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Echoing Dawkins – Don’t Call Us Fundamentalists Thursday, July 26, 2007

Posted by henry000 in anti-fundamentalism, atheism, Bible, Chinese, Christianity, Dawkins, faith, fundamentalism, God, Islam, Judaism, Koran, rationality, reason, religion, Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion.
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Richard Dawkins has lately written an article titled “How dare you call me a fundamentalist” as a response to some of the main criticisms he received for his controversial bestseller The God Delusion. Here I will add my own arguments to what Dawkins has already said, because when rational people criticise god and putting religion in perspective, they get unfairly judged, and this we must address.

The criticisms made on Dawkins are in bold.

I’m an atheist, but I wish to dissociate myself from your shrill, strident, intemperate, intolerant, ranting language.

How you feel about the tone and language of the book is entirely up to you. Some might find it clear and concise. I find it to be passionate and blunt, and I think blunt is a much better and objective description of the tone and language of the book.

Take the first chapter for example. The one line where I can find people might find it offending is this line:

The idea of a personal God is quite alien to me and seems even naive.

Now seriously, how shrill and intolerant is this? Try replacing the words “a personal God” with something else say “United Nations” or “the Live Aid concert”. Does it make a difference?

I offer this advice to people who feel the book is arrogant and condescending: read it again (or at least some of it), and you might come to feel differently about it as the first time might come as a shock.

You can’t criticise religion without detailed study of learned books on theology.

The book is not ignorant on theology and various aspects of religion – see Dawkins’ own explanation – this alone should settle this particular criticism. I would add that you need not to be a scholar to highlight the obvious problems of religion, such as the blind faiths people have in ancient scriptures that drive them to happily hurt and kill others for no other reason than religion. There is a difference between criticising something while being completely ignorant (such as simple-minded creationists), and being knowledgeable enough.

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A Boy Named Hell Rejected by School Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Posted by henry000 in Australia, Catholics, Chinese, Christianity, hell, numerology, rationality, religion, superstition.
1 comment so far

Here is another piece of the middle-age mindset that has characterised the Catholic church. A boy whose surname is Hell, which has its origin rooted in Austrian, was rejected from enrolling in a Catholic school in Australia simply because of the name, for the obvious reason.

Apparently here is the sequence of events that happened: at first the father of the boy offered to change the surname, but the school would not change its mind. Then the father decided not to change the boy’s surname, but the Catholic school decided to accept the boy. However this was too late for the father, who now says there is now no way that he would send his boy to the school.

The father correctly states:

“It’s 2007, not 1407 — it’s not the Dark Ages.”

According to the report, this is what the school statement has to say:

“The issue of a change of surname of the child was an initiative of the parents which they believed would assist the child in the transition of schools,” the school said in a statement.

“The school is working with the family in the best interests of the child,” the statement added.

While this issue has its religious context, this kind of incredible stupidity know as supersition is not limited to the religious. Numerology is one obvious example. Apparently the recent date of 07/07/07 has seen a large number of weddings planned on that day because many people believe this unique date brings good luck.

Also the number 13 and springs to mind. In the Chinese culture, the number 4 is considered bad luck because it sounds very similar to the word “death”, while the number 8 is considered very good simply because it sounds like the word “fortune” or “sudden fortune” in Chinese. So next time if you see a number plate filled with 8’s – you know why.