Now we’re leading an onslaught!

It has become quite amusing to watch the Defenders of the Faith reach for increasingly more hysterical phrasing to describe what the Gnu Atheists are doing. I thought we were writing and talking, but according to William Oddie, we’re carrying out a distressing onslaught.

The atheists’ utter loathing, all the same, is at times a little frightening in its sheer vicious irrationality. These people are in the grip of a barely restrained hysteria. Take the current issue of the New Humanist, subtitle: “Ideas for godless people”; this issue gives a good idea of what it must be like being godless, and at least it makes you grateful not to be godless yourself. “If you were invited to address Benedict XVI during his UK visit,” the New Humanist introduces its special issue, “what would you say to him? Richard Dawkins, Philip Pullman, Claire Rayner, Ben Goldacre and many more take part in our Pope quiz.”

Ah, yes, the fellow who believes in angels and miracles and magic crackers finds it irrational that people look at his beliefs and point out how silly they are, and even worse, looks at the faith-based bloody-minded malfunctioning policies promulgated by the Pope and criticize them as nonsensical and counter-productive and damaging to humanity. He’s upset now because the New Humanist was insufficiently reverent and loving towards the Pope; in the Catholic World Order, after all, we must ignore the real effects of his ideas and instead adore him and kiss his ring.

This is all horrible for anyone who regards Pope Benedict with the admiration and love most Catholics feel for him; and I find myself almost wishing that the decision had been taken to beatify Cardinal Newman in St Peter’s Square and not a muddy field, and for the Pope to be spared this dreadful business of a state visit.

Someday, they’ll explain to us what there is to admire and love about an old conservative dogmatist who clawed his way up the rigid hierarchy of an ancient institution like the church. I get the impression we’re supposed to love the guy simply for the fact that he is a pope.

And oh, yes, that dreadful business — he’s getting millions thrown away on the pomp of his visit, will be treated like a king, and only simpering lackeys will be allowed anywhere near him, while his critics are held off…and for that, his critics are deranged monsters because they don’t love the narrow-minded old man enough.