Whether it’s Madalyn Murray O’Hair and her fellow militant atheists, or the modern day Gnu movement, why is it that they so frequently claw and rip at each other? The answer is simple – the Gnu atheists are not unified by anything positive. Remember it was PZ Myers who admitted:
I have to be very careful to keep my description of values general, and be clear that I’m not dictating them to you, but describing what I see emerging as a consensus, because otherwise I’ll be pilloried by my own kind. We’re a pitiless bunch.
There is only one thing that unifies the Gnus and it is something negative – the dark emotion of hate. The Gnus are unified by their hatred of religion. When people are unified by hate, and you remove the object of hate, all that remains is a room full of hateful people. So they begin hating each other. Even small things can trigger hateful rants, as hate has a way of magnifying things. I think it is pretty much that simple.
Except for one thing.
I’m beginning to seriously think that “religion” is just code for Christianity. That is, the Gnus hate and what they hate is Christianity. And Christians. We can tell this because 90% of the time, their 10 minute blog hates are directed against Christianity. And even more significant is when the leader of the Gnus, Richard Dawkins, let something slip:
But the centrepiece of this Christmas edition is the main coup for the New Statesman – an interview by Prof. Dawkins with Christopher Hitchens, the great polymath who today lost his fight against cancer. It’s a fascinating read over three double-page spreads. Not least because Prof. Dawkins reveals a charming humility, allowing Hitchens to show his intellectual superiority at his own expense. Hitchens is thoughtful about CS Lewis and Christianity and rather leaves Prof. Dawkins floundering in his wake, occasionally interjecting little assents to show that he’s still there, as he struggles to keep up.
But one of these interjections is most revealing. About half-way through, the Prof gets this in edgeways: ‘Do you ever worry that if we win and, so to speak, destroy Christianity, that vacuum would be filled by Islam?’
So, ‘if we win…and destroy Christianity’. True, there’s a ‘so to speak’ in there, but it doesn’t do much. Try ‘If we win and, so to speak, kill all the Jews’ as an alternative. Doesn’t really work, does it? And Prof Dawkins can hardly claim that he was misquoted or taken out of context. He was editing the magazine, after all – there’s even a picture of him doing so, pen poised masterfully over page proofs.
What’s interesting to me is that Dawkins acknowledges the Gnu’s are specifically targeting Christians. If the Gnus truly were battling “religion,” his question makes no sense, as the demise of Christianity would be coupled with the demise of other religions, including Islam. That he worries about Islam possibly filling the vacuum caused by their destruction of Christianity shows us “religion” is not the target. Christianity is.