Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dawkins at his best, last weekend

Update 10th December 2012, sadly this video is no longer available. 

Update 4th February 2013 - here is another copy of the video, albeit without the introduction! Follow this link

See Richard Dawkins'  the keynote address at the American Atheists National Convention in Bethesda, Maryland, March 25, 2012, with a rousing introduction by Sean Faircloth.

This is one of those rare speeches where you seen Richard speaking in many different styles from humble to strident, from serious to jubilant.

See his delight in introducing the first member of The Clergy Project to make his lack of faith public.

Well worth half an hour, wherever you live!


Hilary said...

So...he is accusing atheist congressmen of lying and pretending to be christians...so they can gain power, and influence, and prestige...hmmm interesting.

Kenny Wyland said...

Yes, but I don't think he's making out to be a big sinister plot or anything. Simply that the voting public has a prejudice and so people claim to be a Christian even if they aren't really going to church and/or don't REALLY hold all of the beliefs you would normally ascribe to a Christian.

Thanks for sharing this video, PE!

Hilary said...

Yes I totally agree with you Kenny, but it's interesting as he doesn't seem to think that an atheist lying is a bad thing, but rather something to be sympathetic about, which I think is an interesting not very moral stance really coming from someone who says that people of faith have no right to take the 'high moral ground'.

However I certainly agree that many politicians in perhaps especially the States do claim to be Christian simply to get votes which is pretty abominable I think, rather than something to be sympathetic towards. However, I am glad Dawkins rightly recognises such people to be not true Christians, and I think this raises an interesting observation in the light of his comments.

Those who have also committed abominable practises such as child abuse within certain denominations, clearly by the same logic, cannot possibly be real followers of Christ and are far more likely to have been atheists, as also those who bomb innocent people.

You see, he can't have it both ways, he can't on the one hand declare some people (merely!) deceitful and really atheists who he wants to see 'come out' and yet use other supposed Christians to damn Christianity, or Islam etc...

Surprising coming from a man who is esteemed to be logical and scientific.

I must admit, I have to disagree with you P.E as I felt that watching this for half an hour was actually a half hour of watching a very boring, dull speech, with rehashed and old sayings (not even arguments, not even a decent arguement) and sad insults which do him no credit . I am surprise that you have said that this is Dawkins 'at his best'. To be honest, I've heard him speak better than this, whilst disagreeing with him on everying he believes, I think perhaps he is winding down now to retirement.

Hilary said...

The real point is of course, that all such abominable practises are indeed abominable. I am appalled at the way that some of such acts have been covered over and not dealt with as they should have been, and am not advocating here at all any sort of 'get out' of responsibility by those within and at the head of churches where aweful acts have happened. Scars are lifelong and lives so often ruined from the lives that could have been.

The amazing thing about the Grace of God, in the Cross of Jesus Christ, is that there is still remaining, the possibility of forgiveness for the worst of offenders. This is not cheap Grace, or easy forgiveness, it always comes with a huge cost, and in the case of Christ on the Cross the cost was God's in becoming flesh and blood.

For those who think this is doesn't make sense, as a parallel, if you have children, would you not be willing to die for your children if doing so would give your child the possibility of a reformed and transformed life, if they had strayed to the point of depravity? Dying not simply to set them free to commit again, but to set free to start over again? Would not any parent do this for their children?

God, as Father, has done this in Christ, except He Himself was in Christ.

Those who truly profess Christ are not taking the moral high ground at all, because Christians are people who have recognised our need for having our sins forgiven, and striving to live godly lives, with the enabling of the Holy Spirit, without Whom, it is impossible to do so, for anyone.

Plasma Engineer said...

Gosh - there was a lot there wasn't there!

Or we can summarise it with one word, "presuppositionalism". As Wikipedia defines it . . .

"In Christian theology, presuppositionalism is a school of apologetics that presumes Christian faith is the only basis for rational thought. It presupposes that the Bible is divine revelation and claims to expose flaws in other worldviews. It claims that apart from presuppositions, one could not make sense of any human experience, and there can be no set of neutral assumptions from which to reason with a non-Christian."

It seems that if anything bad is done by members of a church, then that's because they are the wrong kind of christian, but it is still possible for them to be forgiven. For me, I'll leave that to the afterlife, but in this life they should suffer the appropriate punishment. After death, I don't care what happens to them - as I believe that nothing at all will happen.

Meanwhile, the right kind of christians have use presuppositionalism perhaps. The trouble is that its not very convincing, is it? It is no more convincing than what I just said of my beliefs about the afterlife.

Plasma Engineer said...

I missed the point where he was sympathetic with lying atheists. That sounds out of character from what I know of him. Your reference would be . . . ? (please).

Plasma Engineer said...

YW. :)

Hilary said...

Well I was only actually pointing out that Dawkins himself said this in this speech! Also, atheists are making the same suppositions, that they have the real world view! I think I covered all your points in all that I said to be honest. Did you not read it all? Also I agree that Divine forgiveness does not mean that a person is excempt from discipline or punishment, but again, atheists do not like the idea of eternal punishment but neither do they seem to like the idea of forgiveness! There is always mercy for all who are really and genuinely repentant. Of course at times the problem is we don't always know who is genuine, and the Bible makes it very clear actually that if someone commits a crime that they are still subject to the law in relation to that crime, whatever they believe. I made this clear though in my comments.

Plasma Engineer said...

Yes but exactly where did he say in the speech that "he doesn't seem to think that an atheist lying is a bad thing, but rather something to be sympathetic about"? What time stamp please? I neither noticed that nor found it when I listened again on the way to work. Do you mean something about the clergy project's success in helping de-converted clergy to stop lying? If so, that is not the same thing as you suggested at all.

Yes I read all of the comments (although must admit that I speed read the 'grace of god' type of stuff). I still think you are adopting a pre-sup point of view and fail to consider the actual evidence that you see around you in the world.

Derby Sceptic said...

From your comments Hilary I take it we are to understand that there are many Catholic priests who are not followers of Christ - perhaps extend this to the Pope as he fails to act in the case of child abuse by his clergy.
So by definition, the Pope is an atheist - interesting!

Hilary said...

31:59 onwards till the end.

Jim Chatt said...

So Hillary, What if these politicians told the truth? Would they be voted out of office? That's very likely in modern day America. Would they be replace by "real" christians and if they were, how would we know they were real christians? Would they have to take an oath swearing that they were believers? Would they have to publicly kiss the cross? There goes the Constitution down the toilet. Personally, I'd rather have prevaricating non-believers in office. It's safer for the rest of us, including you. History has shown that blood begins to spill whenever true believers of any strip take over. And your sanctimonious self-righteousness won't save you if your faith differs by a jot from those in power. Let reason rule.