If there’s any position sillier than confident atheism, I don’t know what it is. Maybe left-handed Rastafarianism or whatever paganism they pretend to follow at Burning Man. That’s why I assiduously ignore the person who is perhaps the most prominent atheist provocateur of our time, Richard Dawkins, who was a big deal at Oxford for a long time, and a celebrated figure on the left for his relentless public hostility to Christianity. He’s always struck me as a complete bore, so why waste time?
Except—this is fun: Dawkins has apparently turned his anti-theism toward Islam, and lo and behold, the left is upset! The Hive is going to DefCon1 to deride Dawkins as a bigot, reports Damain Thompson in The Spectator last week:
‘Richard Dawkins, what on earth happened to you?’ asks Eleanor Robertson in the Guardian today. Ms Robertson is a ‘feminist and writer living in Sydney’. She follows to the letter the Guardian’s revised style guide for writing about Prof Dawkins: wring your hands until your fingers are raw, while muttering ‘Oh, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown’.
For some time now Dawkins has been saying rude things about Muslims and feminists. This makes him a bigot in the eyes of the Left — and especially the Guardian, which is extraordinarily and mysteriously protective of Islam. . .
Dawkins marked the end of Ramadan last year with the observation: ‘All the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though.’ This tweet was ‘as rational as the rants of an extremist Muslim cleric,’ protested the Guardian. . .
But Dawkins was just as offensive when his target was Christianity; it’s just that the Left didn’t have a problem with his description of Pope Benedict XVI as a ‘leering old villain in the frock’ who ran ‘a profiteering, woman-fearing, guilt-gorging, truth-hating, child-raping institution … amid a stench of incense and a rain of tourist-kitsch sacred hearts and preposterously crowned virgins, about his ears.’ . . .
In the process, he’s exposed a rich vein of hypocrisy in the Left — and, more significantly, an intellectual rift between hard-line and multiculturalist atheists. That rift is growing fast: non-believers, having exhausted their anti-Christian rhetoric, are turning on each other with the ferocity of religious zealots. Enjoy.
Enjoy indeed. I’m ordering extra butter on my popcorn.