An Anti-theist Outburst, Again

The devotees of Dawkins are working overtime to promote their militant anti-theism. The latest full-frontal assault comes from Australian playwright David Williamson. Writing in the 3 January 2007 Australian, he has a mischievous piece entitled, “Deliver us from the god delusion that imperils our humanity”.

It is full of the usual atheist venom and nonsense, disguised as a plea for a more humane world. It largely centres on the recent release of what is quickly becoming the atheists’ Bible, The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins.

He says that his hope for 2007 is that the “religious extremists of the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths in particular will sit down and read” Dawkins’ book. Then he informs us that “belief in a god of any kind is a delusion that has wreaked untold damage on the world since the dawn of recorded time”.

Now them’s fightin’ words. Not only has he insulted billions of human beings who happen to be religious, but he has managed in one ugly sentence to totally mangle human history as well.

“Untold damage”? Not one good thing to be said about religion? Nothing good at all to be found here? Not one soup kitchen, not one handout to the poor, not one hospital built, not one suicide averted, not one drug addict recovered, not one school established, not one word of comfort, not one act of kindness, not one word of forgiveness, not one act of grace? I could go on all day. Just what help is this article supposed to provide if its author thinks he can get away with making such incredibly insulting remarks.

Indeed, this gross and simplistic generalisation is as helpful as arguing that all Australian playwrights are anti-religious bigots. And of course all of this in the name of love, tolerance, peace and decency.

Williamson claims he is concerned about humanity, but it seems that for him humanity is merely an abstraction. The real question is, is he concerned about individuals? The process of dehumanisation and demonisation begins when individuals are no longer treated as individuals, but treated as faceless and anomic masses, relegated to unwanted and marginalised groups. That is how most modern totalitarian movements have begun.

And this is just what Williamson appears to be guilty of. He treats all religionists as a class – a class to be shunned and despised. History is replete with examples of those who would depersonalise individuals, and treat them as an ostracised class or group. Hitler targetted whole ethnic classes while Stalin went after entire economic classes. Millions perished as a result.

Thus my great fears about the militant anti-theists of our day. Today they simply save their spite for the printed page. But tomorrow their rage may take more tangible forms. We have seen it happen before, and no doubt it will happen again.

Williamson then wades into some hard core theology and philosophy, making this astute observation: “The belief that your group has its own special god inevitably leads you to feel superior to, and angry about, people who have chosen the ‘wrong’ god.” Sorry, but the issue is not about feeling special or superior. It is about truth. Of course in these postmodern times, truth is feared and avoided as much as the plague.

But truth is just what is needed today. Various religions make competing truth claims. The issue is, which is true and which is not? But secularists like Williamson don’t even want to think of such possibilities. They are simply content to put all religious belief systems into the too-hard basket, and to dismiss the lot of them. So much for dealing with real people and real needs.

The truth is, this article is just another example of intolerance masquerading as tolerance, and anti-theistic snobbery masquerading as free thinking. For all his mushy concerns about humanity, it appears the author despises the great majority of humans, simply because they are religious. In his dream world religion would no longer exist. And perhaps it would mean billions of religious folk no longer exist either.

He concludes with these words: “My hope for 2007 is that the world will draw just a fraction closer to realising that we are all part of one big tribe on a very fragile planet, and that people who parrot the prejudices of their particular creed will start to realise how toxic their belief system.”

But it seems the real prejudice and toxicity is coming from the radical anti-theists, who can barely hide their contempt for those whom they disagree with, and simply are contributing to the anti-religious bigotry which is on the rise in the secularist West. And as I say, anti-religious ideas usually do not just stay on the level of ideas. They sooner or later are translated into action.

One can almost imagine that these militant atheists will be there when the heads begin to roll, smiling approvingly, applauding each new whack of the guillotine.

www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21002684-7583,00.html

[825 words]