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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Comments

Michael Baruzzini

Dawkins: "There is no logical pathway from atheism to wickedness."

Alas, there is no logical pathway from atheism to virtue, either. In fact, according to atheism, there is no such thing as "wickedness" or "virtue". Come to think of it, I don't know what Dawkins is all bent out of shape about. Did he write a diatribe like this the last time a duplicitous troop of Congo gorillas murdered and conquered a rival troop? I'm not quite sure what the difference is...

Mark Brumley

Frank Sheed told the story of the skeptic who stood up at a Catholic Evidence Guild lecture and declared to the speaker, "Either you're a fool or someone is paying you to say these things! And I can't imagine anyone paying you."

I don't like to call people fools but Richard Dawkins is certainly behaving foolishly. I know, I know: "The fool hath said in his heart ..." Still, if I did not know better, I would think Dawkins was a plant from the theist side trying publically to embarrass atheism. He is really that bad, that silly sounding. Golly.

I suppose in an age in which shouting passed one another on TV "news" shows counts for analysis and thoughtful commentary, it should not surprise anyone that what Dawkins does counts for serious discussion of religion. The barbarians have returned.

Paul Rodden

It's worth looking up an old commnetator you've quoted in the past: Brendan O'Neill at Spiked!

Spiked! has published a couple of very reasonable articles in the past couple of weeks on the ranting of the atheists (and being atheists themselves, carries more weight!).

Anil Wang

Dawkins: "There is no logical pathway from atheism to wickedness."

Sure there is. Atheism implies amorality. If a person is merely a bag of molecules, there is no difference between breaking a person's legs or a table's legs. All that's happening is molecular bonds are breaking. It is an action without moral value. Such an atheist wouldn't see his actions as wicked and might actually see himself as a good person, but that doesn't mean that wickedness hasn't been done.

Granted most atheists are not amoral for the simple reason that even the most fervent atheist is in the Image of God and cannot escape seeing even a glimmer of that Image in "the bag of molecules" he chooses to call his friend. But the point remains, when an atheist is not amoral, he is acting against his nature.

Teo Matteo

Mark, I think you may be insulting the barbarians with your comparison. Didn't a Pope, way back when, convince a ruthless barbarian NOT to sack Rome? At least they had some level of reason/compassion NO?

Lauri Friesen

It appears we have a new version of the "mad scientist". What I can't figure out is whether he is mad, as in angry, or mad as in insane? Certainly, he has lost any ability to reason.

Julie

Doesn't vowing to destroy a church, and murdering thousands of its priests and religious count as renouncing one's baptism? I argue that it would.

Mark Brumley

Opps. Teo Matteo is right. Sorry, barbarians.

Fernando Umberto Garcia de Nicaragua, Prefectus Minimus: The Jacksonian Institute

There's an enormous pile of serious sin in Dawkins' life that he doesn't want to face. This is the root of his tantrums.

Terryprest

Dawkins: "it is far from clear what there is in theology to be scholarly about. Surely nothing to respect."

More than two thousand years of scholarship and the basis of modern Western civilisation dismissed in less than two sentences.

Rather than refuting the Pope`s words, Dawkins has simply demonstrated the truth of his words.

Dan

"But nobody could call Benedict XVI saintly and keep a straight face."

Wrong. I, for one, think that Pope Benedict may be a saint. I have thought so for some time. I know him through his writings, which, in addition to being erudite and technically accomplished, are marked by goodness, holiness and courageous devotion to the truth. In my judgment they evidence the spirit of a saint.

Roberta Young

"There's an enormous pile of serious sin in Dawkins' life that he doesn't want to face. This is the root of his tantrums."

I suspect you're correct there. It was only after I converted from pro-abortion agnosticism to pro-life Catholicism, that I realized so much of my feminist anger at the Catholic Church was rooted in its refusal to get with the feminist agenda which praised selfishness, under the cover of assserting our rights, and scorned selfless love as neurotic. Deep down I knew that the choice to carry out an unplanned pregnancy and either raise the child or give it up for adoption involved a huge amount of selfless love, and the choice to abort was selfish, but I wanted to live in a culture which praised selfishess, and the Catholic Church wasn't doing that.

Dan

Roberta: It is encouraging to read about your path from feminism to Catholicism. I share your present view of modern feminism, which at its root is the antithesis of Catholicism. I have seen women go the opposite way, from Catholicism to feminism, and it seems always to embitter them.

Frank

Dawkins: "There is no logical pathway from atheism to wickedness."

This statement is just downright silly. Dawkins can,t have it both ways. He and his ilk have been saying for centuries that religion is responsible for millions of deaths thruout history but when it is pointed out that the number of deaths alledgedly perpetrated in the name of atheism dwarfs that supposedly commited in the name of religion they cry foul. Perhaps it is because this fact disarms the atheists of their primary weapon against religion. Then they would have to aknowledge that the atrocities commited inhuman history have been for the most part perpetrated because of greed and lust for power and that either religion or atheism have been used as justifications after the fact with murder not being a tenant of either belief system.

Manuel G. Daugherty Razetto

The repulsive utterances of this man is proof that the closer we get to evil, the uglier it looks.

Tom McFeely

You know, I think we might make the publication of Prof. Dawkins's comments an occasion to pray very fervently indeed for the salvation of his soul. Often the good professor seeks to mask his profound animus for all people of faith within soothing rhetoric intended to suggest he's not enraged by anyone with the temerity to oppose his atheist case.

The mask is off here, by contrast. And it's not a pretty sight.

I'm not saying this to mock him. And as for what body of unrepented sin might or might not contribute to the virulent hatred he harbours for believers in general and the Pope in particular, only God can say. But whatever motivates it, it's ruinous to his spiritual welfare.

Consequently he merits the prayers of all people of good faith -- although the mere suggestion of such prayers will surely serve to make him angrier yet, assuming that's even possible.

On another topic, what does it say about The Guardian, in terms of its willingness to serve as the publishing agent of this embarrassing screed? I should have thought the editors over there would have been able to realize that Dawkins's piece is so far over the top that any publication imprudent enough to publish it exposes itself to ridicule as well.

Indeed one could almost suggest The Guardian actually intended to undermine the atheist case by publishing the screed, but I'm sure that's not the case. Probably it was published because the editors of The Guardian, just like Dawkins himself, are so immersed in the anti-religious mentality that pervades Britain's elites these days that they couldn't see they were about to make public fools of themselves. If so I guess we should pray for them too, shouldn't we?

Tom McFeely

One more thought about Dawkins's article.

As an alternative to the hypothesis that unrepented sin is the primary motivator behind the article's startling depth of hatred for the Catholic Church and for Pope Benedict XVI, I propose this possibility: wounded intellectual pride. I suspect that on some inner level, Dawkins understands full well that Benedict is altogether his intellectual master.

Hence Dawkins's derogatory and silly dismissal of theology as a discipline within which resides any substance of truth or value. If all theology is merely a load of rubbish, then so too are all of Benedict's masterful theological insights, no matter how intellectual profound and how beautifully expressed they might otherwise seem.

And Dawkins, I further suspect, is utterly outraged by the idea that anyone in the universe could actually be demonstrably smarter than he is. And he's all the more outraged to find himself the intellectual inferior of the visible head of the Catholic Church that he so deeply despises.

Just a thought.

Brian J. Schuettler

Or it could simply be, Tom, that Dawkins is just a silly ass.

Tom McFeely

Yeah, Brian, true enough.

Of course your hypothesis and mine aren't necessarily mutually exclusive. One might even say that my theory is merely exploring a possible mechanism by which the good professor became so manifestly silly, given that he's by no means an ass when he confines himself to his actual areas of competence within the realm of the physical sciences.

He only becomes a silly ass when he ventures into metaphysical matters, something about which he clearly knows next to nothing. Or maybe even less than nothing.

Tom McFeely

Also, I think people need to be careful to steer clear of employing this kind of erroneous logic in debating against atheism: Richard Dawkins is an atheist. Richard Dawkins is also a silly ass. Therefore, all atheists are silly asses.

I'm sure that's not true of all atheists. In fact, some of my best friends are atheists, or at least they were at one time!

Brian J. Schuettler

Anyone who employs that kind of erroneous logic deserves what they get.

Randy

Actually it is not unusual for a brilliant scientist to be an ass even when talking in his area of expertise. There are some very big egos at play. Often they don't have good social skills. So I would not assume Dawkins does not behave badly when he is talking about the biology of bees.

Telemachus

I'm not blessing Dawkins' logic, here, but he does have a point about the "official" number of believers in the world. I get tired of hearing numbers bandied about without any distinction between "people who were baptised into the Catholic Church" and "believing and practicing members of the Catholic Church." Big difference.

I found his initial statement hilarious: "Hitler was a Roman Catholic. Or at least he was as much a Roman Catholic as the 5 million so-called Roman Catholics in this country today." And this is based on what exactly? There's pretty much no evidence that Hilter was ever a sincere believer in Christ and the Church. Is he seriously contending that NONE of the "5 million" Catholics in Britain believe or practice what they say they believe?

My puzzlement in all this is why atheists of the Dawkins-brand still have yet to understand our critique of their beliefs with regards to consequences. They always set up a straw-man whereby the interlocutor states "Atheism leads inevitably to X," then do nothing except reply "See all the non-atheist belief systems that lead to X!? Ergo... um... atheism?" It'd be funny if it wasn't so terrible. That's why I'm really hopeful about the Church's planned "court of the Gentiles" which is going to be set-up some time next year in three different locations. Then maybe some fruitful discussion will take place.

Gregory Williams

Tom, some of my best friends are silly asses. 8-)

LJ

Telemachus,

I think you are exactly right. Dawkins does have a point. We cannot have it both ways. When a Catholic (because of his baptism) does something horrific or evil, we respond quite rightly that such a person is not following the faith. Moreover, we also quite rightly believe that a Catholic who does grave evil and does not repent and seek the sacrament of Penance, will not see heaven if he dies in that state of mortal sin. And I think we may quite justifiably say that there will likely be some Catholics in hell when all is said and done, perhaps quite a few.

So how then can we tout the total number of baptisms into the Church when we know from statistical analysis that the vast majority are not at Mass on Sunday and don't practice the the faith into which they were baptized?

If, in fact, Hitler was baptized into the Church, we must concede Dawkins' point that there is indeed a real difference between the total baptized and the total practicing, perhaps even actually believing, which number only God knows.

Interestingly enough, Cardinal Ratzinger made the same point in Introduction to Christianity; (which I have quoted many times);

And when today as believers in our age we hear it said, a little enviously perhaps, that in the Middle Ages everyone without exception in our lands was a believer, it is a good thing to cast a glance behind the scenes, as we can today, thanks to historical research. This will tell us that even in those days there was the great mass of nominal believers and a relatively small number of people who had really entered into the inner movement of belief. It will show us that for many belief was only a ready-made mode of life, by which for them the exciting adventure really signified by the word credo was at least as much concealed as disclosed. -

Introduction to Christianity, Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), 1990,2004, Ignatius Press softcover, Page 49

That statement is startling, and incidently, would warm the heart of many an Evangelical Protestant.

Leaving Dawkins aside, what is to be done? Just accept that our current state of affairs is what Jesus meant by the wheat and the weeds and we must accept it? Or do we seek with John Paul II a new evangelization?

Because my wife cannot tolerate weed-killer on our lawn, I have to apply what is a fertilizer specifically designed to nurture grass roots but not weeds. The idea is, and it works when applied regularly, that the grass roots will eventually crowd out the weeds.

It seems to me that should be our goal, and if it takes Dawkins to remind us, so be it. If the wheat is nurtured properly it will naturally crowd out the weeds among the baptized.

IMHO

Nancy

I am wondering if Mr.Dawkins is suffering from some form of childhood trauma.

Brian J. Schuettler

Question: Is the "number" of Catholics really that important or is it the actual number of devout Christians who practice their faith really important? This isn't just a numbers game. Our Lord asked the important and ultimate question:
" Nevertheless when the Son of Man comes, shall He find faith upon the earth?" Luke 18:8


Posted by: Brian Schuettler | Monday, March 31, 2008 at 08:36 AM

As you can see, this question has been visited here before.

The comments to this entry are closed.

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