Some years ago, when I was writing a piece called ‘How to Write an Anti-God Book’, I was amused to find that the two most confrontational atheistic voices of the time – Richard Dawkins in Britain and Daniel Dennett in America – were both born under the zodiacal sign Aries. Dawkins was born on 26th March and Dennett on 28th March. Then, in 2007, Christopher Hitchens entered the fray with his God is Not Great. Hitchens was born on 13th April. Around the same time A.C Grayling published Against All Gods, and I wasn’t at all surprised to find that he was born on 3rd April. That’s four out of four.
However, the birth date of one top American atheist eluded me. Sam Harris, whose book The End of Faith, published in 2004, was in the New York Times bestseller list for 33 weeks, had always refused to ‘discuss personal details such as where he lives, where he grew up, or what his parents do professionally, citing security concerns’ (Wikipedia), so I couldn’t find his birthday. Until yesterday, when I learned that according to a recent (2012) biography he was born on 9th April 1967. Another Aries.
Lest the reader think I’m cherry-picking, I reproduce below a poster called ‘Notable Atheists’ (available to buy on Amazon). From left to right we have Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, and Dennett. They have been called ‘The Four Horsemen of New Atheism’. Only Grayling is missing.
And here they are again, probably sharing a birthday party:
|The Four Horsemen of the New Atheism|
Students of astrology won’t find this too surprising. Aries is not specifically related to atheism – members of any sign can be atheists, and many Aries people are believers – but Aries is the springtime sign, said to be ruled by Mars, and is connected with ardour, enthusiasm, confrontation and with an almost pathological desire for personal freedom. These men are not just atheists; they are, in typical Aries style, crusading atheists, fighting against what they see as obscurantism and tyranny. They are also no doubt acutely conscious of how orthodox religion can be restrictive of freedom; their (unexpressed) mantra is the one that James Joyce attributes to Lucifer: 'non serviam' - I shall not serve.
Of course, many self-styled rationalists will dismiss all this as primitive ‘mumbo-jumbo’. ‘Astrology is bunkum’ is the current orthodox opinion, slavishly repeated by those who would have us believe that they think for themselves. The fact that five of the most prominent atheistic voices in the western world were all born under Aries is just a coincidence, they’ll say. They have to say this to maintain their naturalist dogmas that the universe is ultimately meaningless and that our lives are just the product of random forces.
All dogmas are dangerous, but they are most dangerous when people aren’t even aware that they are subscribing to them. Virtually everyone you meet who says ‘Astrology is bunkum’ has never even read a page of serious astrology. Richard Dawkins certainly hasn’t, as his ignorant comments on it in Unweaving the Rainbow demonstrate. But shouldn’t genuine rationalists, genuine freethinkers, genuine inquirers, genuine Unitarians and others who, like Dawkins, claim that we must follow the evidence wherever it leads, have another look at phenomena such as this, but this time with a genuinely open mind?
**************************While researching this piece I came across this rather interesting and amusing question: Is the Harry Potter actress Emma Watson morphing into Richard Dawkins?
Yes, you've guessed it, Emma is an Aries too, born on April 15th 1990.
|Is it Emma or is it Richard?|
As I never tire of saying, the universe is a strange place. 'Stranger than we think; stranger than we can possibly think.' (J.B.S. Haldane)