TREVOR BARNES ON RICHARD DAWKINS

‘God exists, or doesn’t. It’s a 50-50 shot. Dawkins can’t call believers stupid for having taken a punt; after all, he did’.

Although he’d probably bristle at the suggestion the arch secularist de nos jours, Richard Dawkins, has started to behave like that particular kind of religious fundamentalist he so despises. Or if that’s going too far - which it isn’t - at least like a cleric on the bench of a Sharia Court, Inquisition, or Beth Din sitting in judgment on his co-religionists.

 

Basing his latest pronouncements on a survey commissioned by his Foundation for Reason and Science he’s declared the majority of those who identified themselves as Christian on last year’s census form to be QUOTE “not really Christian at all.” On the grounds that they don't pray go to church or read the Bible that much.

 

Well, pardon me, but who exactly is Witchfinder Dawkins to make such an assertion? And if I ticked the Christian box by what right does the Grand Inquisitor contradict me? Even Elizabeth the First who claimed divine authority for her office stopped short of making “windows into men’s souls”. The oracular Professor, by contrast, sees no need for such reticence.

 

It puts you in mind of those boys with beards who routinely pop up on TV debates denouncing Muslim women who choose not to wear a headscarf as “not really Muslim at all”. Or those Jews in Israel who spit on 8 year old orthodox Jewish girls for wearing short sleeves to school. 8 yr olds for God’s sake. Judged by grown men who should know better as being “not really Jewish at all”.

 

So Professor Dawkins, not content with declaring Christianity non-sense, now feels himself qualified to arbitrate on the nonsensical things Christians believe in and to declare ex cathedra who is or is not a proper believer. Is it me or is there a whiff of desperation in the air - an 11th hour change of tactic when the professor and his supporters find themselves confronted by uncomfortable and unwelcome data?

 

For it turns out that rather more said they’re Christian than the good professor would have liked and he’s having none of it - footfaulting backsliders and hoping to render their stated religious affiliations null and void.

 

It’s all starting to overheat a bit, this God debate. And frankly without the wit of the much missed Christopher Hitchens it’s getting rather wearing.

 

God exists. Or God doesn’t exist. It’s really that simple. It’s a fifty-fifty shot. Dawkins can call believers wrong for having bet on the losing horse but not stupid for having taken a punt in the first place. After all he did. Betting the farm on one of the riders in a two horse race. Now calling unilaterally for a steward’s enquiry into the performance of the other one seems a decidedly unreasonable way of having your cake and eating it.

 

ENDS

 

Image courtesy of BrotherMagneto via Flickr.com ©©

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