We have seen how SocJus, an secular religion, behaves when they become aware of dissenting views being expressed in their midst (here and here). Let’s compare their behavior to how Christians have behaved in a similar setting.
The year is 2006. Richard Dawkins had just published his book, The God Delusion and received all sorts of media attention as it became a best seller. From the Christian perspective, the book is offensive. Dawkins’ interpretation of God and scripture is, shall we say, not all that charitable. What’s more, the title of the book itself labels Christians (and other theists) as mentally ill – suffering from a delusion. And even worse, Dawkins has a chapter in the book arguing that it is better for a child to be sexually molested than raised as a Catholic. He even approvingly quotes a friend in academia who argues that the one place free speech should be taken away is when it comes to parents teaching their children religion: “So we should no more allow parents to teach their children to believe, for example, in the literal truth of the Bible, or that the planets rule their lives, than we should allow parents to knock their children’s teeth out or lock them in a dungeon.”
Dawkins went on a book tour, appearing before various audiences to read excerpts from The God Delusion. One such place was Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, a Methodist-affiliated liberal arts college located in Lynchburg, VA. And as most of you probably know, Lynchburg is home to Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority and Liberty University. In fact, it was reported that a busload of Liberty U. students went to Dawkins’ speech.
So the analogy between this speech and the Charles Murray speech and Jordan Peterson speech is strong. In all cases, a controversial speaker came to a campus to give a talk that many people would find offensive (for their own particular reasons). So how do the receptions and reactions compare?
Spoiler alert – there is a vast difference. [Video’s of the talk, along with the following Q&A, are posted at the end of this blog entry.]
When Murray got up to speak, the social justice students turned their backs on him and began to chant. When Peterson got up to speak, the social justice students began to chant and beat percussion instruments. When Dawkins got up to speak, he received a loud and warm applause.
Both Murray and Peterson were never allowed to speak given the loud and disruptive protesting would not stop. The protests were designed to prevent the talk from occurring. Dawkins, on the other hand, was allowed to speak without any disruptions, often soliciting laughter from his audience.
Both Murray and Peterson were never given the chance for a Q&A session, as their talks were shut down. The social justice protesters were not only uninterested in hearing the speaker answer their questions, but wanted to make sure no one else could ask questions. Dawkins answered questions for about an hour. Most of the questions came from Christians trying to challenge Dawkins and they were all rather polite. Dawkins seemed to rather enjoy himself most during this part of the talk.
Dawkins received warm applause after both his talk and the Q&A session and it was announced that he would be given the chance to sign books afterward. There were no security concerns. Murray and Peterson were effectively chased out their buildings and the protest became violent at Murray’s talk.
Dawkins seemed to enjoy the whole experience. Murray and Peterson were understandably upset by their experiences.
The contrast could not be more striking. In fact, it would seem to me that even atheists would have to acknowledge the difference. That is, compared to the social justice religion, Christians are far more tolerant and respectful of dissenting views. The social justice religion will not allow opposing views to even speak. What’s more, compared to the social justice religion, it should be clear that Christians more greatly value reason and dialog. Rather than chanting and blowing air horns to “shut down” Dawkins, they tried to challenge him during the Q&A session. And while many of the questions were not all that intellectually impressive (IMO), they were FAR better than chanting something like “transphobic piece of shit” at Peterson’s talk. They demonstrated a common value shared by Dawkins and creationists – the desire to elevate reasoned dialog as a means to accommodate disagreement.
And here’s a final question for any atheist readers. Imagine that it is simply not possible to rid the human species of its religious urges. Imagine they have been hard-wired into our brains through millions of years of evolution. That would simply mean it is our fate, as Homo sapiens, is to be surrounded by other humans who behave religiously. If that was the case, who would you rather interact with? The Christians (many of them creationist fundamentalists) at Dawkins’ talk? Or the social justice cultists at Murray’s and Peterson’s talk? You can answer that question privately, but you should think about it.
And here’s a final question for all. Imagine if a hundred Christians from Liberty University had behaved just like social justice warriors. Imagine if they had shut down Dawkins’ talk by screaming slogans in unison, such as “Shut him down” and “Dawkins Go Away.” Then imagine them being proud of themselves for standing up to Dawkins’ Christophobia and keeping Lynchburg a safe space for believers.
Er,……. how to you think the mainstream media would have reacted?
Christians Reacting to Opposing Views
Social Justice People Reacting to Opposing Views
It would be nice if someone made a mashup of the talks in comparison. 😉