Dawkins v Pope

After the pope made some idiot and untrue claims about how atheism causes the holocaust Richard Dawkins politely corrected the fool. Naturally many of us could not be there to listen to him but thanks to GrrlScientist the links to the speech and a youtube version of Richard Dawkins’ unedited speech at ‘Protest the Pope’ march in London – Richard Dawkins takes the piss out of Pope Ratzinger in London on Saturday are available. She writes:

If you, like I, could not attend the “Protest the Pope” rally in London this past weekend, you’ll want to see this. This amateur video captures Richard Dawkins’ short but empassioned response to Pope Ratzinger’s weak attempt to confuse the public by claiming that Hitler was an atheist, and it was his supposed atheism that led to the Holocaust. Of course, Ratzinger conveniently ignores the fact that Hitler made no secret of his Roman Catholicism and in fact, Hitler used remarkably Catholic-sounding arguments to defend his indefensible actions.

Dawkins site censored

Technollama point to an article in the Guardian that Richard Dawkins, has had his website banned in Turkey because a Creationist has found it “defamatory and blasphemous”.

Apparently the whole thing blew up when Dawkins commented on a the book of a Muslim Creationist (that had been sent to him by the creationist) and called it preposterous and wrote on his website that he was at “a loss to reconcile the expensive and glossy production values of this book with the ‘breathtaking inanity’ of the content.”.

Some comments from the Creationists office say it all:

We are not against freedom of speech or expression but you cannot insult people.

We found the comments hurtful. It was not a scientific discussion. There was a line and the limit has been passed.

And I thought mindless creationists were a particularly american thing but apparently they, as with all stupidity, are international.

the fart of god

If you need a minute of comic relief check out this video on YouTube where Richard Dawkins reads some of the more amusing (and tragic) hate mail.

I really liked: “Your famed intelligence is nothing more than the fart of god…” If you do believe in a supreme being, do you really believe that he/she/it farts?

What comes after atheism?

Just finished reading Richard Dawkins‘ “The God Delusion” – what an excellent book! My main reason for waiting before reading it was that I doubted that it would be different from other atheist literature. I was wrong! Dawkins makes a brilliant argument for independent thought and the need to question everything – including atheism itself.

So in the spirit of the book and spending some time on a beach I obviously needed to ask myself about my beliefs – what else should you do between tanning and swimming?

Formally I was a Lutheran but I grew up in a catholic country attending a Roman Catholic all boys school. Since I was a protestant I did not need to take religion – interesting that the name of the subject was religion since it had nothing to do with anything other than Roman Catholic beliefs.

The mix of relaxed, disinterested Lutheranism and strict Catholic schooling gave me an aversion to my own Christianity. So I searched haphazardly among theoretical approaches to Buddhism, Islam & Hinduism. They were all interesting as historical and cultural topics but not as faiths. Even the laid back philosophical Buddhism was too much. Why label yourself a Buddhist? Why not include, Vegetarian, Existentialist, Marxist, Neo Capitalist when labels only constrain ideas.

So for a long time I decided that I was an agnostic. I thought that the problem was that there was not enough proof. Then I realized when I formally left the Swedish church, which I was automatically enrolled into by the state that it was not a question of proof. I was, I realized, an atheist.

The problem is that after reading Dawkins book not that I don’t agree with him – I really like most of his arguments (well almost all). The problem is that even if proof could be found that proves the existence of a God beyond a shadow of a doubt – I still would not believe.

I would believe the proof. That he/she/it exists as much as my laptop, myself and my blog exists (albeit in different ways) but I would not “believe” in the sense of faith (would it still be called faith if we had proof?). It was not religion I was struggling against. It is not that I do not believe today, I have no need for faith and would not have any even if there were a God.

What comes after atheism?

The God Delusion

Yesterday I bought and began reading Richard Dawkins book The God Delusion – The book is a well written, good humored approach to the subject. He includes plenty of quotes throughout the book, an early one in the beginning is from Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: “when one person suffers from a delusion it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion.”

So far I am very pleased with the book – it’s very nice to read a clear lucid argumentation on atheism. So I guess I will be posting more on this later.