Saturday, October 10, 2015

Richard Dawkins, Freethinkers, and Ridicule

The famous atheist, Richard Dawkins has often called on atheists and agnostics to "ridicule and show contempt” for the religious and their doctrines, whatever it takes to bring religion down.

Inspired by Dawkins, one thoughtful blogger weighs this advice:

  • There is wide disagreement over whether religion should be mocked and ridiculed among atheists. On the one hand, it's argued that mocking religion demystifies it. This takes away its allure and prestige and removes it from the pedestal, which makes it easier to see religion for what it really is. And that all too often is not really all that pleasant. On the other hand, it's argued that mocking religion can make atheists seem insensitive, angry, and hostile, appear unwilling or unable to engage with religion intellectually, and it can have the unintended consequence of the backfire effect.

Notice that this atheist has only one hesitation about this strategy of ridicule. It “can make atheists seem insensitive, angry, and hostile, appear unwilling or unable to engage with religion intellectually.” It certainly can! However, he mentions nothing about:

1. Whether ridicule is morally reprehensible, or
2. Whether it might backfire for another reason – that atheists might be more worthy of ridicule than theists.

Atheists live in glass houses, they don’t know it, and they are throwing stones – big ones. Let’s examine their glass houses:

Atheism is morally bankrupt. By denying God in favor of moral relativism, the atheist believes that all morality is merely something we create. If we create it, we can also change it at will. Therefore, instead of moral law checking our immoral impulses, moral relativism serves and justifies our impulses as we see above. Consequently, atheists have little respect for the rest of humanity.

While atheism accuses theism of believing in myths, atheists have their own myths. Without any evidential support, they believe that life came out of non-life, that consciousness is just a property of matter, that the fine-tuning of the universe is just the product of chance and almost an infinite number of failed universes – the multiverse, that the universe sprang into existence uncaused out of nothing, that the laws of science and their elegant formulas just happened, and that there is a natural explanation for everything, even though they lack a comprehensive natural explanation for any one thing.

Atheists term themselves “brights” and “freethinkers,” while they also believe that their thinking is entirely controlled by deterministic bio-chemical laws/forces. Meanwhile, they accuse theists of not thinking freely, as they crow about their mental prowess.

I don’t mean to just pick on atheists. Muslims also believe that they are the best possible of all people and so do the Jews and other groups. Such arrogance is all too human.

In contrast, the Apostle Paul warns us against what we love to do best – boast:

  • God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:27-31)

Moses also warned the Israelites against arrogance:

  • After the LORD your God has driven [the Canaanites] out before you, do not say to yourself, "The LORD has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness." No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is going to drive them out before you. It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the LORD your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people. (Deuteronomy 9:4-6)

Sadly, we do not welcome such counsel. We do not find it affirming and reject it. Instead, it is just too pleasant to believe that we are part of a select and superior group of elite freethinkers.

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