I’ve only heard of this Dinesh D’Souza fellow once before, when he was on the Colbert report, selling his shitty book about how progressives and free thinkers were responsible for 9/11 and the only way we’re going to defeat The Terrorists is by passing Sharia laws and becoming more like them. So, I wasn’t expecting clearheadedness from him when I read his little rant about the Virginia Tech shootings, in which he went off on a tangent, wondering aloud to his navel where all the atheists were about now and why wasn’t Richard Dawkins invited to speak at the memorial service.
That last little non sequiter there is the result of D’Souza not knowing the names of an other prominent atheists, ones who maybe live in the US rather than England. But apparently Mr. D’Souza thinks that Dr. Dawkins has nothing better to do than to fly half way around the world, calling press conferences to comment on tragedies that he has no personal connection with.
Setting aside the idiocy of this part of the argument, he goes on to make some ludicrous pronouncements about the character of people who do not share his belief in the grief counseling power of fairy tales:
Several atheists–who haven’t yet lost their fundamentalist habit of reading–took this sarcastic statement literally. “So what? The Pope hasn’t been invited either!” My point was that atheism has nothing to offer in the face of tragedy except C’est la vie. Deal with it. Get over it. This is why the ceremonies were suffused with religious rhetoric. Only the language of religion seems appropriate to the magnitude of tragedy. Only God seems to have the power to heal hearts in such circumstances. If someone started to read from Dawkins on why there is no good and no evil in the universe, people would start vomiting or leaving.One clever writer informs me that atheists don’t deny meaning, they simply insist that meaning is not inherent in the universe, it is created by us. Okay, pal, here’s the Virginia Tech situation. Go create some meaning and share it with the rest of us Give us that atheist sermon with you in the pulpit of the campus chapel. I’m not being facetious here. I really want to hear what the atheist would tell the grieving mothers.
First off, atheists don’t give sermons. We don’t tell other people what they should think and feel and then condescend to them when they have a different reaction than us. In the face of tragedy, some people cry, while others laugh or simply stare into space and wonder. We all react differently to grief but I have to wonder if telling the bereaved fairy tales about the dead playing volleyball in Cloud Cuckooland will really make anything better.
Secondly, as a number of people have pointed out, your God wasn’t exactly falling all over himself to stop the bullets or change the shooter’s mind. Just like Jesus didn’t use his super wood carving powers to build an unbreakable levy in New Orleans and Moses didn’t part the South Seas to stop the tsunami. But D’Souza has this one covered:
But perhaps God’s purpose in the world (I am only thinking aloud here) is to draw his creatures to him. And you have to admit that tragedies like this one at Virginia Tech help to do that!
Nice, huh? God lets bad things happen in order for us to become emotionally dependent on his stingy love and murderous whims. D’Souza thinks that not only is humanity suffering from a massive case of Battered Spouse Syndrome but that this is somehow a good thing.
Hat tip to PZ Myers.