Richard Dawkins says he’s a ‘cultural Christian’.

Professor Richard Dawkins, author of the book ‘The God Delusion’ and one of Britain’s most well-known atheists, has described himself as a ‘cultural Christian’. The comments come about after Mark Pritchard, an opposition member of Parliament, accused politically correct people of undermining Christmas and other Christian festivals.

Dawkin’s response was thus:

“I’m not one of those who wants to stop Christian traditions.

“This is historically a Christian country. I’m a cultural Christian in the same way many of my friends call themselves cultural Jews or cultural Muslims.

“So, yes, I like singing carols along with everybody else. I’m not one of those who wants to purge our society of our Christian history.

“If there’s any threat these sorts of things, I think you will find it comes from rival religions and not from atheists.”

Pritchard, meanwhile wants a parliamentary debate on “Christianophobia” and is complaining that ‘Christian heritage was being undermined by secular officials and public figures’.

6 thoughts on “Richard Dawkins says he’s a ‘cultural Christian’.

  1. But culture itself means nothing of any substance, and only really has the benefit of enjoying the ‘quirkiness factor’ of a tribe – it’s like museums only exist because people enjoy comparing superficial differences between things, it doesn’t change what it does, or make living under it any more comfortable

  2. You could argue that about morals or law.  You can not seperate either of these and place them in a petri dish.

    Dawkins is a cutural christian in the same way manyof us here are. Les has said before how much he enjoys Christmas, and I do too. I particually would want to celebrate one of those ‘chocolate box’ Victorian Christmases.  There is a sort of magic about a Christmas dawn, especially if you are away from an urban area.  It’s as though the Universe is holding its breath.

    ‘HUMANS NEES FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.’
    ‘Tooth Fairies? Hogfathers? Little-’
    ‘YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.
    ‘So we can believe the big ones?’
    ‘YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.

    ‘Hogfather, Terry Pratchett

  3. [snark]Gosh, I can’t *imagine* the Christofascists scaring anybody away from scaring people away from the notion of loving one’s neighbor. After all, they’re setting such a fine example of turning the other cheek, of not judging lest they be judged, an’ all that… [/snark]

    Ever notice how the ones who claim that Christianity is in danger are the ones working the hardest to poison it?  If I didn’t know better, I’d call it Munchausen-by-proxy.  ‘Cept that these people are typically self-aggrandizing rat b@$+@rds and/or have persecution fantasies.

    If it’s “politically correct” to recognize the simple fact that something over 60% of the earth’s population doesn’t actually believe in Christ, then count me in.  Personally, I like to consider it a healthy respect for reality.  Something MP Pritchard apparently doesn’t share. 

    Funny thing is, the twit apparently can’t be bothered to take a look around the city he works in.  Lots of folks there who aren’t even “cultural Christians”.  Does he think that the people who clean his office, transport the necessities of life to him, cook his lunches, etc. are shipped back to their home countries at night?  Geeze, I hope for the rest of the UK that they just grow ‘em that stupid in his home borough…

  4. Go to Wal-Mart any evening here in Normal, Illinois and you might conclude that the population of our town is 10% Hindu and > 5% Japanese. (The actual proportion is not quite that high)  It costs nothing and is just ordinary courtesy to recognize the humanity of people whose cultures and religions differ from our own.

  5. LH: You could argue that about morals or law.

    Indeed I do, sometimes

    You can not seperate either of these and place them in a petri dish.

    If you’re referring to the combination of morals to law;

    I ask why does something carry moral wieght? If I see no harm in something, I see no problem in it, though I realise not everything gets challenged.

    From that, the law tends to bend around common morals of the society at the time because otherwise society would pressure the government or attempt to replace it with one that enforces their opinion – if it’s deemed immoral to kill, that’ll be punished, if society sees it as even worse to comit fraud (as it seems to be in some places), that’ll be punished with more wieght to please the populace.

    But – just because something’s illegal doesn’t make it wrong to me, and vice versa. Sometimes what I consider to be wrong (i.e. bringing a child into the world) is praised as a good thing by others.

    I wonder how many instances of christmas it’s possible to genuinly enjoy

  6. I personally enjoy the Winter Solstice and Yule aspects of Christmas, I don’t even mind the Santa Claus part.  I really can’t stand the advertising and over-emphasis on gift giving.  However, I do hate the winter in general, so my mood is never very festive this time of year.  I’ve been accused of being a scrooge more than once simply because I get cranky when there isn’t enough sunlight to keep me happy.

    In any event, I don’t think that there is anything wrong with Dawkins claiming to be a cultural Christian, though it’s certainly a term that most reactionary types chafe at, and I’m not sure most people would understand the difference between being a Christian and a cultural Christian without the Jewish comparison.  I certainly won’t be using the term for myself anytime soon though.

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