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(LifeSiteNews) — British biologist and militant atheist Richard Dawkins has once again professed the value of Christianity – minus Christ, of course.  

He chose the Easter Triduum, the pinnacle of the liturgical year which commemorates the central mystery of the Catholic faith, to remind the world that he thinks of himself as a “Cultural Christian.”

What this means to him is simply that Christianity, as he misunderstands it, is now liberal, and therefore pleasing to him. 

“I like to live in a culturally Christian country, though I do not believe a single word of the Christian faith,” said Dawkins. 

He says that by contrast, the doctrine of Islam is “fundamentally hostile to women, hostile to gays.”

The culture that Dawkins is defending here is that of the rights-based religion of reason. This is nothing new, as the tradition to which he belongs is an attempt to replace the divine with itself. 

Rival religions 

Is it news that Dawkins loves the architecture – but not the architect – of the Church? In 2007, one year after the publication of his book The God Delusion, he told the BBC, “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.” 

To Dawkins, Christianity is a custom of the tribe, its relics pleasant and familiar as a pair of inherited slippers which offer nothing beyond comfort. As to the sort of slippers, well, that is a matter of taste, and, according to him as well, an accident of birth.  

Of course, to Dawkins the birth of everything is also an accident. Unlike his idea of creation, however, his notion of a cultural Christianity does not come out of nothing. In his case it is a response to “rival religions,” in whose company he judges Christianity to be the lesser of several evils. Speaking in 2007 he said, “I like singing carols along with everybody else. I’m not one of those who wants to purge our society of our Christian history.” 

He claims the enemy of Christianity is not atheism. 

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

Nothing out of something

The rival religion he has in mind is often cited as Islam. Yet it is not Islam which dedicated the day of the Resurrection of Our Lord to the diabolical transgender cult. With the stereotypical vanity of the Enlightenment sage, Dawkins is incapable of seeing that it is his own religion which has created this nothing out of something. The “something” in question here is Christ himself. 

Liberalism is the attempt to continue Christianity without Christ. Like Matthew Arnold before him, Dawkins sees in Christianity a poetic beauty having no essential truth. The rational idea which inspires his atheism is that reason can replace religion as the means and method of salvation. He takes Christianity to be essentially false, and takes for granted that he is right. Where it is not wrong, he says, is what makes it preferable to the alternatives.  

I agree with him here, but for reasons he would probably find offensive. The rival cult which threatens the moral and material beauty of the Church is not principally that of Mohammed, but his own. 

It is also dying faster than belief in God.  

Rational insanity

Dawkins’ defense of the museum of Christianity – its buildings empty of meaning beyond pleasure – is a tacit concession to the limits both of liberalism and of Man.  

It is Dawkins’ religion which is dying around him. The cult of reason, always a folly, is expressly intended to replace the Divine. The French Revolutionaries actually did this in 1793. The Reign of Terror was crowned by the substitution of Christianity with a civil religion of reason.  

After two years of this madness, the churches reopened in 1795. Despite this debacle, the concept of a religion minus God appealed to John Stuart Mill, whose work On Liberty is seen as foundational to the modern liberal idea. Mill, in his 1874 essay The Utility of Religion, says a proposed Religion of Humanity is “a better religion than any of those which are ordinarily called by that title.” 

Why did he say this, and what has this to do with Richard Dawkins?  

Both men share the same outlook, which is to value the appearance and deny the reality of the Christian faith. Mill said, “The essence of religion is the strong and earnest direction of the emotions and desires towards an ideal object, recognized as of the highest excellence, and as rightfully paramount over all selfish objects of desire.” 

Life as a pastime 

Mill believed, following Auguste Comte, that religion, like man, could be rationally perfected. To liberals, man and his beliefs are to be judged by their usefulness.   

Dawkins and Mill see religion as something to use. They are jealous of its power to shape the lives of men towards ends other than their own, and so they seek to own it.  

This is in fact what has happened. The religious impulse in the West has been directed by the children of men such as Comte and Mill towards secular worship. Sports for the plebs, art for their betters, with periodic cults springing up to venerate wars and sanctify criminals such as George Floyd.   

Life is a game to be refereed, a workplace to be managed, a gallery of passionate illusions curated by the priests of reason.  

At the apex of this cult is science, which accounts for the extreme self-regard of people like Richard Dawkins. A prophet of reason, whose kingdom is yet to come, he speaks reasonably of his own exalted and generous sentiments towards a Christianity he sees as a vacant, if beautiful, tomb. 

Yet it is not Christ which is dead. This whited sepulcher conceals the rotten bones of the liberal idea itself.  

Reason’s cult has undermined marriage, professed the good life to be one of the pursuit of personal pleasure and advantage, and has handed our children to sexual deviants in the dark rite of “progress.” It now seeks the depopulation of the planet, for reasons it deems supreme in virtue. 

The light of reason has passed its zenith, and it is this which Dawkins mourns. 

It is not the Muslims who have enshrined abortion as a fundamental human right – but the French, the countrymen of Comte and the cult of reason supreme.  

The revolt against God, in which Dawkins has been foremost, has emancipated mankind from the value of his own life. Now liberal governments inspired by this cult have reduced human life to a cost/benefit analysis. Like any other commodity, it has a commercial value judged by personal convenience and price. It is a product to be discarded like waste. 

A dying cult

At the beginning of life, and now at its end, life is terminated as a health care option. The destruction of life is described as a form of altruism, preventing the pollution of the world with more hungry, “useless eaters,” or politely retiring into assisted death once your taxpaying service is complete. Life is a consumer choice, or sometimes unreasonably expensive. And so it ends. 

Rationalists like Richard Dawkins prefer appearance to reality. The reality of Christianity is the message of life, of its sanctity, of the victory over death promised in the salvation of souls through Christ. Minus that, only a shell remains, in which the empty may take their entertainment.   

The reality which surrounds us is that created by men of “reason.” Life has value only in the words they ascribe to it, which they call “rights.” It is a word which sanctifies many grave wrongs. 

The replacement of the essential value of life with mere words is a subtraction, one which parallels that of Christianity without Christ, and of the heart of the West without Christianity. It is life minus meaning. Thanks to the priests of reason, that is the culture we have now.