Atheists: Stop being dicks

Atheists often snicker about the “God delusion”. However, a delusion we Atheists have is the belief that Richard Dawkins is an effective communicator and a quality promoter of Atheism.

It drives me nuts. Nothing could be further from the truth. With his irritating manner, smug smirk and his message that if you believe you must be inherently unstable and possibly evil (as he suggested in his TV documentary “The Root of All Evil?”) he could lay claim to be the least effective proponent of Atheism there is.

It is obvious that religion isn’t evil. Flawed, yes. Mistaken about the existence of God, absolutely. But evil? No. I attended my nephew’s baptism – a community gathering together to wish the best for a child – hardly an evil event. Religion or the lack of it is a poor guarantee of goodness.

For Atheism, I see the great setback of the last fifteen years was the death of Carl Sagan. Sagan did mystery. Sagan did awe. Wonder was his key element. His 1980s TV show Cosmos inspired a generation of scientists. He was also no pushover. I can say without a doubt that my old Atheist hero would smash the current Atheist hero. He knew fights were coming. In the 1996 book “The Demon-Haunted World” he predicted the re-rise of creationism a decade before a medically-trained Australian Minister of Education suggested that science is iffy and creationism is what Australian children should learn at school.

Richard Dawkins has won over no one. He’s probably even pushed those ready to make the leap back into the fold of their church. Richard doesn’t do amazing. Or awe. Richard does cold. The church loves Richard Dawkins the same way Al Qaeda loved George W Bush. Sure, they were sworn to destroy each other, but really all that happened in each was cemented into their power structure while doing little damage to the other.

When Richard Dawkins attempts to win over questioning Christians he puts his hand on their shoulder and says “You are a stupid, stupid person, maybe even evil”. A complete fail.

Carl Sagan would put his hand on their shoulder and tell them that the warm glow of awe the feel inside their heart is safe. He’d hand them an apple pie and say “you know, if you wanted to make an apple pie from scratch…” and begin to talk for a while. By the end, the awe of God would be replaced with the awe of the natural universe. Ethical guidelines replace a Bible and (named in classically polite Carl fashion) a bullshit “baloney” detector replaces faith. The great mysteries of the universe are exposed while shallow ones fall away. The person would stare at the beauty of the apple pie and the wonder of world around us.

Sagan’s message was: The world is awesome. You don’t need God to make it so, you just need to look.

It is time to discard the New Atheists and their aggressive counterproductive methods. Embrace your inner Carl Sagan. Don’t be a dick Richard, be an Apple-pie Atheist. You’ll make more friends. And have a lovely meal.

10 thoughts on “Atheists: Stop being dicks

  1. Ok.. So we have not crossed on this topic before. Interesting really… And here’s how I put it.. Even if I don’t agree necessarily with all of your views, what I agree with is how you put your point forward. I like that you describe it so soundly. I like it that it doesn’t threaten me for thinking what I think and I like it because it describes what you believe and why. It doesn’t say that I am an idiot for believing what I believe. No it simply puts it out there.

    In fact it puts it out there how I like to put it.. And here is my take. I was brought up in a Christian environment and I never questioned the existence of God. For me, that’s not the question. I also don’t feel the need to shove down other people’s throats what I do or don’t believe. I don’t see the point in arguing. And my problem is not with God, be it a him or a her, or not even existing.

    My problem is with the racism, hate and bigotry that the church-goers seem to justify all using God as the reason for inciting such animosity. As far as I am concerned, at the end of the day we are all human beings, all deserving of the same acceptance, love, appreciation, encouragement and help as each other.. Why must we hate just because we disagree? Can we not just live and let live? Can we just agree to disagree?

    And it doesn’t matter whether you’re christian, muslim, jew, atheist, agnostic, buddhist, etc. If you are subscribing to hate in any way shape or form just because someone else has a different opinion than yours then you are no better than the rest.

  2. I was raised a Catholic. I don’t practice. The hypocrisy and bigotry that abounds in religion and it’s adherents keeps me away from it.

    I do believe in God and the Devil so obviously I’m no atheist :)

    They are the personifications of all that is good and evil in the world. If people want to believe God is an omnipotent being I don’t mind as long as they don’t mind if I believe God is a woman :) Now about that apple pie… :)

  3. I tried to read Richards book and hated every minute of it. He has no skill, it was terrible. It was like everyone was too scared to tell him it wasn’t written in a way people could understand it or enjoy it. Terrible. Richard is cold and I can see now why ‘The church loves Richard Dawkins the same way Al Qaeda loved George W Bush’ very true. I’m off to look up Carl Sagan.

    1. To be fair to Richard Dawkins, when he writes about evolution or genetics I think he does awe, though most find them boring. And when he talks to a lay-person about religion he is very polite.

      However, when he talks to a public figure he can’t resist being snide. Can’t resist coming statements that are simply “you oughta know better, arsehole”. His books feel like they are written to committed Atheists, despite that he states he wants the book to win over waivers.

      If I could give a gift of just six books to all my friends, Carl Sagan’s The Demon Haunted World would be one of them. Ohhh… six books? Sounds like a future blog… Hmmm…

  4. Hi,

    Loved this article, loved it so much in fact that I’d like to publish it. If you’re interested could you get in touch by email?


  5. Great post. I think too many atheists confuse their passionate hatred of organised religion for atheism. And yes, nobody ever won someone over with smug!

  6. Richard Dawkins made me think — I had to come back to God Delusion a second time but I did get it in the end. The reason that religion is dangerous is that it gives a significant portion of the planet a reason to deny factual truth and a small portion of the planet justification for mass murder, racism, infanticide etc.

  7. Yes, I’m with you completely on this. Richard Dawkins, though a very fine biologist, drives me nuts when he talks about religion. He is apparently as self-satisfied as the most fervent believer God-thanking millionaire athlete. Telling people they are “deluded” when the simple and non-insulting word “mistaken” would have been so much better in every way… this is indicative of his approach.

    Anyway, I’m raving a bit myself… Well said, Idle Dad.

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