Thursday, September 20, 2012
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Deliver Us from Dawkins
Just what the world needed. More complaining about imaginary persecution. Thanks Richard.
Richard Dawkins wants America's atheists to stand up and be counted. He wants them to form a lobby that's capable of challenging the religious culture they inhabit. He says that about 10% of the nation is atheist - if these godless millions unite, then they can begin to influence national politics. Dawkins has even tried to start the ball rolling, by launching a movement called the Out Campaign.
The name echoes the gay rights movement, of course, and so does Dawkins' rhetoric: he talks of coaxing the nervous atheists out of the closet. The implication is that atheists are at present victims of discrimination. Dawkins cites the evidence of his postbag: he has received letters from atheists who are scared to come out, he says. Some fear the anger of families, others fear that they will be fired.
He offers another comparison:
"When you think about how fantastically successful the Jewish lobby has been, though, in fact, they are less numerous, I am told - religious Jews anyway - than atheists and [yet they] more or less monopolise American foreign policy as far as many people can see. So if atheists could achieve a small fraction of that influence, the world would be a better place."
The comparison of American atheists to both homosexuals and Jews is very interesting. It is tantamount to crying: "Let's seek influence through posing as a victimised minority!" How Nietzsche would smile at the sight of a man so blatantly trying to foster a sense of resentment. American atheists "have been downtrodden for a very long time" he says, "so I think some sort of political organisation is what they need."
What is it that Dawkins actually wants? On one level the gay rights analogy gives the answer: he wants an end to discrimination against this minority. Apparently Americans distrust atheists more than any other minority group, including homosexuals, recent immigrants, or Muslims. He wants a cultural change, in which atheism becomes seen as a perfectly respectable viewpoint.
But the gay rights analogy is actually less relevant than the Jewish one. The truth is that Dawkins does not want equal rights; he wants what he says that the Jewish lobby has: disproportionate influence. If atheists had more political power, "the world would be a better place". He wants the gospel of atheism to spread; he wants it to change the culture. (Continue Reading.)
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