Sunday, March 17, 2013

Atheist Brown Shirt Tactics: Dawkin's Call to Harrass Catholics

....  photo belgrade_battle.jpg
this is not an actual event pertaining to the story. Just symbolic of conflict

....This happened at the "Reason Rally" in 2012. It's old news. It's worth thinking about again. Dawkins called for atheists to mock and ridicule Catholics with every chance one gets.

Disclaimer: the above graphic struggle depicted did nt happen. the call to harass Catholics verbally did happen there. The graphic is eye candy.
“Don't fall for the convention that we're all 'too polite' to talk about religion,” Dawkins said, before urging rally attendees to ridicule Catholics' faith in the Eucharist.
“Religion makes specific claims about the universe which need to be substantiated, and need to be challenged – and if necessary, need to be ridiculed with contempt,” he told the cheering crowd on the National Mall.
“For example, if they say they're Catholic: Do you really believe, that when a priest blesses a wafer, it turns into the body of Christ? Are you seriously telling me you believe that? Are you seriously saying that wine turns into blood?”
If the answer is yes, Dawkins suggested atheists should show contempt for believers instead of ignoring the issue or feigning respect.
“Mock them,” he told the crowd. “Ridicule them! In public!”[1]

He urged this on the basis of any social situation. “When you meet somebody who claims to be religious, ask them what they really believe,” Dawkins suggested. “If you meet somebody who says he's Catholic, for example, say: 'What do you mean? Do you just mean you were baptized Catholic, because I'm not impressed by that.'” "'But those who hold to the doctrines of their faith should be openly ridiculed,' Dawkins said." (ibid.) The Catholic News agency also reports increase in hate crimes agaisnt Catholics in that month:

The report, from the Austria-based Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe, summarized incidents ranging from vandalism and insults to the suppression of religious symbols, desecrations, “hate crimes” and religiously motivated violence.
Dr. Gudrun Kugler, director of the observatory, said studies suggest that 85 percent of hate crimes in Europe are directed against Christians.
“It is high time for the public debate to respond to this reality!” Kugler said.
In Scotland, 95 percent of religiously motivated violence targets Christians. In France, 84 percent of vandalism is directed against Christian places of worship.
The observatory has also monitored professional restrictions on Christians. A restrictive definition of freedom of conscience means that professions such as magistrates, doctors, nurses, midwives and pharmacists are “slowly closing for Christians.”[2]

 Of course this is merely argument from sign, there's no proof that Dawkins statements led to or contributed to these actions, or that ahtist atheist's attitudes are leading to them. It might be reason for further research. Nor dose the lack of causal inference excuse Dawkin's statements.
....Dawkins is always trying to play theologian. He knows nothing about theology, he's almost famous for his ignorance of theology as he is for his selfish genes, but he undertakes to make the pronouncement that if one disagrees with the Catholic chruch one is no longer a catholic.[3] Speaking at a pulbic interview at the National Concert Hall in Doublin, he proclaimed:
He said he was intrigued by this week’s Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll showing almost two thirds (62 per cent) of Catholics believed the bread and wine which was blessed during Mass “only represents the body and blood” of Christ.
Just 26 per cent said they believed the bread and wine transformed into Christ’s body and blood in accordance with the doctrine of transubstantiation.
“If they don’t believe in transubstantiation then they are not Roman Catholics,” Prof Dawkins said. “If they are honest they should say they are no longer Roman Catholics.”
The survey finding “should come in for a fair degree of ridicule,” he added. “I wouldn’t hold back on the ridicule”.

 Of cousre Dawkins is far from being an expert on what makes one a Catholic. Shooting off mouth in both Australia and Washington he called upon people to confront Catholics about their belief in transubstantiation.

He told Cardinal Pell that he could be charitable and accept that the Cardinal might believe that the host came to symbolize the body of Christ, but to think that it became really the body of Christ was absurd. The wafer does not become the body of anyone, he said, given “normal English usage” of the word “body.” [4]
The problem is if you don't believe transubstantiation you are not a Catholic. If you do, you are an idiot. That's what we might call "double bind." Then of course Dawkins is not a theology student we can trust that he doesn't really undersatnd the doctrine. This might cause growing concern about just whom the real idiot is. For example he wants normal English usage of the term "body" when the doctrine is based in Latin and comes from the Greek and uses the Platonic concept of substance, so it' snot saying that bread is the physical body of Christ in the sense that my body is in this chair now, but that it is the substance of what made Christ's body psychically the body. Then of course there's a whole theological issue about being Catholic and accept transubstantiation.
....That's a huge can of worms anyway, Dawkins is trying to work up the greatest amount of strife that he can.Daniel Fincke defends Dawkins's statements by asserting that he's lauding the intelligence of Catholics in his suspicion that they mostly reject transubstantiation. He further asserts that he just wants to make them think by questioning their commitment.

He wants nominal Catholics to reconsider why they so reflexively call themselves Catholic and thereby identify themselves as holding beliefs that upon the slightest introspection or incredulous challenge they will find they do not really find remotely plausible. Most importantly (and conveniently ignored by his opponents), Dawkins cited reputable survey data to support the notion that more people in England identify as Christian for reasons such as “wanting to think of myself as a good person” than for actually using religious teachings as their moral guide in life. The Christian leaders use their claim to great numbers of believers as the clout with which to bully politicians and society in general. Dawkins wants the Catholics whose beliefs the Church does not really represent to start grappling with this fact and with the disconnect between what they really believe and the institution they reflexively claim has authority over their beliefs and practices (to their own potential detriment).[5]

 That's not really a defense. What gives him the right to undertake to test the sincerity of the faith of others? He tries to spin it so that it seems a call to reason, but he essentailly admits it's a call to mock and ridicle:

While Dawkins explicitly calls for ridicule and contempt for patently absurd beliefs, he is equally explicitly not recommending a simplistic, dismissive “point and laugh” strategy aimed at (impossibly) marginalizing believing people as citizens. He is, rather, recommending something that true believing Catholics should not be threatened by or insist on exemptions from; namely, that they be demanded to affirm their Church’s beliefs or stop calling themselves Catholics.
But it's a good kind of ridicule. That's like the guy on Seinfeld trying to make the term "phony" sound like a complement. "I like Jerry, hes' so phony." This is obviously just a single to step up the kind of belligerence atheists have become famous for over the past decade or two. Nothing is going to turn it into reasoning, but embed within the defense is the assumption that they have already accepted mocking and ridicule as a valid approach. This should mark hate group atheism as a Brown shirt tactic as much as anything short of beating people up. He then asserts: "in fact, if Catholics had the slightest confidence in their more absurd teachings, they wouldn’t be threatened at all by the prospect of atheists routinely asking them (or their brethren) if they actually believed what Catholicism teaches." (ibid) In other words they are just asking for it, blame the victim. That's like saying "if they weren't' so stupid we wouldn't need to make fun of them."

 And if they thought Dawkins was really making a strawman of Catholicism, or a weak man argument against it, for either mocking the doctrine of transubstantiation as irrational or for treating belief in that irrational doctrine as a litmus test for true Catholicism, then they should have either explained either why it is perfectly reasonable for a Catholic to believe in the doctrine on rational grounds or explained why one can reject the transubstantiation doctrine while still remaining Catholic.(ibid).
That's really some defense. That's just saying "if they don't like it let them fight back." This is really promoting reason. One doesn't reason by inviting a retaliation for unjust and unsocially acceptable forms of communication. This is pretty good proof that this guy knows it's violence and antagonism.
....This is no different than brown shirt tactics where synagogues were attacks and Jewish windows were broken and Jews were derided and mocked in public. This is what results when people take their ideology so seriously that they lose the ability to value the rights of their opponents. Of course this guys is combing the net to find weather or not Catholics have reasonable answers. Who is really to be looking for reason when they are in a mocking tone? It's clear what they are trying to do. We should not be willing to have the social fabric ripped apart so that the hate group segment of atheism can get the their bully rush and overcome theirs feelings of inadequacy.

[1] Staff, "Dawkins Calls for Mockery of Catholics at Reason Rally." Catholic News Agency, March 27, 2012. URL:

[2] Kevin J. Jones. "Report on Europe Finds Numerous anti-Catholic Actions." Catholic News Agency, March 21, 2012

[3]Joe Humphreys, "Dawkins Calls for Catholic 'Honesty,'" The Irish Times.Wed June 6, 2012. On line copy: URL:

[4] William E. Carroll, "The Dawkins Challenge," The Catholic Thing. Wednessday, June 13, 2012.

[5] , "In Defense of Dawkins's Reason Rally Speech,"  Camels with Hamers. April 1, 2012

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