Some thoughts on todays “Thought for the Day” by Richard Dawkins


OK … first a bit of background for the non UK based folks.

One of the primary radio stations in the UK is BBC Radio 4, the output includes news, drama, comedy, science and history, no music, all mostly talk, and no shock-jocks or one-sided political PR, all very serious stuff.  They have a scripted slot on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 offering (as they describe it) “reflections from a faith perspective on issues and people in the news” … basically its their “God Slot” and lasts about 2-3 minutes with some religious notable prattling out about anything and everything … no specific faith gets preference … the only exclusion is non-believers.

Well, today, a couple of hours ago, they had the Pope on … least you be confused, that’s the chap who wears a funny hat and comes out with some truly bizarre things these days, all mostly driven by his non-evidence based beliefs.

Richard Dawkins was invited to listen by the Guardian and then write his thoughts in an article … and of course Richard had nothing but praise … (er no, not quite … what he [Richard] actually wrote is well worth reading [as is everything else he ever wrote]) … here is how he starts …

Was it for this that I broke the habit of years and accepted the Guardian’s invitation to listen to Thought for the Day? Was it for this that the BBC, including the director general himself, no less, spent months negotiating with the Vatican? What on earth were they negotiating about, if all that emerged was the damp, faltering squib we have just strained our ears to hear?

And what was the Pope’s message … an apology for what has happened perhaps, or a promise to reform? Nope, just a declaration that you are evil and wicked, and can only ever become good if you join up. Here is how Richard describes it …

which was the centrepiece of what Ratzinger actually did say in his Thought for the Day.

Christ destroyed death forever and restored life by means of his shameful death on the Cross.”

Adam (who never existed) bequeathed his “sin” in his bodily semen (charming notion) to all of humanity. That sin, with which every newborn baby is hideously stained (another charming notion), was so terrible that it could be forgiven only through the blood sacrifice of a scapegoat. But no ordinary scapegoat would do. The sin of humanity was so great that the only adequate sacrificial victim was God himself.

That’s right. The creator of the universe, sublime inventor of mathematics, of relativistic space-time, of quarks and quanta, of life itself, Almighty God, who reads our every thought and hears our every prayer, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God couldn’t think of a better way to forgive us than to have himself tortured and executed. For heaven’s sake, if he wanted to forgive us, why didn’t he just forgive us? Who, after all, needed to be impressed by the blood and the agony? Nobody but himself.

What is truly strange here is that most believers more or less accept this bizarre belief without really questioning it.

To read Richards article (and all the Guardian reader comments that the article generated), click here.

As you might expect, some Guardian readers just don’t get it and suggest that, because he pointed out the stark reality, he is not showing goodwill.

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