Monday, 16 May 2011

Atheism, or Christianophobia?

I have noted an article in the Daily Telegraph over the weekend, which reports that the eminent atheist Professor Richard Dawkins has been accused of cowardice over his refusal to debate the existence of God.

It should be noted that Archbishop Cranmer has also blogged about this article, and his treatment is probably better than mine is going to be.

My interaction was primarily commenting on it, and I have to say, I was astonished and appalled.

I consider myself a Christian - I don't go to Church every Sunday, I don't read the Bible every day. I'm not an expert on scripture or exegesis, but I still consider myself Christian. I try to live my life according to the principles set down by that religion.

I do not often broadcast this, not because I consider it embarrassing, but because I consider it private. I choose to live my life by a set of principles which I adhere to as best I can, but it is an intensely personal choice, and I do not think less of anyone else if they do not do the same.

In other words, I do not force my religion down the throats of others.

I commented on this article in the Telegraph, pointing out that Dawkins is largely detestable, not for his atheist beliefs, to which he is perfectly entitled, but the fact that he seems to take a perverse pleasure in deliberately attacking the beliefs of Christians, holding that his atheist views are somehow more legitimate than Christianity.

What followed was a series (here and here - some of the other more aggressive ones have since been deleted) of personal attacks on me for pointing this out, by a tribe of militant atheists immediately denouncing my religion, and even in some cases, attempting to compare the bringing up of children in the Christian faith to child abuse.

None of your kind here.

I have no problem with people being atheist. What I have a problem with is atheists, or indeed anyone, telling me what I should or should not believe, how I should live my life, and how I should raise my children. My religion, my faith, my principles, my life and my children are my own business, and absolutely nothing to do with anyone else.

The sickening rise of prejudice against Christians needs to be noted and stopped, for it is taking root, and is becoming socially acceptable in some circles. I could not help wondering if the Christianophobic fanatics that chose to insult me rather than confront the argument that I, like Dawkins, am entitled to my own beliefs, would be so quick to speak out against Muslims.

Or Jews.