideline to consider.

  • slim2

    It has always been my belief that Christ abolished guilt and the consequences of “sin”. Only through the efforts of preachers and priests has it been kept alive for their own purposes of wealth or control over the last 2000 odd years. The Pat Robertsons of the world live in the Old Testament and believe in a law that will ultimately judge them. Christians have long since kicked that dust from their shoes and moved on.

  • jlm101514

    To dismiss the Bible as “fairy tales” is to miss the point of the story. Fairy tales are an efficient and effective mechanism for the conveyance of cultural values to children. Religion is a system of ritual and mythology that transmits cultural values to individuals in society. It does not matter whether myth is based historically factual, what are important are the messages it conveys. People can have legitimate disagreement over what are the correct values; that continuous debate is incorporated into religious dialogue and is most vigorous in a society that recognizes religious freedom. But does it make sense to attack religion itself? One might as well attack television because you don’t like the shows you are watching. Don’t dismiss the medium because you reject the message. Professor Dawkins may not need religion and faith in his life, and that’s fine for him and he is free to believe what he likes. And people who would twist religion to oppose rationality need to be forcefully opposed. But to condemn religion itself is to ignore what science tells us about society, communication, and the human mind. How is that rational?

  • fishcrow

    Dawkins and Atheist Hypocrisy:Mr. Dawkins, if we’re all just a random result of evolution, then the Haiti tragedy is no tragedy – not nearly as big as the destruction of dinosaurs by an asteroid.It’s only the endowment of human dignity by God that makes us special. Otherwise, we’re mere animated matter. No great loss.

  • garoth

    Dear Bruce19:Please read the Gospel of Luke, and you will come to a far different conclusion about the writers of the Gospels. Luke uses the same terminology and concepts in current use for the Caesars, in talking about Jesus as a kind of “anti-Caesar,” one who rules his kingdom in a very different way, and whose followers are those throwaways of Roman and Jewish society. A number of books, in fact, have been written about this, beginning with one, as I recall, in the sixties or seventies (I don’t exactly recall the name any more – something about Jesus as Revolutionary). In the 1970′s it became known as the Gospel of Liberation. Marcus Borg recently wrote a book that delved into this (I think, written with John Crossan). At any rate, your comment is based on misinformation, and not true to the biblical authors at all. Please read them for yourself.

  • pierrejc2

    Openm1nded:

  • garoth

    SLIM2, I think you do have a point. Although we can’t say that Christ “abolished sin and guilt” (they are always a part of life, aren’t they?), he did establish forgiveness as a rule of life, didn’t he? Certainly, also, there is much more to life than sin and guilt, isn’t there?You are very much in accord with my own thought regarding how he has been used by many for their own gain, and by religious institutions to keep people from experiencing exactly what Jesus proclaimed. Priests/pastors/religious from many denominations seem to feel that they hold the keys to the kingdom, and we need them to help us get into it. It seems to me that Jesus taught that nothing is further from the truth – that God is a loving parent, and needs no intermediaries. Our relationship with him, as all loving relationships are, is freely given – not based on who we know, what we know, or how good we are. The only appropriate response to this is to love in return.

  • douglaslbarber

    Dawkins says that “The religious mind, however, restlessly seeks human meaning in the blind happenings of nature.”If you’ve ever known a person of the type who keeps bringing disaster upon himself while blaming everyone and everything but himself, you know of a case where the religious mind has an insight.

  • dcbuck

    Lumping all Christians in with Pat Robertson is about as accurate as lumping atheists like Mr. Dawkins with his fellow atheists, Hitler, Stalin & Pol Pot.We Christians have still helped feed more hungry, housed more homeless, clothed more needy, and given hope to the hopeless far more than sad Mr. Dawkins and the rest of his pathetic, venomous, hate-filled, atheist cabal have done, or ever will do.

  • Nymous

    Hugo Chavez attributed the earthquake to a “secret US tectonic weapon”. I don’t see how his fictions are any different from religious attributions.

  • gvelasco

    Quine – I refer you to a book – “The Physics of Christianity”.

  • Freestinker

    RE: “Religious faith is unreasonable”SteveM50,I do agree.GVELASCO is an honest broker and as such is a persuasive voice for real faith … although I am yet to be persuaded myself.I reject superstition myself but I have a great respect for those who have the intellectual honesty to call it what it is, beyond reason.

  • richardemmanueljones

    SteveM50 – You mean its all nonsense? Then I mutilated my children’s genitals for nothing. On the other hand shellfish is back on the menu so not all bad.

  • bpai_99

    The comment that Dawkins should be considered with his fellow atheists Hitler and Stalin is wildly unfair. Hitler was a baptized Roman Catholic (1/3 of Germany was Roman Catholic when he took power in 1932, one of the reasons the Vatican never spoke out against the Holocaust). Stalin was accepted at age 14 by a seminary to train as a Jesuit priest.

  • gvelasco

    SteveM50 – Nice try. It is only through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that can make them wholly logical. Otherwise, non-believers would not need proof of God’s existene.

  • bpai_99

    Spidermean2′s comments are breathtaking stupid. By his logic, no child would ever become smarter or achive more than his parents. Clearly evolution failed in his case.

  • NorwegianShooter

    Quine – you are an animal! (That’s praise) What an amazing feat of logic and stamina. (Seriously). Keep it up!

  • bpai_99

    “You cannot disprove the existence of God. You just have to take it on faith.” – Woody Allen

  • gvelasco

    severalspeciesof -The Great Invitation -”Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”- Matthew

  • Freestinker

    SteveM50,Gvelasco had you when he/she admitted religious faith is not logical.But then he/she fell back into the trap of trying to explain the effects of faith using reason (as opposed to faith).Beleivers lose all credibility whenever they try to explain faith using reason. Faith is just not reasonable and believer would do well to embrace that fact rather than try to reason it away with faulty logic.Some of my friends tell me that belief without evidence is what makes religious faith so powerful and appealing to them. Why would anyone trade the central value of their faith for the hollow promise that faith is somehow logical? To convince others perhaps? I don’t really know.

  • severalspeciesof

    GVELASCO”Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”- MatthewBeen there, done that…And no, I’m not being facetious here…

  • cassie123

    severalspeciesof:You asked…”where did sin come from?” in response to my statement that God created the world perfect but man sinned. Good question. I struggled with that one myself for a while.Sin entered into the world by God providing man with the ability to choose (free will). If God was to give us the ability to choose good and love then God must also give us the option not to choose good/love and therefore sin. Man chose to sin. The Bible is very clear that God is a loving being — all loving beings want to love and be loved. The only way for God’s creation to love Him is to allow us to choose to love Him (after all, if you force someone to love you…that is not really love right?). There is a fabulous book called “Letters to a Skeptic” which talks about this very subject and provides a far more elegant and understandable answer than I ever can. Read it! It is a great book regardless of your views. Anyone interested in Christianity and/or religion would enjoy it.

  • Freestinker

    “With that being the case, which one is the truth?…Care to tell us how to know? Have you tried Krishna Consciousness?…”——As far as faith goes, they are all true … at least to the their believers.

  • severalspeciesof

    “As far as faith goes, they are all true … at least to the their believers.”That’s correct, and reason and logic need not apply…

  • gvelasco

    SteveM50 – Nice try, again. Semantics aside, it’s the idea that humans are incapable of “logically” understanding God. We are finite; God in not. Thus, our minds in and of themselves are not equipped to fully grasp His essence. This is why God instills in Believers the Holy Spirit to bridge the gap from what is logical to what, in our minds, is not. Is it illogical to believe in God? Professor Dawkins and other would say yes – from a limited human perspective. And I freely admit that in our limited, finite capacity, it would appear that this is the case. To believe in something we cannot see or feel seems illogical at first glance. Belief and Faith allows us to make the God connection, giving us a “logical” (aka spiritual) understanding of our place in God’s master plan. For non-believers, the concept of Faith that leads us to a LOGICAL conclusion of God is difficult to fathom.

  • severalspeciesof

    “the Jesus stunt was just ridiculous and makes no sense.”Yes, a fresh air of reason…I must go now…

  • justillthennow

    Hello Cassie123,)”where did sin come from?”)…”I struggled with that one myself for a while.”Sorry for the struggle. Happy to know you found it, (the answer I mean!). “Sin entered into the world by God providing man with the ability to choose (free will).”Now it is clear where you found that answer! In the Bible, of course, the Failsafe Truthsage of All!Please forgive my apparent sarcasm. More to come.”If God was to give us the ability to choose good and love then God must also give us the option not to choose good/love and therefore sin. Man chose to sin.”"If” is a huge proposition, and an unanswered one. What is clear is that this world is a equilibrium of conflict, a dualism of opposing forces. Attraction and repulsion, light and dark, male and female, creative and destructive. These forces are not determined BY human free will, they exist outside of it and in spite of it. I will leave the issue of “good” and “evil” as being subjective themselves, determined not by an absolute but by individual or collective moral judgments. What is good for one is not necessarily the best for another. However they are opposing forces and operate that way. They predate human “arrival”. It would be a more logical presumption that humans live in a opposition dynamic of a dualistic world and so are creatures of that realm. The fact that we have free will is only natural, as in this created world there are choices that need be made. Do you think that animals do not have the ability to choose? They cannot make decisions, cannot go right because left is instinctual? Do consider the whole picture and the ‘real’ world before you spew what you learned from a book. I am fine with “God created the world” but the “because ____”, and “He thought _____”, and “He wanted _____” makes me crazy. Well, not insane, but it is just so much crap, is unknown, unknowable, and just makes for pain. Always has. Still is making for pain.Good and bad exist. You may call doing “bad” sin if you want. I call it bad. If it is to me. Some of this is mostly universally agreed on, what accounts for bad. Doing so, in my view, does not disallow me from ‘union with God’. It just maybe makes it harder. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.The Law of Relativity.The law of Karma/Dharma.Is there a difference?

  • gvelasco

    SteveM50 – That’s the problem – If we want to use [solely] “logic” to get at the truth, we will never find it.

  • richardemmanueljones

    Bravo Quine et al!The sinister cruciphiles are showing their true colours. If you love a monster, that makes you a monster – whether the monster is real or not.

  • gvelasco

    Quine – In answer to your question asking me to provide an attribute of God, I leave you with this:”…but the man who affirms an attribute of God, knows nothing but the same; for the object to which, in his imagination, he applies that name, does not exist; it is a mere fiction and invention, as if he applied that name to a non-existent being, for there is, in reality, no such object. E.g.,someone has heard of the elephant, and knows that it is an animal, and wishes to know its form and nature. A person, who is either misled or misleading, tells him it is an animal with one leg, three wings, lives in the depth of the sea, has a transparent body; its face is wide like that of a man, has the same form and shape, speaks like a man, flies sometimes in the air, and sometimes swims like a fish. I should not say, that he described the elephant incorrectly, or that he has an insufficient knowledge of the elephant, but I would say that the thing thus described is an invention and fiction, and that in reality there exists nothing like it; it is a non-existent being, called by the name of a really existing being, and like the griffin, the centaur, ans similar imaginary combinations for shich simple and compound names have been borrowed from real things. The present case is analogues; namely, God…exists…as I shall explain…If such a simple, absolutely existing ence were said to have attributes, as has been contended, and were combined with extraneous elements, it would in no way be an existing thing, as has been proved by us; and when we say that that essence, which is called God, is a substance with many properties by which it can be described, we apply that name to an object which does not at all exist. Consider, therefore, what are the consequences of affirming attributes to God!…” – Moses Maimonides

  • barferio

    SteveM50, I wonder what these people would believe if they had been born in Iran, or India. Would they be just as sure of the gods available there … is there a human “type” that believes?I also notice they redefine the meaning of words such as reason, logic, proof, knowledge, truth, facts … they are reading out of a different dictionary.Of course they use the same meanings as you or I when they are viewing other religions, whether still operational or extinct.

  • mykmlr

    There isn’t much to say beyond what Dr. Dawkins has noted.So ‘christian charity’ is closer to ‘self preservation’ and not worthy of any accolade whatever.

  • gvelasco

    SteveM50 – So be it. Your observations and quote attributions appear misleading and you are embroiled in too many different definitions. It seems that facts, logic, and reason are the only tools at your disposal, and are unable or unwilling to cross this plane. Thus, we have here a failure to effectively communicate. Christ be with you!

  • richardemmanueljones

    And the fact that gvelasco and others would project their particular psychotic genocidal dictator beyond the clouds in no way diminishes their responsibility for these hideous thoughts other than in their own minds. This vertical deflection of responsibility is extremely dangerous as history has tried to teach us with the people who liked dressing up and preaching from magic books. It is the only following orders defence. This ability to ‘forgive’ oneself – there is no sin that cannot be forgiven! – has throughout history meant that – whether projected beyond the clouds, or closer to home in a shiny uniform – with gods all is permitted.

  • SteveM50

    Wow, so many comments and still nobody has managed to explain what the point of god’s little Jesus stunt was that doesn’t just leave him/it guilty of being a retribution wanting, petty little attention seeker.You’d think it would have been the first thing that all these Christians would have wanted to get out of the way. It certainly would be for me if i were Christian. Why is it that this god of yours has so much in common with the worst of human kind, and so little with the best of it? So how do we explain this conspicuous lack of explanation or refutation? Perhaps Richard has hit the nail on the head, or perhaps Christians need more time to see what the theologians have to say on the matter so that they can just say “yeah, what he said.”Either way, it doesn’t look very good for the Christians. Never mind though, you can all just fall back on the “it’s rude to criticise people for what they believe” argument while at the same time ignoring that Richard is criticising people who themselves criticised Pat Robertson for what he believed.

  • frank52

    It is informative and therefore helpful to have this outsider’s view of Christianity. Like any other institution it tends to assume it knows itself better than non-members – perhaps moreso in the case of religion where notions of self-importance can become very exaggerated.

  • barferio

    How does one criticise what another believes without the believer feeling he himself is being criticised?It isn’t really possible, particularly with the more intelligent, reasoning believer. Modern Christians, to take an example of modern god-believers, can clearly see what nonsense other religions are, how false their gods are, but are incapable of seeing their own religion in the light with which they view these other religions.There is a knee-jerk defense mechanism stimulated by the criticism of christianity which these believers do not feel when another religion is criticised.It makes one suspect they know what a crock these other religions are, and deep down inside they know the same thing about their own.So, to avoid making these people feel they themselves are being criticised, in order to help everybody feel they aren’t being singled out, we can’t criticise it at all?and look at their responses in some of this. So a religion says: “be nice to people”, but is based on worship of a magic refrigerator buried in the back yard somewhere. You tell them there is no refrigerator, and they response: so I’m not supposed to be nice to people, is that what you want?What an ugly mess.

  • MichelleB1

    Brilliant, courageous, lovely article by Richard.As for the ‘tacky’ guy, what a blob. He is the lukewarm mess that Jesus (if he existed) would spew right up. From Tacheronb perspective there is no right or wrong just his disgusting brand of living and let live which is code for turn your head the other way and bury your cowardly head in the sand. He is the moderate type that is just as much a problem as the fundie type. They are appeasers. Read the pathetic bleatings of spiderman and all a tacheronb type can do is spew his misdirected criticism on Dawkins who is actually concerned with the truth.Meh to the moderates. We got to drag these types on our backs the whole of their short lives. Progress would never occur without critical thinkers like Richard.

  • frank52

    To SteveM50In response to your question let me give you a personal reflection. When I studied theology back in the 1970s Ireland, theologians from both Catholic and Protestant traditions – not American fundamentalists but moderates and the liberals Dawkins seems to disdain – were saying exactly what I have seen here on the Washington Post and on the Dawkins site about the implications for our understanding of God – not good at all. I agreed and have spent a good deal of time and effort since going back to basics and working out a better theology. I know lots of other people have done the same as individuals or in small groups. So many new insights have emerged as a result of developments in biblical studies and theology generally over the last hundred years or more.

  • richardemmanueljones

    Can one be good with God? It is not a promising start to have to cower and praise the author of genocide, xenocide and the obscene cruelty of the natural world.That He had three best-sellers and made the tectonic plates run on time is little in His defence.

  • 0penM1nded

    You know, Richard’s anger to one side (and I know it is a hard emotion to dismiss),Apart from Pat Robertson, no-one should be criticising individual believers. I don’t care what religion or non religion you are, very few people would not weep at the pictures from Haiti, or try and do something to help.I don’t think non theists particularly want to pour disdain on religion, or point out the huge gaping holes in its irrational dogmas! However, you can’t expect to make unfounded (unproven) irrational god statements of any type about Haiti in the public media without some response!Religion has been unchecked for too long, and its false claims, bad science and history denial really does need to be challenged! If religion doesn’t like the heat, then shut up, make the claims in your private clubs on Sunday, and everyone will be happy!I have no problem with anyone’s private belief in anything until the belief is put into the public domain, or used in anyway to shape public education, politics, government, etc. What is it with religious people wanting to hog the microphone?If I said fairies caused Haiti, or fairies are helping / healing the sick in Haiti, I would be laughed at! If I said a big fairy appeared last night and told me ‘xyz’ you would probably recommend a good psychiatrist! Yet, call the fairy ‘god’ and its suddenly acceptible!I believe in humanity, I believe our society connects us all in many ‘spirtiual’ ways. I believe we all feel each others pain and joy! The chemical understanding of such feelings do little to diminish the wonder of each of our lives! But why do we need a god, when we have each other (unless you want to call that spiritual connection god?) and so much of gods dogmas (at least in Xian / jewish religions) DO NOT stand up to scrutiny!

  • barferio

    Hey frank52, I don’t for a second think you are Pat Robertson, in fact other than a few spidermean freaks I haven’t seen too many Pat Robertson types here on this board.But this isn’t really the problem some of us have here. Think a little more about what Dawkins has said here. Pat Robertson is reading from the same Bible you claim is the word of your god. This guy lives this stuff, he surely has pawed every single word in his bible countless thousands of times.Pat Robertson runs his Regent University, where he trains people to infest our government. There is little doubt in anybody’s mind what Pat Robertson and his kind want to do to our country, our people, our freedoms etc.So you’re not like that. But you believe in the same bible he believes in. You interpret it differently than he does.How are we to know that? It’s the same bible. It’s the same God. What makes it possible for this truly evil man to say and do the things he does … how are we to know you are not animated by the same thing?If you didn’t believe in this bible, in this god, there would be no concern would there?

  • SteveM50

    Frank52So do you believe that Jesus was just an ordinary man, not sent by god specifically to serve some purpose of his?Do you believe that god held some sort of ill will towards all humans as a result of the actions of some early humans? Like a racist feels towards all members of a particular skin colour group, based on the actions of a few people with that skin colour?

  • gvelasco

    richardemmanueljones – Your notion and idea of what is “permissible” flows from your unbelief. Consequently, it is not based on what Jesus Christ teaches. “This vertical deflection of responsibility is extremely dangerous as history has tried to teach us with the people who liked dressing up and preaching from magic books. It is the only following orders defence. This ability to ‘forgive’ oneself – there is no sin that cannot be forgiven! – has throughout history meant that – whether projected beyond the clouds, or closer to home in a shiny uniform – with gods all is permitted.”You represent the secular/atheist view quite well. But without an understanding of the Word of God, you are lost in thought and, being devoid of the Holy Spirit, cannot grasp Christian principles and meaning.

  • obx2004

    Spidermean:If you don’t wish to have adult discussions on these issues, then don’t participate.

  • gvelasco

    severalspeciesof – There is no one “Christian dictionary” – other than the Bible. However, I do agree with others that, for many, the Bible can be very difficult to decipher. To assist you, the writings of Judaica are extremely helpful in providing biblical Wisdom (as this relates to the Old Testament. For a modern-day guide, I refer you to Dr. Gerald Schroeder book, “The Science of God”. For all who are enthralled with Professor Dawkins’s atheism and disavowal of all that is in the Bible (expressed in crude and ignorant tones), Dr. Schroeder’s book is the antithesis. Want to know if dinosaurs are mentioned in the Bible? Reading his book. Want to know if the world as we know it is 6,000 or 15+ billion years old? Read his book. Want to know if other “human” creatures existed before Adama and Eve? I would recommend you read his book.There is much that we do not know. But for the miracle of SCIENCE, we are quickly getting there.For a thoughtful perspective of what the Bible teaches, Moses Maimonides’s “The Guide For The Perplexed” is an excellent guide in understanding Biblical teachings.”Man’s love of God is identical with his Knowledge of Him” – The Guide for the Perplexed, Chapter 51.

  • hereticzero

    I think Dawkins hit this right on the head. Pat Robertson is the representative of the Real Christians(tm) in America, and perhaps the rest of the Protestant world, too. Otherwise Robertson would have no venue for his rantings that have little to do with common sense and rational behavior. Robertson would also not be in receipt of sufficient donations that keep him on the air night after night. So, while good Christians who claim Robertson is full of himself and try to distance themselves from his rhetoric, these same good people send The 700 Club donations to keep it on the air. If good Christians had any conscience, they would withhold their tithings and let the man slither away. Where else have we seen such behavior? In Uganda where Christians are drafting death penalty legislations to murder homosexuals within their law and imprison their supporters. They are doing this because of another Christian group called The Family staged a three-day seminar in Uganda of homophobic lectures which in turn stirred the good Christians of that country to respond with violence towards a group of people who just want to be left alone, by everyone. Again, this is the behavior of True Christianity(tm) expressing the doctrines of an antiquated holy book. Fundamentalists are dangerous to everyone whether they originate as Christians or Muslims, extremists are not the warm and fuzzy friends of humanity. They are a plague on our society and are deserving of any and all of the outrage of our society.

  • Ezekiel37

    So much anger in these comments.I am glad that Richard Dawkins and Christians both have the right to say what they want for now.But I fear that we will all not have freedom of speech for long.

  • richardemmanueljones

    gvelasco – I may not receive the signals but I can see the words and actions of people who say they do. You yourself find crimes against humanity praiseworthy. Of course the monster is not really there beyond the clouds, he is in thine image in your mirror.

  • gvelasco

    richardemmanueljones – You write, “You yourself find crimes against humanity praiseworthy. Of course the monster is not really there beyond the clouds, he is in thine image in your mirror.”I won’t say much, only that you are dead wrong. To go out on a tremendous limb and say that I “find crimes against humanity praiseworthy” is treacherous and evil. I cannot in good conscience debate any issue with you based on your illogic and false premise. It will go NOWHERE, at least until your mind and soul truly desire to seek the truth. May Christ be with you.

  • Freestinker

    GVELASCO,Why is it not possible to “grasp Christian principles and meaning” without being a believer?

  • salute11

    Spiderman does not represent Christianity, just like Pat Robertson doesn’t. Please don’t listen to his arguments, because while they have passion, they are not well grounded. If you want to know the position of many Christians out there, do your own reading and see things from their point of view. That is why I make it a point to read people such as Dawkins. Message board wars go nowhere.

  • gvelasco

    Freestinker – Because it’s a virtual impossiblity. God’s Word speaks not to our limited intelligence, but to the souls of those who have accepted Christ as God and Redeemer of our sins.

  • Freestinker

    “If you want to know the position of many Christians out there, do your own reading and see things from their point of view.”——-Salute11,Prof. Dawkins is not criticizing Christians, he is criticizing Christianity as depicted in the Bible. That many modern Christians reject some of the central premises of the Bible is no surprise to me but they need to be more vocal about the (generally ugly) parts they reject if they want to avoid being associated with traditional Biblical Christianity and the otherwise valid criticism of the traditional Christian doctrine.

  • richardemmanueljones

    gvelascoI think you may have been truly blinded by the light. Your hideous cruciphiliac death cult would have you smiling beatifically as you load the eternal ovens for your fantasy Fuhrer. Onward Christian soldiers. Gott mit uns.

  • 0penM1nded

    spidermean2I know brevity is of essence in this form of media, but do you realise how dumb SOME of your statements sound?You may have substantial evidence / argument to support some of your claims, and I am sure some readers would be very interested in discovering this evidence!You have every right to speak your mind, but without substantiation I am starting to feel like applying my right to ignore anything your write!

  • gvelasco

    akula – “Seek and you shall find.” As salute11 astutely points out, it is up to you to seek the truth.

  • gvelasco

    ichardemmanueljones – Yes, there is truly evil in this world.

  • spidermean2

    To build a high building, you should find a way to stand higher than the building or you can’t pour the concrete.That is common sense. A brain can’t be produce except it be made by a “higher brain”.That also is common sense.C ya and please people,learn some little logic. It’s easy if you just start thinking.

  • Freestinker

    “Because it’s a virtual impossiblity. God’s Word speaks not to our limited intelligence, but to the souls of those who have accepted Christ as God and Redeemer of our sins.”———GVELASCO,I completely understand that principle, I just don’t aspire to it myself. I would bet that lots of ex-Christians also understand the principles and also reject them for themselves. Understanding the principle doesn’t not require belief in the principle. I understand Zeus and Greek mythology too but I don’t subscribe to it either. Do you?

  • gvelasco

    Freestinker – But understanding the meaning behind the principle does. There is truth in the unspoken Word. Greek mythology? Yes, Jesus Christ’s life is historically chronicled, but not Zeus’. There are some things in this world that we can reasonable come to know and understand, if we want.

  • Freestinker

    So an ex-Christian, who once held the belief but no longer does can understand the principle?… but someone who otherwise understands Christian doctrine but has never believed cannot?Or do you have to be an active believer to get it?

  • richardemmanueljones

    gvelasco – Today is holocaust memorial day and genocidal dictators – real or imagined – should be condemned by all without exception.Something has taken your humanity. Although you are in one sense merely bleating to an empty sky, your praise for a slaughterer is real and disgusting.

  • contrarian5

    It’s amazing that so many atheists spend so much time talking about something/someone they don’t believe!

  • gvelasco

    SteveM50 – Exactly, they don’t make logical sense. I refer you to a book – “The Cloud of Unknowing”.

  • Freestinker

    “So you are saying that Christian principles and meaning don’t actually make logical sense. “——–Stevem50,Every religious faith (belief without evidence) is illogical. That goes without saying. For many, that’s exactly what makes faith so powerful.

  • Freestinker

    “Something has taken your humanity. Although you are in one sense merely bleating to an empty sky, your praise for a slaughterer is real and disgusting.”——–RichardEmmanualJones,Could you please be more specific? Exactly which acts of slaughter are you referring to?

  • gvelasco

    Freestinker – They don’t make sense to the unbeliever, but they do to the Believer.

  • cthulhu1

    Contrarian5: your god doesn’t exist. Unfortunately, hate-filled theocrats like Pat Robertson do, and they have huge political power and access to our tax dollars.

  • severalspeciesof

    FREESTINKER,What christians just can’t wrap their heads around is the fact that according to their religion, it was god who introduced death (AKA the idea of killing), not man…

  • gvelasco

    Freestinker – “So an ex-Christian, who once held the belief but no longer does can understand the principle?I believe you have to be an active believer to get it. Holding the belief is different than having it. The important and incredible this is this: Everyone can “GET IT”, but many choose not to…

  • chriskyoju

    Prof. Dawkins is doing all of us a service in this article by criticizing the literal-mindedness of many theologians – fundamentalist and middle-of-the-road alike. However, he never addresses in any of his writings liberation theology, the “Death of God” movement begun in the 60s by Bishop John Robertson, the “ground of all being” non-personal God explicated by theologian Paul Tillich, or the works of Bishop John Shelby Spong, who, along with many other theologians, deny the redemptive role of Christ’s crucifixion (and his divinity) that Prof. Dawkins hints in this article (and in “The God Delusion”) all Christians are supposed to espouse. I am no monotheist (I suppose I would classify myself as a rational-minded Buddhist who rejects superstitious claims of any faith, including Buddhism itself – see Sam Harris’ chapter near the end of his book “The End of Faith” on this subject). However, it also troubles me that Prof. Dawkins assumes in this article that all Christians believe in the literal happening of Noah’s flood or that there is a divine “purpose” for natural disaster’s (i.e., they are a result of sin). In fact, liberal theologians who reject the idea of a personal God also rightly reject all of the silly aforementioned ideas.

  • amy_e

    Punishing a city or country instead of individuals being thrown into the fiery pit for not believing in Jeeebus is OT theology. Christians should be bashing Robertson for his misunderstanding of the purpose of Christ’s sacrifice instead of just for being mean-spirited and embarrassing.

  • mercury23

    Dear Professor Dawkins – U R my number one hero! Thank you. (from Canberra, Australia)

  • markaurelius

    Both Robertson and Dawkins are guilty of violating a key point of Jesus’ teaching: Do not judge. Mortals have no right to condemn victims of Haiti, New Orleans or other disasters, as Jesus pointed out: “Those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them — do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no”. In fact, the whole book of Job, many of the Psalms, and also the book of Ecclesiastes lament the lack of justice generally evident in the normal course of events.But, heart rending as these disasters are, it is not tears that is required of Christians, but help. As it says in James 2:16, if a believer encounters someone in need “but does nothing about his physical needs”, his faith is “dead”.I think Dawkins’ vituperative attack on Christian theology is just to make himself look smart and engaged. If he is as clever as he claims and really understands the causes of the Haiti earthquake, he could have done us all a favour by preventing it. Or failing that, to contribute with his skills to the relief effort. Until then, his silence on matters he doesn’t understand, like theology, would be appreciated.

  • cornbread_r2

    However, Dawkins has a bigger problem to deal with coming from his worldview. From the naturalistic worldview there is no such thing as evil. As I understand it, naturalism doesn’t deny the existence of evil, or hypocrisy, or love, or beauty, or awe, or truth, or warm fuzzy feelings. Naturalism merely posits that these things emerge from observable natural processes centered in human brains. They

  • cornbread_r2

    If he is as clever as he claims and really understands the causes of the Haiti earthquake, he could have done us all a favour by preventing it. Or failing that, to contribute with his skills to the relief effort. Until then, his silence on matters he doesn’t understand, like theology, would be appreciated. — markaurelius 1. How does understanding the cause of natural events imply the ability to prevent them? Do you understand the cause of lightning? Why don’t you prevent it?2. Professor Dawkins 3. In that there appear to be as many theological explanations for the existence of evil as there are theists (as evidenced in this thread), perhaps you could direct Professor Dawkins to the

  • harrisrat

    “As I understand it, naturalism doesn’t deny the existence of evil, or hypocrisy, or love, or beauty, or awe, or truth, or warm fuzzy feelings.” cornbread_r2My point is not that naturalism denies it but that ‘evil’ and ‘hypocrisy’ has no meaning in a naturalistic world. Both those words imply that they are wrong or bad and should be avoided. But how can one avoid them if one is completely controlled by the forces of nature? Also, what does wrong mean in a naturalistic world? In such a world things just are. It is meaningless to talk about how things ought to be in such a world. There is no standard to strive to.

  • harrisrat

    Dawkins raises a particular case of an age old problem for the Christian theist, namely the problem of evil. Although there are many possible answers – from free will of man opening up the possibility of evil to ultimate good that could arise from temporary suffering we undergo the real answer is not known to us. This question came up many times in the Bible from the suffering of Job to why the blind man was born blind but no clear answer was given perhaps suggesting that we cannot understand the real answer.However, Dawkins has a bigger problem to deal with coming from his worldview. From the naturalistic worldview there is no such thing as evil. All we have is matter swirling around in nature according to the laws of nature. There is no such thing as hypocrisy (mentioned in his title). All we have are people uttering things because their neurons are firing in a certain fashion!Dawkins cannot have it both ways!

  • harrisrat

    “I do think that I have free will to choose to do the things that make me the happiest and avoid the things that make me unhappy.” Cornbread_R2Where does this free will come from in a naturalistic world? All we have is protons, neutrons, electrons etc moving according to the laws of nature. To have free will we need to be made out of another component, the soul, which is able to exert a force (by a yet to be determined mechanism) on these material particles. Also, if you always do that which makes you happiest then you still don’t have free will. Whatever makes you happiest will be determined by the material components you are made of and your actions will be determined by these components.“Therefore, because bacteria are I ought to wash my hands: a purely naturalistic “ought” from an “is”.”But this is not an “ought.” Perhaps you will do this if you do not want to get sick. But there is no moral requirement that you do this.“Therefore, because pain is I ought to not cause pain in others.” Again, where does the ‘ought’ come from? You already said that you would do what makes you happiest. It makes you happy to reduce the pain of others. So you would do it. Suppose it didn’t. Suppose you had the mind of a torturer. Why ought he or she not want to cause pain in others?Also, next Sunday there will be a lot of people who will be unhappy. Are you suggesting that the Saints and the Colts should stop playing the super bowl because it will cause a lot of unhappiness? Even if you are why should others follow your criteria of what ought people to do?Euthyphro’s dilemma is basically the question, “Is what is moral commanded by God because it is moral, or is it moral because it is commanded by God?”There is also a third option that I don’t think Plato considered namely what is moral comes forth from the nature of God.

  • cei123

    Richard! You obviously believe in naturalism and of course you’re seeking to find causes which are purely and merely natural. What is amazing is that you’ re equating materialism with science! As a former communist I can tell you that there are strong similarities between historical materialism (the philosophy of Soviet style Marxist-Leninist communism), social Darwinism (as per Charles Darwin’s own book of which I’m sure you’re aware!), and your claim or rather acclaim in the name of evolutionary Darwinism to the scientific mantle!! I kindly refer you to professor Chesnokov’s–former professor of historical materialism at the University of Moscow–book on “Historical Materialism” to verify my claim! Of course there are distinctives! There are significant differences between the 19th century view of science –Darwin included—which was deterministic to the nth degree) and your views I suspect are a mixture of the Theory of Order, Chaos and Probability. You can correct me if I’m wrong! The chief problems with your approach are: (1) your relativistic epistemology does not allow you to make any absolute statements! So how can you make any claim with any sort of conviction of truth or moral imperative?! This brings us to the next point: (2) if you’ re certain that you’ re uncertain about anything you know how can you make any sort of claim with the aura of certainty without sacrificing and of course violating your core beliefs?! (3) How can you use hypocrisy–which undoubtedly exists–as your moral currency when materialism has no absolute moral right or wrongs?! Of course you may counter that you’ re merely using Christianity’s own views to launch your attacks but frankly that is not enough because you need to go beyond attempting to “debunk” Theism. You know that your system has to provide a worldview that is internally consistent! You’ re demanding this of Theism! So can you condemn when—according to you–there is right and wrong?! Or is there??!! Oh yes there is Richard!

  • cmarshdtihqcom

    Read Matthew 4 where the Devil offered Jesus the nations of the world if Jesus would but worship him.Reflect on it. The devil has the nations of the world to give Jesus.It must mean God has let the Devil drive for a while. Maybe zapping Satan right away would have been politically incorrect in Heaven, would have terrified the angels. Besides, this is a good chance to show that Satan is inept at running the world, lacks God’s wisdom.Blame Satan. He’s driving drunk on his own arrogance.

  • seriouscollect66

    Dear Pat Robertson,

Read More Articles

Screenshot 2014-04-23 11.40.54
Atheists Bad, Christians Good: A Review of “God’s Not Dead”

A smug Christian movie about smug atheists leads to an inevitable happy ending.

shutterstock_134310734
Ten Ways to Make Your Church Autism-Friendly

The author of the Church of England’s autism guidelines shares advice any church can follow.

Valle Header Art
My Life Depended on the Very Act of Writing

How I was saved by writing about God and cancer.

shutterstock_188545496
Sociologist: Religion Can Predict Sexual Behavior

“Religion and sex are tracking each other like never before,” says sociologist Mark Regnerus.

5783999789_9d06e5d7df_b
The Internet Is Not Killing Religion. So What Is?

Why is religion in decline in the modern world? And what can save it?

concert
Why I Want to Be Culturally Evangelical

I’ve lost my faith. Do I have to lose my heritage, too?

shutterstock_37148347
What Is a Saint?

How the diversity of saintly lives reveals multiple paths toward God.

987_00
An Ayatollah’s Gift to Baha’is, Iran’s Largest Religious Minority

An ayatollah offers a beautiful symbolic gesture against a backdrop of violent persecution.

river dusk
Cleaner, Lighter, Closer

What’s a fella got to do to be baptized?

shutterstock_188022491
Magical Thinking and the Canonization of Two Popes

Why Pope Francis is canonizing two popes for all of the world wide web to see.

Pile_of_trash_2
Pope Francis: Stop the Culture of Waste

What is the human cost of our tendency to throw away?

chapel door
“Sometimes You Find Something Quiet and Holy”: A New York Story

In a hidden, underground sanctuary, we were all together for a few minutes in this sweet and holy mystery.

shutterstock_178468880
Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

sunset-hair
From Passover to Easter: Why I’m Grateful to be Jewish, Christian, and Alive

Passover with friends. Easter with family. It’s almost enough to make you believe in God.

colbert
Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

emptytomb
God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

shutterstock_186795503
The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.