I won’t summarize this because it’s a short read over at the Washington Post, but have a look at Paula Kirby’s “On Faith” piece, “Why Richard Dawkins is still an atheist.” Kirby and Dawkins worked together on the Ipsos MORI poll showing that UK Christians weren’t as “christian” as everyone assumed. Those results, I think, infuriated many of the faithful in the UK, leading them to accuse Dawkins of all kinds of ridiculous things, including benefiting financially from slavery, becoming less atheistic than he had been, or even approving of deism.
Like Einstein, Dawkins is being subject to all kinds of invidious speculation about his faith. Paula sets that all straight, explaining how one can be both an agnostic and an atheist at the same time:
So how can this be? How can an atheist also be an agnostic? The answer is simple. It is the simple acknowledgment that it is possible to be mistaken. An agnostic atheist recognizes that it is impossible to prove the non-existence of deities (agnostic), while also finding arguments for their existence utterly unconvincing (atheist). Likewise, if you are a Christian who finds arguments for God convincing but recognizes that his existence is impossible to prove and that it is at least possible you could be mistaken, then you are an agnostic theist. I strongly suspect that the Archbishop of Canterbury himself would be the first to acknowledge there can be no absolute certainty either way and, if I am right, this would make him an agnostic to precisely the same degree as Richard – yet I doubt anyone would claim this means he is no longer a Christian!
The irony is that all these comments that have been seized on with such glee are actually simple repeats of what was in “The God Delusion” all along. And so we have the delicious comedy of views which until recently were condemned by the religious as arrogant, aggressive and fundamentalist suddenly now being proclaimed by those same religious as signs that Dawkins is unsure of his position and halfway to accepting Jesus as his Lord and Saviour!
She then lists the three things that this whole kerfuffle tells us about the faithful, but I’ll send you to her piece for that.