November 22, 2013 Article
Cambridge academic Professor Richard Dawkins has announced plans to set up a worldwide centre to promote atheism. And the outspoken scientist, whose best-selling book The God Delusion questions mankind’s need to create supernatural deities, says he will use his institute – the Worldwide Society of Atheists and Free-thinkers – to rid the world of what he called ‘the superstitious shackles of religious belief.’
The foundation will be housed in a specially constructed building, the centrepiece of which will be the so-called “Tower of Atheism,” a 400ft-high spire topped with a gilded question mark.
“The tower is so high in order that people can see it from miles around and come to hear me speak,” the 72-year-old Darwinian ethologist told reporters.
“It is important that my wondrous message of atheism is heard by as many people as possible, so they can accept it into their hearts and take it forth unto the world,” he added.
To distinguish himself as the founder of the order, Dawkins intends to wear elaborate robes and an unusually tall hat which he has had specially designed.
The Atheism Institute is open to everyone, but the professor insists that anyone joining must abide by a set of ten strict conditions, the first one being that adherents should listen to no other atheists except Professor Dawkins himself.
“There are many other atheists who claim to speak the truth,” said Dawkins.
“Men such as Christopher Hitchens, AC Grayling and Penn out of Penn and Teller. But I say unto you, Listen ye not to these men for their words are false. I am the only true atheist.”
The second commandment is that wherever they happen to be, members will be required to face the institute five times every day and recite a short passage from The Blind Watchmaker with their eyes closed.
Later rules cover such varied topics as which foods atheists can and cannot eat, approved facial hair arrangements and sexual practices that the Professor forbids.
Whilst joining the atheist congregation is relatively easy, potential members should take note that getting out may not prove quite so simple. “Cursed are the shallow ones who leave my fold to follow false atheists,” Dr Dawkins told reporters.
“Cursed be they by day and cursed be they by night. Cursed be they when they lie down and cursed be they when they rise up,” he continued.
“Cursed be they even unto the fortieth generation,” he added.