Two observations - the use of the word "Reason" immediately separates the atheist convention from the "primitives" outside, I suppose. But I do think it funny that, aside from the ever-loud and obnoxious fundamentalists out there in every religion (or otherwise), the title of the event makes it sound like only atheists are in full possession of "reason". In other words, it polarizes the two camps of science and religion, once thought fully compatible, and makes enemies of the two. But I see no need for this - watch the video below for a better explanation than I can give on the matter:
But let me get to this specifically - allegedly, in true and typical fashion, the ever-tolerant Richard Dawkins told the crowd to "ridicule and show contempt" for aspects of religion such as the Eucharist, which for us Catholics is truly the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. I ask you this - how does this not qualify as hate speech?
And I will tell you one thing further - I will believe that barking polemicists like Richard Dawkins are truly "edgy" when they go even further than pick on Catholics, one of the groups left that are still politically correct to mock and pick on. Does Richard Dawkins advocate vandalizing Jewish synagogues? Does he advocate torching Qu'rans? Does he picket outside Buddhist monasteries and sneer at the monks?
The funny thing is this - yes, of course there were a small handful of fundamentalist street preachers at the rally (the kind that atheists seem to think represent all religious folk purely, I think, out of sheer convenience), and I am certain they provided ample cannon-fodder for the crowd present.
But I for one like to think that the rest of us are rather indifferent to these things. The atheists and theists alike who are actually tolerant and educated people will simply shake their heads in united disbelief, chuckle at the intolerant attitude, and resume their own lives.
Gone, truly, are the days of Camus. But at least, when I do speak with my atheist friends who find Dawkins to be an utter embarassment, I am refreshed by their respect for the difference of our world-views and the honest approach to dialogue and learning from each other.
I believe fundamentalism needs to be combatted in all its forms, but not with intolerance. The sad part is, it is intolerant figures like Dawkins that are always the loudest, on top of the best-sellers list, and cited as academic authorities, when they are anything but. While the real debate about science and religion occurs elsewhere, the polemics and New York Times Bestsellers list of latest bathroom readers on religion seems to just keep flowing ever on.Honestly, all I can express is a certain dismay and disappointment at the lack of an honest approach, despite one's paradigm or belief system, to the subject of religion. But maybe I am simply paying attention to this kind of thing. I understand Dawkins' hatred of the crimes perpetrated in the name of religion, and I would think anyone with a heart would. But he has begun to become the Nietzschean abyss that he has stared into for far too long - by decrying religion as a form of institutionalized lunacy and intolerance, he himself has become the very thing that he claims to rail against.