I am sure there will be many people coming to this article and thinking that its going to be a hit piece on Mr Dawkins by someone of faith. For those people I have to disappoint you all now. I have no faith at all (I refuse to call myself an atheist and you’ll see why if you read on). Oh and if you are going to read 4 lines of this and decide that I am calling Mr Dawkin’s deluded – think again, either read the article properly or move on, I do not expect to see reams of argument on the basis of something you think I’ve written. I hope that’s clear. I also would like to make it clear that the atheists I example below are not what I would say are the majority of people who would consider themselves one, but its the reason why even though I have no faith, I would not like to give myself the atheist name.
So what is an atheist? This subject is a very good one for an aggressive online atheist to sidetrack the discussion. So in simple terms an atheist is not believing in God. No Adam and Eve, no ten commandments and the Life of Brian was just a funny film. So lets leave it there and see that for many “atheist’s” (or certainly the aggressive and often rude online one) they do infact have their own messiah. I have to add at this point that there are many many people who call themselves atheists, but simply get on with life, not seeking to upset or push their views onto others.
To some Atheists represent the Grinch, who are bent on ruining the fun for everyone by imposing their beliefs onto everyone else.
And this view is not an uncommon one and is shared by people of faith and no faith alike. I think though to be fair since the aggressive atheists have found the Internet, the issue has been highlighted. I think the majority of people with no faith who may or may not call themselves an atheist DO NOT fall into the category of aggressive and are nice people.
If I want to believe the moon is a giant spaceship (as I believe David Icke has once claimed) then that’s my decision, you can try and prove me wrong but if I want to think theres a Deathstar type construction orbiting our planet under the guise of a moon then that’s my choice. You can’t take me to the moon, you cannot categorically prove the moon isn’t the Deathstar so whilst you might have the upper hand in the common sense department, you can’t disprove what I say. – For the purposes of clarity I DO NOT believe that the Moon is a spaceship.
Religion in no way compares to my Deathstar example and this is something that the online aggressive atheist can’t quite grasp. I personally might not share the religious belief of another, but just like someone of faith cannot prove to me God exists, I cannot show that God doesn’t. If I could then this would be a non-argument and if they could prove categorically that God does exist, then there wouldn’t be such a thing as an atheist (unless they were very stubborn…or very brave)
So the question I ask is why do many atheists online seek to impose their non-belief on others? Are they looking for safety in numbers? Are they looking to convince themselves? or maybe on some level they believe that if they can convince another then they must be right in their atheism? It strikes me as very strange that someone who doesn’t have a faith, would feel the need to bring the subject up so often and especially online in forums such as Twitter where opinions can be misunderstood and you only have 140 chars to do it. Shouldn’t atheists be happy in themselves that they have their truth and just get on with their lives? You’d think they would.
“BUT PEOPLE SPOUT RELIGION ALL THE TIME!” – Thats something which is claimed by this aggressive group of atheists online. To which I’d also say that they add (when I suggest you need to prove God doesn’t exist in the same way someone of faith needs to prove God) I get the response “YOU CAN’T ARGUE/PROVE A NON-BELIEF” – So why then repeatedly bring up faith? You can’t jump into someone’s religious beliefs tell them they are wrong and then say you don’t have to prove anything because you are not claiming something exists. That’s moving the goalposts and thats backing out of the fact that just like someone of faith an atheist has the problem of no categoric proof which ends the argument. So what’s the answer to these slippery atheists? Ask them what made the universe and then ask them to prove that.
“BUT SCIENCE PROVES THERE IS NO GOD” – Is the next chant you can expect, although there’s a simple response here which puts us back to the catch-22 issue: If science is so perfect in its operation, why can’t that be because of a creator designing it so? And just like we get into dodgy metaphysics of how something can be created from nothing, faith also has need to explain, what made God? – And again we find ourselves in the catch-22. Evolution can easily be explained as accurate whilst at the same time being the design of a God (or not depending on your viewpoint) which puts these aggressive atheists in exactly the same position as those people who have faith – an opinion which cannot be proved categorically with evidence.
He’s not the messiah, he’s a very naughty boy.
Well not quite, but the title is a tribute to one of my favourite films of all time (admittedly I don’t watch many) but lets focus on Mr Dawkins, who makes (I assume) quite a handsome living on the basis of a God which he says doesn’t exist. Humans have always had a desire to follow (leaders are few and far between) and also to group themselves. Look at sports and peoples choices of team. Look at operating systems and hardware. People have a desire to find their own self-identity within a group and having a leader or focal point for that belief/choice helps validate whatever choices they have made.
Now look at Twitter. It seems there are many atheists sending pro-aethist pictures/text to Mr Dawkins as if to say “Hey look at me Mr Dawkins, I’m the best atheist in the world” and they will often engage those with a faith in aggressive manner. If we agree that an atheist can not be converted to religion by the power of Twitter posts, then we can also say that a person of faith can’t be converted either. So why would an “atheist” seek to engage others in this way? Regardless of what you believe, what faith you have (if any) I think we can all agree that faith does play an important part in peoples lives (in respect of those that follow it). Who are they to seek to challenge something which someone may find much comfort in? Who are they to try and show someone “the error of their ways” when they can’t even show that God doesn’t exist and merely run from that challenge with an excuse (as explained above). When looking at the Twitter feed of Mr Dawkins from his followers (rather apt in this case I think) you get to see a different type of worship going on. Sure, its not fire and brimstone or feeding thousands of people with a single fish and a pub measure of wine, but here our erstwhile online atheists find that they have a flesh and blood messiah who responds and lives on Earth.
Just like David Icke with his transdimensional lizards, there’s nothing like a leader to give you a little reassurance in your beliefs.
If you want to see other examples of this worship mentality, look no further than a David Icke talk at Wembley. You have thousands of people hanging on his every word with their flesh and blood messiah stood directly in front of them. Other examples? Well for our current generation of kids, its celebrities, again, Humans displaying a built in need to follow someone/thing in the name of a group.
Here’s some of what Mr Dawkins “followers” post on Twitter to him and as you can see from this small sample, competition is tough when trying to impress his non-holiness the Dawkins.
“@RichardDawkins Parents complained to school district that I was teaching evolution as fact. I responded by teaching more evolution as fact.”
“@RichardDawkins Just finished arguing with an evolution denier as he walked his labradoodle.”
“@RichardDawkins I’d go with E=MC2 as the greatest thing ever found, but the theory of evolution is at least 2nd.”
This is just a small example in a matter of weeks, but there certainly seems many of his followers fight to be his number one atheist and chosen one…..Creepy and rather cult like in my opinion.
I have often said (which is a modified version of a very famous quote) “I don’t follow your faith, but I fully support and champion your right to do so” and I think if every (those of faith or not) followed this then it would be much more pleasant for everyone.
So I hope you’ll now understand why, despite not having a faith, I don’t want to be called an atheist – I think to do so and giving a non-belief a name, you are giving validity to something which you claim not to believe in. You don’t buy into the Deathstar theory from earlier? What name would you give to that? – Stuck? well of course you are, but then you don’t believe it, so you move on and get on with your life….you don’t create a group called “moonist” or something like that. You have no interest or belief in the moon being the deathstar, you move on.
“BUT RELIGION HAS CAUSED SO MUCH SUFFERING” – There’s another chant from the online atheist and its now they get a surprising revelation – Humans are not generally nice lifeforms. Once they have found their “group”, they will fight over it. Cast your mind back 20 years or so, football violence. Or just look at examples of violence today where religion is not even a factor. It is agreed that there have been many evil PEOPLE (not faiths) that have acted out of their belief system (and often completely against what their faith/belief system actually says), but if religion was forgotten about overnight, you can guarantee that people would be committing horrific crimes in the name of something else they’ve grouped themselves with.
So there is the (non) faith of Mr Dawkins and maybe the point is this. Firstly should someone be able to make a living out of something they claim doesn’t exist? – I’ll let you decide. Secondly I’ll make the point that if people don’t have a faith, then the majority of those people just get on with life. They don’t make others lives a misery whilst constantly ranting about something they don’t believe in. And finally on a side note, isn’t it a little sad that some who “claim” they don’t have a faith are seemingly ready to follow and attempt to impress the messiah of the non-faith Mr Dawkins?
Allegedly Mr Dawkins is educated, so when he produces a book called “The God Dellusion” he must have known it would cause offence.
So why would an “educated” man do this? For attention? (well we see plenty of this from the online aggressive atheists) For money? or just to be insulting? Delusion is described as:
an idiosyncratic belief or impression maintained despite being contradicted by reality or rational argument, typically as a symptom of mental disorder.
And can anyone say he wouldn’t have known even the title would have upset others? So either he did it intentionally or didn’t understand what delusional means. If he didn’t then maybe he needs to learn what the word delusion actually means?
I wonder if Mr Dawkins is the type of man to stand at a toy shop at Xmas and tell children Santa doesn’t exist and maybe years from now he will be someone’s elderly neighbour who shouts at children playing football, “a bah humbug” of the future. Regardless, I wonder why the people who I see talking so much about religion online are the ones who claim not to have any.
Message to those people: Either have confidence in yourself or your own opinions, or look for something in life which you feel comfortable with. Don’t make others life unpleasant just because you seem to want to reassure yourself that there is no God. Faith is a personal journey which people arrive at their own destination. I was brought up in a family of adherence to religion, I found that I didn’t share that faith – or indeed any. I certainly didn’t need Mr Dawkins tell me what to think. Maybe I’m unique and maybe he thinks the majority of people are too stupid to be able to come to his enlightened views? – Maybe I should write a book to say that if you wish not to follow a faith thats fine, you just don’t need someone else to pat you on the back and tell you everything is alright? Or maybe you are the atheist that does need to be told what to think, in which case hang on the every word of Mr Dawkin’s. He’s making a living out of it, there’s no better person.
I had a rather humorous exchange with one of the erstwhile aggressive online atheists who claimed I had a faith and was pretending not to in order to argue with atheists. After getting over the realization that this claim was made because this particular atheist couldn’t fathom that there was someone with no faith who wouldn’t “rally to the cause” – I will repeat. I have written online for over 8 years. Whilst I defend peoples right to have faith I have repeatedly said I have none. Now whatever faith you care to examine, if I was a “secret worshipper” I think you would find that pretending to have no faith would be blasphemous and therefore I could not do it.
Maybe the simplest answer to all this and the message behind the article – Have respect for your fellow man/woman. Everyone has different views and thats one thing which does make the human race great. So what if your neighbour doesn’t share your beliefs? Unless you are trying to make money from finding what you perceive as fault in them, why should you mind what they believe in?