Tag Archive | Criticism

Richard Dawkins, winged horses, Islamophobia and a hierarchy of nonsense

I’m going to assume that anyone who’s interested in Richard Dawkins’ latest spat on Twitter already knows all about it, but in summary, he mocked Mehdi Hasan as a journalist (and the New Statesman for publishing him) over Hasan’s belief (common among Muslims) that Mohammed was carried up to heaven on a winged horse.

This caused a lot of fuss, with reactions to it ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, before Dawkins posted a more thorough explanation of what he meant by his tweet, without the constraint of a 140-character limit.

PegasusI don’t see any benefit in revisiting this in detail, but the question that’s been on my mind, given that there have been various accusations of atheist Islamophobia recently, is how atheists, particularly Western atheists in broadly Christian societies, should handle Islam and the beliefs of Muslims, and when rational criticism becomes prejudice and bigotry. Read More…

Daddy, why aren’t you coming?

It’s a few months now since I walked away from the church, and it’s generally been quite an easy time. I’ve found that I’m more relaxed at weekends, because I’m not dreading Sunday mornings, and we’ve settled into a routine that works pretty well. But my boys aren’t prepared to make it all that easy.

Initially, they didn’t seem to be bothered that I was staying at home when they went to church, and for quite a while, they were surprisingly unquestioning of it. That suited me, as I wasn’t really sure how I wanted to explain it to them. That changed recently. First it was “Daddy, are you coming to church this week?” Then it was “You never come with us any more!” Finally, it was “Please come with us, please!” I couldn’t put it off any longer. Read More…

Satan’s Fork

It’s pretty much a given that whenever someone leaves the church, Christians look for reasons why, often finding ways to blame or discredit that person, much like the tendency to say that atheists believe in God really, they’re just rebelling against Him. That’s bad in itself – in fact, it’s shocking – but I’ve been thinking about this and anticipating the sort of things people will say to/about me, and I suddenly realised something.

If you leave the church in difficult circumstances, like a bereavement or hardship, it’s common for people to say that you’re blaming God for your troubles. Maybe that’s fair enough, although given that it’s intended as a criticism it would be better if the people saying it had a decent answer to the problem of evil, but what about the alternatives? Read More…

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