I must confess, that in the evil of my own heart, I have looked upon the world’s recent vomiting-out of Richard Dawkins with a bit of pleasure. Whether this is an unloving attitude towards the man or a justified sense of justice at his downfall I am not sure. Perhaps, it’s a bit of both.
Dawkins’ comments about “mild pedophilia” were the first to really shock the world: “I don’t think [it causes] lasting harm. I am very conscious that you can’t condemn people of an earlier era by the standards of ours. Just as we don’t look back at the 18th and 19th centuries and condemn people for racism in the same way as we would condemn a modern person for racism, I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild pedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today.”
More recently his advice to a mother expecting a baby with Downs Syndrome got him in more hot water: “Obviously the choice would be yours. For what it’s worth, my own choice would be to abort the Down fetus and, assuming you want a baby at all, try again. Given a free choice of having an early abortion or deliberately bringing a Down child into the world, I think the moral and sensible choice would be to abort. And, indeed, that is what the great majority of women, in America and especially in Europe, actually do. I personally would go further and say that, if your morality is based, as mine is, on a desire to increase the sum of happiness and reduce suffering, the decision to deliberately give birth to a Down baby, when you have the choice to abort it early in the pregnancy, might actually be immoral from the point of view of the child’s own welfare. I agree that that personal opinion is contentious and needs to be argued further, possibly to be withdrawn. In any case, you would probably be condemning yourself as a mother (or yourselves as a couple) to a lifetime of caring for an adult with the needs of a child. Your child would probably have a short life expectancy but, if she did outlive you, you would have the worry of who would care for her after you are gone. No wonder most people choose abortion when offered the choice. Having said that, the choice would be entirely yours and I would never dream of trying to impose my views on you or anyone else.”
Truly, I would fear to live in the Brave New World” of Richard Dawkins. But here’s the thing: he is merely being consistent with his worldview! This is the same worldview that is undoubtedly held by most of his critics!
For example, people are so furious that Dawkins would say that ending the life of a Downs baby is more humane and compassionate, but this is the very same thing that they say about babies who will be born into a poor household, born with other defects, or who are unwanted. You hypocrites! When you condemn Dawkins, you condemn yourself!
Now, my advice is not that they be consistent with their own worldview because that is to say merely tell them to dull their consciences even further, but rather they ought to be consistent with their anger. Just as you are angry about Dawkins’ advocacy aborting Downs babies, be angry at the advocacy of aborting any baby. If Downs kids deserve a shot (which they most certainly do), why not every other human being.
It will be interesting to see what becomes of Dawkins. In a way he is like the Socrates of materialistic Atheism; the world’s condemnation of him being merely his martyrdom. Had de been born fifty years down the road, his message and brutal comments would have been cheered by more than his inner circle of disciples. The world should take care, lest its children erect statues of him one day and pay homage to him by realizing what are only now his theories.
O Lord Jesus, come quickly!