Good points all!aiseiri47 wrote:The first problem is that most religious people will have heard of Dawkins before they've ever read or seen anything by him. And the general public know him more as an "atheist crusader" and author of The God Delusion moreso than a scientist with a passion for truth. The second problem is that most people shy think to disagree with someone or question them is rude (I merely think that it is, in certain scenarios, counter-productive), and that religion is something to be respected even if you don't believe in it. Richard Dawkins does not abide by either of these "social norms". And people are too busy reacting to the broken taboos to take in that he's actually being quite open and polite. Plus, people take his lack of respect for religion as a lack of respect in general; they don't realise that his lack of respect for religion is equal to the lack or respect most people have for Scientology or cults in general.
Contrary to what you might have picked up above, I deeply respect Richard Dawkins. I've just observed the unfortunate fact that his methods do offend people, and there are situations where that needs to be avoided.
Dawkins himself has pointed out in some of his books, including the God Delusion, that he is consistently called "strident" simply because he dares to ask questions on a subject that is somehow ring-fenced from criticism. One of his stated aims in writing that book was to raise consciousness / awareness of the fact that we enable and prop up these ideologies whenever we allow an unsupported claim to pass unchallenged. Our mis-guided tolerance of religious world views allow them to survive and carry on their intolerance of others.
This is also a philosophy I've adopted in relation to any kind of superstitious statement, e.g. "it'll work out, touch wood", and "I'm a total perfectionist, like all Virgos".
It's not a great way of making friends though!