If you haven't read Dr Dawkins' full response in the Washington Post, you must. It is the most wonderful, rich, beautifully expressed, totally revealing piece of sublime Barminess I have ever seen. Our own local Anglican hero, the Barmy Bishop of Bux, is a helpless third-former compared with Dawkins. Long may God preserve him. Don't ever think of "replying" to his every point. That would be infantile. Just lie back and enjoy it for the masterpiece it is. As far as this Blog is concerned, Dawkins Rules, OK. What this Blog calls for is the preservation of Dawkins, stuffed and mounted, in the Pitt-Rivers Museum here in Oxford, his own University. If we aren't entitled to have him on permanent display, who is? If he is not available for these purposes, perhaps the staff could do a full-sized mock-up of him, like their very convincing mock-up of the Dodo, so that future generations, our grandchildren and great grandchildren (or great nephews and great great nephews, if your name is Finnegan) can know what he looked like; perhaps even feel him; the Pitt-Rivers is a delightfully interactive museum, inviting both children and adults to stroke and grope its stuffed marvels. Perhaps he could be made to go through a series of mechanised movements, as in the mock-up they have there of the baby dinosaurs emerging from their eggs.
Dawkins represents all that is most traditionally and quintessentially English. Other cultures have their atheists, but we are the only race, the only culture (if American readers try to horn in on my proud boast by claiming that they do to, I shall delete the comments) that has Protestant atheists. In 1928, during the Prayer Book Revision Crisis, two Communist MPs, proud Marxists, consistently voted against the Proposed Book. When asked why it was a matter of such concern to atheists whether or not Anglican priests had the Blessed Sacrament reserved upon their Altars, the two replied that they were of course Protestant atheists. (Stuart specialists will recall also the delightful vignette of Dear Nell leaning out of her carriage and crying to the rioting mob "Peace, Good People: I am the Protestant Whore".) Because Protestantism is the ultimate, the fall-back superstition of the English; what really lies at the pulsating heart of our national identity. Atheism, like Theism for that matter, is only superficial; something that a Dawkins only wears to go to Church or for Encaenia; the tie you put on when your girl-friend invites you home to meet Daddy. Deep down, we English couldn't care less whether God exists or not. That's just an arid question for philosophers and intellectuals. Dawkins himself thinks that "the Anglican Church", although it believes in God, is actually rather a nice organisation with "Christ-like compassion" and with a "saintly" Archbishop. No; what we English really hate - and hate with every fibre of our being - is CATHOLICS.
[A footnote in the field of textual criticism, which I am proud to have learned at the feet of the great George Kilpatrick, Dean Ireland Professor in this University: in the superb passage " that disgusting institution, the Roman Catholic Church, is dragging its flowing skirts in the dirt and touting for business like a common pimp", "pimp" is clearly a scribal corruption because pimps, as every feminist knows, are exploitative males, and males do not wear flowing skirts [we clergy do, but as we mince along in our homophobic yet pederastic quest of Altar Boys we always make sure that our soutanes never trail in the mud]. And the traditional topoi of the Scarlet Woman and the Whore of Babylon are clearly echoed here. Clearly one should emend to either "tart" or "whore". Since the passage is faintly archaic in its rhetoric and imagery, I prefer to conjecture "whore". At the very least, critical texts should obelise "pimp".]