Reppert on Dawkins: A Swing and a Miss
Victor Reppert recently posted this swipe at Richard Dawkins:
From a sermon by Rev. Drachir Snikwad, of Hellfire Baptist Church in Georgia:The quote attributed to Drachir Snikwad (Richard Dawkins spelled backwards, except he didn't quite get it right) is a take on an actual comment made by Dawkins, with 'gay' substituted for 'religious'. Epic fail, Victor.
I think we should probably abandon the irremediably gay precisely because that is what they are – irremediable. I am more interested in the fence-sitters who haven't really considered the question very long or very carefully. And I think that they are likely to be swayed by a display of naked contempt. Nobody likes to be laughed at. Nobody wants to be the butt of contempt.
If it doesn't make them straight, it should at least keep them in the closet.
I don't really think Victor is this homophobic. Which is why it seems such a bizarre way to strike back at Dawkins. It might have made a little more sense if he had used 'atheist' instead of 'gay'. At least then there would be a parallel to Dawkins' comment. But 'gay' just doesn't work. Being gay is not a matter of intellectual persuasion. It is not a rational choice that people make. It's not a choice at all. People don't decide to be gay any more than they decide to be straight. If you're like most people, you can't remember a time in your life when you asked yourself, "Should I be gay or should I be straight? I think I'll be straight." You never studied arguments for and against and then made a logical choice.
This is the absurdity of homophobes. They don't understand human nature. They think (thanks to their religious training) that being gay is a choice that people make. Usually, they attribute it to moral failing, because that's what some idiot hellfire preacher told them.
But what Victor has done in this case is even stranger than that. He equates being gay to an intellectual choice. Dawkins was talking about ridiculing absurd religious beliefs, in the hopes that a fence-sitter would recognize the absurdity of those beliefs, and thereby be intellectually persuaded to change what he believes. That's why it would have made sense to use 'atheist' instead of 'gay'. Because being an atheist is (or at least can be) an intellectual choice, and one might be persuaded one way or the other.
If a theist thinks atheism is intellectually absurd, he might urge his fellow theists to ridicule atheists. In fact, with or without urging from others, that is precisely what has been going on throughout history. "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." Hell, even Victor's hero CS Lewis did his share of atheist bashing.
That's why I can't understand why Victor would get so upset about the "new atheists", or "gnus" as he is fond of calling them. Theists have always treated atheists with contempt, if not worse. The only thing "new" about this recent brand of atheism is that they don't remain silent in the face of religious absurdity, as most atheists have done in the past. Their behavior may not be viewed kindly by theists, but it is certainly no more outrageous than what theists have exhibited for ages. And I'm not talking about a few loose cannons. I'm talking about highly respected theologians, philosophers, and religious leaders.
I would suggest to Victor that he lighten up a bit. His hatred of Richard Dawkins is so irrational that he can't even manage to come up with a cogent rejoinder to the things Dawkins says.