The Carol Proof of the Existence of God

Theo Hobson has outdone himself – again. He keeps breaking his own record – it must be exhausting.

What’s up? Well, journalism is an atheistic bear-trap of cynicism and ferocity and Theo is tremulous with fear and anxiety about saying what he says but what the hell, he’ll just bravely risk the fury of the censors at Comment is Free and say it: Christmas carols make him soppy. There. They have the same effect on an ‘atheist comedian’ . There. He admires the comedian’s honesty in saying so. There. Imagine what Dawkins would say. There. Then Theo proceeds to imagine what Dawkins would say, then he proceeds to give him a damn good thrashing for saying it, then he talks some unadulterated nonsense by way of conclusion.

Christmas seems to me the refutation of the idea that beauty and truth can be separated. The beauty of the Christmas story, and of the festival, is more than beauty. Mere aesthetics cannot account for it.

No, quite right, it’s baby Jesus what does it.

The really funny part is that the commenters almost unanimously point out that Theo has simply invented ‘what Dawkins would say’ and then attacked his own invention (and not for the first time – he’s fond of this tactic), and that his refutation of the idea that beauty and truth can be separated has a few holes in it, with the result that Theo comments several times, more absurdly each time. I’ll show you – each new comment on a new line, each separated by a slew of sane, rational, well-argued replies and questions from the commenters; no wriggling, no evasion, no hero-worship, no failure to think.

I am berated for making a straw-man Dawkins. So what does he think? I take it that he thinks carols are beautiful but meaningless (and perhaps a bit dangerous in glorifying superstition). This is a flawed position – it treats as merely aesthetic what is more than that. Instead of thinking about this, lots of you are just jumping to the defence of your hero.

Look, I’ve got an incredibly simple question for you atheists. Please don’t try to wriggle out of it. Would you like to see the practice of childtren singing ‘Away in a manger’ and suchlike dying out? Please take a few minutes to THINK.

those of you atheists who say ‘who cares if children sing carols?’ are intellectually dishonest. For do you not think that it’s wrong to encourage children in harmful superstition? It stuns me how evasive and unthinking you are about the implications of your atheism.

It seems to be Dawkins’ view (judging from some of the comments realting to him) that carols are lovely, harmless, part of our heritage. Don’t you see that this makes him a big hypocrite? If he were logically consistent he would oppose them for their promotion of lies, but because they are popular, he doesn’t dare say this.

Ultimately you are either for or against Baby Jesus. Atheists should have the honesty that they’re against him, that they’d like the celebration of him to be wiped out. Don’t hide from the decision in aesthetics.

That last one tipped the balance: surely we have here a case of stolen identity. I suggested a secret agent of the dreaded International Atheist Conspiracy, or else that Theo Hobson is Richard Dawkins’s sock puppet, like Lee Siegel’s ‘sprezzatura’ at The New Republic*. Now that would be truly funny.

*But insulting instead of flattering – double-bluff kind of thing.

30 Responses to “The Carol Proof of the Existence of God”