Thursday, July 12, 2007

I'm an atheist but...

... am I the only atheist who finds Richard Dawkins embarrasing at times? Simon Hattenstone famously wrote "The strange thing about reading his latest book, A Devil's Chaplain, is that I agree with virtually everything he says, but find myself wanting to smack him for his intolerance."

I'm in a different situation - I find myself disagreeing with Dawkins when he rants about religion - yes, rants - I find that someone who can write so intelligently about evolution suddenly seems to take a nose-dive in the intelligence stakes when writing about religion. He notoriously compared religious education to child abuse - Dawkins cited the example of a woman who was molested by her priest, but who was more traumatised by the idea of a friend, a Protestant, who died young ending up in Hell. It sounds like this woman was brought up in an atmosphere very different to the one I was brought up in. When I started school - in the 1970s - religious education was very different from this - I remember one song that was popular with the pupils - "Love's like a telephone". None of this hellfilre and damnation, but Dawkins doesn't distinguish between moderate religious beliefs and those of fanatics.

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