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September 14, 2012 6:12 pm

UK Chief Rabbi Says Dawkins’ Atheist Philosophy is Anti-Jewish

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UK Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

Atheist evolutionist Richard Dawkins denied making an anti-Semitic remark in his book The God Delusion after he was accused of that by Lord Jonathan Sacks, the chief rabbi of the British Orthodox synagogues, during an hour-long debate at a BBC religion and ethics festival at Salford’s MediaCityUK.

Sacks’s complaint was about a passage in Dawkins’s book in which he states that the God of the Old Testament is the “most unpleasant character in all fiction.”

“There are Christian atheists and Jewish atheists, you read the Bible in a Christian way. Christianity has an adversarial way of reading what it calls the Old Testament—it has to because it says ‘we’ve gone one better, we have a New Testament,” Sacks said on the program, according to the Telegraph. “So you come prejudiced against what you call the Old Testament and that’s why I did not read the opening to chapter two in your book as a joke, I read it as a profoundly anti-Semitic passage,” he added.

Dawkins refuted the claim as “ridiculous,” but also stated that the moral values presented by the God of the Old Testament were “very deplorable indeed – all that stuff about slaughtering the Amalekites,” according to the Jewish Chronicle. Later in the debate, Lord Sacks conceded that Dawkins was a “really nice guy” and that he “was not concerned that Richard is anti-Semitic at all, but using an anti-Semitic stereotype, which has been a strand through Christian reading of the Bible through the Middle Ages. [It] really terrifies me to see the power of these stereotypes into atheism today.”

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