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September 14th, 2013
08:01 AM ET

Hey atheists, let’s make a deal

Opinion by Rachel Held Evans, special to CNN

(CNN) - Famed atheist Richard Dawkins has been rightfully criticized this week for saying the “mild pedophilia” he and other English children experienced in the 1950s “didn’t cause any lasting harm.”

This comes after an August tweet in which Dawkins declared that “all the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though.”

Dawkins is known for pushing his provocative rhetorical style too far, providing ample ammunition for his critics, and already I’ve seen my fellow Christians seize the opportunity to rail against the evils of atheism.

As tempting as it is to classify Dawkins’ views as representative of all atheists, I can’t bring myself to do it.

I can’t bring myself to do it because I know just how frustrating and unfair it is when atheists point to the most extreme, vitriolic voices within Christianity and proclaim that they are representative of the whole.

So, atheists, I say we make a deal: How about we Christians agree not to throw this latest Richard Dawkins thing in your face and you atheists agree not to throw the next Pat Robertson thing in ours?

Now I’m not saying we just let these destructive words and actions go—not at all. It’s important for both believers and atheists to decry irresponsible views and hateful rhetoric, especially from within our own communities.

(Believe me. There are plenty of Christians who raise hell every time Robertson says something homophobic or a celebrity pastor somewhere says something misogynistic.)

READ MORE: Why millennials are leaving the church

But what if we resist the urge to use the latest celebrity gaffe as an excuse to paint one another with broad brushes?

What if, instead of engaging the ideas of the most extreme and irrational Christians and atheists, we engaged the ideas of the most reasonable, the most charitable, the most respectful and respected?

Only then can we avoid these shallow ad hominem attacks and instead engage in substantive debates that bring our true differences and our true commonalities to light.

It’s harder to go this route, and it takes more work and patience, but I’m convinced that both Christians and atheists are interested in the truth and in searching for it with integrity, without taking the easy way out.

Pope Francis took a step in that direction this week with a letter in a Rome newspaper responding directly to questions posed by its atheist director and inviting respectful open dialog between nonbelievers and Christians.

READ MORE: Why millennials need the church

So, yes, Richard Dawkins is an atheist. But so are authors Greg Epstein and Susan Jacoby. So is my friend and fellow blogger Hemant Mehta. So is Sir Ian McKellen. So is ethicist Peter Singer, who may or may not be the best example.

And yes, Pat Robertson is a Christian. But so is Nelson Mandela. So is acclaimed geneticist Francis Collins. So is Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee. So is Barack Obama. So is Stephen Colbert.

And I'm willing to bet that the same collective groan emitted by millions of Christians each time Pat Robertson says something embarrassing on TV sounds a lot like the collective groan emitted by millions of atheists when Richard Dawkins rants on Twitter.

Still, in the end, it’s not about who has the most charismatic or generous personalities in their roster, nor about who has the most “crazies.” It’s about the truth.

So let’s talk about the truth, and with the people who most consistently and graciously point us toward it.

Rachel Held Evans is the author of "A Year of Biblical Womanhood" and "Evolving in Monkey Town." Evans blogs at rachelheldevans.com, and the views expressed in this column belong to her.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Christianity • Faith

soundoff (5,916 Responses)
  1. Salero21

    No deal no way! Atheism is stupidity in Full bloom, in any and all seasons!

    September 17, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      The Apostles' / Agnostics’/Atheists' Creed 2013 (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen
      (References used are available upon request.)

      September 17, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      Au Contraire !!

      The Apostles' / Agnostics’/ Atheists' Creed 2013 (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen
      (References used are available upon request.)

      September 17, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
    • utalkintome

      yeah, because believing in talking snakes, people made from ribs, people living till 900, adam and eve(incest part 1), noah(incest part 2) is so intelligent....i can keep going with all the fairytales you pray too?

      September 18, 2013 at 5:03 am |
  2. Phelix Unger

    In "god we trust" trust what exactly? Besides killing people for not following the christian dogma, including death for worshiping the devil, or maybe the earth isn't flat, or maybe if you don't believe the way I believe the you must die infidel, thanks Islam, were not the center of the universe, who said that? He should die, yeah real big on science. How about creating the act of confirmation in the twelve or thirteenth century so the church could create the soldier of christ thing. Yup these people that follow other peoples dribble really have over the rest of us monkeys. Religion has had more people die as a result of its existence then anything else and guess what? Its still happening today, no even the Hindu's are getting into the act killing muslams as they believe they are a scourge to their way of life. Meanwhile I walk down the street and say hi, how's it going? Give everybody their due and move on. Religion will no stand up to the complete education of mankind, isolation is no longer an option with communication today. Oh there are those who will continue to go to the big pointy buildings, but like the rest of history, it will be just that history. Let us Pray. Haha

    September 17, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
  3. Felix Sinclair

    "Atheist dogma" is in the same book as rules for not playing checkers. It's next to the chapter on the proper way to not ride a horse.

    September 17, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
  4. jens gessner

    I'll make it easy for you:

    Start with explaining the 'atheist dogma', because I have never heard of it. Follow it up with an explaining 'atheist belief', as I strongly suspect you have been misled about it.

    September 17, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
  5. jens gessner

    I'll make it easy for you:

    Start with explaining the 'atheist dogma', because I have never heard of it. Follow it up with an explaining 'atheist belief'.

    September 17, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
    • jens gessner

      oops, that was supposed to be a response to 'Reason'.

      September 17, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      See fascism

      September 17, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
      • jens gessner

        Funny, you should suggest that:

        "Fascism is a religious conception in which man is seen in his immanent relationship with a superior law and with an objective Will that transcends the particular individual and raises him to conscious membership in a spiritual society. Whoever has seen in the religious politics of the Fascist regime nothing but mere opportunism has not understood that Fascism besides being a system of government is also, and above all, a system of thought." (Mussolini, Doctrine of Fascism, 1932)

        Get it? Mussolini regarded 'Fascism' as a religion.

        September 18, 2013 at 12:12 am |
        • Bill Deacon

          Well, he must be right. Look what a great job he did with the trains.

          September 18, 2013 at 10:34 am |
      • Richard Cranium

        JPT sees fascism everywhere. He sees a lot of other things that aren't there too.

        September 18, 2013 at 11:21 am |
  6. Ken Margo

    Atheists don't need a deal. You could paint atheists with a broad brush and guess what. WE DON'T CARE. We don't claim to be perfect, we don't claim to know it all. We don't force our thoughts on others. On the other hand, Christians are always trying to force their beliefs on others. Denying rights to gays and lesbians and trying to limit women's choices.

    September 17, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
  7. Reason

    Contrary to atheists' dogmas, atheists are not smarter. History is littered with atheists terrorist. Atheism is a belief. Atheists may know more about religion, but they do not know more about Christianity. Atheists have done far more to damage science. Liberalism, humanism, modern science, modern education, modern hospitals, and the success of the west is the direct result of Christianity – not atheism. And if any atheists would care to debate any of these, I have nothing but reliable and unbiased sources to back it up, and I don't bother me with Dawkins – he's a biologist and nothing else.

    September 17, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • Reason

      By the way, I'm responding to all the juvenile comments made by atheists in this post.

      September 17, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
      • Ponyboy Garfunkel

        ... by making a juvenile comment. Brilliant!

        September 17, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      You make a claim about atheist not being smarter, but the information you follow up with is about morality and politics.

      How do you quantify "smarter"? Are you referring to a measurable standard such as IQ or something more broad like cultural awareness?

      Please present the unbiassed sources your claim to have that show that religious people are as intelligent as atheists. I'm very curious.

      September 17, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
      • thom

        Thomas22
        and when you fashion eyes in the place of an eye,
        http://www.cloningresources.com/Research/implants_first_step_to_eye_replacement.asp

        and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot,
        http://defensetech.org/2005/04/11/replacement-arm-good-as-new/

        (How smart is that?)

        September 17, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
      • GodFreeNow

        If Thomas were personally responsible for cloning, then I'd say pretty smart. I wouldn't rely too heavily on the bible for scientific discovery. If you know your bible so well, you will know there are some pretty whacked out recommendations. To date, I can't think of 1 scientific discovery that was made possible by someone referencing the bible.

        Here's the cure for leprosy all of you aspiring Nobel Prize coveters:
        "Get two birds. Kill one. Dip the live bird in the blood of the dead one. Sprinkle the blood on the leper seven times, and then let the blood-soaked bird fly away. Next find a lamb and kill it. Wipe some of its blood on the patient’s right ear, thumb, and big toe. Sprinkle seven times with oil and wipe some of the oil on his right ear, thumb and big toe. Repeat. Finally find another pair of birds. Kill one and dip the live bird in the dead bird’s blood. Wipe some blood on the patient’s right ear, thumb, and big toe. Sprinkle the house with blood 7 times."
        – Leviticus 14:2-52

        September 18, 2013 at 12:18 am |
    • jens gessner

      Reason,

      So far, your comment sounds a lot like pouting and feet stomping, nothing else.

      September 17, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • doobzz

      " And if any atheists would care to debate any of these, I have nothing but reliable and unbiased sources to back it up,"

      I'll call. Show your hand.

      September 17, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • jens gessner

      I'll make it easy for you:

      Start with explaining the 'atheist dogma', because I have never heard of it. Follow it up with explaining 'atheist belief', as I strongly suspect you have been misled about it.

      September 17, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • Ken

      Not smarter, but better informed about religion than people who are actually religious. There have been studies that prove that.

      Maybe it's like the old adage about giving up hot dogs if you ever learned what went into them? 🙂

      September 17, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
      • jens gessner

        “Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.”
        ― Isaac Asimov

        September 17, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
        • Lena

          And why should we give a crap what some guy that wrote about robots thought?

          September 17, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
        • jens gessner

          Because he said it really well.

          And since you asked: What that guy wrote about is certainly a lot more relevant to us today than the stories written nearly 2,000 years ago about a carpenter, or more relevant than the hallucinations of some shepherd in a desert.

          September 17, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
        • a reasonable atheist

          He earned a PhD in biochem and was a tenured professor of said subject at BU. He was also multilingual. Writing great SciFi was something he dabbled in later that eventually eclipsed his genuine scientific endeavor. I'd call him a pretty smart guy, personally. Intelligent people tend to be able to reason well and express their points of view concisely. This famous quotation is an example of that. Additionally, given that my personal transformation from believer to atheist involved thorough readings of the bible, I can readily identify with his expressed sentiment.

          September 17, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
    • skytag

      "Atheists may know more about religion, but they do not know more about Christianity."

      "More" is a comparative term. Atheists do not know more what about Christianity?

      For the record, this atheist was a Christian for about four decades. Did God tell you how much I know about Christianity or do you use a tinfoil hat to get that information?

      September 17, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
    • JLS1950

      Atheists also have a "gospel" that they seek to proselytize with... they just don't call it that. But their goal – really – is to encourage others to become like them. They will always argue, ever seeking the weakest arguments made by Christians to call out as if those were all the very strongest.

      September 17, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
      • heehee

        When was the last time an atheist knocked on your door on a Saturday morning?

        I mean, this is a comment board following an article on atheists. You might expect a few discussions on the topic.

        I'll bite. What is your strongest argument for Christianity? Try to imagine yourself convincing a middle-aged man who has traveled extensively (>15 countries), has experience with many cultures and languages, and is knowledgeable about world history (including the history of Christianity) and science. Your argument at the very least should distinguish Christianity from other religions in the mind of an outsider.

        I promise to respond to your first post respectfully and sincerely.

        September 17, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
      • sam stone

        yeah, imagine the nerve of people wanting others to use reason rather than superst-i-tion

        September 18, 2013 at 5:22 am |
    • pulseteresa

      Part One of my response to Reason:

      I agree with you that atheists are not necessarily "smarter" (though you really should define you usage here) than theists, but there is no such thing as "atheist dogmas." You have been very misinformed about atheism. Atheism is not a belief, but rather a lack of belief. This should be obvious from the definition of atheist. Many atheists know a great deal about Christianity because most of us were Christians at some point in time. Some have been very deeply involved in Christianity, such as ministers and Biblical scholars. In many cases their knowledge of Christianity is exactly why they are now atheists.

      Atheists have done no damage to science whatsoever. Most atheists are very pro-science. Many Christians are not because it undermines the claims of the Bible and theologians. Thanks to evolutionary biology we know without a doubt that there was never an Adam & Eve. The lowest human population has ever been is 2000-4000, but never just two. And thanks to geology, radiometric dating, cosmology, biology, genetics, etc. we know that the earth is about 4.5 billion years old and that modern human beings, who are one of the four great African apes and descended from ape-like creatures, have existed for about 200,000 years. In other words, the earth is not a mere six to ten thousand years old and humans are relative newcomers on the scene.

      September 18, 2013 at 4:28 am |
  8. Uthor

    People may think whatever they wish to think. It's a childish impulse to always want to be "right" about things. When you get older, you realize that proving that you're "right" is usually a meaningless exercise–and it simply creates contention. It can also sometimes mean that you're a bit of a boor.

    Live and let live. Time can be better spent. Life is too short.

    September 17, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Felix Sinclair

      One is compelled to wonder why you bothered to post a comment then.

      September 17, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
  9. mknoll

    "What if, instead of engaging the ideas of the most extreme and irrational Christians and atheists, we engaged the ideas of the most reasonable, the most charitable, the most respectful and respected?."

    This is a false dichotomy and disingenuous as hell considering Christians often vote those most vitriolic extremes into public office. Those extreme ideas are broadcast of hundreds of radio & TV stations, stuffed into door jams on Saturday mornings and handed out in Wal*Mart parking lots by old ladies.

    September 17, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
  10. Uthor

    Frankly, most of us who are atheists are not at all vocal about it. I've seldom said much about it to anyone, nor do I get into debates with people about their religion's priests. Very, very few of us have a mission to "convert" anyone.

    I can speak for myself and say I absolutely couldn't care less if you're a Christian, no more than I care if you follow Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, or any other religion. At the same time, I couldn't care less of what you think of me and my beliefs.

    Most of us seldom think about it. Robertson seems to be a judgmental conman, and Dawkins seems to be a self-absorbed publicity seeker. But it's simple to just not pay any attention to either man.

    September 17, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • Kenneth

      As a Christian, I feel exactly the same way.
      Your choices are yours, and mine are mine.
      I will discuss religion or politics or sports or dog over cat with anyone. But if it turns into a preachfest, I am out.

      Peace, man.

      September 17, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        Dogs. No contest.

        September 17, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
        • Kenneth

          I like both. Collies and shepards. Tabbies.
          No reptiles or fish.

          September 17, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
        • Ponyboy Garfunkel

          It depends on the specific question. I would rather be a cat than a dog. The cat has the style and dignity. The cat has no master.

          September 17, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
      • Sara

        Cat's are nice, too, but yeah, dogs win. Even most of my cat owning friends say they would get a dog if life allowed it.

        I'd rather debate religion that PCS vs. Macs. Or the 50 or whatever Shades of Grey. But, yeah, I usually don't even put in an "opinion" position, since I don't claim to know what makes up the world. I may discuss which theories have the most coherent story or which mesh best with science, but that's about it, and only when someone else brings it up.

        September 17, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
        • Dippy

          Cats, not cat's.

          September 18, 2013 at 2:20 am |
      • Bob

        Whoa! I agree with Bill D on something! Dogs!

        Cheers Bill.

        September 17, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
      • Skeptic Al

        People who own dogs are responsible for all the ills of society. They are delusional as schizophrenics as they talk to the animals as if they can understand them. Society will be better once the logical and intelligent people replace them.

        September 17, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • sirhuxley

      Uthor, you may hold your subjective position as you wish, but do not claim that Atheists should not care as you apparently don't.

      I implore you to recognize the FACTS at work here, Christianity is a vast global enterprise that in the USA alone takes in $100 BILLION a year TAX FREE.

      Most of this money is pocketed by the likes of Pat Robertson and 10s of BILLIONS are also spent to create public opinion.

      Richard Dawkins does not have any such "organization" behind him, he argues for the Secular Administration of Civic Policy, whilst Pat Robertson and the Christian Right are in collusion for the special interests.

      There will be NO DEAL with Christians and YOU should reconsider your stance as well, because there is no "live and let live" when it comes to Christianity, just look around, in America Churches own real estate and employ 10s of Millions.

      September 17, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
  11. Bruce Gorton

    You are seriously trying to equate Dawkins, whose views are misguided on some topics but who has still done a lot of good work, to Pat Robertson who operated a Congolese blood diamond mine off the money he got by falsely claiming to be there to help refugees?

    Yeah, no, sorry, no deal. If you had just said you didn't want to be lumped in with Robertson, sure – but trying to equate Dawkins with him? That kind of makes me think that broad brush is about the right width in your case.

    September 17, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • joell

      Which of his views are misguided?

      September 18, 2013 at 12:57 am |
  12. Bob Dobbs

    For whatever reasons, Dawkins and Hutchens both remind me of the Cosmopolitan in the Cafe.

    September 17, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • doobzz

      Not familiar with Hutchens.

      September 17, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
  13. FJN

    They problem here is that RIchard Dawkins isn't some atheistic authority or something, just a good scientist who happens to be an atheist which is why his opinions shouldn't have any bearing on any other atheists. Being a Christian however means that you do have an authority to answer too, specifically the church and the bible both of which hold nutty views about all manner of things. If you don't want to be associated with Leviticus, leave the church.

    September 17, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      You have absolutely no proof for your claims of a higher authority. You are mentally ill, a liar or both.

      September 17, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
      • doobzz

        HAA, I didn't see it that way at all. Seems more like FJN was saying, "In order to be a Christian, you have to believe these things." and not that he personally is a Christian or believes in a "higher authority". I took it just the opposite.

        September 17, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          Ace has been throwing wild pitches for two days now. I think the hot air part is probably closest to accurate. He seems preloaded to post a caned "I hate religion" comment to anybody without regard to their statement.

          September 17, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          I stand corrected. I am guilty of assuming he was speaking as a christian. My basic point remains the same – in the absence of factual, objective, independent and verifiable evidence or being forced to believe, believers are mentally ill and/or liars.

          September 17, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
        • doobzz

          @ Boof,

          There's a big difference between HAA making a mistake, and having the cajones to admit it and you coming here spreading lies and misrepresentations, being confronted, running away, and returning a few hours later to ignore the previous posts and start the lies anew.

          September 17, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
  14. julieejulia

    my neighbor's mother makes $75 hourly on the internet. She has been out of a job for seven months but last month her check was $17185 just working on the internet for a few hours. more tips here.....http://x.co/2MvnS

    September 17, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • doobzz

      Spam.

      September 17, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
      • Shannon

        Thanks for pointing that out, doobzz. I would have missed it.

        September 17, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
        • doobzz

          Glad to oblige, Shannon. 🙄

          September 17, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
      • wbthacker

        Is it spam, or is it faith? How can you tell them apart?

        September 18, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
  15. HotAirAce

    The authour's "let's make a deal" appeal is nothing more than a cheap trick to maintain the status quo – to prolong the "nice people don't discuss religion in public" crap that has allowed religion to go pretty much unchallenged for centuries. My response is simple: provide factual, independent, objective and verifiable evidence for your claims, or Fuck Off!"

    September 17, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • doobzz

      R'amen!

      September 17, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
  16. Felix Sinclair

    No deal. I'd rather deal with Dawkins' comments about his own experiences than with Robertson's comments about what other people deserve.

    September 17, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
  17. Gingeet

    Wow! Let's Make A Deal? Ha!
    This author is beyond delusional!
    What an idiot!
    I tell ya what lady, you stop thinking that the imaginary beings you telepathically communicate with exist and I'll stop calling you an idiot!
    Now that's a deal!

    September 17, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • Lena

      Wow, you are a delusional twit.
      Delusional because you actually think Miss Evans cares what you think.
      And a twit, well that is simply what you are.

      September 17, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
      • pee wee herman

        Takes one to know one

        September 17, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
        • a reasonable atheist

          You forgot the pee wee laugh at the end for emphasis.

          September 17, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
  18. Joey

    When you can cite a poll that says less than one percent of Christians are creationists we can talk about making a deal. As it stands now over 40% of Christians in America are creationists, and therefore extremists.

    September 17, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
  19. tbp100

    I'll take False Equivalencies for $1000, Alex.

    Dawson can be a bit of a blowhard and certainly is contentious. He has some lingering misogynist tendencies that are unattractive, and his recent marks about "mild pedophilia" are very troubling. All that said, he is also an actual scientist with a body of work to show for it, as well as being one of the most important science popularizers in recent years. He is as author, with best-selling books on diverse topics.

    Robertson, on the other hand, is a fraud who uses his charity for personal enrichment, who persuades people who can ill afford it to send him money which he spends on a lifestyle that would embarrass a Sultan, who demonizes gays, feminists, political opponents, and other groups to numerous to mention, and who is given to making baseless, outrageous accusations and offering really repulsive advice to people who write in to his show. Just recently, for example, he accused gay people of deliberately infecting straight people with special rings and suggested that a man might move to Russia where he could get away with beating his wife. He's been doing that for decades.

    Any proposal that starts with the premise that these two are even remotely equivalent in moral or intellectual stature is not worthy of consideration.

    September 17, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • tbp100

      That's Dawkins, of course.

      September 17, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
  20. Kenneth

    Amazing! People are still finding this post and commenting on it. I would have bet money that it would have died out by now.
    I wonder if the author is monitoring the amount of commentary she stirred up.

    Now I am going to have to bookmark it, just to see how long these arguments go on.

    September 17, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • midwest rail

      5,400 responses is nothing. Wait til the next article that mentions GLBT folks gets published.

      September 17, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • Sara

      I think most of the authors, especially the young and less established ones, will be reading the comments. It's just human nature.

      September 17, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
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