That’s sacrilege, that is: A short conversation at the Atheist Ireland information table

by Michael Nugent on April 5, 2015

AI Info TableThis is an actual conversation with a man at the atheist Ireland information table in Dublin on Saturday.

Man taps finger aggressively on cover picture of Christopher Hitchens book ‘God is not Great’.

Man: That’s sacrilege, that is.

Me: What is sacrilege?

Man: That. God is not Great.

Me: Oh, I’m sorry. Are you a Muslim?

Man: (surprised) No. I’m a Catholic.

Me: Well, Christopher Hitchens used that phrase as a play on the Islamic saying ‘God is Great.’ You know, ‘Allahu Akbar’? It’s a reference to the Islamic God.

Man: Oh. (pause) Okay.

Me: So that’s okay then?

Man: Yes. That’s okay.

Me: Why is that okay? Muslims worship the same God as Catholics and Jews do. How is it both sacrilege and okay to say that the same God is not Great?

Man looks puzzled, then walks away.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Phil Giordana FCD April 6, 2015 at 12:45 am

Well, that should do it.

2 LindaL April 6, 2015 at 2:46 am

I guess my answer to “That’s sacrilege, that is.” would not be as helpful.
It would just be, “So?”

3 Phil Giordana FCD April 6, 2015 at 7:28 am

Of note: we’re not sure it’s the same god. It surely isn’t the same concept (but close enough, I’ll grant).

4 Paula Bradley April 6, 2015 at 8:56 am

Did he say ‘sar..crilege’ ? David Norris drew attention to this Catholic pronunciation and I smile every time.

5 citizen_wolf April 7, 2015 at 2:33 pm

Haha, I wish I could have been there for that.

How old was he and what part of the country was he from (not that it really matters: just curious)?

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