...and I will give you the atheist." The maxim of St Ignatius takes on a new twist...Richard Dawkins: The amoral man who moralises to you! He has no moral framework yet has the arrogance to tell you how to raise your children! Outrageous! If he were in power he'd be handing out 'The God Delusion' to every man, woman and child in the UK quicker than you can say "Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution".
Thanks to the prayers of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, a couple of Morrissey numbers and the good people of Brighton on Friday, I was able to busk enough petrol money to see my girlfriend in London on Saturday. While waiting in an amateur theatre cafe, I browsed The Times and came across this article on the latest Dawkins assault on all things holy. Like the journalist, I found it ironic that the poster campaign's starlets turned out to be the children of evangelical Christians and that the happy faces which sing out 'Liberty! Freedom! Justice!' were the faces of Christians, albeit, not specifically Catholic Christians, rather than atheists. Apparently the 'humanists' had not done their research! Anyway, this is a rather humourous aside...
Of course, children have a natural innocence and joy anyway. St Ignatius believed the child to be a human being who, with love, prayer and wise and prudent education, could be moulded into a faithful and devout follower of Our Lord Jesus Christ, even a 'Soldier of Christ'. The responsibilty of the adult educator to the child was, in his view, an awesome responsibility the fruits of which he would answer to his Maker. It is in the light of such sound and orthodox Catholic teaching that the Ignatian orders now in the dock for child abuse are so outrageously scandalous to those of Faith and none. The Dawkins poster campaign appears to recognise St Ignatius's truth as self-evident but cleverly deceives the reader, by suggesting that 'filling a child's mind' with religion or belief is tantermount to child abuse. It looks as if the message of the campaign is going in the opposite direction of St Ignatius's maxim on the formation of the child...But is it?
The idea that a humanist's child brought up in a culture of 'humanism' will not become a humanist child/agnostic/atheist child is sheer fallacy. For, in truth, his mother and father will not speak of God and upon being asked about God will surely reply, 'We do not believe, for we consider it a fairy story and there are no fairies." At which point the child will say, "What...no tooth fairy?!" and burst into tears. The Dawkins fanatics would have parents so coy about imposing their beliefs on the child that if his 'Humanist Society' got their way, in 10 years time, a mother would feel unable to respond to a child's question on an ethical matter because social services might be called should an 'abuse' occur, the child's freedom having been compromised.
As long as someone is parent to a child, it is impossible for parental beliefs not to 'rub off' on the child. If a child were a blank canvass, the atheist parent paints atheistic colours onto the child's mind by their silence on religion, God, the Ten Commandments or the Life, Death and Resurrection of Christ. The poster suggests that the true 'humanist' parent does not influence a child's right to choose religious persuasion. Yet, parents are role models for a child's patterns of behaviour and surely, morality and belief also. An atheist parent will bring forth an atheist child, for faith, and the absense of it, is passed down. The only hope is that in teenage years the child rebells against the parent and becomes Catholic just to 'piss them off' or in later life is converted by the Grace of God, to the horror and derision of his/her humanist parents! Mine are tolerant of my conversion, but not every convert's parents are.
I can't quite understand how for such an 'intelligent' man, the irony of the Dawkins publicity bandwagon is lost on him. He appears to be engaging in all of the habits of the evangelical, bible-thumping crusader. He makes speeches like a cult leader, he has a cult of personality, like a cult leader, he sells DVDs, books and pamphlets, like a cult leader, he rakes in all the money, like a cult leader, he displays posters everywhere propagating his beliefs, like a cult leader and then sets up summer camps for children to be brainwashed, like a cult leader. Unfortunately, because of the narcissistic personality type that goes along with being a cult leader, Dawkins' simplifies, confuses, distorts and outright lies in order to win converts, who comprise of vulnerable adults and their children, all of whom seek meaning. Dawkin's utopian vision of a world in which everyone grows up to believe what they like ('as long as they don't become religious, because, let's face it, y'know, religion is a crock of shite') is as fantastical as his prejudice against those who raise their children in a particular faith.
And, unfortunately, because the agnostic, atheistic worldview is so devoid of a bedrock of morality, the Dawkins drive for a society of children who grow up without a sense of the Sacred, in an Other, without a sense of Judeo-Christian morality, will lead to more despair among children of the UK (a country already inhabited by the World's unhappiest little 'uns) and an entrenchment of the moral relativism which so beleagures the modern British man and woman. He has funded this poster but he lies. Dawkins is well-aware that aware that the child is impressionable, vulnerable and can indeed be moulded, just as St Ignatius's asserted. That, ironically, is why he has set up 'atheist summer camps' for families. But, according to Dawkins, this is different because, it's based on science and its rational. His truth is right and good, your truth is wrong and evil. Thank God the man isn't actually in power! We can all agree that Dawkin's revulsion at Creationism is valid and he demands scientific rigour from parents and educators. But he doesn't stop there, does he?
And let us be clear. It is absolutely impossible for a parent not to inform or impose their beliefs upon their children. For the faithful Catholic parent, who, with all charity, upon seeing this poster campaign is well within their right to tell Dawkins to 'go spin and crawl back to whatever hell-hole from whence he came', how can their faith not be passed down to their children? The passing down of the Faith to the next generation is built into the Catholic Faith. The parent will answer for the faith of the child to God in the next life and Our Lord explicitly warns against scandal caused by adults to children through negligence or disregard for his or her spiritual welfare. If Catholic parents are going to Mass every Sunday, as they of course should, are they really going to leave the children at home and get a nanny in to look after the children while they go to Mass, lest they be accused of injuring the children's 'freedom' by bringing them to Mass? How does such a wicked poster campaign treat the idea of Baptism? According to the premise of the poster, nobody should be baptised until they have 'worked it out for themselves'? It is a Catholic parent's duty to teach the child to baptise the child and teach them to pray. But Dawkins doesn't agree with that. To him that is an abuse of the child. In the Jewish religion and in Islam, also, that sense of 'passing down' of religion is fundamental.
It is high time, surely, for all the major World religions to rise up and tell Dawkins and the 'humanists' where to get off, because, the more the cult leader and his followers gain the ears of Government and society, the more at risk society and the future of the people of Britain becomes of falling into an abyss of relativism so deep that children will grow up with no sense of right or wrong at all, no sense of the sanctity of human life, no respect for life at all. After all, it is important to let children grow up and choose for themselves, right? Well, then, let the child believe as he chooses and have him/her thinking it is okay to steal, rob, pillage, bully others, cheat, lie, kill...Need I go on? I mean, you wouldn't want to inform his/her conscience, would you, Mr Dawkins? God did not mean for us to be scrambling in the dark for His Truth and so He gave us the Church. No. Holy Mother Church teaches that to leave a child scrambling in the dark, searching for God, truth, meaning and faith and not to give it to him/her is the greatest abuse of all. I say this as the World's most useless Godfather. I had better get my arse in gear.