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Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins

In October 2002, there was an article in " The Dubliner" magazine entitled, "The God Shaped Hole" reporting on Richard Dawkins conversation with Emily Hourican. In the the course of the conversationy, Dawkins compares Catholicism to the sexual molestation of children, and argues that Catholicism is worse:

"Regarding the accusations of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, deplorable and disgusting as those abuses are, they are not so harmful to the children as the grievous mental harm in bringing up the child Catholic in the first place

As is clear from the full article, the above is not taken out of context but is an accurate representation of Dawkin's attitude to Catholics.

Article in "The Dubliner" and Reply re "Catholicism is Worse than Child Abuse"

Dawkins stated that:

"....The Roman Catholic Church is one of the forces for evil in the world, mainly because of the powerful influence it has over the minds of children. The Catholic Church has developed, over the centuries, brilliant techniques in brain washing children; even intelligent people who have had a proper, full cradle-Catholic upbringing find it hard to shake it off when they reach adulthood. Obviously many of them do - and congratulations to them for it - but even some really quite intelligent people fail to shake it off, powerful evidence of the skill in brainwashing that the Catholic Church exercises. It's far more skilled than, for instance, the Anglican Church, mere amateurs in the game.

"The Catholic Church also has an extraordinarily retrogressive stance on everything to do with reproduction. Any sort of new technology which makes life easier for women without causing any suffering is likely to be opposed by the Catholic Church. Regarding the accusations of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, deplorable and disgusting as those abuses are, they are not so harmful to the children as the grievous mental harm in bringing up the child Catholic in the first place.

" I had a letter from a woman in America in her forties, who said that when she was a child of about seven, brought up a Catholic, two things happened to her: one was that she was sexually abused by her parish priest. The second thing was that a great friend of hers at school died, and she had nightmares because she thought her friend was going to hell because she wasn't Catholic. For her there was no question that the greatest child abuse of those two was the abuse of being taught about hell. Being fondled by the priest was negligible in comparison. And I think that's a fairly common experience.

 "I can't speak about the really grave sexual abuse that obviously happens sometimes, which actually causes violent physical pain to the altar boy or whoever it is, but I suspect that most of the sexual abuse priests are accused of is comparatively mild - a little bit of fondling perhaps, and a young child might scarcely notice that. The damage, if there is damage, is going to be mental damage anyway, not physical damage. Being taught about hell - being taught that if you sin you will go to everlasting damnation, and really believing that - is going to be a harder piece of child abuse than the comparatively mild sexual abuse. .......

One of his critics Mike Gene replied:

I think it clear that this is raw anti-religious bigotry. We can ignore the letter from "a woman in America" as a) we have no idea whether her account is valid and b) even if valid, it is an anecdote. Since Dawkins is a drum-banger for science, surely he would recognize science would need much more than a vague anecdote to support this contention.

So let's think through on Dawkins? logic. First, where is the science? What scientific evidence does Dawkins offer to support the contention that believing in Hell is a worse form of abuse than being sexually molested? Where is the evidence of this "grievous mental harm" in bringing up the child Catholic? His biased opinion? His emotional approach? An anecdote?!

Secondly, it is ironic that Dawkins has the science backwards. There are plenty of studies to show that sexual molestation of a child can have long term, negative effects. Dismissing it as "a bit of fondling" and being "mental damage anyway" is insulting to the many victims of child molestation. And there are plenty of studies that also show that religious belief and convictions, if held seriously, provide a net positive benefit in terms of psychological and physical health. In other words, contrary to the views of Dawkins, being raised a Catholic is not worse than being sexually abused.

But let's follow through with this example of Dawkins Think. As it stands, it is illegal to sexually molest a child. And, of course, it is not illegal to raise your child as a Catholic. But if it is really more harmful to raise your child as a Catholic than to sexually molest your child, as Dawkins believes, society needs to adjust its laws. According to Dawkins' logic, we should a) either make it illegal to raise your child as a Catholic, as it is worse than pedophilia, or b) legalize pedophilia, since it is not as bad as the legal activity of teaching a child about Hell and Catholicism. Which option would Dawkins choose? It's his logic, thus his choice to clarify.

Consider a simple analogy. The house next to your house goes up for sale. Two families are interested in buy it. The first family is a devout Catholic family. The father is hard working and has broken no laws. But he has taught his kids to believe in Catholic doctrine, including belief in Hell. The second family is not religious. The father is also hard working, but he also sexually molests his kids. In Dawkins World, you hope the child molester moves in next door, as he is not as bad as the Catholic man."

It Should be Illegal for Parents to Indoctrinate Their Children - Petition Signed by Dawkins

In December 2006, Dawkins signed a Petition that upset some of his most devoted followers - so much so that he quickly withdrew his signature and claimed he had "misunderstood" same. In contrast he has never withdrawn his claim that Catholicism is worse than child abuse. While the latter claim worried some of his followers, it was directly entirely at the Catholic Church and therefore a lot more palatable to anti-clerics).

Martin Wagner of "The Atheist Experience" Blog *** wrote in an article called "Has Dawkins Totally Jumped the Shark":

"The petition, authored by one Jamie Wallis using a service on the No 10 Downing Street website that allows users to write their own petitions and gather signatures right there for the PM's consideration, reads as follows:

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Make it illegal to indoctrinate or define children by religion before the age of 16. In order to encourage free thinking, children should not be subjected to any regular religious teaching or be allowed to be defined as belonging to a particular religious group based on the views of their parents or guardians. At the age of 16, as with other laws, they would then be considered old enough and educated enough to form their own opinion and follow any particular religion (or none at all) through free thought.


"Let's run through this.

"The first and most obvious thing that comes to mind is that what the petition asks is something that in America is unequivocally unconstitutional: government intrusion in private religious practice. Ed Brayton, over at Dispatches from the Culture Wars, has gone into outrage overload at this whole thing, declaring that "as far as I'm concerned, this pretty much removes Dawkins from any discussion among reasonable people." He goes on to a laundry list of entirely valid criticisms.

This proposal is every bit as noxious and totalitarian as a proposal from Christian reconstructionists that those who teach their children about witchcraft or atheism should be thrown in jail would be. Just imagine what you would have to do to actually enforce such a law. No one could take their children to church, which means you'd have to literally police the churches to make sure no children went in. Nor could they teach their children about religion at home, read the Bible with them, say prayers with them before they go to bed. The only way to enforce such a law would be to create a society that would make Orwell's 1984 seem optimistic by comparison.

"In case the "thrown in jail" part sounds a little hyperbolic to you, recall that the petition itself uses the word "illegal," and the general idea is that if someone does something illegal, then they've earned at the very least a citation and at worst imprisonment. Does Dawkins really want people to go to jail for taking their kids to Sunday School? Has he really gone that far over the top?" [End of Quotation]

*** The Blog motto seems to be "We feed on the blood of the ignorant!" - but they may not be referring to Dawkins!

My Comment: Dawkins withdrew his signature, claiming that he had misunderstood the Petition, believing it only referred to religious schools. The Petition does not mention schools at all and moreover is perfectly in line with Dawkins claim that raising your child as a Catholic is a form of child abuse.

Hitler was not an Atheist; He was a Catholic - as per Richard Dawkins

On 22 September 2010 the UK Guardian reported that "Richard Dawkins has contacted the Guardian to strongly deny that he compared Roman Catholics to Nazis, rather he said that Hitler was a Roman Catholic." The Guardian then gave a detailed account of his speech that included the following:

"The unfortunate little fact that Ratzinger was in the Hitler Youth has been the subject of a widely observed moratorium. I've respected it myself, hitherto. But after the pope's outrageous speech in Edinburgh, blaming atheism for Adolf Hitler, one can't help feeling the gloves are off ...........

"Hitler was a Roman Catholic. Or at least he was as much a Roman Catholic as the 5 million so-called Roman Catholics in this country today. For Hitler never renounced his baptismal Catholicism, which was doubtless the criterion for counting the 5 million alleged British Catholics today. You cannot have it both ways. Either you have 5 million British Catholics, in which case you have to have Hitler, too. Or Hitler was not a Catholic, in which case you have to give us an honest figure for the number of genuine Catholics in Britain today – the number who really believe Jesus turns himself into a wafer, as the former Professor Ratzinger presumably does.

"In any case, Hitler certainly was not an atheist. In 1933 he claimed to have "stamped atheism out", having banned most of Germany's atheist organisations, including the German Freethinkers League whose building was then turned into an information bureau for church affairs. ...

"Even if Hitler had been an atheist – as Joseph Stalin more surely was – how dare Ratzinger suggest that atheism has any connection whatsoever with their horrific deeds? Any more than Hitler and Stalin's non-belief in leprechauns or unicorns. Any more than their sporting of a moustache – along with Francisco Franco and Saddam Hussein. There is no logical pathway from atheism to wickedness.

Unless, that is, you are steeped in the vile obscenity at the heart of Catholic theology. I refer (and I am indebted to Paula Kirby for the point) to the doctrine of original sin. These people believe – and they teach this to tiny children, at the same time as they teach them the terrifying falsehood of hell – that every baby is "born in sin". That would be Adam's sin, by the way: Adam who, as they themselves now admit, never existed.

Original sin means that, from the moment we are born, we are wicked, corrupt, damned. Unless we believe in their God. Or unless we fall for the carrot of heaven and the stick of hell. That, ladies and gentleman, is the disgusting theory that leads them to presume that it was godlessness that made Hitler and Stalin the monsters that they were. We are all monsters unless redeemed by Jesus. What a vile, depraved, inhuman theory to base your life on.

Ratzinger is an enemy of humanity. ..........."

Extracts from "Hitler's Secret Conversations" (aka "Hitler's Table Talk") regarding Christianity

The book Hitler's Secret Conversations 1941-1944 published by Farrar, Straus and Young, Inc.first edition, 1953, contains definitive proof of Hitler's real views. The book was published in Britain under the title, "Hitler's Table Talk 1941-1944", which title was used for the Oxford University Press paperback edition in the United States.

All of these are quotes from Adolf Hitler:

Night of 11th-12th July, 1941:
National Socialism and religion cannot exist together.... The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity's illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew. The deliberate lie in the matter of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity.... Let it not be said that Christianity brought man the life of the soul, for that evolution was in the natural order of things. (p 6 & 7)

10th October, 1941, midday:
Christianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure. (p 43)

14th October, 1941, midday:
The best thing is to let Christianity die a natural death.... When understanding of the universe has become widespread... Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity.... Christianity has reached the peak of absurdity.... And that's why someday its structure will collapse.... ...the only way to get rid of Christianity is to allow it to die little by little.... Christianity the liar.... We'll see to it that the Churches cannot spread abroad teachings in conflict with the interests of the State. (p 49-52)

19th October, 1941, night:
The reason why the ancient world was so pure, light and serene was that it knew nothing of the two great scourges: the pox and Christianity.

21st October, 1941, midday:
Originally, Christianity was merely an incarnation of Bolshevism, the destroyer.... The decisive falsification of Jesus' doctrine was the work of St.Paul. He gave himself to this work... for the purposes of personal exploitation.... Didn't the world see, carried on right into the Middle Ages, the same old system of martyrs, tortures, faggots? Of old, it was in the name of Christianity. Today, it's in the name of Bolshevism. Yesterday the instigator was Saul: the instigator today, Mardochai. Saul was changed into St.Paul, and Mardochai into Karl Marx. By exterminating this pest, we shall do humanity a service of which our soldiers can have no idea. (p 63-65)

13th December, 1941, midnight:
Christianity is an invention of sick brains: one could imagine nothing more senseless, nor any more indecent way of turning the idea of the Godhead into a mockery.... .... When all is said, we have no reason to wish that the Italians and Spaniards should free themselves from the drug of Christianity. Let's be the only people who are immunised against the disease. (p 118 & 119)

14th December, 1941, midday:
Kerrl, with noblest of intentions, wanted to attempt a synthesis between National Socialism and Christianity. I don't believe the thing's possible, and I see the obstacle in Christianity itself.... Pure Christianity-- the Christianity of the catacombs-- is concerned with translating Christian doctrine into facts. It leads quite simply to the annihilation of mankind. It is merely whole-hearted Bolshevism, under a tinsel of metaphysics. (p 119 & 120)

9th April, 1942, dinner:
There is something very unhealthy about Christianity (p 339)

27th February, 1942, midday:
It would always be disagreeable for me to go down to posterity as a man who made concessions in this field. I realize that man, in his imperfection, can commit innumerable errors-- but to devote myself deliberately to errors, that is something I cannot do. I shall never come personally to terms with the Christian lie. Our epoch Uin the next 200 years will certainly see the end of the disease of Christianity.... My regret will have been that I couldn't... behold ." (p 278)

Hitler was in fact, a Social Darwinist who believed in an impersonal Providence which gives victory to the strong by using a process of natural selection to ensure the survival of the fittest. (He objected to Christianity because he saw it as "a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature ..... the systematic cultivation of the human failure".) In addition Hitler - like Dawkins - did not believe in Original Sin - which the Catholic Church regards as a radical weakness in human nature by means of which we have a "natural" tendency to do evil rather than good.

Rory Connor
20 June 2011

Richard Dawkins: Catholicism is Worse Than Child Abuse - "The Dubliner" magazine - October 2002

Richard Dawkins and David Quinn: Debate on Tubridy Show - 9 October 2006

The Dawkins Delusion by "Catholic Atheist" Michael Fitzpatrick, SpikedOnLine - 17 December 2006

"Religion is not Child Abuse" by Tom Gilson, AllianceSupport website - 8 March 2007

Mike Gene on "Richard Dawkins World: Dawkins and Child Abuse" quoted on AllianceSupport 1st Feb 2008

Was Hitler a Christian? (as per Richard Dawkins) - Alliance Support website - 19 October 2008

"Richard Dawkins in Dublin": Discussion on website in September 2009

"Ratzinger is an Enemy of Humanity and Hitler was a Catholic", Richard Dawkins, The Guardian (UK) - 22 Sept 10

Extracts from "Hitler's Secret Conversations" (aka "Hitler's Table Talk") - on the subject of Christianity