Church of England denies 'trolling' Richard Dawkins


Church responds to accusations that it was mocking the arch secularist by offering him prayers following his stroke

The Church of England has denied “trolling” arch secularist Richard Dawkins by offering prayers for him and his family after news that he had suffered a stroke.

The Church was accused of mocking the 74-year-old atheist by posting a message from its official Twitter account saying: “Prayers for Prof Dawkins and his family”.


It’s so sad that someone would think the Anglican Church is mocking Dawkins through this action.


I’ve found that, in general, an accusation often tells you more about the accuser than the accused… Especially when they seem to be anonymous.

As christians, we pray for those in need, not just those who believe. It’s what Jesus did.


I agree, but in England you need to be very careful what you say to the most ardent atheists, some of them are easily offended.


I was raised atheist and in the past an offer of prayer would not offend me. I was indifferent but I appreciated the good will behind the offer.

I am noticing however that a sizable subset of atheists are atheists as a reaction against a wrong, perceived or otherwise, that has been inflicted on them by a religious person, The other set would be atheists who after some careful thought came to the conclusion that there is no God.

The former group would probably be offended by an offer of prayer.


I may be wrong but I don’t think an offer of prayer will offend Richard Dawkins either.

And yes, I accept that there are different reasons as to why people become atheists.


Just as site rules here ask us not to say “Prayers for Vic” without Vic’s prior permission, using their Twitter account in that way is trolling.

Didn’t Jesus teach that we ought not to pray for show?

If any of us or those dear to us had a stroke (GF) we probably wouldn’t have the slightest idea what prayers were doing if anything! (I think that one occasionally knows - and the answer is sometimes that we aren’t going to get better anyway - GF.) Therefore, what impression is that statement supposed to convey to the Prof., his friends, his enemies, the friends or enemies of those posting the post?


Something does feel a bit…off…to me about this, tho.
Normally, I wouldn’t say so. But in this specific case it feels as though they had him on their auto-news feed or something.
And there are so many people they haven’t tweeted prayers for…so this one stands out all the more.

I’m trying to see the opposite perspective: If a well-known bishop had a stroke, and Dawkins tweeted something like: “I’m sending non-religious good wishes for his health”…many might take that as trying to poke…



Do you need to tweet your prayers?


Not sure I understand…what did I say wrong?


The Anglican Church can offer prayers for Dawkins without tweeting about it. There is no requirement we tell people we are praying for them. In fact, we are not to make a show of our prayers and I would argue we should only tell people we are praying for them if they will find comfort from it. Certainly not to make ourselves look good.

Did Dawkins get anything out of the offer of prayer? I doubt it. At best he is probably indifferent, more likely he considers them idiots. Given it unlikely bought him any comfort there is no need for the Anglican Church to advertise they were praying.


Since they are followed mostly by members of the church, maybe it was a gentle reminder that praying for non believers is a good thing to do. I really don’t see any ulterior motives or evil intents here at all.


Dawkins is pretty pathetic.


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