“Just another guy with a blog.  No big whoop.”

July 18, 2010

Chaos, panic, and disorder. My work here is done.

Those jungle drums you heard beating furiously today were the atheists who have just discovered "The Godless Delusion." Judging from their jeering comments, we can safely conclude that they don't like it -- not one little bit -- a colossal understatement. From the 50 or so comments that I've perused today on RichardDawkins.net (the notice about the book was posted there early this morning), a few things are clear:

1) The atheists who've savaged the book based on reading the first dozen or so pages which are visible on Amazon (most of them haven't even read that) demonstrate that they really don't understand what my co-author, Ken Hensley, and I are doing with The Godless Delusion. They seem convinced that ours is a book which rehearses the standard proofs for the existence of God, proofs for the Christian religion and the divinity of Christ, etc. They're certain that all we do is quote Bible verses at them, defend creationism, flee from reason, shelter ourselves behind blind superstition, and deny the importance of science. You know, all the low-brow, knuckle-dragging, anti-intellectual Christian stuff like that.

Reality check. That's not at all what the book is about, either in the real or the caricatured sense.

The Godless Delusion is, rather, a direct critique of atheism, and only indirectly a defense of theism. But then, the atheists posting there don't know that because they've let their emotions run away with them and have fallen prey to typical atheist thought-stopping sloganeering to reassure themselves that they have a valid reason for dismissing our critique of atheism without even knowing what it entails. They're a pretty agitated bunch, judging from their comments.

If just the idea of a Catholic book challenging atheist claims is enough to touch off the festival of odium and contempt that we see among the God-deniers in this thread at RichardDawkins,net, one can only imagine the paroxysms that would ensue once they actually read the book in its entirety and had to contemplate its philosophical critique of atheism.

2) Our atheist detractors are heavy on pompous rhetoric and light on actual substantive argumentation. The latter is due in part to the fact that they don't understand the focus of the book, and that, of course, is because they haven't read it. And it's also due to the fact that, even if they did read the book, I'm confident that they wouldn't be able to effectively respond to, much less refute, our critique of atheism. Let's see what they come up with.

3) These atheists seem to think that their grievances against the Catholic Church (the priest scandals, the crusades, etc.) somehow vindicate atheism. A number of their comments are laced with shouts of "women-haters and child molesters!" and that sort of thing. Apparently, they think that whooping and hollering about the crimes committed by Catholics somehow disproves the existence of God, which of course it doesn't. The evils perpetrated by Catholics, Protestants, and others who believe in God have no bearing whatsoever on the question of whether or not God exists and, more importantly and more to the point, they are completely irrelevant to the question of whether atheism itself is true. But they don't seem to understand that.

4) The atheists who've commented thus far seem to have gotten practically everything they think they know about The Godless Delusion flat wrong. For example, several have been going on about how the book was published by a "vanity press." Um, no. It was published by Our Sunday Visitor, which is one of the top 2 or 3 largest mainstream Catholic publishers in the United States. I don't know the stats, but they might even be the largest. Also, at least one of these atheists are confused about when the book was released, scoffing that it is "copyright 1999-2006" when, had they only actually read the front matter at Amazon, they'd have seen that it just came out two weeks ago.

Anyway, the bulk of their scoffing is predicated on erroneous assumptions like those two, highly charged emotionalism and anger, and a general unwillingness to actually deal with the arguments (which, again, they have not bothered to explore, beyond the first 12-15 pages of introductory matter), etc.

I'm hopeful that some atheists somewhere will rise above the puerile antics of the ones who have been posting in this "kick the can" thread about The Godless Delusion. We'll see. In the meantime, here's just one example of the kind of "enlightened" atheist responses to the book:

Comment 38 by Logicel

There is no Christian as obnoxious, as smug, as conceited, as vain, as dense, as repellent, as chillingly impervious to reality, as oppressive, as mean, as cruel, as unethical as a Catholic.

These two idiots are just a pair of wannabee crusaders.

There is no discussion possible--all they have left is indignation and obfuscation in addition to a good dose of fear-mongering with a great dollop of guilt of course.

It is great that they keep opening their pie-holes and the crapola spews out. Keep blathering, Catholics, as your microphone is the shovel digging the grave for your dangerous, superstitious set of beliefs.

I hope there are atheists out there who will respond with something more substantive than that level of mindless invective. Surely there must be. Perhaps some of them will calmly accept the challenge of The Godless Delusion, will read the book, and then respond seriously to our critique of atheism. We'll see.


  1. Hi Patrick,
    I commented on there under Pascalswager... I asked if they had ever heard of Antony Flew. Thought I'd liven up the debate. HA HA. What strikes me the most is their arrogance and flat out hate. It's scary and sad. They have the same attitude that Richard Dawkins had in that interview with Ben Stein in his movie. You almost feel like if they could, they would spit in your face. It's very hostile. It is comical though that they are judging your book by it's front and back covers along with the copyright page.

  2. Their position isn't about logic. It's about emotion. Always has been. And if it includes logic, its with a superiority complex, which as we know, has the aim of repairing a fallen sense of self.

  3. Let's play 'Count the Insults'!

    "There is no Christian as obnoxious, as smug, as conceited, as vain, as dense, as repellent, as chillingly impervious to reality, as oppressive, as mean, as cruel, as unethical as a Catholic."

    1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11! 11 is the winning number! You win the award for Massive Overcompensation of the Day! The prize?! A Rosary said in your honor!

    Thanks for playing, Logicel. :)

  4. Thank God for Patrick Madrid and Kenneth Hensley! I feel for all the haters out there. Imagine how terrible purgatory is going to be for them. It's not something I'm looking forward to and I'm trying my darndest not to hate! :-)

  5. Dont worry Patrick,at the end of the day these athiest are still closet Christians...I say closet Christians because they dont attack hindus or Muslims or Jews...Only Christians...Who has a grudge now???this guy or girl "Logicel" wouldnt even comment on Hitler or Stalin or Nero in that kind of fashion, but easily dribbled their comment on Catholics...Consider who your dealing with Patrick.Their conscience is their god and thats pretty limited dont you think???And they dont all agree with each other on morals anyway??some are pro life and some arnt etc,etc.....whos a confused bunch now???

  6. So much venom. It makes my stomach churn to read it. I'm not very good with arguments, so I think I'll just have to pray for them.

  7. It's good to see the people who claim to posses the logical/rational high ground spewing invectives like 4th grade kids on a playground.

  8. The Dawkins/PZ Myers crowd seem so driven to play the angry atheist role by hurling insults.

    I found it very telling when Richard Dawkins refused to debate arguably the best Christian apologist against atheism, Dr. William Lane Craig. Dr Craig has spent the past 20 years debating and defeating the best atheism has to offer and yet Dawkins claimed to not know who Dr. Craig was! lol. I guess Dawkins is afraid of declining book sales after a defeat by one of those "irrational" Christians.

    Dawkins, Hitchens, PZ Meyers certainly have an appeal to a certain crowd. Their favorite arguments are ad hominem and strawmen crammed in between insults.I can rarely find an atheist online who will have a reasonable argument without all the insults and logical fallacies. I have pretty much given up on conversing with the Dawkins/PZ Myers slappys.

    I am waiting for them to actually deal with the content of Patricks's book.

  9. When I had previously reviewed Scott Hahn's and Benjamin Wikers book on the new atheism at Amazon I got tons of negative comments. Their book comments were swamped by angry atheists who had never read the book. Just the idea that it was against their prophet Dawkins was enough to illicit an irrational response. For a group that calls themselves brights I don't see much evidence of it. Though as a former atheist I at least understand the mindset.

  10. I vote "Logicel" for stupidest internet commentator of the year (competition is getting fiesrce for that award :P )


    But what do we expect? They bought Dawkins puerile nonsense after all...

    Most comments are just bised dribble (Catholics this, Catholics that...) without any real argument based on facts or logic....

    Most comments sound like they were made by junior high school students on the level of arguments used.

    So they are 'little Dawkins' (so cute!)

  11. " Their favorite arguments are ad hominem and strawmen crammed in between insults."
    "The Dawkins/PZ Myers crowd seem so driven to play the angry atheist role by hurling insults."

    True... but look at what their role models are! Dawkin, Hitchens & Co. wrote books against theism that strongly lacked any serious logic and was a series of ad hominem arguments.

    Undeniable proof: When Dawkins tried in his book to refute Aquinas he showed clearly he was WAY outmatched by a person who died almost 800 years ago. Dawkins replies either missed the point or were puerile. They made me *literally laugh*. That was one of the main proofs that Dawkins book had little sense in it.

    So… Aquinas might have not proved that God exists… but surely proved that Dawkins is not really smart when he walks outside the field of biology. (Kudos for Aquinas!)

    The stunning irony is this: These people are now insulting Patrick Madrid and Kenneth Hensley accusing them of ‘ignorant nonsense’ and ‘claiming moral superiority’ and other similar arguments…

    GUESS WHAT? That is what Dawkins and Co. did! Foolish arguments, ‘I am better than thou’ arguments and labeling all believers as idiot.

    Using *Dawkins own words against him*:
    “If this book works as I intend, atheist readers who open it will be religious when they put it down. What presumptuous optimism! Of course, dyed-in-the-wool anti-theists heads are immune to argument....”

    I think this nice sentence beautifully applies *all to well* to our friendly commentators in Dawkins’ forum :)

  12. For a group that prides themselves on the use of reason, they sure come across as unhinged in their rhetoric.

  13. As the man who was Thursday once said, Alex, "Oh, we're all Catholics now..."

  14. A more balanced critique of your book, though with the disclaimer that I haven't gotten very far into it, and that I'm a committed Christian.

    I don't think most atheists, if they thought about it, want to defend that atheism is true. Atheism is a negative position. It isn't held to be true, but merely the most reasonable position in light of future evidence. This, at least, is my experience with atheist friends of mine, who don't sound quite so mindlessly enraged as the internet commentators you quote.

  15. It was no less than St. Augustine who, after his conversion had, "Here we speak ill of no man" painted above his bed.

    Thomas Kempis wrote eloquently, "Always think kindly of others while holding yourself as nothing; this is true wisdom and leads to perfection. If you see another commit a grevious sin, do not regard yourself as better for you do not know what you would do if similarly tempted. You are in a good disposition now but you do not know how long you wil persevere in it. Always keep in mind that all are frail, but none so frail as yourself."

    Some of you need to recall that calling people stupid is the exact opposite of Christian Charity and consider "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trepspass against us" before you start counting insults.

    Yea, I just lectured a couple of you.


  16. I know of a few atheist losers who on their facebook page state that they are big fans of Darwin etc but let's just say they were no experts on biology at school.
    (Apparently evolution disproves God and Catholics aren't taught evolution at school- smell the bullsh1t)

    I think the pages of their copies of The God Delusion are stuck together (if you know what I mean)

  17. Tim H. just stopped me in my stride! My response to atheist perspectives was going to be really acid. But then I sometimes think one should fight "Fire with Fire" and instead of turning the other cheek, takes Jesus’ example and whip the hate merchants into shape.

    So, the atheist venom was caused by presumably the first 15 pages of The God Delusion? What a ringing "endorsement" - I have to get this book and read fifteen pages plus-plus! It might just be what I need to counter some of the "secular" (atheist) notions amongst some of my friends.

    Unfortunately I am not yet too skilled to engage in the cut and thrust of atheist-theist debates, but I have generally pronounced that anybody who does not believe that God / a god exists, is simply not informed in matters of the sciences that deal with anything created on this planet or the universes around us. And I point out that even some of the more sceptical scientists have arrived at the idea that there is some "Intelligent Design" at work here.

    So, now to acquire The God Delusion - and put it next to two of my favourite books: Peter Plichta's "God's Secret Formula - Deciphering The Riddle Of The Universe And The Prime Number Code" and Josh McDowell's "The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict".

    Here is something maybe not so funny:
    Q. What do you call a dead Atheist?
    A. A guy all dressed up with no place to go!

  18. In my previous post I forgot to mention my favourite analogy - it did stop some of my atheist friends and they were at a loss for words, for at least a couple of moments:

    "An Atheist is someone who finds a watch and then says there is no watch-maker"!

  19. I now ordered the GodLESS Delusion...(maybe I should order some spectacles too - would have prevented the slaughtering of the title - oh, well - Mea culpa...)

  20. It has always amazed me the number of atheists who reference Star Trek for analogies, or for their belief system. If you check out Dawkins' website, you'll see it. This Star Trek phenomenon, I think, is due to the fact that most garden-variety atheists are the products of the post-1950 era and have simply adopted the intellectually-flaccid messages that mass media have peddled (which means the atheist is really the one with the uncritical mind). Atheism is a belief system for smug 15 year old nerdy boys, not mature or developed minds, whether male or female.

  21. ***I don't think most atheists, if they thought about it, want to defend that atheism is true. Atheism is a negative position. It isn't held to be true, but merely the most reasonable position in light of future evidence. This, at least, is my experience with atheist friends of mine, who don't sound quite so mindlessly enraged as the internet commentators you quote. ***

    Well there are different types of atheists. I have a friend, a good friend actually, who is an atheist (or perhaps agnostic… he does not absolutely reject the idea of God existence), but he never made any hateful or even sarcastic remark to me when we discuss religion or spirituality.

    I respect that he does not believe and he respects that I do. Indeed he does not fiercely defend his atheism (or agnosticism). He just says that he personally does not find reason to believe but he does not think that people who believe are necessarily ignorant or stupid.

    Unfortunately not all atheists are like my friend (or your friends since they sound similar in their behavior towards religion). So if there are ‘reasonable atheists’ there is also atheists like those who follow Dawkins.

    The ‘Dawkins’ crowd’ especially is more an ‘elitist crowd’. They are children of Dawkins’ thought: “Smart people are atheists and believers must be either ignorant or stupid or blind to the truth”. Their ‘prophet’ has spoken and they believe… ironically.

    In this way Dawkins’ crowd becomes just a bunch of ‘smug adolescents’ (no matter how old they are) who think themselves incredibly smart just because they are atheists and use puerile or ad hominem arguments to fiercely defend their ‘atheist superiority’. This is Dawkins’ own fault: he acts himself as a smug adolescent when he speaks or writes against religion (his arguments in The God Delusion are quite puerile…). His crowd just follow his the example.

    In a sense they are those who believed in the superiority of the ‘Arian race’ in Nazi-Germany about 70 years ago. They NEED to make hateful comments, since the only way to be the ‘master race’ they must belittle all believers into a ‘subhuman race’.
    Well after all Nazism was an atheist belief….

    By this I do NOT mean at all that Dawkins’ crowd (or Dawkins himself) are ‘evil’ or ‘stupid’, but most of them show that they are clearly ignorant of what most religions teach (and other topics as well) and are clearly blinded by their ‘pride’.

    After all a person with GOOD arguments does not need to make venomous attacks and try to de-humanize their opponents.

  22. What came first,"The Chicken or The Egg"?
    If you belive in evolution the egg came first.
    If you belive in creation the chicken came first.Science proves the existence of GOD.
    The Laws of Physics says matter cannot be created or destroyed."Knock on Wood" now where did that come from?

  23. To suggest a modern take on what came first, the chicken or the egg, what about what came first, the DNA or the cell?

    (Inspired by the DVD, ‘Unlocking the Mystery of Life’ by Illustra Media, in which the producers illustrate the fact that all living cells have ‘information-rich’ DNA in them, the stuff required to replicate more cells into a complex living organism.)

  24. "To suggest a modern take on what came first, the chicken or the egg, what about what came first, the DNA or the cell?"

    Well.. DNA... (RNA actually) according to modern abiogenesis theories.

    According to scientists it all started with self-replicating RNA and self-assembled structured like phospholipids vescicles.

    Although the question of 'abiogenesis' still plagues scientists.

    Funny thing that Dawkins says often 'it must have been "some self-replicating inorganic compound that started it all"' in several interviews I have heard but, funnily enough without having ANY evidence... (isn't that ... uh... 'dogmatism'?)

  25. Ismael,

    Not sure about abiogenesis theories admittedly, nor evolutionary theories on chemical development, however, all living cells today have long string DNA, all pre-programmed with the information to build every required protein in a living plant or creature.

    Transcription unwinds certain sections of the DNA to allow molecules to be formed in the exposed inward sections of the DNA helix – these molecules are ribonucleic acid (RNA).

    The RNA strings then exit the cell and are themselves used as the template for forming amino acids, which in turn are twisted to form proteins.

    Of course, some of the compounds manufactured in this cycle are living cells – with DNA in them!

    So, what came first, DNA or the living cell?

    (Remember, RNA is formed from DNA).

  26. OK, forget the chicken and the egg.
    If you think you come from a monkey,then you can only be as smart as a monkey.

  27. To Anon who commented on my post:

    I agree with you. Well said! I do, however, have a suggestion to you as to a change in vocabulary.

    They way they act, I wouldn't refer to them as Dawkins' group. Acolytes, I think, should be the word. Devotion to dogma should be accompanied, I think, by religious terms.

  28. I simply don't understand the hate. I was an atheist at one point in my life (or at the very least a stubborn agnostic) and I don't recall having the obsession to make sure that no one else believed either. When it comes down to it they are the preachers and evangelists of their own religion.

  29. Engaging the atheists underworld with logic and reasons is holy and good, as far as that goes.

    But deliverance and liberation prayers said on their behalf is also good...

    I can see their evil, which convinces me that the Good exists.


  30. After reading several popularizations by Stephen Hawking of the history of time & the beginning of the universe roughly fifteen billion years back - as a single point mass, very large at an extremely high temperature (millions or billions of degrees Celsius) one asks: "How did this happen? What would cause such a mass concentration at a single point? And why did it fly apart and form many galaxies of stars and planets that we now see?" To which Occam's razor suggests the simplest explanation "And God said, 'Let there be light'"

  31. Anon said, "Atheism is a belief system for smug 15 year old nerdy boys". That was me. My family never went to church, yet I thought I knew it all. God put a lot of good Christians in my life and I ended up envying them even though I couldn't rationalize what I thought they believed. I signed up for RCIA thinking it would be a good way to learn more about the faith that I knew I could never possibly believe... and of course now I'm Catholic. Let's just pray that God leads all of these misguided people the way he did me.

  32. I know this sounds off-topic, but I would like to know from those who have the kinder atheist friends, if their friends are happy people? (I'm excluding the folks on the Richard Dawkins site... now there's some unhappy folks!) It's just been a personal observation that the people I've met who are truly happy and joyful (even in times of suffering) are always the ones with a deep faith in God, and that folks who don't believe in God or practice a faith seem well, pretty unhappy.