Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pat Robertson is a True Christian: So saith Dawkins

By now everyone has heard about the earthquake in Haiti. Some are estimating that the death toll may reach 200,000. Whenever a natural disaster of this magnitude occurs one can always count on Pat Robertson to give his, usually illogical, opinion as to why the event occurred. By now his comments on the earthquake in Haiti have been heard by most everyone as they made national news. In case you have not heard exactly what he said, here it is in all its inane glory.
They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, we will serve you if you'll get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, okay it's a deal [...] ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other.
His comments have drawn well deserved criticism and condemnation from many groups and people, including other Christians. But, it seems, those Christians condemning Robertson’s bigotry are not in fact “true” Christians, at least according to Richard Dawkins.

Dawkins is not really the friendliest person when it comes to interactions with religion and religious believers. His work on religion generally follows the pattern of painting with the widest brush available and can be insulting even at the best of times (except when it comes to Biology which he is surprisingly good at). But this time his attempt at criticizing religion (and I emphasize attempt) has crossed from the realm of “Extremist Overgeneralization”, to the point where his criticisms become useless, to being “So Stupid, It’s Funny” in his most recent article, Haiti and the hypocrisy of Christian theology.
Needless to say, milder-mannered faith-heads* are falling over themselves to disown Pat Robertson, just as they disowned those other pastors, evangelists, missionaries and mullahs at the time of the earlier disasters.
What hypocrisy.
Loathsome as Robertson's views undoubtedly are, he is the Christian who stands squarely in the Christian tradition.
It is the obnoxious Pat Robertson who is the true Christian here.
According to Dawkins, Pat Robertson’s recent comments represent someone who is a “true Christian”. It is not the millions upon millions of people who claim the title of Christian and simply go about their lives trying to live them the best they can without interfering with other people’s lives, but the minority of extremists Christians who preach hatred and bigotry that are the “true Christians”. It is not the people who send thousands of pounds of needed supplies, teams of doctors, and provide much needed shelter, for Haitians who are currently suffering, but the people who claim Haiti somehow deserved the tragedy that befell the nation who are the “true Christians”.

I am not sure I have ever seen someone trying so hard to validate their bigotry. In his flailing Dawkins attempts to marginalize non-extremist Christians (you know, the majority of all Christians) in what I can only guess is an attempt to make his criticisms seem somehow valid as opposed to the overgeneralizations that they truly are the majority of the time. And his flailing does not stop there, it continues in the article.
Where was God in Noah's flood? He was systematically drowning the entire world, animal as well as human, as punishment for 'sin'. Where was God when Sodom and Gomorrah were consumed with fire and brimstone? He was deliberately barbecuing the citizenry, lock stock and barrel, as punishment for 'sin'.
I hope no one tells him about all us Christians who do not take the Bible to be infallible and completely literal. It may cause his little imaginary world he has built around Christians to come tumbling down. Although I find it hard to believe that Dawkins has yet to encounter non-literalists as they have existed for over a thousand years. Any serious study in Christian theology should reveal religious scholars have warned against interpreting scripture too literally since at least the time of Augustine of Hippo (4th Century)†. I realize this advice has not always been taken but trying to imply that it never existed is simply disingenuous.

*Faith-heads, seriously? Where did he pick this term up, an elementary school playground?
†De Genesi ad literam 1:19–20, Chapt. 19 [408] and 2:9

No comments:

Post a Comment