Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Richard Dawkins v God.

First, watch him in action. There's a bit in the middle where conceited members of the audience talk about how amazin they are, but once that starts, skip to about 24 minutes in. Here's the link:

Richard Dawkins has fairly made his opinions clear. God is a purely fictional character, invented by man as a surrogate mother/father figure, to variously soothe/protect/motivate/forgive us as we require, and as such, everyone who believes in divinity is deluded, puttin faith in somethin that cannot be enumerated, quantified, or even proved to exist. Worse, this delusion leads to extremist views by logical progression from the original dogma.

I don't feel Dawkins engages fully with the concept of religion. He instead leans heavily on the stereotypes of the religious man: one who teaches his children ‘to believe without evidence’, which, he argues, leads logically on to the phenomenon of suicide bombing and religious extremism, this time showing a lack of interest in understanding the mentality and social factors required for such a fanatic to practise freely.

His theories hinge on the issue of God’s purpose, which, while a fascinatin topic of discussion, by its definition – if we are to conduct such a discussion with the presuppositions of religion in play – cannot be answered.

He often sounds rather frustrated at the fact that his views are even questioned. If you skip ahead to about 24 minutes in, he is confronted by one of the declarations in his own book, the belief that there is ‘very probably alien civilisation somewhere in the universe that is superhuman, even godlike, beyond anything any theologian might imagine.’ He appears insulted to be even questioned on this belief. The UCD Professor, Gerard Casey, performs brilliantly, and in a way perfectly suited to the discussion; he is composed, relaxed, and open to every suggestion Dawkins makes. Kudos.

I'm not havin a go at atheism. I reckon its as legitimate a belief system as any other. What I am havin a go at is someone who is so unashamedly close-minded, to the point of bigotry, on a concept so philosophically open to debate as the existence of God. To take a scientific approach to a matter so intimately connected to the human condition seems like folly, dangerously so. It's noticeable too how Dawkins says nothing on the other Abrahamic spiritual text.

It's easy to be indignant and self-righteous on religion, but it accomplishes nothing, and is really what Dawkins wants. Nor am I sayin there's any way of resolvin the argument to a satisfactory degree; a fella could spend the rest of his days splittin hairs an makin enemies and still be no nearer a conclusion. There are a lot of ideas, and no reason why they can't all be correct. In the end, it's down to the individual to educate his/herself to a degree where doubt can no longer be a factor. So good luck.

Thanks for readin,

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