I've been meaning to write about the Richard Dawkins brand of atheism for a while, but today is definitely the day, after watching the great man's Twitter feed pronounce on the superior worth of an adult pig over a human foetus. I'm not sure I follow his argument, but actually that's not my point. I'm interested in his motivation.
An atheist teacher has been fired from a state school because he asked not to be involved in organising religious assemblies. The school said it respected his atheist beliefs, and he was free to exercise those beliefs in his own time, but he cannot pick and chose which school activities he will get involved in.
One ought always to be on one's guard about those who assert that to think in a certain way is to commit a sin. This is the immoral and bullying trick that religion plays. Couched in cosy rhetoric and increasingly vague threats is the assumption that, in dissenting, you are subjecting yourself to an eternity of howling pain and misery.
In trying to disparage 'faith', Dawkins and his allies constantly confuse 'evidence' with 'proof'; those of us who believe in God do so without proof but not without evidence. As the Oxford theologian (and biophysicist) Alister McGrath has observed: "Our beliefs may be shown to be justifiable, without thereby demonstrating that they are proven."