God bothering / Missed Cape. Walked Right. By

Watched a BBC World phone-in show with Richard Dawkins and it was all fairly straightforward and respectable, until this American Catholic Priest started shouting about Hitler being an athiest (he was a Catholic) and the Holocaust being somehow ‘in the name of athiesm’ (LOL), which is apparently what former Hitler-youth member Pope Benedict said recently. Dawkins remained uncharacteristically calm, which was impressive, maybe he felt more secure on the ‘home turf’ of the BBC. Both he and the interviewer (and a woman on the phone) showed restraint in not mentioning the Vatican’s complicit involvement in spiriting away leading ‘useful’ Nazis to America just after the war ended.

Read about Alois Hudal.

“Given Hudal’s open sympathy for National Socialism since the 1930s, it is very meaningful that he was given work with [Nazi] refugees after the war, and that he was chosen to minister to German internees in Italy.”

Watching, I did wonder, given that Stalin came up too, the extent to which early 20th century Russian communism prioritised anti-mono-theism. Were the post-revolutionary commies more anti-religious than anything else, or was that just an minor part of their, um, angle? I dunno.

Increasingly, I fucking hate organised religion more than ever and ranting priests who lie about history on TV aren’t going to soften that view. One of Dawkins’ strengths is (particularly on safe ground, rather than in unplanned confrontation) he stays focused on the core facts, when insulted or attacked. One punter boffed on that: “Athiesm was only for fat middle-class comfortable people” and Dawkins didn’t rise to it, just pointed out that even if this were true, the statistically improbability of the existence of God remained the same.

Yesterday as I walked in my front door, I realised I’d wandered straight past Sam Get Cape on North Laine, without so much as a “Hey, what are you doing down here? Playing tonight? Is Paul around?” It happens all the time because even familiar faces, I mistake for people who’ve been to gigs or I’ve seen around before, Brighton being such a small town. Like this girl Karen, who I’ve been vaguely smiling at but not stopping for a chat with for 2-3 years, must’ve happened 1oo times, then at the end of last year I suddenly realised she wasn’t a gig-goer at all but a girl I used to work with in London when I was a ‘journalist’. And it’s always right near where I live, so she’s practically a neighbour. What a rude bastard!

Yesterday was mainly British Rail’s fault, one of their ticket machines broke down while chewing up my card. Then the only person who could open the machine “wasn’t working” yesterday. Then they wouldn’t give me a ticket to London, even though I’ve probably paid for it. I spent the next hour in a state of fury.

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10 responses to “God bothering / Missed Cape. Walked Right. By

  1. Organized religion is invited to chow down on the corn in my shit. I was raised Catholic, and although I don’t have any real revelations about why we might be here, I do know that Catholicism is the most ridiculously contradictory nonsense I have ever heard of. I have no issue with people taking comfort in religion (each to their own), as long as they realise they are subscribing to a fantasy and that just because THEY think that fairy tales are true, doesn’t mean they are…grrrr…pet subject. Cant be bothered to make an intelligent statement about it, so you’ll have to make do with the hate.

    I love Sam. I am pretty sure he has forgotten my name (if he ever knew it) but always remembers me none the less.

  2. Hang on a second:

    (i) Wasn’t Hitler a Pagan/Occultist?

    (ii) Isn’t Richard Dawkins a smug, self-important bigot?

    Just askin’.

  3. i) yeah Hitler was into occult / pagan and eastern ideas, especially developed that stuff later on but (I believe) he was a initially a Catholic and retained a close thing with the church. can’t remember the details though.

    ii) smug, yes definitely, although he doesn’t stay in his comfort zone but takes his argument to the enemy, which warrants a certain level of smuggery. self-important, well kind-of but then again he IS quite important. and bigot? I’ve not read anything he’s written that makes me think he’s a bigot – what specifically do you have in mind?

  4. Ah… he just gets on my fucking tits is all.

    He does seem like an incredibly small-minded and blinkered fellow, though.

    I think this post on The Impostume skewers The Dawk pretty well:

    http://theimpostume.blogspot.com/2007/11/worlds-most-useless-public-intellectual.html

    Seems to me that Hitler’s links to the church were purely opportunistic. Surely his mixture of mysticism and Social (ahem) Darwinism was definitively Satanic?

  5. OK, this is just a crit of a (I agree, rather poor) TV show, by someone who hasn’t actually read Dawkins.

    If he gets on your tits, that’s cool but you haven’t yet justified calling him a ‘bigot’.

    Blinkered is a better term but small-minded is also facetious, since he’s written some extraordinarily complex and ‘big-minded’ work (notice I didn’t type ‘broad-minded’).

    Also, to reach into Hitler’s mind and presume that his connection with the church is somehow less ruinous than his connection with a corrupted, misunderstand of evolutionary theory, is itself pretty small-minded.

    Slightly concerns me that you’re attacking an individual whose done nothing more than write some books and tour some lectures, in what seems to be defense of the overwhelmingly ruthlessly bigoted, homophobic, ruinously oppressive to young women and monstously power hungry undemocratic Catholic Church (quite apart from the stuff I linked to about Bishops rescuing Nazis after WW2).

    Poor ickle Catholic Church, under attack from nasty big, powerful, erm, English writer&academic Richard Dawkins!

  6. Yeah. Dawkins is just a dick, whereas the Catholic church is a massively powerful institution that causes very real harm to millions of people (particularly in Africa).

    Still, I think that if we don’t call Dawkins and his ilk on their bullshit, we risk allowing scientific fundamentalism (or at least dogmatism) to become the only viable alternative to religious mania.

    It’s perfectly valid to say that science is inherently anti-dogmatic but only within its own frame of reference. What Dawkites deny is the importance of irrational thought to human civilization – and I am strongly attached to the irrational.

    Of course, I guess quantum mechanics and chaos theory represent the point where science admits the irrational into its world view. Not sure how this relates to Dakins, though, ‘cos I know fuck all about science, to be honest.

  7. I believe in the concept that there aren’t evil people, only evil situations, and it seems that, more often than not, religion is the root cause of them. I agree with Evan about Catholicism being contradictory. I went to Roman Catholic schools until I was 18, had been fed large amounts of nonsense and the church’s terms for a ‘Just War’ was the final nail in the coffin… that’s when I said no to religion (for myself) – but I do worry that I’m not giving my daughter the same opportunity to rebel and reject it, that’s the fun bit in life. I guess both religion and its critics should get equal hearing, but it’s always a power struggle with fundamentalist patriarchal Christianity always coming out on top?

  8. Ha Sam, you’re totally right about the edge of knowable science – the spiritual industry Rifa works in loves quantum theory because of the grand ‘mystery’ of universal consciousness. I still think, if Dawkins has a weakness it’s not that he’s lying or talking shit, it’s that he’s over-repeating obvious truths.

    Mrs D and Evan are also right, I had Catholic primary education and several things about it verged on child abuse. I was taught lies as truth, frightened by hellfire and some teachers misused their power.

    Hey, an actual debate on my blog! I thought everyone had fucked off when I moved away from Myspace…

  9. Dawkins’ real problem is that he’s prepared to debate fundamentalists and crypto-fundamentalists on their own terms: either God is a guy with a beard, sitting on a cloud or He’s nothing at all.

    To say that it’s “statistically unlikely” that God exists seems like willful missing of the point. Surely it depends what the term “God” implies to you.

  10. Sam,

    Your stream of invective against Richard Dawkins does not make you right and him wrong. It just makes you sound stupid.
    Calling him a “smug self-important bigot” doesn’t even rise to the level of an ‘ad hominum’ argument, since you provide no evidence for your claim.
    And even if you DID provide such evidence (which you didn’t) such clain does not address the substance of the logically sound arguments that he offers. It also appears that you have not read any of his books, which approach big questions about human nature from a Darwinistic point of view. You might take issue with using Darwin to explain complex human behaviors, but calling him a ‘dick’ is not an argument. It makes you sound like you are nine years old

    esuther

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