Dear Richard Dawkins

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Richard Dawkins

“All the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though” – Tweet from Richard Dawkins on the first day of Eid the end of the month’s fasting for Ramadan. 8th Aug 2013.

Dear Mr Dawkins,

We get it. You don’t like religion or religious people. You are a scientists and an empiricist who cannot and will not believe in anything which cannot be proven to you. We are largely the same as I too am an Atheist who does not believe in a higher power or spiritual force at work in the world.

The difference between us is that you seem to see Atheism as a religion too which slightly contradicts your public contributions on the subject. You try to get those who are non-believing believer to become just plain old non-believers in your own form. Sounds vaguely familiar… Why have you so much hatred towards those who don’t agree with you? Your tweet yesterday was as pointless a message but a vindictive stab at a whole group of people celebrating a religious festival. The statement is preposterous anyway – there are few groups in society that would compete with Trinity College, you would have been as well saying Smurfs or Number One artists in the UK Singles chart as Muslims, so why do it?

There have been ten Muslim winners of the Nobel Prize far more than there have been in my family whose current count stands at…none. So there we are, I’m not as good as Muslims. But wait how many have you won Mr Dawkins? That’s my point. To go online on a religious holiday or celebration and troll social media is the job of disenfranchised teenagers, not the behaviour of an alleged wise and intellectual academic. Your point served no purpose other than trying to get people wound up about it – perhaps you’ve a new “I hate God” book coming out? I’ve never understood your anger about this anyway because if you believe that he and all the other deities don’t exist why are you upset?

Anyway, back to the point of this blog. We live in a world that continues to fight over religious beliefs so why try to stir things up by adding an atheist charge into the middle of it? We can easily all get on with out you kicking the hornet’s nest every time someone looks like they are enjoying themselves. Live and let live – that’s not a religious belief, it’s mine and many others. I can understand the dislike and hatred directed towards the institutions of religion as many have done terrible things over the years, but to castigate those who are just following the moral guidance provided in the scriptures (regardless whether they are works of fiction or not) is a cheap sot and one I would have hoped was below you.

This almost militant atheism that is present in society today is sad. If you really want to convince the world that your point is right then do it without negative tactics and trolling. If you really expect all humans to believe the same thing then I’m afraid your words are as crazed as those religious leaders you berate. We can’t even agree as a species on the basics never mind the spiritual aspects of life. If you want to offer an alternative then feel free to do so, but not in a loud, embarrassing way please. My dislike of religion is the idea that institutions feel they have the right to tell others publicly how they should feel or think – that is not the way to involve people in a belief system or a philosophy. The man who stands outside the shopping centre on a Saturday afternoon telling us that we’re all going to hell if we don’t repent on Sunday is no different to your outburst. I dislike both.

There are real inequalities in the country and across the world – the vast majority nothing to do with religion at all – if you were to use your public notoriety and position to speak out on those issues where religion steps in the way of common sense such as the stances of those on abortion, slavery and gay rights across Africa, Russia and even the US then it would make sense. Use your voice accordingly instead of the raised eyebrows and shaking of heads this kind of tweet creates and you would gain more interest in your work and books.

I don’t doubt that you are a decent person, but I do wonder if you’ve lost your way in this crusade against free thought. The very thing you rail against is becoming part and parcel of your own approach to the world – a dogmatic stance on Atheism is no better than a mad Cleric shouting in the street or Jehovah’s witness knocking on doors to change people’s views.

We both agree on the same points that science, evidence and understanding are the best ways to understand the world around us. The issue I have is that you shouldn’t spend your time belittling others beliefs when the best way to prove your point is to engage in the scientific processes you believe in. If you are an empiricist then it’s the only logical way you’ll ever win the argument.

Yours Sincerely

JD

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