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A shameful Thought for the Day - Comments

debonnesnouvelles's Avatar Comment 1 by debonnesnouvelles

Thank you, Mr Dawkins. It's high time that voices of reason are listened to and make the front page rather than religious messages on such a day. A good sign for the new year! Best wishes from Berlin

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 13:51:09 UTC | #568386

Ivan The Not So Bad's Avatar Comment 2 by Ivan The Not So Bad

You can complain by using the simple pro-forma at BBC Complaints (insist on a reply). Perhaps a few people could post their complaints here for others to draw off?

You can also pitch in to the comments thread running on BBC Have Your Say.

Finally, you can have a rest and amuse yourself at Platitude of the Day.

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 14:11:12 UTC | #568393

Zelig's Avatar Comment 3 by Zelig

The practical question I find more troubling is why the BBC so actively sought this event in the first place?

I greatly suspect a very large dose of social engineering is going on in favour of the faithful of any and all religions (e,g, Muslim Driving School). Oh, how wonderful and harmonious the future is going to be. Come back the 18th cent., all is forgiven.

p.s. Good to see the BBC, in this time of austerity, using public funds in the most enlightening manner.

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 14:14:53 UTC | #568394

lewis.breland's Avatar Comment 4 by lewis.breland

Professor:

Very good article. Not sure why everyone has their breeches in bunches on the Guardian's page. It's amusing to see everyone so offended. You'll never see anyone refute what you've just said, but they always use half-arguments like "At this time of year, Richard?" or, "You're being mean!"

Well, the Church is mean and it does take a mean amount of reason and logic to confront that institution with bravery and wit. So, here's three cheers for you, Professor! And Happy Holidays! I see that goodwill is very high on your list this year!

Lewis Breland

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 14:19:20 UTC | #568396

Tom Glare's Avatar Comment 5 by Tom Glare

I think it is a great shame that Professor Dawkins can not just allow Christians one day of harmless celebration without saying unpleasant things about them. I am sure that most genuine atheists share the concept of turning the other cheek. It is only the dogmatic anti-theists that constantly have their knives out.

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 14:30:41 UTC | #568398

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 6 by Richard Dawkins

I think it is a great shame that Professor Dawkins can not just allow Christians one day of harmless celebration without saying unpleasant things about them

This is typical of the many attacks on the Guardian website. They all say something like this. Not a single one can think of any counter argument to what I actually SAID about original sin. If you look at what is "unpleasant" in my article, it is the doctrine of original sin itself. I didn't need to say anything unpleasant ABOUT it. It speaks for itself.

Richard

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 14:37:05 UTC | #568399

Rumtopf's Avatar Comment 7 by Rumtopf

I love the negative comments over at the Guardian. So much missing the point and denial.

Here's a fave example: "He also presides over a church that preaches that you'll suffer eternally if you don't fill your life with good works for the needy and less fortuante.

Find me a comparable rationalist philosophy.

Baby? Bathwater? Richard?"

Because remember guys, charity is a unique idea only practiced by the religious! My favourite stupid argument.

And gee I don't need threats of hellfire to be a good person either...

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 14:50:31 UTC | #568402

TIKI AL's Avatar Comment 8 by TIKI AL

" just allow Christians one day of harmless celebration without saying unpleasant things about them"

OK. You got it. "one day". Merry F-ing Christmas.

DISCLAIMER: be prepared for twice as much well deserved criticism from me on the day of the Great Easter Fairytale.

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 14:58:11 UTC | #568404

jameshogg's Avatar Comment 9 by jameshogg

Haha, you got to love how if you quote somebody saying something repulsive, YOU are the one doing the offending. Funny, funny.

BRB goat sacrifice.

Also, why are people reading the papers on Christmas anyway? My God.

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 14:58:17 UTC | #568405

kshaw's Avatar Comment 10 by kshaw

I admire Richard for exposing the churches but he say's Jesus is God but the Bible actually states he is God's son.

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 15:08:10 UTC | #568412

Bernard Hurley's Avatar Comment 11 by Bernard Hurley

Comment 5 by Tom Glare :

I think it is a great shame that Professor Dawkins can not just allow Christians one day of harmless celebration without saying unpleasant things about them.

The BBC gave the pope a platform on which to speak to many in the UK and to many the world over who listen to the BBC. He made no effort to atone for wrongs the Catholic Church has committed, let alone rectify the consequences of these actions. Had he done so I, for one, would have praised him for this action. On the contrary he simple underlined the evil and corrupting doctrine of vicarious redemption which only makes sense in the context of the equally evil concept of original sin. What sort of loving God blames children for the sins of their fathers? And it is not as if the edulcoration of baptism truly purged us of our sins. No, we still have to worship and love this monster. If it is indeed liberation that the child born in Bethlehem brought us then I would rather be a slave.

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 15:11:22 UTC | #568414

ryoung's Avatar Comment 12 by ryoung

This comment in the Guardian's comments had me spitting my breakfast coffee out of my nose: "He also presides over a church that preaches that you'll suffer eternally if you don't fill your life with good works for the needy and less fortuante.

Find me a comparable rationalist philosophy.

Baby? Bathwater? Richard?" posted by NXile.

No, I don't think there is a "rationalist philosophy" that uses threats of eternal damnation to coerce reasonable social behavior.

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 15:11:45 UTC | #568415

Paula Kirby's Avatar Comment 13 by Paula Kirby

kshaw: I admire Richard for exposing the churches but he say's Jesus is God but the Bible actually states he is God's son.

Ah, welcome to the weird and whacky world of Christian theology. You may be forgiven for being confused about the doctrine of the Trinity: I strongly suspect it was invented to keep theologians n a job. However, this Wikipedia article gives a reasonably clear overview. The divinity of Jesus is standard mainstream Christianity: he was 100% god as well as 100% man. Yes, I know, their maths was lousy too.

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 15:16:59 UTC | #568419

deftmasterofdisguise's Avatar Comment 14 by deftmasterofdisguise

This link will compliment the article well :)

http://www.buzzfeed.com/eixo/12-evilest-pope-pictures-e9k

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 15:18:16 UTC | #568420

HardNosedSkeptic's Avatar Comment 15 by HardNosedSkeptic

Some of the ad hominem attacks on the Guardian website are hysterical (and I mean funny). My favorite is the post by DurkheimwasRight:

What Dawkins says about the abuses committed by the catholic church is true enough, but reading him one cannot help getting the impression that, given access to the levers of political power, and given the right sort of regime or the right sort of period (eg Russia in the 1930s), he would happily turn churches into warehouses and put priests in labour camps. Just an impression though. I may be wrong...

Yes you are wrong Sir, dead wrong. You would see that straight away if you listened to what he had to say or read anything he has written on the subject.

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 15:18:25 UTC | #568421

Caudimordax's Avatar Comment 16 by Caudimordax

If you don’t feel like wasting your time reading through the comments at the Guardian, here’s a quick guide to what you’ll find there:

A comment that accuses Richard of being a big meanie – and at Christmas, too!

A comment that expresses a condescending attitude toward Richard for naively thinking that the bible says what it says.

A comment that says Richard is wrong because he’s in a minority.

Another comment that accuses Richard of being a big meanie – and at Christmas, too!

A comment that obliquely suggests that Richard would be another Hitler given the chance.

A comment that asks why Richard didn’t attack the Queen (erm, because the Queen didn’t deliver the Thought for the Day?)

Another comment that accuses Richard of being a big meanie – and at Christmas, too!

A comment that asks why Richard focuses on the Catholic Church when Quakers are so nice.

Fortunately there are quite a few comments supporting Richard. Well done!

Edit: Sorry, I guess the commenter was suggesting that Richard would be another Stalin, not Hitler. My bad!

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 15:25:16 UTC | #568424

Bernard Hurley's Avatar Comment 17 by Bernard Hurley

Comment 13 by Paula Kirby :

You may be forgiven for being confused about the doctrine of the Trinity:

No that is the one thing for which you can NOT be forgiven

I strongly suspect it was invented to keep theologians n a job.

Now I thought it was invented to keep the sport of competitive persecution alive. Calvin had the Unitarian Michael Servetus burned at the stake because he was afraid the inquisition might get there first.

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 15:29:25 UTC | #568426

quarecuss's Avatar Comment 18 by quarecuss

Good on ye, Richard! I hope you had a happy solstice. I did, in good part, thanks to you. Keep the pyre of religion burning. I love to hear it crackle. Nothing like piling on the deadwood of dogma for a good roaring fire. That original sin log is the prize Yule burner! It's the best way to feel warmth and joy at this wintry time of year!

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 15:58:40 UTC | #568442

legal9ball's Avatar Comment 19 by legal9ball

As a former catholic, I look back on how I raised my children in this despicable doctrine and wish I had the chance to do it over again so as to spare them this lesson in holy self loathing. I do what I can now for my now adult children by way of example and whatever guidance they may request. But, their very love, devotion and trust for me as my children is my undoing in this task. They took the lesson so very deep to heart.

If only I could give them each their own apostasy for Christmas, I would. Lovingly wrapped and joyfully presented.

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 15:58:47 UTC | #568443

HughCaldwell's Avatar Comment 20 by HughCaldwell

This was a dreadful performance. The old fellow's spoken English and ability to read a script are abysmal. Why doesn't he get somebody competent to read it on his behalf?

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 16:01:00 UTC | #568445

Paula Kirby's Avatar Comment 21 by Paula Kirby

Bernard Hurley: No that is the one thing for which you can NOT be forgiven

Very witty! But I thought it was 'blaspheming against the holy spirit' that was the only unforgivable sin. Not that I ever heard any preacher enlighten us as to what that might actually entail. Funny, really: if it's as bad as all that, you'd think they'd go out of their way to make sure we knew exactly what we should be avoiding.

And to those Guardian readers who are whingeing because an atheist doesn't adopt a different tone just because it's Christmas, I have only one thing to say: 'Bah, humbug!'

Merry Christmyth, everyone.

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 16:11:47 UTC | #568451

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 22 by Steve Zara

Comment 21 by Paula Kirby

And to those Guardian readers who are whingeing because an atheist doesn't adopt a different tone just because it's Christmas, I have only one thing to say: 'Bah, humbug!'

I heard someone in a radio play yesterday say that Dickens' A Christmas Carol makes far more sense backwards - a silly spendthrift learns some discipline.

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 16:14:08 UTC | #568455

Zalvation's Avatar Comment 23 by Zalvation

Well done Richard for a great, well tuned article. Now here’s my tuppence worth:

Isn't the problem here one of religion already maintaining a strong foothold and influence in the political arena, which is historical? If we ignore religion in the political context are we not simply conceding ground? And to whom do we define clearly what is required by the state in terms of evidence and argument in the formation of policies? Is there a democratic forum for this debate? I say again, those who wish to involve god in politics have already warranted their claims over centuries, their criteria is firmly established. The atheist view is, to many people, an un-established definition for opposition in the wider political sense. It needs to provide the same powerful influence that religion claims for itself. I’ve made the point before that all things start from the ground up, and the church has a lot of ground to stand on. It gives an overwhelming appearance of power and influence and this is what marks it as dangerous, especially to under-developed and under-educated minds. It is the daunting task of atheism to not only rebut the arguments for religions claims but also to take those arguments to a world-wide community. For want of a better analogy, atheism and religion are in the same business. Once again, thank you for leading the charge...

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 16:28:52 UTC | #568461

i's Avatar Comment 24 by i

These are same people that claim to be the exclusive source of our morality?

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 16:29:35 UTC | #568463

bendigeidfran's Avatar Comment 25 by bendigeidfran

Bit off of RD to remind them what they're meant to be remembering at this time of year.

The Vicar of Christ writes as badly as God. Why does a supernatural magic mind beyond our comprehension write drivel? And why does He need people to write it down for Him? I can see writing must be difficult when your hands are invisible, but that's no excuse for the words.

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 16:35:46 UTC | #568467

Paula Kirby's Avatar Comment 26 by Paula Kirby

AC Grayling summed up the doctrine of Original Sin perfectly in a review of a book by the dire Terry Eagleton earlier this year:

Compare: a pharmaceutical company tells us that we are all born with a disease that requires that we buy their product all our lives long, and that if we do it will cure us after death.

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 16:41:37 UTC | #568470

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 27 by AtheistEgbert

Comment 26 by Paula Kirby :

AC Grayling summed up the doctrine of Original Sin perfectly in a review of a book by the dire Terry Eagleton earlier this year:

Compare: a pharmaceutical company tells us that we are all born with a disease that requires that we buy their product all our lives long, and that if we do it will cure us after death.

Christopher Hitchens paraphrases this slightly by saying God creates us sick and then offers a cure under penalty of eternal torture.

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 17:18:19 UTC | #568487

Letsbereasonable's Avatar Comment 28 by Letsbereasonable

Comment 6 by Richard Dawkins :

I think it is a great shame that Professor Dawkins can not just allow Christians one day of harmless celebration without saying unpleasant things about them

This is typical of the many attacks on the Guardian website. They all say something like this. Not a single one can think of any counter argument to what I actually SAID about original sin. If you look at what is "unpleasant" in my article, it is the doctrine of original sin itself. I didn't need to say anything unpleasant ABOUT it. It speaks for itself. Richard

I'm no theologian, obviously, but isn't Original Sin just a religious rationalisation of the fact that, while we are all born innocently disposed enough at the time, we are nevertheless born with the capacity to do future evil? Is not this capacity encoded within our genome at conception? In this sense, then, can we not say that we are born with 'sin'.

The Christian religion had to come up with an explanation for why people born 'in the image of God' have the capacity to be complete assholes. As with every other pre-Enlightenment religious explanation, that of this innate moral duality has had to back off in the face of scientific progress, especially in genetics. Unfortunately for Christians it's another piece of rational awkwardness, like that of the Resurrection, that they can't back-off from too far since it is central to their Faith.

I don't want summarily to rubbish everything the Christians say because I don't like the notion of miracles or the idea of angels, but most of their 'explanations' are rooted in some species of pragmatic rationalisation - derived from ancient Jewish wisdoms in the main - that bears at least some relevance to practical reality.

Are we born evil? Or do we, in the words of Oscar Hammerstein II, also not a theologian, "have to be taught"?

Apart from that, Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays everyone.

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 17:20:22 UTC | #568488

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 29 by InYourFaceNewYorker

Also, I was on the subway and talking to someone I had just met. We were talking about the holidays and he said something about how his 5-year-old daughter went to church with him a couple times (he's Catholic) and he said, "She doesn't quite get it yet." I thought, "Well, of course not! Many adults don't get it themselves!" but I didn't say anything. And he said, "But I think Church is important because I want to make sure she has a moral foundation." I thought, "Of all the places to get a moral foundation...the Catholic Church??" But I didn't say anything. I should have but I was a bit tired and I had to get off at the next stop to go to work.

Julie

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 17:56:50 UTC | #568505

The Plc's Avatar Comment 30 by The Plc

Well done Prof. Dawkins for pointing out the obnoxiousness of this obscurantist crap. Even the Guardian's comments are relatively empty of the usual ad hom non-comments that usually make those pages. Apologists and athiest-butheads won't even sink so low as to try and defend the doctrine of original sin.

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 18:01:57 UTC | #568508