In a slightly different vein

I present to you one of my intellectual heroes, Richard Dawkins, answering a question from a correspondent:

What is there to distinguish your intolerance from that of a religious fanatic? TONY REYNOLDS, By e-mail

It would be intolerant if I advocated the banning of religion, but of course I never have. I merely give robust expression to views about the cosmos and morality with which you happen to disagree. You interpret that as ‘intolerance’ because of the weirdly privileged status of religion, which expects to get a free ride and not have to defend itself. If I wrote a book called The Socialist Delusion or The Monetarist Delusion, you would never use a word like intolerance. But The God Delusion sounds automatically intolerant. Why? What’s the difference?

I have a (you might say fanatical) desire for people to use their own minds and make their own choices, based upon publicly available evidence. Religious fanatics want people to switch off their own minds, ignore the evidence, and blindly follow a holy book based upon private ‘revelation’. There is a huge difference.

Feel free to click through for the other, equally direct and hopefully thought-provoking questions and answers.

Similarly, through that above-linked article I discovered Atheists for Jesus, which I find fascinating. Note for Tracy… while that site may seem funny to some, I’m still presenting it (semi-)seriously…

Oh, and I would definitely wear one of these t-shirts, though I could probably come up with a snazzier design and font… And would look sexier in it.