When I posted on Tuesday slamming Richard Dawkins, one commenter suggested I listen to Dawkins' explanation of his remarks in an interview with Point of Inquiry.
He explains how it was an off the cuff remark made during a speech in Dublin and, to his surprise, got thunderous applause. I suppose the citizens of a predominantly Catholic country are in some position to make a judgement. He also cites a letter from a woman who, when she was about seven years old, had to go through two things: being molested by a priest and being made to think a friend of hers who had died was in Hell, and in this woman's opinion the latter was far worse. On the other hand, he also seemed to scale back his claim a little, saying that Catholic doctrine would be more harmful in at least some casees.
The scaling back makes a considerable difference. I assume a large portion of Catholics are raised in a far less doctrinaire brand of the faith than the woman cited above was. Dawkins has a point, but he could have made it in a way that doesn't sound insensitive even to people who aren't out to get him.