This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.


← 'People say I'm strident'

asyouwere's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by asyouwere

In a recent interview, Richard was touted as "… possibly the world’s most famous atheist." From some in the audience we would hear "Gasp! Not an atheist

I know the subject has been broached before, but to the religious of the world the word "atheist" is pejorative at the very mention. Like the comedienne who didn’t believe in god, and it was okay with her mother as long as she wasn’t an atheist.

The faithful are inured from childhood to throw up a wall of deaf ears to anyone defining themselves with that term. There are a great many folks that simply are unable to even begin to engage in any rational discussion on any subject with anyone they understand to be atheist. Richard himself has bemoaned the allusion of vileness and evil many cultures attach the word. But for those cultures, any insinuation of godlessness has that consequence.

Realizing that it is almost impossible to spontaneously bring a word into the lingua franca, how might we define ourselves in a way that has less historical association with the iniquity of your everyday, run-of-the-mill heretics and blasphemers?

Sat, 25 Oct 2008 12:23:00 UTC | #257677