For those antithesits out there who would assert that Naziism was a religious movement or a movement of religion, a thought from an esteemed scholar of religion.
“In speaking of the Christian world, we use two different terms: ‘Christianity,’ meaning the religion in the strictest sense, a system of belief and worship and some ecclesiastical organization; and we use a different word, ‘Christendom,’ meaning the whole civilization, which grew up under the aegis of that religion, which is in many ways shaped by that religion, but which nevertheless contains elements that are not part of that religion, or may even be hostile or contrary to that religion.
Let me illustrate that with a simple example. No one could seriously assert that Hitler and the Nazis came out of Christianity, but no one could seriously deny that that they came out of Christendom.”
— Bernard Lewis
English: Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins after Maher’s talk at the Atheist Alliance International conference in Burbank, CA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
An erudite atheist friend said recently that every atheist he knew personally, as many as a couple of hundred, and (he contended) all of the Big Name atheists:
“..have said, explicitly, that to the limited extent I outlined above (‘there may, against all the evidence so far, be a god’) they are agnostic. There is zero conflict in this position if you claim to be an evidence-based rational thinker (which most, but not all, atheists will claim).”
It was an interesting claim.
Now, while I would love to test that statement against all of the Big Name Atheists, I thought I would try it for one, possibly the biggest name, Richard Dawkins. At best, he is conflicted. While he has been frequently quoted as saying “There probably is no God,” thus sounding intellectually honest, on at least one occasion in public he has said ““You are utterly wasting your time – all of you who are indignant at being attacked about your god – because there is no god.”
That doesn’t sound like the kind of intellectual honesty to which my friend alludes: it sounds like a statement of absolute faith, or at best a vacillation between two positions, one agnostic and quite acceptable in polite company, and one anti-theist, and steeped in faith.
The atheist might retort that God does not exist because his existence has not been proven. My response to that atheist is simple: we all have our standards of proof. God has met mine, he just hasn’t met yours yet.