Would Atheist Supremacist Richard Dawkins Make A Good Unitarian Universalist?
It would appear that David Markham has made his assertion that Richard Dawkins would "make a good Unitarian*Universalist", and has asked these questions, on the basis of viewing this YouTube video of this T5M profile of Richard Dawkins where Richard Dawkins comes across as quite reasonable and thoughtful even though he clearly says, "I am hostile to religion. . ." within the first 15 seconds of this "profile". David Markham might have been well advised to entered into a free and responsible search for the truth and meaning behind Richard Dawkins' "confession" that he is "hostile to religion" before suggesting that he would make a good Unitarian*Universalist and asking if he should be invited to join the Unitarian*Universalist "religious community." Had he done so he would quickly discover that Richard Dawkins comes across as considerably less reasonable and thoughtful in other interviews and other well-documented public statements, including those expressed in his Atheist Supremacist "Bible" 'The God Delusion' whose title alone is offensive to believers let alone its content. . .
Rev. James Ishmael Ford aka Monkey Mind responded to David Markham's questions this way -
"I don't think Dr Dawkins approves of us. It is my impression he thinks we enable bad thinking and from that worse behaviors...
Personally I think he would be an ornament in our congregation. Would be a delight."
I responded to Monkey Mind's apparent lack of mindfulness this way -
Or perhaps I should say Rev. James Ishmael Ford aka Monkey Mind. May I not so respectfully suggest that Unitarian*Universalist congregations throughout the U*U World already have rather too many Richard Dawkins Mini*Mes as "ornaments" if not *officiants*? Your express "delight" at the thought of having Atheist Supremacist Spokesperson Richard Dawkins as a hypothetical member of your U*U "church" is quite telling I think. . .
Seemingly soon to be former conservative "Christo-Pagan" Unitarian*Universalist Joel Monka responded with these words -
I think his open contempt for believers would make him a very bad UU, and I for one would not welcome him into my congregation. His saying that raising a child Catholic does more harm than sexually molesting them is at least 50% worse than I've heard from any UU.
I responded to both Joel Monka's comment and David Markham's blog post with these words -
I think Richard Dawkins' open contempt for believers would make him a very good Atheist Supremacist "Humanist" U*U and, in my own special way, I have already said so on The Emerson Avenger blog. ;-) Having said that, I thoroughly agree with Joel that Unitarian*Universalism really does not need any more condescending, insensitive, obnoxious, arrogant and willfully ignorant, intolerant and even outright hostile and abusive Atheist Supremacist amongst its ranks than it already has. . . The truly sad thing is that, as I have already stated, Richard Dawkins could be considered by many U*Us to "make a good Unitarian Universalist", even those U*Us who are quite familiar with his arrogant militant brand of Atheist Supremacism that he calls "New Atheism". Worse than that, I would not put it past the UUA and its Ministerial Fellowship Committee to ordain Richard Dawkins as a Unitarian*Universalist minister if he sought to become one. After all they have already ordained other fundamentalist atheist "Humanists" who are every bit as condescending, insensitive, obnoxious, arrogant, willfully ignorant, and intolerant as Richard Dawkins has proved himself to be in numerous public statements. In fact the UUA and its very aptly named Ministerial Fellowship Committee have already deemed that egregious anti-religious intolerance and bigotry on the part of one fundamentalist atheist "Humanist" U*U minister is "within the appropriate guidelines of ministerial leadership."
When U*U ministers can preach from their wayward pulpit that God is "a non-existent being" and that belief in God "seems primitive" or publish Op/Ed pieces expressing their "uneasiness", "irritation" and even "anger" that the state funeral of a former Canadian Prime Minister is a Roman Catholic ceremony where, God forbid. . . an Ave Maria is sung and some living Roman Catholic former Prime Ministers dare to take communion during this solemn religious ritual and even write off most of the rituals of *all* world religions as "meaningless" then Richard Dawkins could certainly be a U*U minister. Heck, if a prominent U*U minister and candidate for President of the UUA can write off Judaism, Christianity, Islam and unspecified other world religions as "obsolete religions, created for another time" that are only good for contributing to "the darkness" of "injustice, prejudice, ignorance" in his "stump speech" announcing his candidacy, a hypothetical U*U Rev. Richard Dawkins could even run for President of the UUA and apparently have a reasonable expectation of actually being elected as the figurehead of Unitarian*Universalism. . . Am I wrong? Did I miss something?
OK This is kind of funny. I was going to say "figurehead of the U*U Ship of Fools" but, in deference to David Markham's commendable civility, simply said Unitarian*Universalism. Then, as I was about to submit this comment noticed that the word verification code is "mates". . . How ironic.
Update Friday November 14, 2008, 11:30pm
David Markham has, as usual, very thoughtfully responded to my comment.
Here is my point-by-point response to his comment -
:Thanks for your comments. I didn't know that the athiest and humanist members of the church are so arrogant and disresectful of religious tradition and faith.
Not all of them are David, and I am usually careful to distinguish between the reasonably tolerant and respectful U*U atheists aka Humanists and the subset of Humanist U*Us who most certainly are not only arrogant and disrespectful but, at times, outright contemptuous, hostile, and bigoted towards "believers". That is why I usually describe this subset of atheists as "fundamentalist atheists" and (more recently) "Atheist Supremacists", or enclose the word Humanist within quotations marks indicating that I do not believe true Humanists should be "hostile towards religion" and contemptuous of the religious impulse in their fellow human beings.
:It should go without saying that one of our UU values is the "acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in congregations."
Needless to say I agree with that in principle David, but the sad reality of the U*U "religious community" is that U*Us happily allow intolerant, contemptuous, and outright hostile and abusive Atheist Supremacist "Humanist" U*U "ornaments" and even *officiants* to make a total mockery of that U*U principle on an ongoing basis.
:I am aware of Richard Dawkins and have skimmed his book on the God Delusion which got mixed reviews but it seems as if you have much more knowledge than I do.
Indeed I do. I have been keeping an eye on Richard Dawkins and other "like-minded" Atheist Supremacists, such as P. Z. Myers and Christopher Hitchens et al, since I first became aware of the "New Atheist" movement. Richard Dawkins has a long track record of anti-religious "foot-in-mouth disease". Just Google - "Robin Edgar" and "Richard Dawkins" - to see what I have had to say about him over the last several years.
:The line I draw in terms of tolerance is the respect for our values. I don't think it is as important what you believe as how you love.
I can assure you that many of Richard Dawkins' "expressed attitudes" about religion and God believing people completely disregard and violate the Seven Principles of Unitarian*Universalism and other claimed U*U ideals. He shows precious little love for "believers" who he often contemptuously refers to as "faith-heads" in his anti-religious rhetoric. Of course, not being a member of the Unitarian*Universalist "religious community", at least not yet. . . Richard Dawkins cannot be expected to respect, even less or "honor and uphold", the Seven Principles and other ideals of Unitarian*Universalism. The same cannot be said about the disrespectful, contemptuous, intolerant, and outright hostile and abusive Atheist Supremacist "Humanist" U*Us who are far from pretty "ornaments", if not ordained U*U officiants, in too many Unitarian*Universalist "churches". It is bad enough that such Atheist Supremacist U*U "Humanists" are far from accepting of Christians or other God believing people in *their* far from welcoming "Welcoming Congregations", and even actively discourage the spiritual growth of bona fide Unitarian and/or Universalist "faith-heads" in *their* U*U "churches", but what is worse is that the UUA, individual U*U congregations and so many individual U*Us allow this anti-religious intolerance to continue and do little or nothing to prevent it and stop it.
Rev. James Ishmael Ford's rather less than perfectly *mindful* comment declaring that it would be a "delight" if Richard Dawkins deigned to become a member of his U*U "church" serves very well to prove my point that the anti-religious intolerance and bigotry of Atheist Supremacist "Humanist" U*Us is not only tolerated by some U*U clergy and individual U*U "churches" but is apparently even welcomed by them. . . As a direct result of too many "good Unitarian*Universalists" doing nothing or next to nothing to responsibly address the evil of anti-religious intolerance and bigotry in U*U "churches" I have often reminded U*Us of the saying "all that is needed for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing." I well remember the lame response of now retired Ottawa U*U minister Rev. Brian Kopke to my challenging him about his and two other U*U ministers' failure, or indeed refusal. . . to act upon the serious grievances about "fundamentalist atheist" Montreal U*U minister Rev. Ray Drennan's anti-religious intolerance and bigotry that I delivered to them when they conducted his first "peer review". This seemingly "moderate" atheist U*U minister sheepishly tried to cover his ass by saying, "Nobody did anything." You know what? He was right. . . Not only did the UUA, it's very aptly named Ministerial *Fellowship* Committee, and the Board and congregation of the Unitarian Church of Montreal do *nothing* to redress my legitimate grievances about Rev. Ray Drennan's intolerant, hostile, and I have good reason to believe malicious, labeling me as "psychotic" (or at least my revelatory religious experience as "your psychotic experience"), my monotheistic religious beliefs as nothing but "silliness and fantasy", and Creation Day as "your cult", but they even tried to intimidate me into dropping my serious grievances by threatening me with various sanctions, such as expulsion from the "church", if I did not stop sharing what UUA President Bill Sinkford once described as my "obviously deep concerns" with the congregants of the Unitarian Church of Montreal or the public.
:The way you describe your experience of these atheists is unloving and that turns me off.
It is not entirely clear here if you mean my description is unloving or if the intolerant and abusive "disruptive behaviour" of Rev. Ray Drennan and other like-minded "fundamentalist atheist" "Humanist" U*Us is unloving. If you mean the former I will happily concede that I do not feel obliged to be loving when people I do not know very well to begin with treat me and other people in a far from loving manner. Allow me to have some fun with what Ovid once said about love -
If U*Us want to be loved, be lovable. . .
I feel that it is necessary to point out that it is not just the anti-religious Atheist Supremacist "Humanist" U*Us whose obviously intolerant and abusive behavior is unloving. The sad fact of the matter is that it was, and still is. . . *unloving* for my fellow Unitarian*Universalists in the Unitarian Church of Montreal, the UUA and its Ministerial Fellowship Committee, and many other individual U*Us including disinterested U*U ministers like Rev. Brian Kopke et al to Deny, Ignore, and Minimize the unethical behaviour of Rev. Ray Drennan and other intolerant Atheist Supremacist U*Us. And *that* turns me off. . . In fact I am very seriously turned off by current UUA President Rev. William G. Sinkford's outrageously hypocritical religious rhetoric about U*Us "standing on the side of love" in light of the well-documented unloving manner that he and so many other U*Us have ignored, disregarded, and unjustly arbitrarily rejected my serious grievances about the intolerant, hostile, and abusive Atheist Supremacists who "ornament" the Unitarian Church of Montreal and too many other U*U "churches". What was it that Bertrand Russell once said?
The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. . .
Most ironically Rev. James Ishmael Ford who, like too many other far from genuinely *mindful* U*U ministers, has proven to be remarkably indifferent to my serious grievances, and may well be similarly indifferent to the much more widespread problem of intolerant Atheist Supremacists "ornamenting" U*U churches if his expressed "delight" at the thought of Richard Dawkins joining his "church" is any indication. . . has pointed out how Richard Dawkins believes that "moderate" believers aka "faith heads" enable bad thinking and from that worse behaviors of religious fundamentalists. The last time I checked, he and other similarly indifferent *do nothing* "good Unitarian*Universalists" have in fact enabled the bad thinking, and indeed worse behaviors, of the intolerant "hostile towards religion" fundamentalist atheist faction of Humanist U*Us. And U*Us wonder why, as you just put it, Unitarian*Universalism is dying; or, as apparent Atheist Supremacist U*U minister Rev. Peter Morales has put it, U*Uism is a "tiny, declining, fringe religion."