Dawkins, Hitchens and All Things Militant

rabbijacksonShmuley Boteach (who calls himself America’s Rabbi) has written a scathing article for the Jerusalem Post entitled, “No Holds Barred: Atheists gain strength from religious intolerance.”

He begins by referencing American Religious Identification Survey which found 15% of the US population declared themselves as having no religion.

Here’s his reasons why:

Some people think that recent tracts by the likes of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and other rabid religion haters have been responsible for this trend. But most readers see them for what they are – high priests of a new faith called atheism, as closed-minded and doctrinaire as the most fundamentalist religious extremists, with Dawkins going so far as to suggest that governments prohibit parents from teaching their children religion because it constitutes a form of abuse. No discerning reader is going to take such biased bunkum seriously.

It is even less likely that the rise of science is killing off religion, since science still cannot account for the nearly infinite complexity of organic life. Genetic mutation accompanied by natural selection is still no match for the sheer mathematical improbability of higher organisms ever emerging from random events.

He then goes on to praise the good Christian, Muslim, and Jewish people who get a bad reputation because of their few bad apples. Of course this is after he judged all nontheists by what he sees as our bad apples.

Christians bad apples:

…But an increasingly vocal minority waste their time on gay bashing, calling Barack Obama the anti-Christ, and attributing every tragedy in America to divine punishment over the “holocaust” of abortion. They end up discrediting a great faith.

I debate some of these people on the airwaves and am amazed at how friendly, sane and rational they are in the green room compared to the inanity that comes out of their mouths the moment the camera goes on. Is it really necessary to publicly proclaim that anyone who doesn’t believe in Jesus is going to hell? Will a statement like this play to his glory or his dishonor?

Muslim bad apples:

As far as Islam is concerned we need go no further than the most recent bizarre story coming out of Saudi Arabia, which featured an eight-year-old girl obtaining a divorce from her middle-aged husband to whom she was sold into marriage by her father for $13,000. The permissibility of such child abuse disgraces a great religion that has brought the knowledge and love of God to untold billions. And it goes without saying that Islamic clerics who call Jews monkeys and pigs are an equal abomination to a religion that historically treated Jews with far greater tolerance than Christianity.

Jewish bad apples (judged a little less harshly for some reason):

But it recently came to my attention that a confidential Chabad Internet forum designed to assist its global emissaries was being used to libel fellow Jews and other rabbis. One Chabad emissary went so far as to write that a fellow rabbi’s public appearances would “desecrate” Chabad institutions.

Putting aside the straw man arguments, lets assume his condemnation of the atheist “high priests” is valid. These are still in no way compariable to the “high priests.” When has Christopher Hitchens ever induced his admirers to violence? When has Richard Dawkins ever inspired honor killings in the name of atheism? When has Sam Harris ever condemned someone to an etrnity of torture? The list could go on and on. There is no comparison. We are talking apples and oranges (had to say it).

Also, let’s quit allowing others to label us as “militant atheists.” Lecturing on a college campus is not equivalent to blowing up buildings.

If I’m not making myself clear, perhaps this cartoon will help:

atheismmilitant

To change things we must confront this bigotry when it rears its head.

Brother Richard

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