Monday, September 09, 2013

Why we should extend compassion to Richard Dawkins

I almost didn't read today's story regarding Richard Dawkin's statements on paedophilia. After all, Dawkins saying something something shocking that pissed people of is nothing new. When I did read it, my reaction was that same as pretty much every one's: anger and outrage. It still pretty much is, but as the day goes on I find it tempered with something kinder: compassion.

It's true, I rarely agree with Dawkins. Scientific acumen aside, he doesn't care who he insults and rather than agreeing to disagree on matters of the divine, he vociferously  attacks anyone who dares to imagine a world beyond this one. While I am able to frame those issues as a matter of individual experience, I will state this unequivocally: Dawkins is wrong, objectively wrong, when he states that "mild" molestation is damaging.

And yet I say: extend compassion.

Because I am a religious person, I could frame my reasons for compassion in terms of faith. But I won't. Most importantly, to do so would fail to show respect to my many atheist and humanist friends and allies who share my desire to protect children and to greet all with love. And hey, it's very true that Dawkins wouldn't care for the opinion of a deluded fool such as myself. The reasons we should extend him compassion are because the opinions he voices seem to thinly veil deep wounds. I can only imagine his dismissive attitude toward being molested is a reflection of what *he* was told at some point, if he complained or tried to seek aid. We should have compassion and love for that hurt little boy. Perhaps if Dawkins had received more help, more listening as a child, he would not be so quick to lash out at the world.

I have compassion, but again I say: On this matter he is wrong, and I certainly wouldn't let Dawkins or anyone who shows sympathy for that view alone with a child. It disturbs me to hear a parent say such a thing. May the cycle be broken.


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