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Hell hath no fury like an annoyed atheist

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Anger abounds on the Richard Dawkins website. According to this story in the Times, changes to his website forum have resulted in him – or his administrators, I’m not sure which – being subject to huge amounts of vitriol and abuse (read down to the comments for the full picture).

Now, I’m not trying to take any moral highground, because you’ll find a fair amount of vitriol and abuse on Christian web forums. But I couldn’t help looking at the kind of behaviour that Dawkins criticises and wondering what he would make of it if it happened on a Christian site. Because what annoys me about Richard Dawkins is not that he criticises religious belief – anyone has a right to do that – it’s that he always lumps everyone in together. In Dawkins’ world a few Christian nutters means that all Christianity is evil; because some religious fanatics are deluded enough to blow themselves and others up, then they all must be like that. It’s that he makes no real distinction between moderates and extremists.

By which criterion surely both Dawkins and his followers should be tarred with the same brush. ‘See those unreasonable, hate-filled atheists on his forum? That’s atheists for you. They’re all like that. No, really.’

It’s a stupid way to proceed and all it does is foster hate and stoke up anger. I am tired of being lumped in with the extremists and the bug-eyed fanatics. There are moderates and extremists in all walks of life. Perhaps the most telling, courteous and reflective comment comes from the blog which gives more of the story. At the bottom an obviously sad and angry forum member writes:

To any moderate Christians reading this who have been labelled as disgusting due to the evil, homophobic rantings of the Westborough Baptist Church, I know how you feel.

I wonder if Richard Dawkins will ever feel the same?