Tag Archives: Damian Thompson

Father Dawkins (?)

from the Telegraph

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Is Richard Dawkins leading people to Jesus?
By Damian Thompson Religion Last updated: April 16th, 2014

Winning souls for Christ!
My schoolfriend Michael – an atheist for decades – rang me the other night and told me he’d returned to the Catholic Church. “And you’ll never guess who converted me,” he said.
“Your wife?”
“No! It was Richard Dawkins!”
He explained that he was, and is, a huge admirer of Dawkins the biologist. (I’m with him there: I read The Blind Watchmaker when it first came out and was blown away.) “But then I read The God Delusion and it was… total crap. So bad that I started questioning my own atheism. Then he started tweeting.”
Like a loony on top of the bus, no?
“Exactly!”
Funnily enough, this is the second time in a week that I’ve heard of Richard Dawkins leading someone to Christ. Let me refer you to an article in The Catholic Herald by Francis Phillips:
Judith Babarsky, an academic … having only a “surface level” understanding of Christianity as she admits, was recommended Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion to read. She writes that when she began, she thought she would read “a logical, sceptical, nay scientific critique of religion.” Instead, she was surprised to find “strings of pejorative adjectives pretending to be argument, bald assertion pretending to be evidence, an incredibly arrogant attitude and a stance of moral equivalence incapable of distinguishing between the possible strengths and weaknesses of different religions…”
Indeed, Babarsky found Dawkins’ arguments so unsatisfactory, coupled with his own atheistic and fundamentalist stance, that they prompted her to examine for the first time what Christianity was all about. Her examination was to lead to her conversion to Catholicism. “In reading to refute Dawkins as well as educate myself … I discovered the God-man Jesus Christ. Not only did the Catholic view resonate with me emotionally but … it was intellectually honest.”
Here is a link to Babarsky’s original article, with its uncompromising title:

If I were a conspiracy theorist, I might conclude that Prof Dawkins secretly converted to Christianity decades ago, and then asked himself: “How can I best win souls? By straightforward argument, or by turning myself from a respected academic into a comic figure fulminating against religion like a fruitcake at Speakers’ Corner, thereby discrediting atheism?”
Hmm. Let me throw this one open to the floor. />© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2014Terms and Conditions

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April 17, 2014 · 10:03

Gay marriage will change the Church of England forever

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Blog by Damian Thompson March 29th, 2014
Damian Thompson is Editor of Telegraph Blogs and a columnist for the Daily Telegraph. He was once described by The Church Times as a “blood-crazed ferret”. He is on Twitter as HolySmoke. His latest book is The Fix: How addiction is taking over your world. He also writes about classical music for The Spectator.

Gay marriage will change the Church of England forever
As of today, their power is broken

The first British gay weddings today face the Church of England with a perfectly simple question to which it can only reply with embarrassed throat-clearing. Do we go along with this or not?

David Cameron’s promise to safeguard the established Church from same-sex ceremonies rings pretty hollow when you read a story like this one, from our religious affairs editor John Bingham:
Gay clergy should follow their conscience and defy the Church of England’s restrictions on same-sex marriage, a prominent bishop has said as the most radical change ever made to the legal definition of marriage in Britain comes into force.
The Rt Rev Alan Wilson, the Bishop of Buckingham, said priests should be “creative” to get around restrictions on blessings for same-sex couples and that gay clergy who wish to marry should do so in defiance of the official line.
He also claimed that several current serving bishops are themselves in gay partnerships, and urged them to publicly acknowledge their status for the sake of “honesty and truthfulness” and even consider marrying

Joined by an alliance of seven retired bishops, he condemned the Church’s position on gay marriage as “morally outrageous” and said it made him “ashamed”.
Bishop Wilson is a suffragan, not in charge of a diocese – but, really, that doesn’t matter. He’s a serving bishop with, it would appear, a ruthless streak: not so long ago, it was only Peter Tatchell who would state publicly that C of E bishops were in gay partnerships and should out themselves. And if they choose not to? Bishop Wilson won’t do it for them, but he must know that others will.

The Church’s real problem, however, is not the hypocrisy of closeted prelates. It’s that so many priests are perfectly content to solemnise homosexual marriages in church and will indeed be “creative” in finding ways to do so.

How will Archbishop Justin Welby respond? “I think the church has reacted by fully accepting that it’s the law, and should react on Saturday by continuing to demonstrate in word and action, the love of Christ for every human being,” he told the Guardian in best Rev J C Flannel mode. Uh-huh. Oh, and there will be “structured conversations” to help resolve the problem

Here’s my prediction. As of today, pro-gay clergy will begin to unpick Cameron’s “triple lock” banning parishes from holding gay weddings; during the next Parliament it will cease to exist. Priests who want to marry same-sex couples, or indeed marry their own gay lovers, will just do it. Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical parishes that reject the whole notion won’t be forced to host such ceremonies, but both these wings of the C of E are moving in a liberal direction, and in the long run demographic change will finish the job.
It’s hard to overestimate the weakening effect this will have on the central structures of the Church. The General Synod’s deliberations will be rendered irrelevant. The fiction of the “Anglican Communion” will be abandoned. Conservative provinces in Africa will repudiate the C of E; the last Lambeth Conference’s disciplinary action against the anything-goes American Episcopal Church will cease to mean anything.
In the 1990s, when I started reporting on Anglican affairs, gay marriage was regarded as a non-negotiable horror by most clergy and churchgoers. The shattering of that consensus has happened far more quickly than even the most optimistic Christian gay campaigners thought possible

.And if the centre cannot hold, one has to ask: what is up for negotiation next? Belief in an afterlife? The divinity of Jesus of Nazareth? After today, one thing is uncomfortably clear: the Church of England has lost the power – and even the inclination – to draw a line in the sand.

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