by baldilocks

Filling in for Fausta.

When we last talked about public atheist Richard Dawkins, he was being ‘de-platformed’ by Pacifica Radio’s KPFA.

In contrast, Dawkins spoke last week at the International Conference on Freedom of Conscience and Expression in London, where he received a standing ovation and an award.

This conference’s purpose is

[to] discuss censorship and blasphemy laws, freedom of and from religion, apostasy, the limits of religion’s role in society, LGBT and women’s rights, atheism, secular values and more.

Speakers from countries or the Diaspora as diverse as Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Canada, Egypt, France, India, Iran, Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan, Ireland, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Palestinian Territories, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Turkey, Tunisia, UK, Ukraine, US and Yemen will gather in London to defend freedom of conscience and expression and argue that freedoms are not western but universal.

It’s innocuous internationalism and atheism, with one significant difference: these people support and offer a platform for ex-Muslims.

When ex-Muslim Bonya Ahmed reached out her hand to accept an award in London on Sunday, it was missing her thumb.

Islamists hacked it off in Bangladesh, 2015.

(…)

The ceremony that recognised this brave woman had to be held in a secret location because London is no longer safe for ex-Muslims, atheists or even secular Muslim believers who dare to say that Islam should not be implemented as a system of laws.

Let that sink in: these people had to gather in an undisclosed location.. Not in Bangladesh, but in Britain.

The next time you hear or read about American atheists whining about eyeball oppression from the sight of crosses and Ten Commandment monuments, point out the state of things in the UK. I know I will.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

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…working for the Palestinian Government

I used to run a blog in Arabic called “Nour Alakl” and ran a satirical Facebook page under the pseudonym “Allah.” But in October 2010, Palestinian security forces stormed into an Internet cafe and arrested me.

This blogger has learned many things from this experience

Until then, I had been under the impression that I had a right to freedom of speech and to the freedom of belief. But in jail, I was told that my online statements about religion and Islam were illegal. I was told that society didn’t accept such criticisms.

The first thing he discovered is that regardless of what our friends in the media and the public claims of the Palestinian state freedom of speech in Palestinian controlled areas means freedom to say thing that don’t upset or offend Palestinians

I was beaten by prison guards who demanded to know who had made me write against Islam. In their minds, I could only say these things as the result of some plot, some conspiracy. The idea that I might simply want to express my independent thoughts was alien to them.

The second thing he discovered is that if you are doing something to upset Palestinians it’s obvious a western plot, or a Jewish plot, or a Western Jewish plot or perhaps a plot by infidel crusaders aided and abetted by Jews and the west.

The 10 months I spent in Palestinian prison were the worse of my life. I faced constant pressure to retract my statements. I was told they had removed my blog and that I must apologize for publishing it. Even once I was freed, I was told I should never again use the Internet, nor meet with the media.

The third thing he learned is the difference between being in a Palestinian in a Palestinian prison & a Palestinian.  If only he had been arrested for throwing stones at Jews, he would have been a hero.

I eventually left the West Bank for Jordan with a visa I obtained from the French embassy. I am now in Paris, and have applied for asylum. After six months, I am still waiting for an answer, and it has become harder and harder as time goes on.

From here I have the chance to blog in Arabic and in English as “Proud Atheist,” but I am now effectively in exile. I am living alone in a foreign city, cut off from friends and family, all because of my words.

The fourth thing he learned is that for all the critique of the west by Palestinian media, if he wants to be able to freely say ^ write what he thinks, the west is the place to be.

I still do not feel safe. If I cannot stay here, and if I am not protected, then there’s a chance the Palestinian Authority will arrest me again. That is my fear. I want to be active, but safety is my priority.

I’d normally advise him to come to America, after all as an atheist he would have a lot of support  but I have a feeling that groups like CAIR might consider his critiques of Islam “hate speech” which could get him Molly Norrised and frankly as a person who has actually been persecuted for his non-religious beliefs I suspect he would not fit in well with American atheists who have a case of the vapors whenever a nativity scene goes up at Christmas.

As a fellow blogger I am outraged by this story, as an American I think he would be an excellent candidate for asylum here, and as a Catholic I’ll pray for him and ask my fellow Catholics to do the same as he learns one final lesson

The international community should do more to protect the plight of these people. There are many of us who need to talk and be reached out to, even if we use fake Facebook accounts for our safety. We must express our thoughts and ourselves. We simply must be allowed this basic freedom.

If he wants the international community to back him, he had better get himself persecuted by Jews or Christians, not by Muslims and certainly not Palestinians.

Let me  end by giving credit to the Daily Beast, not at all a conservative website for reporting on this story.

Update:  Corrected the second to last sentence that somehow came out different that what I was trying to type.

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The latest in a series of regular posts on stories that should surprise nobody who is actually paying attention.

This entry concerns the #1 story in America Ebola via the Tea Party News Network that has some good news and some bad news.  The good news is that Nurse Nina Pham is Ebola free and going home, the bad news is she not only mentioned God but thanked those who prayed for her.

She also thanked those around the world who were praying for her, noting that she believed in the power of prayer. Pham said, “I believe in the power of prayer because I know so many people around the world have been praying for me. I join you in prayer now for the recovery of others.” Her words of thanks and gratitude, and her determination to pray for others suffering from Ebola, brought the atheists and other haters of religious faith out in attack mode against her.

Twitchy has more.

Alas if  only she was a devout Muslim instead of a Catholic.  Had she thanked Allah, she might have scored a spot in the Revere school curriculum.

Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.

Matthew 10:8

The Doctor: You’re running out of time.
Courtney Woods: For what?
The Doctor: Everything! Human beings have incredibly short lifespans. Frankly, you should all be in a constant state of panic. Tick tock, tick tock.

Doctor Who The Caretaker 2014

 

…As I live, says the Lord GOD, I swear I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, but rather in the wicked man’s conversion, that he may live

Ezekiel 33:11a

Via Instapundit a writer at Slate finds himself confused by a reality that his culture can’t understand:

Missionary doctors and nurses are stationed throughout Africa, in rural outposts and urban slums. Rather than parachuting in during crises, like some international medicine specialists, a large number of them have undertaken long-term commitments to address the health problems of poor Africans.

This isn’t news to any faithful Christian .  Any person familiar with history knows  Christians have been the spearpoint of helping others.  In Africa for example the Catholic Church is very active:

 

Church africa

 

The Screen shot come from this video (via sacred space) with figures from dating from 2011.  (In fact we had a 2nd collection in our church two weeks ago to help support this work) and of course these number don’t count activities by various protestant denominations which, while not to the scale of much larger Catholic Church,  are quite commendable.

But all of this brings unease to our secular writer

And yet, for secular Americans—or religious Americans who prefer their medicine to be focused more on science than faith—it may be difficult to shake a bit of discomfort with the situation.

“Focused on science?  Does the writer think Christian doctors are using rattles and bleeding their patents to equalize their humors?

For all that,snark,  the writer, to his credit notices that there is something wrong with how he feels

And yet, truth be told, these valid critiques don’t fully explain my discomfort with missionary medicine. If we had thousands of secular doctors doing exactly the same work, I would probably excuse most of these flaws. “They’re doing work no one else will,” I would say. “You can’t expect perfection.”

I’m not altogether proud of this bias—I’m just trying to be honest.

While this fellow has gotten a lot of grief on comments I’m not bothered by the story because honesty echoed by different liberal writer earlier this week is the first steps to realizing that there is something wrong there is still that inexplicable unease.

Frankly it’s logical that Christians, believing in heaven, hell (and purgatory if Catholic) therefore seeing this life as a transitory phase in their existence might be less adverse to risking said life that others.  Contrariwise it’s just as logical that an Atheist rationally concluding he has but one life, is not about to risk it for a bunch of people thousands of miles away that he’s never met.

Completely logical, completely rational, makes perfect sense, particularly if one has a worldview that morality is relative and not an absolute handed down from on high, but if that’s so why is atheist writer Brian Palmer uneasy about all these Christian Doctors risking their lives fighting Ebola?

That answer is quite simple.

You see the reality is we are created in God’s image, all of us.  Because of that fact even if one has spent a lifetime denying God’s existence, this intrinsic truth of our nature creates, a gut feeling, an instinct a little whisper in the ear saying that maybe, just maybe all we have been conditioned to believe about Christianity as vast wasteland of ignorance & hate by the media, by our circle and by the secular culture might be wrong.

That merest hint that your worldview, celebrated by the dominant media culture is lacking, threatens to divide you away from your comfort zone and is makes the other side in this spiritual battle very nervous and he’s and his friends will fight like ravenous wolves to snuff that spark out.

It’s also means those Christian Doctors are getting it right because creating that discomfort is part of the job description.  I’ll give Christ the last word:

Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword.  For I have come to set a man ‘against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;  and one’s enemies will be those of his household.’

Matthew 10:34-36

 

One of the things that I’ve made a point to do it over the years is watch MSNBC in the morning.

This brings two advantages, first of all it gives me n insight on what the left’s message & theme of the day is, but it also makes me stronger in my point.

If my arguments are of any value, they can stand up to the left arguments, and not the left’s arguments as repeated or spun by my friends on the right, but the left’s arguments in their own words.  (Much like my Bob Beckels on Da Magnificent Panel.

This is incidentally why the left is so adamant about keeping people from watching Fox news, they call it “Faux” news but they have actually created a “Faux” Fox in order to keep their own from hearing the right’s arguments in their own words

 

And that brings us to our secular humanist friends, who insists that Christians are simply ignorant people believing superstition.

One of the things I’ve noticed about such people in invariably will pull a verse, particularly from the old testament laws to hit Christians with.  It’s a great straw man when people have no familiarity with scripture but anyone who has read Acts concerning St. Peter and the council of Jerusalem could answer that without pausing for breath.

That being the case it would behove our secular humanist friends to become familiar with scripture, after all how can you critique what you don’t understand, or haven’t heard in context.  After all the scientific method involves actually studying things within their environment.

But where can they get such information and data in an organized way?  That’s easy the Daily Catholic Mass.

The Daily Catholic mass is the perfect way to understand scripture and prayer and the belief in it.  The prayers during the daily mass are crafted on a daily & organized basic, the same with the Eucharistic Prayers.   They are uniform throughout the country (with the occasional optional feast day) because this is nationally set a priest can’t spin it based on your presence.

But most important for your study is the scripture cycle.

Unlike the Sunday mass which operates on a three year cycle, the Daily Mass operates on a two year one.

Year one are Old testament readings grouped to tell a specific story, usually over the course of a week.  In Year two the 1st reading switches the the new testament letters.  Each year you get the full Gospel.

The Daily mass runs about 20 minutes in a local parish with the occasional high mass on a feast day.

If you are a humanist, who wants to make an intelligent case against Christianity it would make sense to invest 30 minutes a day 5 days a week to attend the Daily Mass, see Christians in their natural habitat, listen to their prayers, hear the scripture readings in their context that shape their beliefs.  Study them as they are, get the data needed to make your case against Christianity directly from the largest single denomination in the world.

Now is the perfect time because if you jump in at the start of July you’ll get half a year of old & half a year of new testament & the Gospels in full.  Of course if you want to do the full two year cycle for better data, that makes sense too.

So take up my challenge humanists, spend a year (or two) attending daily mass at a local church, the time it will costs you is a single sitcom a day and if nothing else the scripture references will give you a perspective on what many things within history & western civilization is built on.  See us as we are if you dare.

After all it’s the scientific thing to do.

A couple of days ago I wrote this concerning Judeo Christian Culture

The truth is very simple, one of the things that Christianity and the Judeo Christian Culture provides is a society that has positive values. That individuals and institutions haven’t always lived up to those values doesn’t make the values any less valid than a corrupt cop means the police should be disbanded.

I would think that even if you didn’t believe in the religion the moral structure might be valuable.

We’ve already seen the image of wealthy atheists funding Catholic Schools because they provided the best educational chance for children, making it the rational choice for society.

Now we see elite atheists making another rational choice for their own children:

The researchers found that agnostics attend religious services (e.g., church) at about the same rate regardless of whether they have any children. By contrast, the attendance rate of atheists with children jumps 70% compared to those without. Children constitute a statistically significant factor in atheists attending religious services and joining religious communities. It should be noted that the atheists and agnostics in this study are all top-tier scientists, so these findings may not hold for atheists in general.

Looked at another way, contrary to popular expectation, atheist scientists show a proclivity to join a religious community when raising children. Unlike many atheists who feel isolated in a region of heavy religiosity, scientists have ready access to a community of fellow, morally minded atheists, and yet choose to raise their children in a religious community

If that doesn’t make online atheist go Kryten this next bit will:

In many circumstances they favored a religious upbringing because, third, they believed it would provide children with moral orientation. One scientist, who does not have children, said he would raise his children in the Catholic Church because he was raised Catholic and believes Catholicism teaches children important values.

What? You mean to tell me that these top-tier atheist scientists, the pool where this study was taken, these well-educated brilliant people need religion to teach moral values? Simple rationality can’t do it alone?

Hopefully the children of these scientists will grow up fast enough with strong enough moral values to solve this pressing problem of atheism:

[Women complained to Watson they didn’t want to attend atheist events] because they felt uncomfortable in a room full of men. They told me about how they were hit on constantly and it drove them away. I didn’t fully get it at the time, because I didn’t mind getting hit on. But I acknowledged their right to feel that way and I started suggesting to the men that maybe they relax a little and not try to get in the pants of every woman who walks through the door. Maybe they could wait for her to make the first move,

Of course that presupposes the following:

1. These children don’t in fact choose religion.

2. They attend an atheist conference with Rebecca Watson

3. She remains as Stacy McCain Described her: “the total smokin’ hotness of atheist chickdom.” albeit by that time the cougar version.

But alas it likely won’t work because that same moral compass might cause them to choose to reject both the concept of the one night stand or a person robbing the cradle as it were.

Oh well I guess the moral structure provided by religion can’t solve everything.

Via Hotair Headlines

I’m looking at this article (via hotair headlines) and I’m trying really hard to look at this with Christian Charity

The founders of Atheism+ say clearly that “divisiveness” is not their aim, but looking through the blogs and voluminous comments in the two weeks since A+ was mooted, trenches have been dug, beliefs stated, positions staked out and abuse thrown. A dissenting tweeter is “full of shit”, while, according to one supporter, daring to disagree with Atheism+’s definition of progressive issues and not picking their side makes you an “asshole and a douchebag”.

but the humor of this is really hard to suppress.

The question here isn’t, is Atheism+ signaling a split in their movement but what exactly IS it? Now as per dictionary.com the the Word “Athiest” has a simple meaning

a·the·ism
   [ey-thee-iz-uhm] Show IPA
noun
1.
the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
2.
disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

Now lets look at a piece quoted in the article by everyone’s favorite professor PZ “let’s drive nails through the Eucharist” Myers on What Athiesm+ is. I think it sounds really familiar:

If you’re resentful that many atheists think that feminism is important, that we should be fighting for racial equality, that we think reason and evidence dictate that excessive income inequity does harm to the nation, that the gun madness needs to stop, or whatever social and political issue pushes your buttons, then tough. I’m not making you write legislation to increase spending for schools in poor neighborhoods. I’m not forming you up into squads going door to door to take away people’s guns. I’m arguing for the importance of those issues, and I’m finding allies who agree with me.

It seems to me that the New “Atheist+ group is simply Atheism + Liberalism. As he puts it in this rather incredible paragraph:

Yes. I’m a white male middle-class professional. I profit from disparity, and it simultaneously gives me guilt and worry that someone might take my privileges away from me. But I can’t in good conscience live in the illusion that I somehow deserve more than a poor black woman making ends meet with menial labor; I don’t. I’m just the recipient of the blessings of chance and history.

Think about that paragraph for a second. Whatever I think of Professor Myers, he IS in fact a college professor, who has earned a PhD. This is not achieved without effort, dedication brains and hard work, a lot of hard work. Yet by his own set of standards it is an illusion. These years of effort and study is of no more value than any menial labor that he could have done if he decided to bag college altogether.

This is beyond Obama & Former Obama Administration Official Elizabeth Warren’s “You didn’t build this” this is “I didn’t build this”!

Atheism ought to be a progressive social movement in addition to being a philosophical and scientific position, because living in a godless universe means something to humanity.

And that’s what our new Athiest+ (liberalism) club means and if you don’t buy into it…well:

And if you don’t agree with any of that — and this is the only ‘divisive’ part — then you’re an asshole. I suggest you form your own label, “Asshole Atheists” and own it, proudly.

Read that one more time. If he had just stopped with this sentence…

…isn’t it really silly to complain about not belonging to a group with ideals you don’t agree with?”

…he would have a valid argument, but what is says is this: If you don’t believe what we believe, if you are a Bill Quick or an SE Cupp an Allahpundit or a Doug Mataconis and you don’t buy his brand of Athiesm your an Ass.

Peter McGrath, The author of the article, used the clip from Life of Brian about the Judean’s People’s Front vs the People’s front of Judea, but I think the better clip might be this one. (Language warning)

Maybe he won’t call for you to be killed but at the very least he will take your juniper bushes and give them away and if you don’t agree, then you’re unworthy.

Update: Here is an atheist perspective on this (HT Doug Matacoins)

Look, it’s fine to say that you’re creating your own social movement of godless people who believe in something. Fine. But the implication of many of these folks–particularly those like PZ, who automatically lumps libertarians in with “jerks”–is that you cannot be an atheist and yet not be of this mind on politics at the same time. That’s just bonkers, and absurd. And I thought atheism was all about reason and logic, because we don’t believe in superstition?

Cracker: You loved David, you love a man you make love with a man, you have a baby, but babies cost money, there’s never enough money, so you talk about abortion , you go and see Michael, his advice what does Michael say?

Maggie Harvey: Michael says we will always be welcome in his church no matter what I do.

Fr. Michael Harvey: I was trying to make it easier for you.

Maggie Harvey: I didn’t want it made easier, I wanted you to say ‘No’. I’m a good Catholic I believe, I go along to my priest a lifetime of sacrifice and all I ask for is to protect the child in my womb, but he won’t.

Cracker My Brother’s Keeper 1995

This morning I wrote about non-believing ministers or priests leaving their positions in the church as a good thing. There is however a difference between having doubts and actual disbelief.

In the Catholic church for example priests, Bishops and even Popes still go to confession because they are not free from sin. Those confessors are also in a way coaches, helping people through the tough times.

And that takes me to the specific case of Jerry DeWitt who is mentioned in the CNN article. It’s very clear from his own words where his problems began:

As a young fresh-faced minister, DeWitt was first confronted with his disbelief when he “became the person who got the burden of preaching about hell,” he said. “I really loved the people I preached to, I loved them like family. So imagine preaching that if you don’t do this, you are going to burn in hell. That wasn’t easy for me.”

“It wasn’t easy for me”. This isn’t a question of doubt it’s was laziness, unwilling to talk about a harsh reality because of how it made him feel Think about that for a second:

  • Imagine if your doctor was not willing to tell his patients about a disease that could kill them because “he loved the patients” and “it wasn’t easy for him”.
  • Imagine if a parent unwilling to correct their children from doing wrong because “they love their child” and “it wasn’t easy for them”
  • Imagine if your accountant was unwilling to tell you about financial issues because “he loves his client” and “it wasn’t easy for him”.

In fact we see it in Washington today with elected officials unwilling to solve our financial issues because they love the people and “it isn’t easy for them

In other words, he wanted to be liked. It’s difficult to be liked when you are telling unpleasant truths that people might not want to hear, even if Christ himself said they where true.

There is a reason Pride is first on the list of deadly sins.

What we have here isn’t someone who had disbelief, he had discomfort and because apparently he didn’t share his discomfort with someone with more experience who might have counseled him. If he had asked me I would have quoted one of my very first posts:

Some argue that a good God would not allow such a thing, yet they don’t question that a good law (against murder for example) may cause a person to be imprisoned for life or worse. It isn’t bad law its the offenders bad choice that makes him liable to judgment.

Our unwillingness as people to face that fact is not unlike an overweight person avoiding a scale or a person sick unwilling to see a doctor. It is much easier to avoid an unpleasant truth than to confront it and do something about it. To the degree that Satan is active this is by design, denial works in his favor

The Devil is a psychologist and a con man rolled into one and will always steer us toward the easier more comfortable choice. Of course he could have talked to people of more experience, who could have provided some answers, but again the sin of pride, I don’t need anyone else help or opinions I can do it all myself.

After doubts about hell, DeWitt began to research other schools of thought about God and belief. He began to develop other doubts, about certain biblical translations and about healing.

And of course the rest for Mr. DeWitt is history.   He has the rest of his life to decide otherwise, but if he continues on this path the CNN article will make him popular with many in the media, he will appear on TV, he will be lionized, he will never lack for speaking opportunities with crowds of people cheering him while others less apparently and thus not able to fuel his ego will be silently praying for him and if those prayer are not answered affirmatively, if he hears the voices of the crowd above the silent voice whose message he decided was too hard to express he will achieve the fame and respect he desires and will be held up as an example to others for the rest of his life…

…after that he’s on his own. I wish him the best of luck in making that decision.

In the HotAir headlines comes this story from CNN about a “coming out” group for unbelieving ministers/priests

During his speeches, he talks about the process of leaving his preacher job. “If you don’t believe, then you will be like me – you’ll suddenly find yourself where you only have two choices,” DeWitt told a group in Johnson County, Kansas, earlier this year.

If you are being paid as a preacher and you don’t believe the honest thing to do is leave, of course that presupposes you are not there to make trouble or to feather your nest. As Father Z points out it is not uncommon for such folks to reach high position and have to be removed with as the Cardinal said:

“Among the apostles one out of twelve betrayed, and today among the successors of the apostles the average is certainly no better.”

I suspect a lot of businesses would be very happy to have a mere 8.3% failure rate for employees.

“You can either be honest that you don’t believe … or you can pretend that you do,” he said. “Which is what so many people are doing and that is called faith.”
Hey it’s a matter of simple truth in advertising. In Protestant denominations ministers are generally paid by their congregation. To be holding the job as a non-believer is not only fraudulent, it is taking a job that belongs to an actual believer.

After all as Christ himself said

Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one.

Matthew 5:37

As for Mr. DeWitt’s situation, well that’s a subject for my next post.

Update:
Note there is a difference between leaving a position as a minister, a position of teaching and leading and leaving the church outright.

Here is a headline that might have caught you by surprise:

Why I want all our children to read the King James Bible

Yes you read that right, Dawkins is supporting an effort by England’s Education secretary to send free King James Bibles to every school for its 400th anniversary, but don’t get your hopes up, it’s not a question of respect for the Word, but respect for the words

Ecclesiastes, in the 1611 translation, is one of the glories of English literature (I’m told it’s pretty good in the original Hebrew, too). The whole King James Bible is littered with literary allusions, almost as many as Shakespeare (to quote that distinguished authority Anon, the trouble with Hamlet is it’s so full of clichées). In The God Delusion I have a section called “Religious education as a part of literary culture” in which I list 129 biblical phrases which any cultivated English speaker will instantly recognise and many use without knowing their provenance: the salt of the earth; go the extra mile; I wash my hands of it; filthy lucre; through a glass darkly; wolf in sheep’s clothing; hide your light under a bushel; no peace for the wicked; how are the mighty fallen.

A native speaker of English who has never read a word of the King James Bible is verging on the barbarian.

As you might guess I’m not a huge fan of Richard Dawkins views on religion but Dawkins (like Chris Hitchens) is a well-educated man who got that education at a time before political correctness and identity politics turned education into a weapon. Dawkins continues in a less surprising vein:

European history, too, is incomprehensible without an understanding of the warring factions of Christianity and the book over whose subtleties of interpretation they were so ready to slaughter and torture each other.

Dawkins being Dawkins of course focuses only on wars over Christian Schisms, somehow William Wilburforce and the fight against the slave trade doesn’t make his cut but his general point is quite valid. One simply can’t understand Western Civilization without understanding the bible. Art, literature, History so much of western history is directly related to the Bible and its interpretation and to ignore it is to be willfully ignorant.

And Dawkins also has an ulterior motive:

Whatever else the Bible might be – and it really is a great work of literature – it is not a moral book and young people need to learn that important fact because they are very frequently told the opposite. The examples I have quoted are the tip of a very large and very nasty iceberg. Not a bad way to find out what’s in a book is to read it, so I say go to it.

BTW Dawkins for all my disagreement with him deserves respect for this argument, it would much easier to try to keep people away from scripture.

The guardian seems to believe that this isn’t going anywhere:

his support for Gove’s plan: opening the Bible is the surest way to put young minds off its contents. From this perspective, the Dawkins-Gove alliance looks dead before it started.

This is poppycock for two reasons:

1. For educational reasons alone the plan is justified for all the reasons above. Dawkins motivations are irrelevant to that purpose.

2. Christians if they have any faith should welcome Dawkins’ challenge for the young to read the bible. Inspired scripture has spoken to hundreds of millions for centuries, and any Christian worth his salt understands why in a way that Dawkins for all his education can’t comprehend.

So yes by all means let the young read the bible and let Dawkins make his best argument, I suspect it will not be a better one than the argument of the Holy Spirit.