Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The dictatorship of relativism: Dawkins vision unfolds.

Old Ma Dawkins, scourge of the faithful, has announced Year Zero for secularism.
Yesterday I read about his new college which will be like Oxford, but not, and yet twice the price.. So only for the children of very wealthy people who didn't manage to get in (The shame! And dash the pesky meritocracy!)
Oh and it will be led by devout atheists and will naturally be free from the taint of Thor or Zeus or any other god.
Today I read in the Irish Times:
FREEDOM OF expression and of religion “should be limited only by the need to respect the rights and freedoms of others”, according to the Dublin Declaration on Secularism and the Place of Religion in Public Life, adopted unanimously at the World Atheist Convention yesterday.
The declaration also states that “the sovereignty of the State is derived from the people and not from any God or gods”.
Speaking to The Irish Times yesterday, well-known atheist Prof Richard Dawkins said the Irish Constitution should be reformed to “remove all influence of the Roman Catholic Church and all other churches . . . incorporating tolerance for all religions”.
Referring to the oath that must be taken by Irish presidents and judges, he said they might as well take an oath “to Zeus or Thor” as to God.
He “rejoiced” at the growth of secularism in Ireland and when he read the papers “about the pathetically diminished number of priests”.
He hoped the churches would “wither away”, describing the Catholic Church as “an evil institution . . . by far the worst where the churches are concerned”.
The three-day convention also launched Atheists Alliance International, a newly restructured umbrella group for atheists worldwide, whose first chairwoman is Tanya Smith of the Atheist Foundation of Australia.
Keynote speakers included Labour Senator Ivana Bacik, American science blogger PZ Myers and Iranian activist Maryam Namazie, of the British Council of Ex-Muslims.
Other speakers included Prof Dawkins, Danish neurobiologist Lone Frank and Indian author Aroup Chaterjee.
Organised by Atheist Ireland, the convention was attended by 350 delegates, many of them Irish, with a preponderance of young people in their 20s.
On education, the Dublin declaration says State education should be secular and “children should be taught about the diversity of religious and no-religious beliefs in an objective manner, with no faith formation in school hours”.
Children should also “be educated in critical thinking and the distinction between faith and reason as a guide to knowledge. Science should be taught free from religious interference.”
It says “freedom of conscience, religion and belief are private and unlimited” and that all blasphemy laws should be repealed. “There should be no right ‘not to be offended’ in law.”
Under the heading “Secular Democracy” it says: “The only reference in the Constitution to religion should be an affirmation that the State is secular.”
Public policy “should be formed by applying reason, not religious faith, to evidence” and “the State should be strictly neutral in matters of religion, and its absence, favouring none and discriminating against none”.
Religions, it says “should have no special financial consideration in public life, such as tax-free status for religious activities, or grants to promote religion or run faith schools” and that “membership of a religion should not be a basis for appointing a person to any State position”.
Where law is concerned it says “there should be one secular law for all, democratically decided and evenly enforced, with no jurisdiction for religious courts to settle civil matters or family disputes”.
 I have some questions:
It seems that according to Dawkins secularist vision,  we must in our ethical decision making, dispense with the religious values which have always informed them until now.
Since our ethical values are, at the ground, JudeoChristian, how do we make decisions on ethics?

The declaration also states that “the sovereignty of the State is derived from the people and not from any God or gods”.
If the will of the people is paramount, what does an avowedly secular state do when the majority want religion?
Is this a further step towards what His Holiness Benedict XVI, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church calls "The Dictatorship of Relativism"?


  1. Dawkins and people like the author Philip Pullman seem to be inordinately obsessed with God. I'm quite convinced they think about God more than most Christians! The word Atheist is even derived from God. There is no way to describe a man apart from God – he is either for God or against – theist or atheist. Man cannot stand alone without reference to God.

    The JudeoChristian faiths all know what happened when Adam and Eve decided they no longer needed God to be their moral compass to determine right and wrong: a mixed up world that is still suffering. So you want to follow your own ways? Nothing’s changed then. Carry on.

    I do find Dawkins and his ilk to be frighteningly totalitarian in their outlook. They want to restrict free-thinking (if it disagrees with their secular thinking) and yet would claim that they promote free-thinking. Godless communism only survived by the oppression of the people - I wonder how secularism will survive?

    I pray that one day that the atheist gang may realise as Newton did: "I don't know what I may seem to the world. But as to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore and diverting myself now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than the ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me." They may claim to have looked into the far reaches of the universe, but we will see the face of God.

  2. Did my comment not save or was it rejected?..though I don't think I was too controversial for broadcast! :)

  3. Anonymous said...Oops! Sorry!
    That's unlike me to miss a comment!
    I must have missed it in my email inbox and didn't check my comments here.
    That'll learn me!
    Thanks for that. And yes, the nu athesists seem to spend an inordinate amount of time obsessing on the God they don't believe in.
    I think they do sincerely feel very threatened by religion.
    Leah wrote a very interesting blog post about this here:

    Here's a quote from one of her commenters:
    "Mostly I just want to hurt religious people so they feel as scared and hurt as I do being forced to live on a planet dominated by them. Nothing ever works to convince conservatives and religious people. They're immune to facts. So since I have no hope of ever living in a more reasonable world, so at least I can comfort myself by letting religious people know what I really think of their insane, evil, shit-beliefs."


  4. I saw Leah’s blog mentioned in one of your other posts and bookmarked it, I’ll check that post out, thanks.

    ‘Nothing ever works to convince conservatives and religious people. They’re immune to facts.’

    You know that’s something that I think even Christians use as weapons against fellow Christians. That immunity to reasoned discussion, the attitude, “I’m right and you’re wrong, end of discussion”. I talked about this in my blog post today; I get so frustrated by Christians that hijack forums dogmatically with no gentle reason and seemingly no ability to actually listen to what the other person is trying to say. In fact, a few times in the past I have, to my shame, failed to write with even a smidge of empathy or gentleness. It is easy when you are so desperate for others to 'see the light' to be over-bearing and bullish. Equally, often there is no-one who seems able to admit that they don’t know everything. Now of course Atheists - and Dawkins is king of this trick - commonly stick their fingers in their ears and tell us we’re silly, silly, silly (which makes me want to poke Dawkins in the eye and not love my enemies).

    In addition, Christians tend to speak from a position of faith; Atheists (as the commentator you mention) speak from a position of facts. We speak of truth, but not in the same sense that an Atheist speaks of truth. Truth to a Christian is a deep unfathomable mystery that we aren’t yet fully party to – though we can speak of the truths we understand. It’s almost like having an argument with someone when neither of you speak the same language.

    Atheists want scientific proof of God before they will believe, Christians know that God will not be tested (scripture warns against it) unless it is in His will to be tested (like Elijah vs. the prophets of Baal). I’ve seen a woman be healed of MS, her doctors were astounded, and yet not only is this, to an Atheist, anecdotal at best it could probably be explained away with another explanation. I believe she was healed, in faith I truly believe.

    It’s a difficult one.

  5. At the risk of sounding obsessed about my comments, did you get the comment I wrote on Friday? Blogger has been a nightmare recently and I keep getting Error 404 and 503 codes on comments and blog posts, I wouldn't normally fuss but I'm rather interested in this discussion.

  6. Sorry again!
    It's not you!
    I got your comment yesterday ( i was offline most of saturday), but couldn't sign in to Blogger to publish it. has this ever happened to you?
    I think it may be because I have a new email address attached to my Blog account, and hence a new password, but I tried both passwords and many others, and still it wouldn't let me in. Grrr.

  7. Clare, I think Blogger is causing problems for quite a few people judging by the Blogger help-site. When I log in I get an error code, but if I click on Google it tells me I am actually logged in. Very frustrating. I've also had trouble posting pictures and posting comments so I don't actually know if my comments have posted or not. I'm also having trouble moderating comments. When I click on my comment moderation link Blogger inexplicably logs me out. Then I go onto the Google search page and it tells me I am still logged in. I end up going round in circles. Chuh! It is tempting to use my Wordpress blog, but I find Blogger easier to use and am too lazy to really made the effort to change. I'm going to see how things go, but if they don't sort it out I might just make the effort.

    I write very long comments on your blog don't I? :)