I was brought up in a Christian household. Baptised a Methodist and confirmed an Anglican, I ended up as head chorister at Newcastle Cathedral.
It was a good upbringing – and my love of church music lingers on. But I’m now an atheist. The church didn’t do anything to offend me, or turn me away, I simply feel that the facts as they are available to me do not justify the existence of a God or the concept of a creator.
When Richard Dawkins records his deliberately contrarian, snarling TV trailers, he probably feels all fuzzy inside knowing that he’s offended some religious people. What he doesn’t seem to factor in is how much he drives me as an atheist, and many others like me, round the bend.
Once a respectable scientist producing interesting and informative books about evolution, somewhere along the way Dawkins seems to have decided that seeing as the original Jesus wasn’t the Messiah, he may as well don the loincloth himself.
His chosen role in the public eye is as a self-appointed leader of atheists – the supreme irony of portraying oneself as the Pope of non-religion would be hilarious if it wasn’t clearly so earnest and conceited.
Every time he speaks out in public it is not to communicate the logic of his position so much as to deride and provoke others. Take his latest Channel 4 trailer, for example – it is ridiculous to suggest that religion is the source of all evil, the only thing which “makes good people do bad things”.
I hate, hate, hate the fact that this pompous, unpleasant, hectoring bully attaches his name ubiquitously to the belief that I happen to hold. Sometimes, it’s almost enough to make me want to change back to believing in God – half to escape association with him, and half just to spite him.
Whilst wrapping himself in the banner of reason and humanity, he’s become a frothing-at-the-mouth, bigoted zealot who is an embarrassment to his cause. He has more in common with the medieval people who flayed themselves and burned innocent people at the stake in the name of Christ than he does with the vast majority of casual, polite atheists in modern Britain.
Is there a worse posterboy for any movement in Britain than Richard Dawkins?