...that a supposedly fearless denouncer of faith puts his cowardice on display quite as openly and clearly as this:
In a recent Al-Jazeerah interview, Richard Dawkins was asked his views on God. He argued that the god of "the Old Testament" is "hideous" and "a monster", and reiterated his claim from The God Delusion that the God of the Torah is the most unpleasant character "in fiction". Asked if he thought the same of the God of the Koran, Dawkins ducked the question, saying: "Well, um, the God of the Koran I don't know so much about."
How can it be that the world's most fearless atheist, celebrated for his strident opinions on the Christian and Jewish Gods, could profess to know so little about the God of the Koran? Has he not had the time? Or is Professor Dawkins simply demonstrating that most crucial trait of his species: survival instinct.
Yes, Gentle Reader, that's the Richard Dawkins, the fearless atheist who's been unsparing about the "myths" to which we Christians and our Jewish cousins cling. Remember this article from Wired online?
"There's an infinite number of things that we can't disprove," [Dawkins] said. "You might say that because science can explain just about everything but not quite, it's wrong to say therefore we don't need God. It is also, I suppose, wrong to say we don't need the Flying Spaghetti Monster, unicorns, Thor, Wotan, Jupiter, or fairies at the bottom of the garden. There's an infinite number of things that some people at one time or another have believed in, and an infinite number of things that nobody has believed in. If there's not the slightest reason to believe in any of those things, why bother? The onus is on somebody who says, I want to believe in God, Flying Spaghetti Monster, fairies, or whatever it is. It is not up to us to disprove it."...
Dawkins looks forward to the day when the first US politician is honest about being an atheist. "Highly intelligent people are mostly atheists," he says. "Not a single member of either house of Congress admits to being an atheist. It just doesn't add up. Either they're stupid, or they're lying. And have they got a motive for lying? Of course they've got a motive! Everybody knows that an atheist can't get elected."...
For the New Atheists, the problem is not any specific doctrine, but religion in general. Or, as Dawkins writes in The God Delusion, "As long as we accept the principle that religious faith must be respected simply because it is religious faith, it is hard to withhold respect from the faith of Osama bin Laden and the suicide bombers."
But Allah? The Supreme Being who exhorts his followers thus?
Sura 9:73: "O Prophet! Struggle against the unbelievers and hypocrites and be harsh with them."
Sura 4:89: "They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): but take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (from what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks..."
Sura 9-29: "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued."
Sura 22-9: "As for the unbelievers for them garments of fire shall be cut and there shall be poured over their heads boiling water whereby whatever is in their bowels and skins shall be dissolved and they will be punished with hooked iron rods."
Sura 47-4: "When you meet the unbelievers, strike off their heads; then when you have made wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives"
...or whose foremost spokesmen in our time speak thus:
"There is no room for play in Islam. Islam is deadly serious...about everything." [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini]
"The minarets are our bayonets; the domes are our helmets. Mosques are our barracks, the believers are soldiers. This holy army guards my religion. Almighty Our journey is our destiny, the end is martyrdom." [Recep Tayyip Erdogan, prime minister of Turkey]
Our brave militant atheist wouldn't dare to cross that mythical dude. His followers might...take it badly.
Perhaps we should poll the other outspoken militant atheists about how they feel about Islam. If memory serves, neither Sam Harris nor Daniel Dennett has made mention of the Muslim perversion of faith. Christopher Hitchens, of course, is currently enjoying his eternal reward; though it would be interesting to have his opinions now, somehow I doubt we can acquire them.
A final thought: In our time, to stand by a faith -- a creed inherently incapable of being proved or disproved -- and to conform oneself voluntarily to its ethos requires sufficient courage not to back down nor qualify one's stance before the supercilious derision of militant atheists such as Dawkins. Contrariwise, to spurn such a creed requires no courage whatsoever. That would seem to put paid to Dawkins's own pretensions to courage for "daring to disbelieve."