Richard Dawkins: Bigot and Coward

Atheism

Atheist blowhard Richard Dawkins never has the least hesitation in bashing Christians and Jews, but when the subject of Islam comes up, at least when he is being interviewed by Al-Jazeerah that will blast his comments throughout the Islamic world, well that is another matter:

While you may not agree with the views of the new breed of aggressive atheists who have emerged in recent years you have to admire their courage for bravely standing up and speaking truth to power against the various religious institutions whose integrity they seek to undermine. No matter what consequences they might face, they aren’t afraid to lay out their case against religion in terms that are often harsh and sure to offend.

Here is an example from an article called Facing uncomfortable truths:

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”.

As you can see, Dawkins has no trouble attacking the Hebrew God in a most direct and uncompromising manner. No atheist wallflower he.

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.

Whoops. It’s funny how these confident, cocksure prophets of atheism-who barely have time to take a breath between slamming the tenets of Christianity and Judaism-often get curiously tongue-tied and shy when the subject of Islam comes up. The idea that Dawkins doesn’t “know so much about” the God of the Koran is absurd. Of course he knows about Islam. And the same disdain and disregard that he has for Judaism and Christianity should surely apply to Islam as well.

Go here to read the rest at Fraters Libertas.  We live in low and dishonest times, and the rise of bigots and cowards like Richard Dawkins is a sign of those times.

99 Responses to Richard Dawkins: Bigot and Coward

  • T. Shaw says:

    Glenn Hubbard at Instapundit, “Don’t want your religion attacked? Behead a few attackers. It doesn’t take many — most of them are cowards and poseurs, and will shut up at the least hint of risk. Hey, don’t blame me. I didn’t set up this incentive system.”

  • Jon says:

    Of course anything atheists associate with the God of the Old Testament would equally apply to the Koran, if not more so. The fact is that Islam gets a free pass while Christianity and Judaism are bashed. Islam is covered under political correctness, I guess. Ravi Zacharias, a Christian apologist, pointed out that Islam is so far away in people’s minds that it simply doesn’t present itself as something they feel they need to argue. Also, many people have only a very abstract sense of Islam while remaining ignorant of its implications.

  • BigSoph says:

    You also have to be careful to avoid being sued in more civilized lands

    Make remarks seen as anti-Islamic in Canada and you will be before the CHRC in no time

    Feel free to be snide towards Catholics though

    Why is it though that human rights codes protect peoples’ beliefs in their imaginary invisible friends but not rational thought?

  • JL says:

    Hitchens was an equal-opportunity basher. He was a formidable intellect, a witty writer, and a worthy debater. He was also, shocker, relatively pro-life. About him, Bill Donahue lauded his free-thinking, unPC stances, and said “his style would at least get people to listen to him. I don’t think you can say the same for the others. They lack that panache that Christopher had.” (Hitchens comments on Mother Theresa were detestable, however). I liked listening to him and he made me think.

    I heard Dawkins out initially, because he had a sort of kindly stooped-over-geezer look about him, but quickly realized he was a mere scientist posing as a great mind; he was absolutely destroyed by Rowan Williams in their Oxford debate. He is also intellectually inconsistent, essentially making arguments along the lines of “I don’t believe in God but he wouldn’t do that if he actually existed.”

    My biggest problem is with Sam Harris; the man is an idiot. Not content to merely say that God doesn’t exist, he instead thinks one can create an entire system of morality solely using science, as not only a metric of morality but as a provider of moral first principles. His dismisses philosophy but fails to recognize that the hinge to his entire argument, the premise that existence is better than non-existence, is fundamentally non-scientific. People like him bother me the most, ridiculing those who base principles off un-provable premises but then go and do the same thing, just without mentioning that “g” word.

  • JL says:

    I guess my overarching problem with all of them, and most atheists in fact, is that they’re far more avid scriptural literalists than most Christians and certainly most Catholics are.

  • Jon says:

    Yes, it seems that when atheists wish to discredit the Bible, they view it very literally. They try to make it seem as absurd as possible instead of acknowledging things like context and the real sense intended by the writer. Clarence Darrow took full advantage of that during the Scopes Trial.

  • Jon says:

    Another issue at stake might be people’s desperate desire to maintain friendly relations with Islamic peoples. It may be a defensive tactic to avoid controversy.

    But I agree that many people simply don’t know Islam. And they really don’t know Islamic culture and society as it exists throughout much of the Middle East and northern Africa and Indonesia. They are unaware of the conflict of ideals that exists between the Islamic and Western worlds. People often travel, but how many of us spend an extended amount of time in a total Islamic society? If we did, we would realize how much of what we cherish is actually frowned upon, prohibited, or even punished oftentimes.

  • JL says:

    Jon,

    I have lived in the Middle East, specifically Cairo. I’ve had a similar conversation with Donald, but I think it’s a mistake to look at the Islamic world and say “they got it all wrong, and we got it all right.” Islam has definitely been hostile towards modernity, with demonstrable ill effects, but our headlong rush into the modern era has certainly bred its share of calamities.

  • Ian says:

    Stop playing the victim card, will you?

    Dawkins regularly criticises islam.

    Dawkins, like me, grew up with the bible, not the koran. Note that Dawkins says “merry christmas”, not “happy holidays”.

    So yes, Dawkin’s got intimate knowledge of the OT and the NT, but less so the koran.

  • Luke says:

    Dawkins is just as critical of Islam as all of the other religions, perhaps more so. He talks a lot about the huge injustices and threats of Islam. A quick search on YouTube and you will find tons and tons of videos where Dawkins is bashing Islam.

    In this specific case, he was asked a specific question about a literary character that he doesn’t know about, and so he rightly said he doesn’t know about it.

    This article takes the quote out of context and uses it to paint a picture that just simply isn’t true.

  • “He has criticized it in the past:”

    Indeed he has in the West. Suddenly he became tongue tied when he was being interviewed by Al- Jazeerah and realized his comments would be blasted all over the Middle East.

  • “I guess my overarching problem with all of them, and most atheists in fact, is that they’re far more avid scriptural literalists than most Christians and certainly most Catholics are.”

    Bingo. We see that in the atheist trolls who come here and attempt to roll out their “proof texts” that they use against Evangelicals and are stunned to learn that Catholics have a completely different way of looking at Scripture. The bone ignorance of Catholicism is often deep and wide among most atheists I have encountered, including those who claim to be ex-Catholics.

  • “Stop playing the victim card, will you?”

    No use of the victim card here Ian. We are Catholics who refuse to be used as punching bags by bigots. Get used to us, because you are going to see much more of this type of Catholic in the years to come.

  • Art Deco says:

    Dawkins, like me, grew up with the bible, not the koran. Note that Dawkins says “merry christmas”, not “happy holidays”.

    Well, you said it. Dawkins’ shtick is not philosophical or implicitly theological in character, but cultural. It is conceivable that Britain has less of a disjunction between elite opinion and popular opinion on questions religious than does the United States, but little doubt that religious observance is characteristic of only a modest minority in both sets. He applies a great deal of rhetorical force against 7% of the population; the vociferous element of that 7% is hardly trenchant. He’s a bully at heart.

    On another matter, Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post recently appeared at a panel discussion and debate at one of the universities in Britain. It is on YouTube. The behavior of the patrician and intellectual audience left such a bad taste that she said she thought she would never visit Britain again. Among a certain social set, gross hostility to Jews is quite respectable in the British Isles and Dawkins comments need to be seen in that light (Morning’s Minion’s as well).

  • “Among a certain social set, gross hostility to Jews is quite respectable in the British Isles and Dawkins comments need to be seen in that light (Morning’s Minion’s as well).”

    Anti-Semitism has ever been a popular bigotry among most of England’s ruling elite, along with anti-Catholicism. Some of the most rabid anti-Churchill commentary in the Thirties in England depicted him as in bed with the Jews and an agent of the Rothschilds.

  • Charles says:

    It’s about tearing down the West. It’s the same old self-destructive trait. So full of anger at themselves, they trash their room (institutions of the West). So full of doubt over their sins, they burn bridges and isolate (influences of the West). They’re suicidal patients writ large.

  • Art Deco says:

    It’s about tearing down the West. It’s the same old self-destructive trait. So full of anger at themselves, they trash their room (institutions of the West). So full of doubt over their sins, they burn bridges and isolate (influences of the West). They’re suicidal patients writ large.

    I disagree. A hypothesis: the impulse in question is one of self-aggrandizement of one’s own subculture against various rivals – competing subcultures in one’s own time and previous generations. Anthony Esolen and George Will have made this point about phenomena in contemporary academic discourse (e.g. the impulse to debunk the works of the cohorts who fought and won the 2d World War). There is nothing truly self-lacerating about it. Elizabeth Wurtzel is self-lacerating; I do not think she qualifies as much of a cultural warrior.

  • Art Deco says:

    Anti-Semitism has ever been a popular bigotry among most of England’s ruling elite, along with anti-Catholicism. Some of the most rabid anti-Churchill commentary in the Thirties in England depicted him as in bed with the Jews and an agent of the Rothschilds.

    I suspect nowadays it is the chatterati and not members of aristocracy and gentry who are the source of this miasma. The Rothemeres were then. John Pilger is now.

  • The chatterati in England are not infrequently drawn from the ranks of the elite Art, and those who aren’t tend to emulate elite attitudes. “Aping their betters” I believe was the expression in a more honest time when class prejudice tended to be blunt and open.

  • Jim Silberman says:

    Clearly, Richard Dawkins is familiar with the travails of writer Salman Rushdie, a fellow Brit. Attacking “the Hebrew God” is helpful to a leftist like Dawkins because it legitimizes his attacks on Israel. As for Dawkins’ attacks on Christianity, he can take comfort in knowing he is not alone. Aided by Western media, academia and many politicians, Dawkins can rely on secular culture to continue the destruction of Christendom. What atheists like Dawkins fail to appreciate is GK Chesterton’s observation that a “man who ceases to believe in God does not believe nothing; he believes anything.” The darkness waiting to replace God will consume atheists like Dawkins along with believers, and even those who believe in Allah.

  • Michael says:

    It’s a wonder there isn’t a fatwa on him.

    Dawkins attacks ‘alien rubbish’ taught in Muslim faith schools

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2046715/Richard-Dawkins-attacks-alien-rubbish-taught-Muslim-faith-schools.html

    Dawkins: Islam is ‘one of the great evils in the world’

    http://freethoughtnation.com/contributing-writers/63-acharya-s/479-richard-dawkins-islam-is-one-of-the-great-evils-of-the-world.html

    Richard Dawkins destroys muslim on morality

  • Dale Price says:

    And yet, he couldn’t bring himself to say any of that on Al Jazeera, choosing to dissemble instead.

    And, yes, there is a Christian cleric, Father Zakaria Botros, who’s ballsier than Dawkins, saying all of that and more in Arabic. For his trouble, he has a $60 million Al Qaeda fatwa on his head.

  • Tsingi says:

    I love this argument. Christianity is no worse than Islam! Why don’t you slam go Islam and leave us alone for a while?

    Personally it’s because Islam has no direct effect on me, whereas Christianity is constantly applying pressure to force The immoral parts of the bible into law.

    The fact that most of the Christians I talk to don’t seem to agree with these things either just makes if more infuriating.

    If Dawkins read up on Islam, would you go after him for not being an expert on Hinduism?

    Face it, Christianity is the religion whose evil affects most atheists you will come across on the internet.

    People in most Islamic countries probably can’t even read this blog. Atheists in many Islamic countries are either dead already or smart enough to shut up about it.

  • Michael says:

    Does anyone have a link to the interview? Do you suppose if perhaps he critized Islam they may not have broadcast it? And do you think the author of this article should have done due diligence to see that Prof. Dawkins is an outspoken critic of Islam before calling him a bigot and a coward?

  • “And do you think the author of this article should have done due diligence to see that Prof. Dawkins is an outspoken critic of Islam before calling him a bigot and a coward? ”

    Due diligence was done and Dawkins is both a bigot and a coward.

  • “Personally it’s because Islam has no direct effect on me, whereas Christianity is constantly applying pressure to force The immoral parts of the bible into law.”

    Oh, I assure you that the jihadists want you dead just as much as they want us believers dead. What “immoral” parts of the Bible do you claim that Christians wish to have made into law?

  • Paul Zummo says:

    Personally it’s because Islam has no direct effect on me, whereas Christianity is constantly applying pressure to force The immoral parts of the bible into law.

    The immoral parts of the Bible?

    Pray tell inform the community which “immoral” parts of the Bible – or moral, for that matter – Christians are trying to force into law?

  • Paul Zummo says:

    Sorry, I see Donald beat me to the punch.

    I often stand in disbelief as angry atheists loudly proclaim about us scary Christianists and our desire to implement sharia, American style. And yet time and time and time again, as I’ve documented, it’s quite the other way around as it’s Christians fighting rearguard actions to ensure that secularists don’t force their amorality down our throats.

  • JDP says:

    Tsingi but i thought Dawkins was on a crusade for Unbelief everywhere, as a matter of principle. you’re saying no, he’s more like your run-of-the-mill ACLU member. good to know

  • Michael says:

    Donald R. McClarey – The author didn’t even post a link to the supposed interview. Is that the way you think one should disparage people? As far as I know he made the entire thing up (just like the Bible and Koran were).

  • T. Shaw says:

    ” . . . The immoral parts of the Bible . . . ”

    Isaiah 5:20- Woe to those that call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light . . .

  • Fr. John says:

    Paul Zummo says:
    Friday, March 1, 2013 A.D. at 11:55am

    Personally it’s because Islam has no direct effect on me, whereas Christianity is constantly applying pressure to force The immoral parts of the bible into law.

    The immoral parts of the Bible?

    Pray tell inform the community which “immoral” parts of the Bible – or moral, for that matter – Christians are trying to force into law?

    I was going to ask the same question along with “Tsingi, by what standard do you judge something as “evil”?

  • Michael says:

    Donald R. McClarey – Have you found the interview in question? Have you watched it? How do you know he isn’t as aggressive with Islam and he is with other religions? Or can you just take it on faith, evidence being superfluous and potentially contradictory to your opinion?

    I watched a short clip of it and heard him condemning Muslim suicide bombers while the interviewer sought to distance them from Islam.

  • Michael says:

    How do you know it wasn’t cut? He’s certainly outspoken on Islam as well as Christanity. Several people on the web there said their questions were cut from the show as too condemning of Islam.

  • Paul Zummo says:

    Yeah, Donald, how do you know that Dawkins didn’t launch in a 25 minute long epic monologue on the evils of Islam, punched up by a juggling clown riding on the back of a unicorn to the tune of “Have Nagila?” You can’t say that didn’t happen, now can you?

  • “How do you know it wasn’t cut?”

    I don’t. I would be surprised however if Al-Jazeera would go through the trouble of getting Dawkins and then excise comments that their audience would find most interesting, if enraging. Certainly Al-Jazeera in the past has played up to their audience alleged attacks on Islam from western sources.

  • Mary De Voe says:

    Allah has no son to love or to love him. The Triune God of the Old and New Testament is love and loves. The Supreme Sovereign Being is existence and exsts. A god without love and mercy does not exist. After bigot and coward, it is all said.

  • Michael says:

    Donald R. McClarey – and besides, we know Muslim fanatics can get incensed over books published in Britain, cartoons in Denmark, and videos on Youtube.

    Paul Zummo – “how do you know that Dawkins didn’t launch in a 25 minute long epic monologue on the evils of Islam, punched up by a juggling clown riding on the back of a unicorn to the tune of “Have Nagila?” You can’t say that didn’t happen, now can you?”

    I ave faith that all you said happened :->

  • Art Deco says:

    “Personally it’s because Islam has no direct effect on me, whereas Christianity is constantly applying pressure to force The immoral parts of the bible into law.” –

    Michael, for more than 50 years, just about every significant political dispute over legislation attempting to constrain vice has begun with exercises of discretion by either judges or prosecutors, exercises which either explicitly or implicitly annulled duly enacted legislation. The collapse of anti-obscenity law, the end of regulation of the traffic in contraceptives, the excision of abortion as an offense in penal codes, the disappearance of the ‘morals charge’ were, with few exceptions, not the initiatives of elected officials.

    As for impositions, I would remind you that people send their children to school compelled by truancy law. The content of school curriculum will be a public issue as long as schooling is, functionally a state monopoly. Who made the schools loci for distributing contraceptives, who made them meat-and-potatoes for Howard Zinn’s publishers, and who now seeks to make them loci for public mobilizations on behalf of the bien-pensants’ special snowflakes?

  • Michael says:

    Art Deco – I’m not sure what jurisdiction you are in but parents have access to a public system but can choose private school (my choice) or religious schools or home school.

  • Dale Price says:

    Art Deco – I’m not sure what jurisdiction you are in but parents have access to a public system but can choose private school (my choice) or religious schools or home school.

    Translation: when my viewpoints are shoved down your throat, it’s just good policy. You, on the other hand, are a backward theocrat who must be opposed at all costs.

    Not to mention that Michael is effectively telling the poor and disabled (e.g., those unable to take advantage of the “alternatives”) to shove off, but given that most evangelical atheists tend to be upper middle class or better, that’s unsurprising.

  • Michael says:

    Dale Price – As opposed to you who want to inflict your religious taboos on the public system. Most religious people have no trouble with contraception, gays or remarriage. Catholics do. Who should the public system accommodate.

    Actually where I live in Canada, Catholics can send their children to publicly funded Catholic school where there are allowed to teach against all those things.

  • Michael says:

    There are many things I dislike about public schools. but it has to do with their pedagogy rather than than my need to impose my beliefs upon them. I have found them open to religion, open to differing point of view, not pushing contraception but teaching children to be tolerant of others. Unfortunately these are many of the features some religious people gate.

  • Dale Price says:

    Thank you for proving my point, Michael. Your beliefs are already accommodated, so there’s naught to be done but to ensure the backwards haters are beaten down.

    Though imposing a prohibitive tax on those who object but are too poor or otherwise unable to escape the local public school is…unegalitarian, for starters.

    Your candor is–believe it or not–genuinely appreciated. With one exception:

    Actually where I live in Canada, Catholics can send their children to publicly funded Catholic school where there are allowed to teach against all those things.

    No, that’s not correct, and you know it.

    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/catholic-schools-will-follow-ontarios-gay-straight-club-requirement/

    http://www.cp24.com/news/tories-say-they-won-t-re-open-abortion-debate-1.990010#ixzz28vYJJdfn

    Education Minister Broten’s comments are illuminating:

    Broten also said publicly-funded Catholic schools in Ontario should not be teaching students that abortion is wrong because the anti-bullying law prohibits misogyny.

    “Taking away a woman’s right to choose could arguably be considered one of the most misogynistic actions that one could take,” she said.

    “I don’t think there is a conflict between choosing Catholic education for your children and supporting a woman’s right to choose.”

    As to not pushing contraceptives, the antics of the Toronto school district make that assertion rather dubious as well.

  • Michael says:

    Think about it. In your ideal world, you (or your church since you are required to believe what your church teaches) would dictate curriculum to everyone. No way. Public schools need to teach children with a wide variety of beliefs and backgrounds and not all can be accommodated at all times. And I like said, I do not agree with everything the public school teaches and does but I’m not as self centered to think they need to do everything my way. Apparently you are.

  • Art Deco says:

    Art Deco – I’m not sure what jurisdiction you are in but parents have access to a public system but can choose private school (my choice) or religious schools or home school.

    1. In the county in which I grew up, 89% of the primary and secondary enrollment was in the state schools. I grew up in a metropolitan county which had a critical mass of Catholics to build a parallel system and had had, at one time, one of the most vigorous diocesan administrations in the history of the American Church. If you were in a non-metropolitan county, you were generally out of luck. I should note that the economy of Catholic education was crucially dependent upon the vigor of the religious orders. Schools not staffed by celibate Catholic religious enrolled about 1.4% of the students in my home county. Yes, state schools are a functional monopoly.

    2. The vast majority of people have children at one time or another and thus enroll children in school at some point in their life. However, at any one time, most adults are paying taxes to cross-subsidize the extant corps of parents. There is no problem with that per se; what goes around comes around. However, these same adults are compelled to support schools who carry a pedagogy that violates their conscience. In effect, they are dhimmi paying the jizya.

    3. The problem is compounded for people who have school age children right now. They not only pay the jizya, or they are compelled to pay tuition and fees to make alternative arrangements, leave the labor force to make alternative arrangements (Advocate Price can elaborate on that, as can Mrs. Price), or contend around the dinner table with the filthy runoff of the places they send their children to school.

    4. Please recall that primary and secondary schooling is not a ‘public good’ in the sense that roads are or in the sense that the services of the police or the military are. Schools are service enterprises which can and do arise spontaneously thrive on the open market as do other service enterprises. It is just that it was deemed desirable, around about 1840, that there be a baseline of educational services produced in this country; it was later deemed desirable that there be a baseline consumed – hence truancy laws. There are civic and economic reasons for this (well or ill-considered). However, to achieve that end, state governments in this country elected to use the tool of public agency. Given the record-keeping technology and practice and the mindsets of the time, this may have been the only practical option – then, not now.

    5. Sixty years ago, you had less contention on certain social and moral questions and a great deal more local discretion in the staffing, curriculum, and disciplinary standards of local schools. They were ‘common schools’ to a much greater degree than they are today. Now, they belong to, to the occupational associations, to the unions, to NCATE and the teacher training faculties, to local politicians, and to state and local educrats who embody these stake-holders.

    6. Sorry, but various and sundry agitators in this country have just no sense of restraint or courtesy when dealing with the larger society, and the judiciary and the apparat are verrry responsive to them. Politicized homosexuals are the worst, followed by the educational wing of the industry which produces contraceptives, followed by ethnic particularists.

    Actually where I live in Canada, Catholics can send their children to publicly funded Catholic school where there are allowed to teach against all those things.

    Yeah, we heard all about it.

    http://www.cpco.on.ca/News/PrincipalConnections/PastIssues/2006-2007/Fall/A%20Precious%20Legacy%20Lost.pdf

  • “Think about it. In your ideal world, you (or your church since you are required to believe what your church teaches) would dictate curriculum to everyone.”

    Incorrect Michael as even a cursory study of the history of states where Catholicism is the dominant religion would quickly demonstrate. You have a cartoon vision of the Church and Catholics and the reality is at complete variance with your cartoon image. Even Catholics who are completely Orthodox differ quite a bit in their views. We see that every day in the comboxes. Unlike the totalitarian atheist ideologies of the last century, Catholicism has never cherished complete conformity in secular matters as either possible or even desirable. There is a reason why the Church has championed subsidiarity, because she has always understood that on most matters it is a big world out there and good people are going to differ endlessly.

  • Dale Price says:

    Watching you silently backpedal away from your confident assertions is fascinating, I’ll say that.

    Um, no, I don’t expect public schools to follow a curriculum dictated by myself. I’d be happy if they were neutral–as opposed to, say, sponsoring a regular mosque service, as Toronto’s public schools did. I trust you registered your disapproval of that? Or having materials promoting group sex (again, the Toronto schools, which are just amazing. Bipolar, apparently, but amazing).

    But since you don’t object to the state dictating to Catholic schools what they can and cannot teach, I suspect this discussion is played out. If it’s only a problem when your ox is gored, then what’s the point?

  • JL says:

    Michael, I think someone already asked you to do this, but could you please give an account of the objective, normative system of morality, by which you are able to evaluate policies and determine whether they are “immoral” or not?

  • Michael says:

    Donald R. McClarey -Catholics may certainly disagree on their views of many things but I said beliefs and you cannot disagree on your beliefs unless you are a cafeteria Catholic, picking what you like and discarding what you don’t. Are you a cafeteria Catholic?

  • Michael says:

    1. There’s no aw that makes state schools a functional monopoly in any western jurisdiction I know of.

    2. And I disagree with spending money to support wars I don’t agree with, or to build roads I’ll never use. Can everyone opt out of what they disagree with?

    3. I have no idea what jizya is.

    4. How is education different from a military?

    5. Sixty years ago mixed race marriages were illegal in many jusrisdictions, homosexuals could be jailed and blacks were denied access to the same schools as whites. Do you long for those halcyon days?

  • Dale Price says:

    Sixty years ago mixed race marriages were illegal in many jusrisdictions, homosexuals could be jailed and blacks were denied access to the same schools as whites. Do you long for those halcyon days?

    It’s obnoxious that you can’t argue without presuming the worst about those with whom you disagree. How do ascriptions of hateful motives in those you disagree with rationally advance your arguments?

  • Dale Price says:

    3. I have no idea what jizya is.

    Jizya is the tax traditionally leveled by Muslim states upon their non-Muslim subjects, the dhimmis. It had the effect of marginalizing those subjects and, over time, forcing their conversion to Islam to escape the onerous financial burden.

  • Michael says:

    Dale Price – So it gone full circle. If Donald R. McClarey can call Prof Dawkins a bigot and a coward without foundation why do you decry my comment when I do no such thing. I asked the question, didn’t impose the answer.

  • T. Shaw says:

    St. Augustine wrote in The City of God, “The only evils these people recognize are having to endure hunger, disease, and murder.”

    These people don’t believe in a supreme being and so have no objective, moral authority except fear of police state retribution, or fear of Muslims beheading them if they mistreat Islam the way they do Christianity.

    Be nice to Michael. Soon we’ll be fleeing to Canada.

  • Michael says:

    Donald R. McClarey – We were dicussing beliefs, not views. Are you a cafeteria Catholics? Do you reject the Catholic Church’s teaching on any issues?

  • Dale Price says:

    I asked the question, didn’t impose the answer.

    Ah. So the following is cool by you, then. Good:

    “Michael, are you a fan of Toronto Public Schools promoting group sex to high schoolers?”

    No answer is imposed.

    Oh, and Dawkins is a scorching anti-religious bigot: anyone who compares religious education of children by their parents to child abuse can be described with no other terms.

    His comparatively-bashful performance on Al Jazeera certainly raises interesting questions about his starch. If he was misrepresented in that interview, he should be thumping the tub like he does about catechism of youngsters.

  • JDP says:

    there were aspects of society that were more positive “back in the day,” yes, despite people’s tendency to reduce it to its flaws.

  • Michael says:

    “Michael, I think someone already asked you to do this, but could you please give an account of the objective, normative system of morality, by which you are able to evaluate policies and determine whether they are “immoral” or not?”

    Because we both get much of our morality from the secular world around us. See the video I posted above “Richard Dawkins destroys muslim on morality”. He uised it to answer essentially the same question you asked here.

  • Art Deco says:

    Think about it. In your ideal world, you (or your church since you are required to believe what your church teaches) would dictate curriculum to everyone. No way. Public schools need to teach children with a wide variety of beliefs and backgrounds and not all can be accommodated at all times. And I like said, I do not agree with everything the public school teaches and does but I’m not as self centered to think they need to do everything my way. Apparently you are.

    Michael, I have a multi-part suggestion:

    1. Re-incorporate all the state schools as philanthropic enterprises. Place schools comprehending 93% of the berths under the authority of trusteeships elected in a postal ballot by locally resident alumni. Have the local sheriff as the trustee of the other 7% (basically dumping grounds for incorrigibles no one else will take).

    2. Charter about two dozen regental colleges. These colleges would be para-statal occupational associations. You would have one college for the accountants, one for statisticians and actuaries, one for retired military, one for school teachers, one for engineers, several for different fractions of the arts and sciences faculties & c. Hold postal ballots among members of each college to nominate candidates for a board of regents, say, three per college. You can have the Lt. Governor or whomever pick one of the three.

    3. Extend to the board of regents the task of composing school examinations within guidelines delineated in statutory law. You could have a basic education series with five or six paces, an academic secondary series with two paces, and a vocational series with one pace. Test all the young twice a year, wherever they are enrolled.

    4. Produce league tables for all schools in the province. The ideal metric, if you can produce it, would be a measure of semester-to-semester improvement controlling for the psychometric profile of the school. Identify the schools at the very bottom of the table (leaving aside those under the sheriff’s government) who comprehend 1.5% of the registered students. Revoke their charters and remand them to the courts for a supervised liquidation.

    5. Identify any home-schooled children scoring especially poorly. Send their parents a notice that they have to register with an incorporated school the following year or be in violation of truancy laws.

    6. Finance the whole shebang with vouchers issued by the state education ministry. A voucher would be issued to a custodial parent for each child between the ages of 5 and 18. The parent would register their young at the town clerk’s office and turn the voucher over to the school authorities each semester. The school principal would forward these to the state treasury for redemption. Should the parent wish to home school or make some other sort of alternative arrangement, the voucher can be turned into the town clerk who will rebate a portion of the parents’ direct tax payments up to a dollar value maximum. What is key is that the young appear twice a year for their examinations, proctored by the board of regents.

    7. Incorporated schools participating in the voucher program, whether quondam state schools, Catholic schools, sundry private academies, or those with provisional accreditations, will operate under a regulatory regime, with the corporation and staff bound to respect local land use regulations, health and safety regulations (notably fire and building codes), the penal code, elements of commercial law which prohibit collusive pricing and deceptive solicitation and advertising; and elements of labor law which prescribe wage and hour standards and provide for civil penalties for specified abuses inflicted on employees. As philanthropies, they will have to deposit their financial statements with the Secretary of State and face legal limits on the permissible compensation of their officers. They will face limits on nepotism in hiring and contracting; they will be compelled to bank all retained income in an audited endowment; they will face civil and criminal penalties for crimes analogous to commercial bribery and extortion should they attempt that; they will be prohibited from charging tuition and fees (though not from soliciting donations). Otherwise, leave them alone to set their hiring standards, compose their curriculum, and set their disciplinary standards. If they do an exceptionally poor job, the results of regents’ examinations will compel their closure.

    8. Each youngster, on reaching the age of 18, will have a book of certificates with one for each examination successfully completed. The content of that book will influence what sort of tertiary education he seeks out and qualifies for; tertiary education will be strictly fee-for-service, not subsidized, and lightly regulated.

    Complete parental choice with quality control measures. Why not? Well…

    I guarantee you, a mass of vested interests would loathe most every element of such a system, and you would also have blowhards like the late Robert Hughes kvetching about the state giving so much as a dime to parochial schools.

  • “Donald R. McClarey – We were dicussing beliefs, not views. Are you a cafeteria Catholics? Do you reject the Catholic Church’s teaching on any issues?”

    Depends upon what you mean by teaching. Non-Catholics tend to have an erroneous view of what is dogma in the Catholic Church and what is not. Here are two links where we had vigorous disagreement among Orthodox Catholics:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2012/07/24/father-wison-miscamble-defends-bombing-of-hiroshima-and-nagasaki/

    http://the-american-catholic.com/tag/bomfog/

    You will almost always find more diversity of beliefs and opinions in a gathering of Orthodox Catholics than you will among the faculty of almost all universities, although admittedly that is a low bar.

  • Art Deco says:

    2. And I disagree with spending money to support wars I don’t agree with, or to build roads I’ll never use. Can everyone opt out of what they disagree with?

    As indicated above. Both the military and the road network are what economists call ‘public goods’. They only come into being with the erection of government. This is not the case with schools, which can and do thrive on the open market. By the way, the Selective Service System in this country regularly provided dispensations from military service for Mennonites and various others.

    3. I have no idea what jizya is.

    Among other things.

    4. How is education different from a military?

    The salient difference is noted above. Among other things, military service is inherently stereotypes. Schooling is not.

    Sixty years ago mixed race marriages were illegal in many jusrisdictions, homosexuals could be jailed and blacks were denied access to the same schools as whites. Do you long for those halcyon days?

    This is completely non sequitur and faintly malicious. However, if you are at all curious:

    1. Anti-micegenation laws were a comparatively recent innovation (all post-bellum, I believe. Mr. McClarey will know) and not universal. I am from New York, where they were not in force. They were not of much importance because there was almost no interest on either side of the color bar in contracting marriages across it. (By the way, black women in the United States generally disapprove of cross-racial amatory affiliations).

    2. Consensual sodomy was a class b misdemeanor where I grew up (similar to other sex offenses, like patronizing a prostitute). Petty misdemeanors seldom result in jail time in New York (and I believe that was true 60 years ago as well), but municipal judges do have that option. The maximal sentence would be 90 days. Bar in very odd circumstances, you had to be collared going down on someone in a public place to be hauled in for consensual sodomy.

    3. Segregated schools systems were problematic primarily where blacks were thin on the ground and assembling a small corps of black students for a segregated school imposed various sorts of costs on that population; they could also be problematic when they were short-changed on funding. Caste regulations do incorporate insult into public life. However, as has been known for 40-odd years, beginning with James Coleman’s research published in 1966, they were not particularly problematic in any injuries to the intellectual development of black pupils, at least as regards the post-war period when a certain meliorist strain was abroad among Southern politicians (e.g. James Byrnes) reflected in educational administration. A great deal of injury was done after 1955 in attempts to engineer integrated schools (as distinct from desegregated schools). You have to compare the reality of before and after, not a caricature of the before next to aspirations for the after.

    My mother and father grew up in a world which had much to recommend it and much that is no longer present. That standards and practices of that world produced better-reared people. As Peter Hitchens says, we chose the wrong future.

  • “Anti-micegenation laws were a comparatively recent innovation (all post-bellum, I believe. Mr. McClarey will know) and not universal.”
    About 30 states had anti-miscegeny laws at one time. Democrats tended to push for them and Republicans to oppose them. By the time of Loving v. Virginia which struck down anti-miscegency laws, about 16 states had them, all former slave holding states, and, except for Delaware, almost totally controlled by Democrats. One of the groups supporting the challenge to the anti-miscegeny laws in 1967 was the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, the predecessor to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

  • Jon says:

    I still think that apart from revelation, there is no convincing argument to be made against it. The reason we oppose homosexuality is because it is a matter of creation. We hold that a triune God created humanity and that through his plan we move toward a telos. Apart from the scriptural narrative, it sounds highly unreasonable to condemn alternative lifestyles.

  • Jon says:

    We can cite the biological makeup of people and the medical complications which arise from the behavior, but without a creational framework I’m not sure it would make much sense.

  • JL says:

    I agree Jon. Natural law itself is not sufficient. It needs God to move it from a description of what is to a guide of what we ought to do.

  • Mary De Voe says:

    Jon: “Apart from the scriptural narrative, it sounds highly unreasonable to condemn alternative lifestyles.”
    The homosexual agenda is militating for equality in marriage. Once the laws are readjusted, not one homosexual in an alternate lifestyle will do what married people do. Is this not fraud, saying one thing and doing another? Once the homosexual does the heterosexual thing, he can no longer call himself homosexual, now, can he or she?
    If God has indeed allowed homosexuality, God has promised you to Himself as celibate. Or does the idea of virginity disturb you? and why would that be?

  • Jon says:

    Mary, you misunderstood what I said. I’m saying we can’t argue against homosexuality on the grounds of a ‘nature’ people do not acknowledge. We must simply argue against it on scriptural grounds. Our argument begins with creation and it’s rooted in the entire scriptural narrative.

  • Jon says:

    It is true we can argue against homosexuality on the basis of biology and medical reports, but how far will we get? Without a creational context, people will simply argue something like this: If homosexuals wish to do something different and its consensual, who are we to judge? Isn’t that the reply we usually get? So I maintain we argue on scriptural grounds, and not on the grounds of ‘nature’ as we understand it.

  • Jon says:

    And if homosexual marriage is legalized, the man and man or woman and woman will remain homosexuals. They will still be called homosexuals because they’re homosexual, even if marriage of homoseuxals is legal. The terminology wiil remain. I also agree it does not imply monogomy. They may be polygomous as many married heterosexual couples are today. They may be far more so.

  • Mary De Voe says:

    “4. How is education different from a military?

    The salient difference is noted above. Among other things, military service is inherently stereotypes. Schooling is not.”

    The infant children, not having reached the age of emancipation and informed consent, become a captive audience in any school. Some jurisdictions of the Ninth Circut Court in California have said that once the child crosses the threshhold of the school, parents no longer have any jurisdiction over what and how their legally minor children are taught. State Kidnapping. Unlawful imprisonment. Criminal indoctrination. If the child passes away while at the school, will the state then be liable for manslaughter or homicide?

    The atheist denies our Creator and then demands endowed unalienable civil rights from the state, from the people, to dictate to the people and to indoctrinate the peoples’ children in the means to use laws against the people, to use endowed unalienable rights against God.

    Only truth has freedom of speech. Atheism is not free to tell our minor children that there is no Creator, and that our Creator is not the endower of all unalienable rights. The rest is nasty totalitarianism.

  • Mary De Voe says:

    “Mary, you misunderstood what I said. I’m saying we can’t argue against homosexuality on the grounds of a ‘nature’ people do not acknowledge. We must simply argue against it on scriptural grounds. Our argument begins with creation and it’s rooted in the entire scriptural narrative.”

    Jon. I am arguing that homosexual practice is unlawful. The state can make laws against obesity before they can make laws against homosexuality. It is the act of free will to engage in homosexual behavior that violates nature and man’s human nature and the community. It is an insult to God to abuse nature and the human body. For the homosexual person to say that he is driven to be addicted to lust and to violate his body is a LIE, for there is grace that is sufficient. To enshrine the vice of homosexual behavior and the assault and battery that it is to oneself and to another, in law, is uncivilized, worse than barbarian. For the state to enshrine “gay-marriage” into law is for the state to deny the homosexual citizen’s endowed, unalienable rights and his sovereign personhood. The homosexual practitioner redefines the human being when he denies his human soul. For the state to redefine the human being as having no soul is nasty totalitarianism.
    Persons with same-sex attraction are called homosexual. Persons practicing homosexual behavior are called sodomites.

  • JDP says:

    “They may be polygomous as many married heterosexual couples are today”

    think you mean polyamorous, and “many” is a stretch (obviously some people cheat but it’s still seen as a failing, contrast with prominent male same-sex marriage advocates saying agreed-upon cheating should be accepted as a part of the relationship)

  • Charles says:

    “Personally it’s because Islam has no direct effect on me… If Dawkins read up on Islam, would you go after him for not being an expert on Hinduism?”

    Translation: Dawkins and I find it easier to convert Western Christians to Western Narcissism, Materialism and Secular Liberalism than convert Muslims or Hindus to our religion. I know better how to confuse, sow division, introduce strife, promote sin and encourage vice in Christians than I do members of cultures I’m less familiar with.

  • JL says:

    Mary, I really don’t understand why you always insist upon “reading” Catholicism into the the American political ethos, as if it is the embodiment of Catholic political thought and was originally conceived and articulated with Catholicism in mind. It isn’t and it wasn’t.

  • JL says:

    Michael,

    Dawkins proves my point. Atheism can never provide an objective, normative moral framework. Under atheism, morality is simply an individual’s opinion, or the consensus of the community. It is not something that exists independent of whether people are conscious of it and it can never actually tell someone why they “ought” to do something, save some utilitarian schema of incentives and consequences. When arguing about morality, atheist invariably end up talking in circles, because they have no sound first principles with which to work from.

    Dawkins did not destroy the Muslim’s question. He didn’t even engage it. Materialist atheists like Dawkins, Harris, etc will continue to base their “systems of morality” on unspoken and unprovable assumptions, like that existence is to be preferred over non-existence. Prove it Dawkins! As the Muslim audience member correctly alludes to in his question, this is highly ironic, as it constitutes the type of “leap of faith” that Dawkins and his ilk so vehemently assault.

    Dawkins may be a brilliant biologist but he is also an awful, awful, awful failure of a philosopher (seriously, did you see him get DESTROYED by Rowan Williams? It was embarrassing and painful to watch). He is also intellectually inconsistent, and therefore a hypocrite.

    Your boy, Richard, has categorically failed to provide what I asked for. Can you do any better, Michael?

  • philip says:

    To Atheist; “Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance; who does not persist in anger forever, but delights rather in clemency…” Mic.7:18

    This was part of my morning prayer, from a Lenten reflection booklet. I have been listening to this thread then this passage this am.
    Enough name calling. Question is who is like Our God?

  • Jeanne Marie says:

    Michael,
    Catholic Clerics (most anyway) operate in Persona Christi ( person in Christ) . It is highly common to get the point across in a manner that is foreign. to most of the world.

    God Bless

  • Mary De Voe says:

    Jeanne Marie: Catholic priests and only Catholic priests operate in “persona Christi” only when they consecrate the Sacred Species using Jesus Christ’s words at Mass and when they give absolution to sins in the Sacrament of Penance. It is almost like power of attorney to operate in Christ’s stead. The rest of the time, the Catholic priest operates as “alter Christ”, another Christ, through his ordination and his vocation. As lay persons, the laity operate as the prieshood of the laity, unordained, and only throught the ordained priesthood and through the Catholic Church.

  • Mary De Voe says:

    “as if it is the embodiment of Catholic political thought and was originally conceived and articulated with Catholicism in mind. It isn’t and it wasn’t.”
    JL:
    It is and it was.
    “The Declaration of Independence states that: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…” Therefore, “We” as a nation hold that all men have a Creator. We petition Divine Providence and seek to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” from the Preamble to our Constitution. Only the articles and amendments to our Constitution may be changed by 2/3 of the states ratifying the change.
    It constantly amazes me that some atheists will thumbs down our founding principles and then demand their civil rights.
    God created freedom and Catholic political thought expresses this freedom explicitly.

  • vance says:

    Dawkins a Bigot and Coward. I would also throw in “Moron” with it. Dawkins, like his late friend Hitchins, always made sure they are infront of a cheering audience. They are both smart asses who appealed to the knuckle head college crowd. But these fools could be shut down in a debate with a knowledgeable person.

  • dpt says:

    “Pray tell inform the community which “immoral” parts of the Bible”

    I’ve heard atheists state that the Ten Commandments are offensive.
    So, “thou shall not steal” and “thou shall not kill” are offensive?

    Ok neighbor, I’ll keep my doors locked with the likes of you around.

  • Mary De Voe says:

    JL:
    Practicing homosexuals cannot and will not consummate their sexual relations in their flesh, why should practicing homosexuals demand consummation of their fallacy in the law and in the culture, to be taught as an alternate lifestyle to minor children in public school or in any way be accorded a good for the people?

  • JL says:

    Mary, was that an actual question?

    And I’ll await your evidence that the Founders were all devout Catholics, inspired more so by Aquinas and Augustine than Locke and Spinoza.

  • Jon says:

    The assumption on the part of non-Christians is that homosexuality is harmless. That it does nothing to the fabric of society. That people who complain about it are merely bigoted. A lot of false information exists. But I often think that if we cited medical findings on the matter, we would have a better argument to make in the public forum. These days people think in terms of pragmatism. They want to know what works and what doesn’t. Not what’s right and wrong. So if we cite evidence that homosexuality is dangerous to individual’s and the public’s health, we might have something relevant to say. Otherwise, our argument is rooted in the scriptural story of how God created the world and what he wishes to do with it, and we need faith to believe in that.

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