Well, William E. Carroll believes that he is. In an article in The Catholic Thing — Catholics have so many journals and newspapers, organisations and institutions, that they seem to be running out of names for them! — called “The Dawkins Challenge“, Carroll thinks he has caught Dawkins out in a contradiction — ‘hoist by his own petar’,’ as Hamlet says of his uncle Claudius, the king, whose letters to the King of England, borne by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (R & G), are supposed to compass Hamlet’s destruction. But Hamlet alters the letters, so that R & G become the victims, and Claudius is “hoist by his own petar’,” while Hamlet — delving “a yard below their mines, … blow[s] them at the moon.” A petard is a small bomb or mine (in contemporary French, a firecracker), leaned against or attached to a gate or barrier to weaken or destroy it. Has Dawkins blown himself up with his own bomb?
Here’s Carroll’s argument:
Dawkins, in recent statements, has said that Catholics should be held to account for their nutty belief in transubstantiation. According to Catholic dogma the bread and the wine of the Eucharist really become — that is, metaphysically change their substance — from bread and wine to “body and blood, soul and divinity of Christ.” According to Catholic doctrine, while the substance changes, the accidents do not. As Carroll says:
The rationale behind the doctrine, which is known as transubstantiation, employs categories of substance and accident, which have their origin in the philosophy of Aristotle. According to the Church, the underlying substances of bread and wine are replaced by the body and blood of Christ while the external appearances of bread and wine remain. A scientific analysis of the consecrated host and wine would only detect these external appearances.
Now, this is an amazingly nutty thing to believe, as Dawkins says, and the Church should be ridiculed for teaching it as revealed doctrine. There is nothing — absolutely nothing — in the supposed revelation of God to Christians, that either suggests or implies this doctrine. When the gospel Jesus says, at the Last Supper, “This is my body” and “This cup is the new covenant in my blood which is shed for you” (Luke 22.19), or when Paul says “Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?” (1 Corinthians 10.16), there is simply no reasonable understanding of these words, as then spoken (that is, supposing that the gospel records are accurate reports of what a man called Jesus, who was shortly to be crucified, actually spoke on that occasion), that implies either that Jesus is speaking other than figuratively, or that Paul is interpreting the words in terms of a strictly literal meaning.