Although sometimes I will choose to frame a news article or op-ed piece in a certain light to make a point, the subject matter of this one is so novel, that I will let it stand on it’s own, and leave the readers to discuss the value of the content.
Here are a few excerpts from the larger article. I expect many of you will want to read the whole thing in context. (Courtesy: The Guardian.)
The title itself is quite provocative: “The People Who Challenged My Atheism Most Were Drug Addicts And Prostitutes”.
He begins by telling the reader a little about himself. He is an atheist, well educated (PhD in physics), disdained religion, especially the Bible.
And then, the story gets interesting. The following 4 clips can give you a taste of what is being said, but the article itself is much more interesting when read as a whole.
I eventually left my Wall Street job and started working with and photographing homeless addicts in the South Bronx. When I first walked into the Bronx I assumed I would find the same cynicism I had towards faith. If anyone seemed the perfect candidate for atheism it was the addicts who see daily how unfair, unjust, and evil the world can be.
None of them are. Rather they are some of the strongest believers I have met, steeped in a combination of Bible, superstition, and folklore.
In these last three years, out from behind my computers, I have been reminded that life is not rational and that everyone makes mistakes. Or, in Biblical terms, we are all sinners.
Soon I saw my atheism for what it is: an intellectual belief most accessible to those who have done well.
They found hope where they could.
I want to go back to that 16-year-old self and tell him to shut up with the “see how clever I am attitude”. I want to tell him to appreciate how easy he had it, with a path out. A path to riches.
I also see Richard Dawkins differently. I see him as a grown up version of that 16-year-old kid, proud of being smart, unable to understand why anyone would believe or think differently from himself. I see a person so removed from humanity and so removed from the ambiguity of life that he finds himself judging those who think differently.
I see someone doing what he claims to hate in others. Preaching from a selfish vantage point.
So, whether you’re reading this as an atheist (like the author) or a believer (like myself) what’s your reaction to his comments?