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Arts & Humanities: Literature: Re: [jeanne53] What are you reading now?: Edit Log

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Re: [jeanne53] What are you reading now?
Jeanne: Hi.

I am sorry that Chris felt it okay to laugh at the "problems" an atheist writer has with his research, as if no Christian has ever made mistakes or relied upon research from older theists…or from ancient texts written from word-of-mouth that have been repeatedly translated into modern languages…some tossed out and some kept in... and interpreted differently by thousands of fallible human beings, each with their own agenda.

I intend to keep this thread on track by limiting the subject to ‘What we are reading’. I posted the laughing icon because the comment I was quoting seemed so very apt. Dawkins is experienced and qualified as a scientist in the field of evolutionary biology. When he writes on that subject he is a respected authority and undoubtedly researches his facts thoroughly. However in the field of Theology he is no more academically qualified than any other 'atheist with a personal opinion'. You Jeanne are probably every bit as capable of justifying your personal conclusions as he is, and of doing so without the condescending arrogance born of a deep seated antipathy towards ‘religion’, such as Dawkins obviously seems to suffer from. It is one thing to offer reasoned arguments against the reasons for holding ‘belief in God or god’s’. It is quite another to set out to try to use science as a weapon with which to destroy people’s religious convictions. Worse to use his reputation for scholarship in an entirely different scientific field, to lend apparent authority to his prejudiced and intellectually arrogant personal theological opinions.

[ from The Dawkins Delusion]
One of the most melancholy aspects of The God Delusion is how its author appears to have made the transition from a scientist with a passionate concern for truth to a crude anti-religious propagandist who shows disregard for evidence. This was evident in the TV series The Root of All Evil?, which served as a pilot for The God Delusion. Here Dawkins sought out religious extremists who advocated violence in the name of religion, or who were aggressively anti-scientific in their outlook. No [other] representative figures were included or considered. Dawkins’ conclusion? Religion leads to violence, and is anti-science.

Unsurprisingly, the series was panned by its critics, who saw it as intellectually risible. As one senior atheist scientific colleague at Oxford said to me afterwards, ‘Don’t judge the rest of us by this pseudo-intellectual drivel’. Yet The God Delusion simply continues this flagrantly biased approach to evidence, mocking, excoriating alternatives, refusing to take them seriously. Yes, there are religious people who are deeply hostile to science. And that number will, if anything, simply increase due to Dawkins’ polemical use of science in his epic struggle against religion. Perhaps it’s time that the scientific community as a whole protested against the abuse of their ideas in the service of such an atheist fundamentalism.

I rejoice in the fact that Alf has got so far into The God Delusion before feeling unable to take any more. I find it very encouraging that he feels able to tackle some of the issues that Dawkins brings up, even apparently to appreciate that Dawkins might have made some good points here and there. It is in being so fundamentally opposed to ‘all things spiritual’ however that Dawkins, in his fanatical, personal anti-religious vendetta, does both science and religion such disservice.

It was never my intent to take a "reading" topic into anything other than friendly chatter. I am sorry that my feelings have been so close to the surface recently. I guess that some postings have made me less content to walk on eggshells.

Jeanne, my own view on this is that the thread suddenly became interesting when you spoke up. Although this might not be a ‘debates’ thread, it is still a forum in which opinions can be held and discussed among ‘friends’. Don’t worry about eggshells Jeanne. Just don’t walk on the omelettes. You can’t eat them when they’ve been on the floor, still less when they’ve been trodden on.

Speaking of being trodden on, how might you think people like Alf might ' feel ' when they read in The God Delusion, that the God they believe in, (and Dawkins doesn't), is 'a petty, unjust, unforgiving, control freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully'. (Dawkins, God Delusion p31.)

Come to think of it, I don't believe in a God like that either. In fact neither does anyone I know.

But if I were to begin to describe to Dawkins the kind of God I and many people I know actually do believe in, Dawkins dismisses the notion in his book as 'insipid', summed up in the 'mawkishly nauseating' idea of 'Gentle Jesus, meek and mild'. While some Christians will take offense at this description, (and why should they not?), this is probably the mildest criticism of religion offered anywhere in his book.

It is as though Dawkins thinks that all religious people do necessarily ' believe ' in a God which fits one or the other of his two dismissive descriptions, there being, according to him, no other apparent alternatives.

Nevertheless I did him the justice of reading his book from cover to cover and I by no means disagree with ALL of what he says.

Regards Chris.
In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 2 Cor. 5:19. Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.

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rdrcofe: Apr 5, 2016, 10:40 AM

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