Ran across this article in the telegraph.
Richard Dawkins is just an Angry of Tunbridge Wells with a PhD. Let me define that. He is a prejudiced pedant who goes through newspapers looking for small things that irritate him greatly.
Wow, insults right out of the gate? OK…
A Muslim baby is a Muslim baby for two reasons. First, because that’s how Islam works. Dawkins might not believe in Islam but Muslims generally do, and they think that all humans are innately Muslim and that life is a process of submitting to that state of grace.
He kind of answers his own statement here, Dawkins is not a Muslim so obviously when he states that the baby is not Muslim he is speaking from his perspective and not the perspective of a Muslim. What perspective did he expect Dawkins to speak from?
Second, a Muslim baby is a Muslim baby because that’s how culture works. When a baby is born it inherits more than genes. For instance, we call it British, which by Dawkins’ logic is a silly thing to do. After all, it cannot possibly drink tea, hate the French or laugh at Carry On films. …Does Dawkins imagine that children can somehow be protected from all identities until a certain age of reason: given no nationality or, for that matter, no surname?
This is an incredibly bizarre non-sequitur. Ones nationality is defined by birth, not by choice of beverage or disliking a particular culture. Dawkins point, a reasonable one, is that religion is defined by self identification and not by birth. I’m was American at birth because the law is written so that people born in the U.S. with American parents are automatically Americans, just like with most countries. There is no similar law by which to determine one’s religion either here or in the U.K.
Of course he doesn’t – he’s not that foolish. But he does get very excited about people being labelled by religion because – if you hadn’t already noticed – he has an irrational hatred of religion. As if being raised Anglican will turn you into a monster.
What kind of person attends a Christening, observes the toothy vicar, cake, jelly and drunken aunts and thinks, “This is pure brainwashing!” Richard, if you really are creeped out by infant baptisms then you don’t have to go to them. We’ll just bore you with hundreds of photos afterwards instead.
OK, you can pretend that this caricature actually resembles anything Dawkins said about religious indoctrination but as far as I can tell it really doesn’t. I’m sometimes wonder if theists really listen to our arguments because I constantly find theists responding to my (and other atheists) arguments by wondering at how I could believe some horrifying/stupid belief that does not even vaguely resemble anything I ever said about anything. I suppose If atheists believed even half the things I’ve had theists accuse me of believing I’d likely agree we were a pretty awful lot too.