Richard Dawkins the secular Christian

From here:

I would describe myself as a secular Christian in the same sense as secular Jews have a feeling for nostalgia and ceremonies,” said Dawkins.


Dawkins grew up in the Anglican faith but became atheist in his teens. Last year, he said in an interview with The Spectator that he could be described as a “cultural Anglican”.

Someone claiming to be a secular Christian is about as sensible as someone claiming to be a boiled kipper.

The fact that Dawkins also sees himself as a “cultural Anglican” appears – to me, at least – rather less oxymoronic since the recent divorce between Christianity and Western Anglicanism; it’s common knowledge that many North American Anglican bishops believe themselves to be boiled kippers.

Richard Dawkins: “mild paedophilia” not so bad

It seems that the young Richard Dawkins was groped by a teacher; he doesn’t think it did him any “lasting harm”. Obviously the teacher was not a Catholic priest or Dawkins would be denouncing him as a leering old villain in a frock.

He also doesn’t seem to object to having been caned. If I were of a psychological bent (I’m not), I might be tempted to consider the applicability to Richard Dawkins of Theodore Dalrymple’s question :

Is flagellation for the purposes of sexual pleasure as English as cricket and buttered crumpets?

Or, if I were given to unkindness (other than to bishops, I’m not), I might suggest that Dawkins’ calling a religious upbringing child abuse and his encounter with phalangeal meandering “harmless”, is a twisting of values that brings disrepute to respectable atheists everywhere.

Interestingly, in the last paragraph below, Dawkins tells us that ethical standards should be determined by the values of the day: very fitting for someone who calls himself a cultural Anglican.

From here:

In an interview in The Times magazine on Saturday (Sept. 7), Dawkins, 72, he said he was unable to condemn what he called “the mild pedophilia” he experienced at an English school when he was a child in the 1950s.

Referring to his early days at a boarding school in Salisbury, he recalled how one of the (unnamed) masters “pulled me on his knee and put his hand inside my shorts.”

He said other children in his school peer group had been molested by the same teacher but concluded: “I don’t think he did any of us lasting harm.”

“I am very conscious that you can’t condemn people of an earlier era by the standards of ours. Just as we don’t look back at the 18th and 19th centuries and condemn people for racism in the same way as we would condemn a modern person for racism, I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild pedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today,” he said.


Richard Dawkins on Anglicanism: the most unkindest cut of all

There can be little that is more insulting to a belief system than to be a champion for its antithesis while claiming to be a product of its cultural charm.

In his debate with Rowan Williams, Richard Dawkins has restated that he is “a cultural Anglican”, implying that Anglicanism bears no relation to Christianity – which Dawkins hates – whatsoever. In Dawkins’ eyes and in the eyes of many others, to be Anglican is nothing more than to maintain a veneer of benign, doddering, civilising gentility over a society that openly ridicules what it once stood for.

From here:

Early in his address, Prof Dawkins made a provocative comparison between Christian and Islamic traditions, describing himself as a ”cultural Anglican”.

”I’m grateful, by the way, to be a cultural Anglican when you think of the competition,” he added.

”If I were a cultural Muslim, I would have something to say about that faith’s appalling attitude to women and various other moral points.”

Richard Dawkins reckons being raised Catholic is child abuse

Richard Dawkins made the point during an interview on Al Jazeera, a broadcaster owned by Qatar whose state religion is Wahhabism, the religion that places its children in madrassas to replenish the ranks of the Taliban.

Dawkins, a self-styled man of reason, ignores this and concentrates instead on Christianity – in its Catholic expression – a religion whose founder became a child in order to redeem mankind and, when children came to him, said: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these”.

His reasoning is based on the contention that Catholicism teaches something that it doesn’t actually teach: that the eternal destination of protestants, including children, is hell. Based on an anecdote from one person, he reaches the conclusion that paedophilia is merely “yucky” – a free expression of the Selfish Gene – and Catholicism is a malignant spawn from the eighth circle of, where else – hell.

From here:

The remarks are due to be broadcast tonight by Qatar-based TV network Al Jazeera.

Interviewer Mehdi Hasan asked Professor Dawkins about previous comments he made, when he said: ‘Horrible as sexual abuse no doubt was, the damage was arguably less than the long-term psychological damage inflicted by bringing the child up Catholic in the first place.’

Mr Hasan asked: ‘You believe that being bought up as a Catholic is worse than being abused by a priest?’. Professor Dawkins replied: ‘There are shades of being abused by a priest, and I quoted an example of a woman in America who wrote to me saying that when she was seven years old she was sexually abused by a priest in his car.

‘At the same time a friend of hers, also seven, who was of a Protestant family, died, and she was told that because her friend was Protestant she had gone to Hell and will be roasting in Hell forever.

‘She told me of those two abuses,  she got over the physical abuse; it was yucky but she got over it.

‘But the mental abuse of being told about Hell, she took years to get over.’


You don’t need Richard Dawkins to be wrong

You can do it all on your own, but Richard is able and willing to help.

Richard Dawkins is fond of saying “you don’t need God in order to be good”.

If God does not exist, then the above is a meaningless proposition because it’s impossible for a need to be met by something that isn’t there.

If God does exist then not only do you need God in order to be good, you need God in order to be anything: nothing would exist without him.

Since Dawkins is of the former opinion, his tiresome repetition of this phrase appears to be an attempt to divert attention from what is really bothering him. Without God, goodness is subjective and changeable. In practice, no-one of moderately sound mind lives as if right and wrong are determined by the whim of genetic mutation: everyone instinctively knows that some things are objectively wrong and others objectively right, a knowledge that, without God, is quite irrational.

Rather than face up to this, Dawkins keeps repeating “you don’t need God in order to be good”, a shibboleth so profoundly fatuous that one wonders how he gets away with it.

From here:

Dawkins: Don’t need God to be good … or generous.
Freethinkers, atheists, agnostics, secular humanists – whatever name non-believers go under, are not America’s most popular minority. They are also, not a small minority. According to Gallup, in 2011, and Pew in 2012, they comfortably outnumber Mormons, Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists all put together. One reason for our unpopularity is the widespread belief that you need God in order to be good.

Richard Dawkins thinks the Bible will put children off Christianity

From here:

For some reason the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (UK) was not approached for a donation in support of Michael Gove’s plan to put a King James Bible in every state school. We would certainly have given it serious consideration, and if the trustees had not agreed I would gladly have contributed myself.


I have an ulterior motive for wishing to contribute to Gove’s scheme. People who do not know the Bible well have been gulled into thinking it is a good guide to morality. This mistaken view may have motivated the “millionaire Conservative party donors”. I have even heard the cynically misanthropic opinion that, without the Bible as a moral compass, people would have no restraint against murder, theft and mayhem. The surest way to disabuse yourself of this pernicious falsehood is to read the Bible itself.

This is clearly a case of projection: Dawkins believes the Bible will put people off Christianity in the same way that his books have put people off atheism. Considering that there are about 2.2 billion Christians in the world who believe the Bible, it doesn’t appear to be the case. So much for Dawkins’ claim that he is convinced by evidence.

Richard Dawkins to Reason Rally: 'Show contempt' for faith

Because, after all, there is little that is more reasoned and logical than contempt….. hang on a minute, contempt is a feeling.

From here:

About 20,000 atheists gathered within shouting distance of the Washington Monument on Saturday for a Reason Rally hell-bent on damning religion and mocking beliefs — and believers, too.


Dawkins didn’t appear until five hours into the event, but few seemed discouraged by the near-constant rain or drizzle. They whistled and cheered for his familiar lines such as:

I don’t despise religious people. I despise what they stand for …
Evolution is not just true, it’s beautiful …

Then Dawkins got to the part where he calls on the crowd not only to challenge religious people but to “ridicule and show contempt” for their doctrines and sacraments, including the Eucharist, which Catholics believe becomes the body of Christ during Mass.