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An Open Letter to Richard Dawkins - Comments

Don_Quix's Avatar Comment 1 by Don_Quix

Oh I don't even know where to start on this. What a sad and restricted world view.

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 17:36:00 UTC | #92096

Dr Benway's Avatar Comment 2 by Dr Benway

Let the games.... begin!

*must eat dinner, brb, lol

Meanwhile, someone please write the "Hitler-Stalin-Mao Happy Holiday Cheer Song."

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 17:41:00 UTC | #92100

Don_Quix's Avatar Comment 3 by Don_Quix

Sorry, I can't, I have 100,000,000 people to exterminate before 11am tomorrow. It's going to be an all-nighter.

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 17:47:00 UTC | #92105

toodles's Avatar Comment 4 by toodles

My opinion is that Richard is correct in saying that a world without religion would be a better place, and that we should actively push for that to happen.

Whilst I disagree with Father Morris when he says that it is the intrinsically atheist nature of some political systems which has led to great crimes against humanity, I must say that I find Dawkin's counterargument lacking in strength.

I'm not going to write a thousand words here that no-one wants to read, but I do find Dawkin's responses to this challenge unconvincing, and I hope that he and other readers on this page could contribute to something a bit stronger.

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 17:52:00 UTC | #92109

maton100's Avatar Comment 5 by maton100


Mon, 10 Dec 2007 17:53:00 UTC | #92110

DexterMorgan's Avatar Comment 6 by DexterMorgan

"But 'history,' says the pope, 'has proven wrong ideologies such as Marxism which say humans had to establish social justice because God did not exist.' The Pope goes further, "It is no accident that this idea has led to the greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice," and that it has left behind 'a trail of appalling destruction.'"

Mr. Morris has this exactly right, of course, but it doesn't prove what he thinks it does. The relevant part of the failure of these ideologies is not the "God did not exist" part, but the "establish social justice" part. Anytime humans try to impose a top down, centrally planned, patterned distribution of wealth according to some conception of "social" justice, cruelty and violence is sure to follow.

But such schemes are not necessarily atheistic. Many are compatible with religion, and promoted by the religious.

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 17:53:00 UTC | #92111

Jesus4Dawkins's Avatar Comment 7 by Jesus4Dawkins

This world is engineered to waste your time and
keep you content with ignorance and entertainment
filled with no knowledge to teach.

Since god does not exist, god = nothing.
i found this funny.

"He urges Christians to put their hope for the future in God and not in technology, economic or political ideologies."

or also stated...

"He urges Christians to put their hope for the future in Nothing and not in technology, economic or political ideologies."

Just another person trying to distract people with nothingness
and keep them content and ignorant.

What if in a perfect world people started to think rather then just
accept the thoughts of the people in power. Churches are now just a primitive mass population control ordering people how to vote, have sex and hate. but its disguised as love and good so its easy to see how simple minded people can fall for it.

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 17:55:00 UTC | #92114

Godless Heathen's Avatar Comment 8 by Godless Heathen

Oh brother, another one of those "atheism is just another belief system/religion" etc...

The guy conveniently ignores Dawkins' ideas about religion just to talk about "atheistic ideology" and "religion" and their respective crimes. Also reveals his appalling lack of knowledge about what "survival of the fittest" really means. Goddammit, it's about natural selection operating on genes, not killing retards.

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 17:56:00 UTC | #92115

Chrysippus_Maximus's Avatar Comment 9 by Chrysippus_Maximus

God not existing has nothing to do with religion.


Mon, 10 Dec 2007 17:57:00 UTC | #92116

Diacanu's Avatar Comment 10 by Diacanu

How about this?

Stalin's God was Stalin.

True, there's nothing to stop an atheist from being a dogmatic egoist like Stalin, but there sure as shit isn't anything in religion to stop a church mucky-muck from being a dogmatic egoist, as history has shown.
But, the problem with religion, is having God on your side has solipsism, and thus dogmatic egoism built right into itself!

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 17:58:00 UTC | #92118

NMcC's Avatar Comment 11 by NMcC


May I suggest a reply?

Dear Mr (no, you look nothing like my father) Morris,

Your contribution to the programme was pathetic. You are obviously as mad as a hatter. Please fuck off.

Yours etc.

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 18:05:00 UTC | #92121

oxytocin's Avatar Comment 12 by oxytocin

This is some of the most asinine reasoning I have read.

However, like many of you, I too dislike the "body count" argument. Since we cannot know what motivated people throughout history to commit murders, this is an intellectual dead-end [although I'd love to know where he got the number of 100 000 000 from]. The real argument, in my opinion, lies at the beginning, which is: regardless of the "utility" of religion, is the proposition true? All other questions rest on the outcome of this one.

So, here is Father John's email address from the Faux News website. I would encourage everyone to show our friendly man of the cloth how to construct a logical argument.

[oh, and make sure it's at "foxnews", not "fauxnews"]

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 18:06:00 UTC | #92122

Dr Benway's Avatar Comment 13 by Dr Benway

Father Jon,

As an atheist, baby-eater, and mass murderer, I typically don't worry about giving offense. Today is no exception.

Just between you, me, and the lamp post, is not "the closet" soo passe? C'mon, how can you deny that crazy mad free spirit that's so obviously inside you?

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 18:07:00 UTC | #92123

BAEOZ's Avatar Comment 14 by BAEOZ

Oh great. Faith in nothing inspires so it must be true.....

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 18:07:00 UTC | #92124

Don_Quix's Avatar Comment 15 by Don_Quix

The whole Hitler/Stalin/Mao thing really needs to be put to bed. It has been (for us), but I'm not sure if it really has in a large public venue. This would be a great opportunity for a simultaneous smackdown of this sanctimonious Father Morris prick and his fallacious argument.


Hitler/Stalin/Mao DID KILL TO CONSOLIDATE THEIR POWER AND ELIMINATE GROUPS AND INDIVIDUALS WHO THEY PERCEIVED AS POTENTIAL POLITICAL ENEMIES. Many of Hitler's specific atrocities were also influenced by his religiosity...particularly his personal twisted synthesis of CATHOLIC Christianity and ancient Germanic mythology, along with a good dose of mysticism and pseudoscience.

The fact that a few of the 20th century's despots may have been atheists is entirely inconsequential. Imagine how many people might have been killed if any of them HAD been devoutly religious and believed that their GAWD specifically told them to kill everyone who stood in their way or posed a threat to the one true religion. The slaughter would be unimaginable.

But good old "Father Jon" already knows all this. He's just trying to make a name for himself in the media as a "defender of the faith" in the hopes that one day he might get a nice, cozy upper-management position (Bishop? Archbishop?...hey Pope sounds nice!).

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 18:09:00 UTC | #92125

gommo's Avatar Comment 16 by gommo

"It is weak human beings, not religion, per se, that kills in God's name". I don't know what bible he reads, (being catholic, who knows?), but when I read the old testament I see countless commands by 'God' to do killing.

With an atheist, this cannot happen. Even if you can stretch the truth to shroud Hitler and Stalin in atheism, it wasn't a god that dictated to the masses to commit the atrocities they did. It was simply uneducated masses following a depraved human being.

As we enlighten society (and I think we are definitely moving in that direction), I would hope it more difficult for this to happen.

However, religion CANNOT ever become immune to this form of trickery as it is their 'god' that commands them to do these things. Reason cannot contend with irrational religious belief.

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 18:12:00 UTC | #92126

Matt H.'s Avatar Comment 17 by Matt H.

materialistic philosophy of atheism — in which Marx, Stalin, and Hitler believed, when here it actually makes sense. They weren't merely indifferent to religion. They, like you, wanted to stamp it out.

Marx: Not an evil dictator, just a philosopher/political writer, who's writings psychopaths later hijacked in the early 20th century.

Stalin: Probably was an atheist, but installed a huge cult of personality which built statues of him in every city across the USSR, put a portrait of him in every home, and introduced miracles of agriculture, mining and industrialisation which all came as a result of his own form of Communism. He didn't want to stamp out religion - he merely replaced Orthodoxism with his own cult.

Hitler: Roman Catholic. Hated the Jews for many things, one of which being the death of Christ. Spoke about Christ and God in his speeches. Hated atheists. Did his deeds in his own bizarre mythological Aryanism. Signed concordats and deals with the Catholic church, his birthday was celebrated every year. His henchmen were Catholics too, Himmler had 'Gott Mitt Uns' printed on the belts of the SS, Goering was only excommunicated after the Vatican learned he had married a Protestant, not because of his deeds elsewhere. The Nazi regime had the backing of the Vatican and many Nazis held strong religious beliefs.

the evil actions of a tiny percentage of atheists who have, in your opinion, acted in a way that poorly represents your belief system

Atheism becomes a belief system when bald becomes a hair colour, black becomes white and the cure becomes a disease.

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 18:19:00 UTC | #92127

debaser71's Avatar Comment 18 by debaser71

This priest is not only delusional in regards to religion but he's also delusional regarding the weight of his opinions. Delusions of grandeur. This guy is a fox news hack.

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 18:20:00 UTC | #92128

Chris Bell's Avatar Comment 19 by Chris Bell

He still doesn't get it. He refers to atheistic "philosophy" and an atheistic "belief system". These things don't exist!

Just as there is no non-astrology belief system, there is no atheist belief system.

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 18:20:00 UTC | #92129

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 20 by Cook@Tahiti

He can't accuse atheists of not believing in anything, as we obviously believe in many things, for example, atheists believe in killing, mass graves, killing, gas chambers, killing, mountains of bodies, killing, gulags, killing, torture, killing, maiming, killing, genocide, killing, violence, killing, mutilating babies,... and did I mention killing?

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 18:21:00 UTC | #92130

Diacanu's Avatar Comment 21 by Diacanu


You gotta do blockquote tags like this.

{blockquote} {/blockquote}

But replace {} with <>

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 18:24:00 UTC | #92131

gr8hands's Avatar Comment 22 by gr8hands

The good father needs to read because his information on Hitler is totally WRONG.

And his information on the Spanish Inquisition.

And his information on evolution.

And his information on . . .

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 18:25:00 UTC | #92134

Diacanu's Avatar Comment 23 by Diacanu

debaser71- news hack

Redundant. Anyone on Fox is automatically a hack.
It's where credibility goes to die, and come back as a flesh eating zombie.

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 18:26:00 UTC | #92136

BigJohn's Avatar Comment 24 by BigJohn

This is just a CYA letter in the hope of recovering from the whipping Richard gave him on 'Have Your Say' the other day.

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 18:27:00 UTC | #92138

JerryD385's Avatar Comment 25 by JerryD385

Atheism is not a philosophy

Atheism is not a world view.

It is a CONSEQUENCE of many different philosophies and world views, the ones championed by Prof. Dawkins being reason and empirical science.

Marxism may have failed due to the metaphysics of Dialectal materialism, or because of a top down communist system with a planned economy. It most certainly did not fail because the state mandated its people turn its collective backs on Yahweh.

Marxism does not follow from atheism, but atheism from Marxism. Goes to show that one does not have to be rational to be an atheist, but when one holds reason as the highest standard, atheism is a frequent side effect.

People like Father Morris and Pope Benedict No16 benefit from medicine, technology, expanded ethics and global communication due to reason and free thought, yet want us to go back to the darkness of faith to solve our problems

Sorry, but no one lives as long as these two do on faith alone, and not putting hope in science, technology, or any "material" solutions is not only completely stupid, it's hypocritical.

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 18:30:00 UTC | #92141

Sinful Messiah's Avatar Comment 26 by Sinful Messiah

This is exactly what Sam Harris was talking about at his speech at AAI.

A endless, tired argument that won't go away. Poor Dawkins.

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 18:31:00 UTC | #92142

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 27 by Steve Zara

Father Jon.

You want to promote Christianity because you believe it is less fanatic, and kills fewer people than a 'belief' in atheism. However, at no point do you promote Christianity on the basis of its truth, as that would be somewhat problematic.

Allow me to propose to you worship of the great prophet Zarquon. Guaranteed 50% less fanatic than Christianity, and 45% less murderous. Even better, the prophet wont turn up until the end of the universe, so no challenges to what the priests say!

Based on all your criteria, a far better bet for humanity! What do you say? Are you a convert?

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 18:31:00 UTC | #92144

obscured by clouds's Avatar Comment 29 by obscured by clouds

I wonder if he is writing a book...thinking

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 18:33:00 UTC | #92147

jakelovatto's Avatar Comment 28 by jakelovatto

"Atheism is a necessary condition for emancipation of the mind, but it's not a sufficient one. You can free yourself from superstition and still end up a nihilist or a hedonist or a Stalinist. What's innate in our species isn't the fault of religion. But the bad things that are innate in our species are strengthened by religion and sanctified by it."
- Christopher Hitchens

Case Closed

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 18:33:00 UTC | #92146

dot's Avatar Comment 30 by dot

My hope (no pun intended), nevertheless, is that this, our first encounter, be the catalyst for forming together a coalition of rational-minded people to condemn all fanaticism, whether it comes in the form of religious or atheistic ideology.

Blake's Law
Reciting common atheistic arguments that you yourself have often used, he says: "A world marked by so much injustice, innocent suffering and cynicism of power cannot be the work of a good God. A God with responsibility for such a world would not be a just God, much less a good God." It was in this context, the Pope reminds us, that atheism, particularly in the 19th and 20th centuries arose as a "type of moralism" to protest against the injustices of the world. But "history," says the pope, "has proven wrong ideologies such as Marxism which say humans had to establish social justice because God did not exist." The Pope goes further, "It is no accident that this idea has led to the greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice," and that it has left behind "a trail of appalling destruction."

During that 350 year period of history, it is estimated that 5,000- 10,000 people were put to death in the name of orthodoxy.

Aww, so few? How kind of them.
You fail to point out, however, that the actions of these radicals are routinely condemned by their religious leaders as contrary to the ideas of their faith. In other words, the truth is their actions follow their own ideas, not the ideas of true religion.

No True ScotsmanChristian fallacy
(Here I can't help rejecting, once again, what you said in the debate, that Hitler was a Roman Catholic. That is like saying you are an Anglican even after everything you have said and done to reject the church into which you were born.)
For most of us, including many atheists, it takes little effort to recognize how their belief that man can be reduced to his material properties (that he has no spiritual soul and therefore no sacred dignity), makes killing the innocent for political or selfish reasons a whole lot easier.

Speak for yourself, padre.
The perpetrators of the cruelty of the twentieth century may not have acted in the name of atheism, but they activity sought to extinguish religious belief because of the atheistic materialism which they embraced.


As history shows, however, an atheistic philosophy about man serves as a great silencer of the conscience when sick human beings reject the demands of human reason and go on to trample on human rights.

It is weak human beings, not religion, per se, that kills in God's name. It is weak human beings — not atheism, per se, that carried out the atrocities of the 20th century.

Of course if they do GOOD deeds, that's because they're Christian.
Now that you rightly have earned yourself the title of leader of the neo-atheist, secular activists, I think you would do a great service to humanity to reject, as John Paul II did for Christians, the evil actions of a tiny percentage of atheists who have, in your opinion, acted in a way that poorly represents your belief system, in particular your common denial of the existence of God.

Yes. And as an aSantaClausist, perhaps you should reject the crimes committed by all the other aSantaClausists through the ages.

Mon, 10 Dec 2007 18:35:00 UTC | #92149