Richard Dawkins has challenged David Cameron’s assertion that the UK needs to return to Christian ideals, calling the Bible “an appalling moral compass”.
On Friday, in a speech to celebrate the 400th birthday of the King James Bible, the prime minister said the New Testament had helped give our country "a set of values and morals which make Britain what it is today,” adding that we should "actively stand up and defend" these Christian values.
However, speaking to Sky News, Dawkins, a renowned, scientist, author and atheist, said that Cameron is wrong to suggest the Christian Bible is going to “help us with our morals and our social wellbeing.”
“The Christian bible will help us with our literature,” said the author of The God Delusion. “It should therefore be taught in schools in literature classes, but it’s not going to help us with our morals, far from it.”
“The bible is a terrible moral compass, if you think about it. Of course, you can cherry pick the verses that you like, which means the verses that happen to coincide with our modern secular consensus, but then you need to have a rational for leaving out the ones that say stone people to death if they break the Sabbath, or if they commit adultery. It’s an appalling moral compass.”
The Oxford professor said that the very idea of the new testament - of crucifixion, of redemption, of a scapegoat who is put to death for the sins of all mankind – makes it a terrible social guide.
“The sooner we leave Christianity and all other religions behind, from a moral point of view, the better,” he said.
“Cameron has fallen into a trap as on the one hand he’s saying we’re a Christian country, but on the other he’s saying we’re in a terrible moral state. It seems like a paradox. If we are in a state of moral collapse, I don’t think Christianity or Islam is going to help. What we need is a better moral sense, which we get from moral philosophy. It’s absolute nonsense to say we need faith in order to be good.”
On Friday, Professor Dawkin’s fellow atheist campaigner Christopher Hitchens died aged 62, following a battle with cancer.
Read the original article at Latest News 2011-12-18 »