Skip to comments.Confessions of a Cultural Christian (Richard Dawkins Admits to Being One)
Posted on 01/27/2008 7:27:04 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Asked by a British member of Parliament if he is one of those atheists who wants to get rid of Christian symbols especially during the Christmas season, atheist Richard Dawkins replied that he is not. Dawkins said that he himself sings Christmas carols and that he considers himself a "cultural Christian." Just as many Jews regard themselves as Jewish, defend Jewish interests and cherish Jewish culture while not participating in Jewish religious rituals, Dawkins says that he respects the fact that the history and traditions of the West are shaped by Christianity. Dawkins says he's not one of those who wants to purge the West of its Christian traditions. The main threat to Christian symbols, Dawkins argues, does not come from atheists like him but rather from Muslims and members of other faiths.
Now this is quite remarkable. In The God Delusion, Dawkins portrayed the Christian God as a wicked, avaricious, capricious, genocidal maniac. Dawkins even blasted Jesus for such offenses as speaking harshly to his mother. Yet if the Jewish and Christian God was such a monster, what sense does it make for Dawkins to embrace the cultural influence of that deity? It would be like someone saying, "Hitler was a murderous maniac, but I am a cultural Nazi. No, I don't embrace the specifics of Nazi doctrine, but I appreciate what fascism has done to shape German culture. Let's give up the specifics of the Hitler program, but let's also keep Nazi culture along with the fuhrer's imagery on our coins and monuments."
Dawkins is not an unintelligent man, so what's going on here? One possibility is that Dawkins now recognizes that today's atheists who want to get rid of Christian symbols are just as intolerant as Christians who in the pst sought to deny atheists a voice in the public arena. So Dawkins' statement can be read as a critique of intolerance and political correctness.
A second possibility is that Dawkins now sees the Muslim threat to the West--and especially European culture--as more serious than the prospect of a second Christian Inquisition, so he has decided to ally with the Christians against the Islamic radicals. Other atheists like Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens are now admitting that atheist attempts to equate Islamic extremism with Christianity are bogus. The real threat doesn't come from Presbyterianism or Anglicanism but from a radical Islam that wants to obliterate Western civilization.
I suspect that these two factors may have played a role, but the main reason for Dawkins' remarkable self-identification as a cultural Christian is that he has slowly come to realize that even the values that he cherishes--values such as individual dignity, science as an autonomous enterprise, the equal dignity of women, the abolition of slavery, and compassion as a social virtue--came into the West because of Christianity. I have been hammering this point in my debates with leading atheists, and it's possible that one of the Oxford historians came up to Dawkins and said, to his horror, "You know, Richard, that D'Souza chap has a point."
Okay, so let's give this biologist credit for learning a little history. Still, the deeper question remains. If the God of the Old and New Testaments is such a bad character, how come his cultural influence is so positive? Absent a good answer to this question, we must reconsider the premise: perhaps the God of the Old and New Testaments is not the evil figure portrayed in atheist propaganda. On the contrary, perhaps all our Western notions of good and bad derive from no source other than this Christian God. This certainly was Nietzsche's view, and he knew a lot more about the subject than Richard Dawkins. Wouldn't it be interesting if Dawkins continues his intellectual growth and reverses his old misunderstandings? Then he can reissue his book: Overcoming My Delusions: Confessions of a Cultural Christian.
...other faiths, such as Secular Humanism, Collectivism, Communism, Socialism, and Environmentalism.
But there is only one goal shared by these faiths: to destroy the history and the established structure, order, and values of Western civilization so that it can be replaced by the communist state.
1. Totally avoided by the usual suspects who think Dawkins is the second coming, who do not want to be seen as the vitriolic little hypocrites they are, or.....
2. A series of diatribes about how Dawkins, no matter how much this article is in conflict with Dawkin's previous missives, is right, and how nice it would be if all the ignorant 'fundies' would shut up and go away.
Not all conversions happen as quickly as did Paul’s on the road to Damascus.
CS Lewis was an atheist at one time, too.
“Dawkins is not an unintelligent man, so what’s going on here?”
Oh, c’mon. Im no fan of Dawkin’s side-career as a god skeptic, but this is the man who essentially invented the entire field of memetics, gave us extended phenotype theory, etc.
D’souza pronouncing Richard Dawkins ‘not unintelligent’ ... please, D’souza isnt qualified to scrub out the difficult stains in Dawkins underwear.
guys like Dawkins will know their reckoning when it comes...like a sledgehammer
what’s Dawkins moniker over at DC I wonder?
'Honorary Centerfold Hanging Over the Bed'
The Book of Acts in the New Testament records that a demon-possesed fortunate teller was going around claiming Paul and his helper, " . . .are servants of the most High God" and that they "proclaim the way of salvation"
He rebuked her and cast the demon out.
ouch....along with a small sock
Hawkins is a hypocrit and needs to be told so.
He’s an enemy of Theism. Some people used to say Unitarians are the enemies of Christianity.
You are 100% right. Dawkins is taking the high road in the “culture wars.”
The idiots who complain about nativity scenes on public property are cut from the same cloth of those nancy boys who cry about “The War on Christmas” because somebody said “Happy Holidays” to them.
I wonder if what we are seeing among agnostics is an evolution from Christian to “Gentile.” That is, they accept JHVH, but not as Jews, yet they reject Jesus and other post-Noah covenants and prophets as false.
This would mean that they are purely monotheistic, rejecting the idea of the Trinity, or Jesus as Son of God, and also rejecting the Mosaic covenant, as being uniquely for Jews, not non-Jews. Only Noachic Law would apply to them.
In other words, Gentiles being as Jews see non-Jews who still accept JHVH. They would say they believe in God, just not Jesus or Mohammed.
I would certainly do so. I think Christianity is an important part of Western Civilization, as is the ability to belong to other religions or none. The Separation of
Church and State did not happen elsewhere.
I see yet a third way: Rabid, spittle flecked postings attacking Dawkins because they hate him without giving any thought or consideration to what he says. (but in a loving, Christian way)
My neighbor (actually across the street and 4 doors down, and sadly, moving to TN next month) is a former Marine infantryman (0311), and a fire-breathing conservative. I truly have never met a more dedicated conservative; he puts me to shame, having dedicated hundreds of hours to Oliver North’s senate campaign, and a couple hundred more to Allen’s gubernatorial and senate campaigns. He joined the Corps in the same year I did and for the same reason (1981, to kill muzzie fundies during the hostage crisis). The biggest difference between the two of us (other than his dedication) is his seething, volcanic hatred for liberals. I don’t like them, but his hatred is on a level 1,000 times as bitter and venomous as mine. He’s a mega gun-nut, too of course. True story — he has drawn up a list of people to invite and is planning a huge bash in his backyard to throw a party on the day Doug Wilder dies, because DW managed to legally limit him to 3 guns a month when he was governor. He LOVES Christians for their conservative, family ways, their law abiding respect for authority, and the immeasurable contributions they’ve made to Western Civ. and all of humanity. And yet,... You know where this is going. He doesn’t believe in God. This makes him a hypocrite? Something undesirable? Would we prefer a mega-liberal Buddhist? After all, he doesn’t believe in our God, either. Why is believing in Buddha, (a false religion) acceptable, while believing in no God (also false) not acceptable? Would we prefer a liberal Christian? If liberal Christians ran the world, all Christians would be in chains. If my neighbor ran the world, every courthouse and every school in this nation from CA to NY would be adorned with the 10 commandments and prayer would be encouraged. Muslim prayer would be outlawed, and Muslims would be banned from even entering the country.
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