Skip to comments.Facing uncomfortable truths
Posted on 03/06/2013 6:35:08 PM PST by annalex
By Douglas Murray, February 24, 2013
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In a recent Al-Jazeerah interview, Richard Dawkins was asked his views on God. He argued that the god of "the Old Testament" is "hideous" and "a monster", and reiterated his claim from The God Delusion that the God of the Torah is the most unpleasant character "in fiction". Asked if he thought the same of the God of the Koran, Dawkins ducked the question, saying: "Well, um, the God of the Koran I don't know so much about."
How can it be that the world's most fearless atheist, celebrated for his strident opinions on the Christian and Jewish Gods, could profess to know so little about the God of the Koran? Has he not had the time? Or is Professor Dawkins simply demonstrating that most crucial trait of his species: survival instinct.
To answer the question, it is worth considering recent events in Denmark. In Copenhagen, on 5th February, a well-known critic of Islam - in the same way Professor Dawkins is a critic of Judaism and Christianity - narrowly survived an attempted assassination.
Lars Hedegaard is a journalist, historian and founder of the Free Press Society. After the worldwide uproar caused by the Danish Mohammed cartoons in 2005 he became the foremost defender of the rights of Danish writers and artists to express their opinions without fear of intimidation and murder.
Since the cartoons affair there have been numerous plots by Islamist extremists to kill politicians, editors and others. On New Year's Day 2010, one of the cartoonists, Kurt Westergaard, was visited at his home by a Somali-trained Islamist who attempted to ritually decapitate him with an axe. Westergaard escaped to the "panic room" which the security forces had installed in his house.
This month it was Hedegaard's turn. A ring at his front door bell revealed a "Muslim-looking" immigrant dressed as a postman. The young man fired at the 70-year-old's head from less than a yard. The bullet missed. Hedegaard punched his opponent who dropped his gun, picked it up, aimed and fired again at his head. The gun jammed and the man ran off.
The attack was fleetingly mentioned on the BBC's website, by the Associated Press and a few other outlets. But otherwise there was silence. That is, apart from the Scandinavian media who have in substantial parts - especially in Sweden - managed to blame Hedegaard for the attack. Hedegaard was repeatedly described simply as "a critic of Islam". So he brought it on himself, you see. Should have known better. Ought to have learned the cartoonist's lesson. One Swedish paper - sounding more Saudi or Iranian than Swedish - even called Hedegaard "an enemy of Islam". Who knew that this was already a crime?
Professor Dawkins is not an enemy of Jews or Christians. He is a critic of their religions. Lars Hedegaard is not an enemy of Muslims. He is a critic of aspects of the Islamic religion. If Professor Dawkins were murdered tomorrow by an Orthodox Jew the world would be unlikely to ignore the event. And I suspect that they would be unlikely to blame the victim rather than his assailant.
But of course nothing will happen to Professor Dawkins because from the tree of anti-religious knowledge he picks only at the easiest and lowest-hanging fruit. Hedegaard - and a few others - have tried to deal with a harder and more globally pressing issue. In the reaction and lack of reaction to that fact, the vitriol and the silence, much can be told about the state of our times. This is now the norm in Europe. Blaming the victim or pretending they had it coming is our easiest defence mechanism. Because doing so means we can avoid facing uncomfortable truths. Or think we can. For the time being.
Douglas Murray is associate director of the Henry Jackson Society
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I would say that his vision is focused on a particular aspect. It is not too broad, but too narrow. He rejects religion because it contradicts materialism. ( Maybe I'm saying the same thing! ) I feel the true scientist ( ahem ) should not propose a dogma, but consider a question, "What is Belief ?"
A pertinent question here is not about the nature of belief but about the nature of our civilization that tolerates cowards who insult us.
He is entitled to cowardice. He is also entitled to hating specifically Jews and Christians, but not the Muslims. He is not entitled to then pretend to be one with objective, scientific approach to religion as a social phenomenon.
I don't think he hates anybody. He spent his whole life advocating for scientific materialism starting in a time when that was a radical departure from conventional thinking. That's his sphere of thought, so he's being blind-sided by the Muslim thing. To him, it's a distraction. His remarks on the God of the Old Testament are scriptural commentary, in reaction to the various commandments to the Israelites to badly mistreat their enemies. As such, they represent a common sentiment of free-thinking Bible readers. All in a context of a conventionally Christian society, mind you. So essentially, he's an anachronism.
Interesting that Dawkins doesn't declare that all concepts of god, Allah included, don't exist - just the Judeo-Christian one. Dawkins isn't an atheist, he's really an antitheist.
He behaves like the godless man he is.
I think that someone who would advocate taking my children away from me so that I don’t infect them with religion qualifies as hating me, and hating my children.
There is nothing original in Dawkins either. This kind of coasting on the values of tolerance in the Western Christian civilization while seeking publicity by undermining it is at least as new as Voltaire. His other idea, that God is a human construct invented in the environment of insufficiently developed science is from the same stupid era, first offered by Laplace. He seems to be new only because he is good at being noisy.
Also, as a Christian, I come across critical commentary on glorification of violence in the Old Testament often, since Christians have a task unique to them reconciling the Old Testament with the New. None of these commentators are atheists, or have no clue about science, nor need to be. To us, Dawkins with his ideas about evilhood of the biblical God comes across as plain ignorant.
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