Armando Iannucci had a delightful back page piece for the Observer this sunday. He picks up on the competition for status as to the most effective God basher between Dawkins and Hitchens. Much as I despise the American Taliban, I don’t think this brand of intolerant atheism is the answer. I have argued several times (so many that I will not make the links) that Dawkins is in effect preaching a new religion and using all the tactics of the proponents of paternalist religion that he attacks. Iannucci uses satire to make this point well, by creating some future titles that we can expect to see. I quote the relevant section of his article below. I especially like the last one, but am tempted to add never trust a biologist on the make, or a former Trotskyist who aligns himself with the neocons ….
Some books you must read are the latest atheist offerings from Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. Following the success of The God Delusion and God Is Not Great, these writers have both signed lucrative 10-book deals in which they take atheism to new levels. The highlights include:
· Richard Dawkins: the Scientology Shitstorm. Dawkins postulates that not only is Scientology the biggest pile of unbelievable worms since the dawn of Hassidic Judaism, but that Tom Cruise doesn’t actually exist but is ‘mostly the result of deceptive puppetry that’s probably been going on for centuries’.
· Christopher Hitchens: the Pop-up Book of Origami Christs. A children’s introduction to laughing at religion, Hitchens shows you how to make Christs from bits of paper and then perform hilarious sketches with them as they tear lumps out of each other in needless theological disputes over whether they were descended ‘from’ the Father or ‘of’ Him. There are also instructions on how to make whoopee Buddhas from heavy-duty rubber and how to bake a malt Moses.
· Richard Dawkins: for God’s Sake, Grow Up! Dawkins hits back with an illustrated book for under-fives, in which he tells them that Father Christmas doesn’t exist. Follow-up to the popular ‘Horrible Hindus’ series.
· Christopher Hitchens: the Dawkins Danger. Diatribe against the cult of personality perpetrated by supporters of Richard Dawkins, who have made plans for his bones to be broken up and encased in separate tanks of formaldehyde when he dies and placed in front of 14 British cathedrals, under the sign ‘If You Go In There We’ll Break Your Arms.’
· Richard Dawkins: Hitchens Is Talking Out of His Hellhole. Fierce polemic from Dawkins, arguing that unless Christopher Hitchens changes his description of all religions from ‘poisonous suppurating sores on the face of humanity’ to ‘enormous poisonous suppurating sores on the face of humanity’, he and his followers cannot be considered rightful atheists and must truly die a painful death until the world is rid of what they call the non-enormons.
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