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What are you reading now?

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What are you reading now?
Hello all.

I finally finished David Copperfield. It was a satisfying book, although I referred to it as "tedious" at one point. All seemed to end well…excepting for kind and gentle Ham, who never got the life he should have had and died so pointlessly that one could say it was suicide.

I was looking through my library for something simple, yet wonderful, and I picked an old favorite, "Christy" by Catherine Marshall. I haven't read this in decades. Easy on the eyes, easy on the brain and good for the "soul."

-Jeanne
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
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Re: [jeanne53] What are you reading now? In reply to
Hi Jeanne: I'm currently reading:

(1) The Dark Side of the Soul. by Stephen Cherry. (All about the deadly sins).

(2) Healing Agony. Stephen Cherry. (All about forgiveness).

(3) Conquest: Thomas Kidd 12 by Julian Stockwin. Naval fiction, (just after Trafalgar).

All on Kindle. Regards Chris.
Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.
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Re: [rdrcofe] What are you reading now? In reply to
Hi Chris.

Sounds like a bit of light reading…

I keep a couple of books going at once and get back to them as I feel like it. Actually, there are a few books with markers in them half way or a third of the way… the heavier reading.

Heavy sigh.

I said I was going to read Ben Hur next and so I guess I will after Christy. They have made a new film of the story. I am hoping it will be as grand as the old one with Heston.

-Jeanne
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
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Re: [jeanne53] What are you reading now? In reply to
Jeanne: Hi.

Two heavies and a light actually. The Captain Kidd series are a bunch of good sea yarns. In this one he takes part in the invasion of Dutch Capetown, almost immediately after Trafalgar. A good series, if you like historical naval fiction.

The deadly sins is a good read actually. He puts things into sensible perspective. Its surprising how different 'sins' seemed more deadly depending on which generation was thinking about them. Also how ironically generations beset by a particular one seem oblivious of it and don't seem to see its effects in themselves. Actually quite a good read if you don't mind having your preconceptions being reordered.

The forgiveness book, among other things, describes why the word 'give' is right in the middle of 'forgiveness'. I would recommend it to any Christian who might think that 'forgiveness' is merely an act of the will and therefore non problematic. Some very deep insights can be obtained from every chapter.

I confess I don't read as much as I used to or should. Christine and I have quite a varied diet of reading matter. I think it is like travel, it 'broadens the mind'. I have even read Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens and others with similar views.

Regards Chris.
Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.
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Re: [jeanne53] What are you reading now? In reply to
You might be surprised by this Jeanne. i am reading Richard Dawkins' book, The God Delusion. It is interesting reading although I find a lot I disagree with.

ALF
And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. 13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. (Re 22:12–13)
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Re: [jeanne53] What are you reading now? In reply to
OK......This will surprise you, Jeanne.....

I am currently reading and editing "God's Divine Parameters for Healthy Living". It is a doctorate thesis for a friend of mine. LOL

For entertainment I am reading Nora Roberts' "Irish Dreams".

Bedtime, hubby and I read together. It is currently Joel Osteen's "I Declare".

I am disgusted with the Kindle on my phone because they have started charging for the books. There are too many places I can get them for free; I'm not going to pay for them. But I DO prefer reading on my phone rather than holding something heavy. I think it comes with the age.

Jeanne, I imagine you have read "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand"? Before I became a Christian, that was my favorite book. Now some of my favorites are "Green Leaf in Drought Time" by Isobel Kuhn and "Vinegar Boy" by Emily Thacker.
Blessings ~ Sarah
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Re: [praizeop2] What are you reading now? In reply to
ME----I PREFER THE BIBLE ESPECIALLY----HEHEHEHEHE
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Re: [m7thprophet] What are you reading now? In reply to
AMEN!!!


ALF
And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. 13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. (Re 22:12–13)
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Re: [jeanne53] What are you reading now? In reply to
I have finished a third of Richard Dawkins' book, The God Delusion. At this point, I have agreed with several minor points but, overall, it has proven to be sheer foolishness. I will finish reading it because I have found several sites and people mentioned in it that will be useful to me. I also have have heard so much about it and how great the book and author are. Honestly though, I am almost sorry I checked it out of the library. It is like reading a fairy tale and proves the statement of Paul in Romans 1:22, "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools."

ALF
And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. 13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. (Re 22:12–13)
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Re: [Alf2662] What are you reading now? In reply to
Alf: Hi. Its me again. Smile

At this point, I have agreed with several minor points but, overall, it has proven to be sheer foolishness. I will finish reading it because I have found several sites and people mentioned in it that will be useful to me. I also have have heard so much about it and how great the book and author are.

Perhaps you might also enjoy a much smaller book which gives a lot of really good reasons that Dawkins is mistaken in his conclusions. Its title is 'The Dawkins Delusion', subtitle, (Atheist fundamentalism and the denial of the divine), and is a very entertaining read indeed. It is by Alister McGrath, a Professor of Historical Theology at Oxford University. It is co written with Joanna Collicut McGrath, a lecturer in Psychology of Religion at Heythrop College, University of London.

It is a very effective critique of Dawkins' logically illegitimate methods of indoctrination.

'The Dawkins Delusion', ISBN 0-281-05927-6

Here are two quotes from informed people who have read both 'The God Delusion' and 'The Dawkins Delusion':

(1) "The God Delusion makes me embarrassed to be an atheist, and the McGraths show why", (Michael Ruse, Professor of Philosophy, Florida State University.

(2) "Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology." Laugh (Terry Eagleton, a cultural and literary critic.)

Regards Chris.
Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.

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rdrcofe: Apr 4, 2016, 4:46 AM
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Re: [rdrcofe] What are you reading now? In reply to
Hello all.

I had read Dawkins's "God Delusion" years before, but picked the book up again after reading the posts here. I had forgotten what a refreshing and intelligent read it is. Dawkins is my least favorite atheist writer, although I have several of his tomes. This was his easiest read and I think he made it so for regular people…just to get the atheist message out that there is a different way of considering everything than the way of deity belief.

If only those who have a degree in Christian or any other Theology may comment upon the mythologies and holy writings of those theisms…well, then most of us just need to shut up and sit down. Do you doubt that Dawkins has read and researched the topics of his books with intelligent fervor? If you do, then do not read his book. If you think he has merit as an atheist who has done due diligence on his topics, then at least give him credit for that. And…for posing relevant questions and discussing them in the chapters for those who have asked those same questions, but had no way of discussing such stuff in their particular situation.

I have found some Christian writers to present "sheer foolishness" as thought-out articles and books. I have often commented that this is the way I thought when I was fourteen and wondered why they never advanced in their thinking.

We certainly have different perspectives on what we read when it concerns the stuff of which religion and belief is made, do we not?
I will refrain from laughing at your respected Christian writers.

As I am reading "Christy" which is an overtly Christian novel full of morality vignettes, I find only inspiration from the story. I am not laughing at the foolishness or silliness of the moral teachings of the tale or the heart-warming innocence of pure belief and faith. It is a story that speaks to the best in us and urges us to be better in all ways, especially to our fellow humans.

We all find bits of wisdom from various sources.

-Jeanne
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
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Re: [jeanne53] What are you reading now? In reply to
I have found some Christian writers to present "sheer foolishness" as thought-out articles and books. I have often commented that this is the way I thought when I was fourteen and wondered why they never advanced in their thinking.

Jeanne, that remark doesn't sound like you. Could you rewrite it, maybe being more specific or with more information of what you are talking about? Thanks.
Blessings ~ Sarah
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Re: [praizeop2] What are you reading now? In reply to
Well, Sarah, how about I offer Alf's comment on Richard Dawkins' book that he is reading:

<<overall, it has proven to be sheer foolishness. I will finish reading it because I have found several sites and people mentioned in it that will be useful to me. I also have have heard so much about it and how great the book and author are. Honestly though, I am almost sorry I checked it out of the library. It is like reading a fairy tale and proves the statement of Paul in Romans 1:22, "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools." >>

Or is that okay because the author is an atheist writing about deity beliefs? May I not say the same thing about theists writing about deity beliefs?

Or if it is not okay for an atheist to write about the beliefs of theists, how can it be okay for a theist to write about the beliefs of atheists?

I am sorry. I am irritated by the repeated idea that I and all atheists are fools. And that it is okay to say so no matter what forum we are discussing a topic in. And that I am often asked to explain myself and answer questions but rarely have my questions answered.

This is me being irritated. No doubt I will not be so irritated after a while.

-Jeanne
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
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Re: [praizeop2] What are you reading now? In reply to
Yes, Sarah, I have finally read "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead" and "Anthem." Except that I skimmed the 36 pages of
Francisco's speech at the dinner party. Ye gods and little fishes, someone should have shut him down.

In addition to "Christy" which I am enjoying all over again, my heavier reading is Alice Roberts "The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being; evolution and the making of us."

The miracle of the unlikeliness of life.

I don't think that being a Christian should keep you from counting "Atlas Shrugged" among your favorites. Why do you? If an atheist can have favorite writers that are theists, surely theists can have favorite writers who are atheists.

Kudos to you for reading and editing a friends thesis!! That is something I would never attempt to do. For one thing, I am way too harsh a critic and that would lead to bad feelings among friends.

-Jeanne

p.s. trying to lose my irritation… Angelic
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
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Re: [praizeop2] What are you reading now? In reply to
"I have found some Christian writers to present "sheer foolishness" as thought-out articles and books. I have often commented that this is the way I thought when I was fourteen and wondered why they never advanced in their thinking.

"Jeanne, that remark doesn't sound like you. Could you rewrite it, maybe being more specific or with more information of what you are talking about? Thanks.

"Or is that okay because the author is an atheist writing about deity beliefs? May I not say the same thing about theists writing about deity beliefs?

"Or if it is not okay for an atheist to write about the beliefs of theists, how can it be okay for a theist to write about the beliefs of atheists?"


Since this is a Christian site, I felt justified in asking for expansion on comments on Christian literature but not on atheistic. Sorry I offended. Please accept my apology.
Blessings ~ Sarah

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praizeop2: Apr 4, 2016, 6:51 PM
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Re: [jeanne53] What are you reading now? In reply to
Jeanne: et al.

<<overall, it has proven to be sheer foolishness. I will finish reading it because I have found several sites and people mentioned in it that will be useful to me. I also have have heard so much about it and how great the book and author are. Honestly though, I am almost sorry I checked it out of the library. It is like reading a fairy tale and proves the statement of Paul in Romans 1:22, "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools." >>

Strangely, for a Christian evolutionist, I agree here with Alf’s assessment of Dawkins’ unnecessarily hostile and overtly biassed attacks on a caricature of ‘religion’ in The God Delusion.

His style and polemic in this particular book is quite different from previous scholarly, well researched and more restrained works.Even the title itself is insulting, the inference being that he looks contemptuously upon ALL religious people as ‘deluded’. This becomes progressively clearer to the reader as one proceeds through the text.

Quote:
[Selected passages from The Dawkins Delusion]
To quote him: ‘God is a delusion - a ‘psychotic delinquent’ invented by mad, deluded people.’ That is his take home message. Although Dawkins does not offer a rigorous definition of a ‘delusion’, he clearly means a belief that is not grounded in evidence - or, worse, that flies in the face of the evidence. Faith is ‘blind trust, in the absence of evidence, even in the teeth of evidence’. It is a ‘process of non-thinking’. It is ‘evil precisely because it requires no justification, and brooks no argument’.

These core definitions of faith are hardwired into Dawkins’ world view, and are obsessively repeated throughout his writings. It is not a Christian definition of faith, but one that Dawkins has invented to suit his own polemical purposes. It immediately defines those who believe in God as people who have lost touch with reality - as those who are deluded.

While this embittered book is written with rhetorical passion and power, the stridency of its assertions merely masks tired, weak and recycled arguments. I am not alone in feeling disappointed here. The God Delusion trumpets the fact that its author was voted one of the world’s three leading intellectuals. This survey took place among readers of Prospect magazine in November 2005. So what did this same Prospect magazine make of the book? Its reviewer was shocked at this ‘incurious, dogmatic, rambling, and self-contradictory’ book. The title of the review? ‘Dawkins the dogmatist’.

Dawkins insists that Christian belief is ‘a persistently false belief held in the face of strong contradictory evidence’. The problem is how to persuade ‘dyed-in-the wool faith heads’ that atheism is right. when they are so deluded by religion that they are immune to any form of rational argument. Faith is thus essentially and irredeemably irrational. In support of his case , Dawkins has sought out Christian theologians who he believes will substantiate this fundamentally degenerate aspect of religious faith. In earlier writings, he asserted that the third century Christian writer Tertullian said some particularly stupid things, including, ‘It is by all means to be believed because it is absurd’. This is dismissed as typical religious nonsense. ‘That way madness lies’.

He’s stopped quoting this now, I am pleased to say, after I pointed out that Tertullian actually said no such thing. Dawkins had fallen into the trap of not checking his sources, and merely repeating what older atheist writers had said. Its yet another wearisome example of the endless recycling of outdated arguments that has become so characteristic of atheism in recent years.

[The Dawkins Delusion, by Alister McGrath].

I am sorry. I am irritated by the repeated idea that I and all atheists are fools. And that it is okay to say so no matter what forum we are discussing a topic in. And that I am often asked to explain myself and answer questions but rarely have my questions answered.

I really sympathize with you here Jeanne. It is clearly unacceptable to promote one’s own arguments by insulting the intelligence and mental integrity of the people with whom you disagree.

As you can see though, Richard Dawkins does it all the time. No wonder Alf's opinion of Dawkins' book was that ‘overall, it has proven to be sheer foolishness’.

I had forgotten what a refreshing and intelligent read it is. Dawkins is my least favorite atheist writer, although I have several of his tomes.

As a 'reasoning' atheist Jeanne, Richard Dawkins is not a good role model for you, I think.
I have always found you to be reasonable and respectful of the belief systems of others, while standing resolutely by your own conclusions. Dawkins is anything but that. I suggest you read The God Delusion again but temporarily put aside you own settled conclusions, (which may be broadly in agreement with his atheistic standpoint), and read his words as delivered not by an expert in religious matters, but as a mere hater of all things ‘religious’, (an unpleasant attitude that you appear rightly to want to distance yourself from).

Do you doubt that Dawkins has read and researched the topics of his books with intelligent fervor? If you do, then do not read his book.

It would seem that according to Prospect Magazine and Allister McGrath, Dawkins, far from having ‘read and researched the topics of his books with intelligent fervor’, it appears that he stands accused of being ‘incurious, dogmatic and rambling’, and ‘repeating older atheist sources’, without checking his facts. When an author engages in anti religious propaganda making unsubstantiated or even demonstrably false statements, it is the responsibility of those who can identify the errors in his reasoning to point them out to the less informed, who might otherwise be taken in by the ' apparent ' authority of the author. I should say therefore that those of us who disagree with Dawkins and suspect his scholarship, have all the more reason to read what he writes, in order to correct his errors and reveal his dogmatism for what it really is, mere arrogant prejudicial hostility.

Regards Chris.
Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.

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rdrcofe: Apr 5, 2016, 2:44 AM
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Re: [praizeop2] What are you reading now? In reply to
Sarah, you are correct; this is a Christian site. Thank you for your apology.

I am sorry that Alf felt it necessary to belittle atheists when he could have avoided it while still citing his viewpoints about Dawkins's book.

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.

Dawkins is my least favorite writers because he is so arrogant. He felt it was necessary to write this book despite of being told for years that it was not a good idea, that he should stick to his heavier more scholarly tomes and that it would bring wrath down upon him. He did it anyway because he thought it was sorely needed at this time during the recent events that had occurred that were directly linked to a major monotheism.

As far as I can tell, all atheists feel, reason and believe as he does. Just how intense atheists feel about deity beliefs and believers depends upon how their lives are impacted by them. I am much more mellow now that my children are out of public school. I don't feel pressured to pretend to be Christian by attending church because I have lived far outside any communities. I don't work each day around the overtly religious. My family is mostly atheist and my kids friends are mostly atheists. I have acquaintances who are Christian, but most couldn't tell you that I am an atheist.

So…I can relax and allow my online friends, with whom I have much in common, to enjoy the benefits of their faith without being offended by their concern for me or their prayers or by discussions we may have concerning God and the Bible or current events, etc. I can also attempt to understand their trials with living in a world that is disturbing and troubling for Christians in a different way than the world is for non-believers.

If there is a reason for my being here, perhaps I am here to challenge how some take what is said in the Bible or from the pulpits to be absolute truth. Or at the very least to challenge how some view their fellow humans labeled atheists and all that goes along with that name.

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.

My friends, I still remain the same, your friend, the atheist Jeanne.

If any desire to continue with questions or replies, let us take it to Atheist Debate, please.

-Jeanne
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
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Re: [rdrcofe] What are you reading now? In reply to
Hello Chris.

I no longer need a role model. I do not like Richard Dawkins as a person…not that I know him at all, but I have been put off by interviews with him. I respect him for writing this book for atheists and for those who are reconsidering their religious beliefs and for those of us who are angry with the worst parts of religious belief and for any person who wants to think differently from what they have been told is acceptable.

You write:

<<I really sympathize with you here Jeanne. It is clearly unacceptable to promote one’s own arguments by insulting the intelligence and mental integrity of the people with whom you disagree. >>

Thank you for this. I am, however, conversing with friends. Dawkins is writing a book in response to centuries of the results (some seemingly benign, but most detrimental to humans) of religious beliefs upon societies. While atheists may be haters of religions, they are not haters of humanity.

Dawkins book reflects the angry frustration felt by most atheists when they consider deity beliefs and the dogmatism of their respective religions. In that alone it is refreshing to read an intelligent composition of all our frustrations in one book. It is wonderful to read what we as individual atheists think and feel and worry about at one time or another in our lives. If you will remember, it is only recently in my country that we climbed out of the closet, got some recognition as citizens of the modern world and were able to rear our children according to our lack of belief. Then the internet brought us together and we found out that there were more than we had realized…that we were not alone. And…we let loose our thoughts to great relief.

I am sure Christians probably feel wonderful to have a writer articulate their beliefs and their concerns and their ideas of right thinking….even if these writers might have based their writings on some questionable research here and there or gotten a bit of information just plain wrong. Or…suppose the author misinterprets Scripture or interprets it according to a personal agenda? Is the message so damaged that they declare the author to be worthless and lacking all credibility?

Probably not going to happen, is it? So…while Christians and other theists have hundreds of thousands of authors, leaders, preachers, we atheists have not so many and of those, a handful who reach them on large scale like Dawkins and Harris and Hitchens. We do not have a Bible that connects us, or religious services, or religious meeting places. We do not herd well.

Your opinion of Dawkins' book is your own and you have every right to defend it. I respect your intellect and your profession as a Reader. I approach this book from a different sort of opinion and life and I do not find his writings to be prejudiced. It is merely looking at deity beliefs from the viewpoint of an atheist. That might not be possible for a devout believer to do.

-Jeanne
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
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Re: [jeanne53] What are you reading now? In reply to
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]
Quote:
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.
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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Re: [rdrcofe] What are you reading now? In reply to
Let's see.

Richard Dawkins is me before I had a chance to mellow. He is my son-in-law who is still dealing with the mess his life was under the cult of Jehovah's Witness. It will be a long recovery that may not fully be completed ever, although he is far better than he was before he met my daughter.

You are right, Chris, this is Richard Dawkins the regular guy who is an atheist, not the scientist. But science is the thing to wield against religion using reason to aim. The scientist and atheist who is Richard Dawkins does intend to destroy people's deity beliefs; that is his hope. Not a book for theists to read lightly if they read it at all. No blame there for not reading it.

The thread "got interesting" when I voiced my irritation over the concept of atheists as fools yet again rearing its head. Why I am so easily irritated now when I haven't been in the past is anybody's guess. But…this is not in a book written by some person unknown to us. This is in our friendly conversation. Two very different venues, which should be treated according to that difference.

What Dawkins writes of God is typical atheist thinking. Excepting maybe in my early years here on Praize, I haven't voiced such sentiment. I certainly have not brashly voiced anything vaguely like that since we have become a close and small group of friends discussing "stuff." So…yes, I do walk on eggshells, frequently deleting what I have written precisely because I do not want to hurt anyone's feelings or cause disruption. If I wasn't okay with doing that, I would not continue here.

No doubt Dawkins knows fully well that God is not viewed by most Christians in the modern era as that horrible and punishing figure, but that stuff is all there for the picking out from history, from the OT, from fiery preaching of today. Dawkins isn't making it up out of thin air.

I don't need to wonder how Alf or others feel about Dawkin's rant on their God. Of course they feel frustrated and angry that he gets it so wrong. I know how frustrated and angry I get over the "atheists as fools who can do nothing of good, who have no moral compass and who should be shunned"….frustrated and angry that they get it so wrong.

While my lack of belief and my kids feelings were being trodden upon in public school, I was often here on Praize telling Christians why their kids had the right not to be trodden upon by the Progressive Agenda in our country. I fully understand the concept of feelings being trodden upon. Since the UK holds a bit different view towards atheists, perhaps you don't fully appreciate the way much of our country still feels about people who do not believe in the Christian God. Europe is different in that it has left much of its deity belief and religion behind as Socialism gained traction.

You write:

<<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. >>

Perhaps he does. He also writes of the other monotheisms, especially Islam. I would say that he has much more disdain for Allah than for the God of Christianity…or for Mohammed than for Jesus. And…there is the difference between the God of the OT and the God of the NT because of Jesus, which may be lost on Dawkins as it was on me when I was newly and rabidly atheist, as well as anti-religion. He has not had the benefit of being a member of Praize as I have.

All our deeply head beliefs are so much more complicated that any of us would like to admit, I think. I am always better in my own mind for having been given the opportunity to articulate them here. I acknowledge that I am a complicated person who may seem not to be to my real-life friends and family. I appreciate that I can reveal my complications to you all. I just wanted you to know that.

hugs all around, as always

-Jeanne
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
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Re: [jeanne53] What are you reading now? In reply to
Jeanne: Hi.

Richard Dawkins is me before I had a chance to mellow. He is my son-in-law who is still dealing with the mess his life was under the cult of Jehovah's Witness. It will be a long recovery that may not fully be completed ever, although he is far better than he was before he met my daughter.

You would not believe how ‘enthusiastic’ I was when I first became ‘Saved’. I was pretty well unliveable with. Ah the certainty of youth! It takes a long time for The Holy Spirit to make some people ‘malleable’. The Spirit won’t go too far too quick, in case we ‘break’ and all the new wine gets spilled. As we mature, the wine matures within us and becomes mellow and less sharp. We should become far more palatable to others as time goes by.

Mature Christians can well appreciate the damage that some mind controlling sects can do to otherwise free thinking individuals. This is not however a form of indoctrination uniquely peculiar to ‘religion’. It is ‘sin’ to rob another human being of their capacity to reason, question and hold opinions. I think we could both name plenty of ways this has been tried, even in totally secular environments. The practice is ‘sin’ regardless of whether it is used by political idealists, religious fanatics or ‘deep south slave owners’.

The scientist and atheist who is Richard Dawkins does intend to destroy people's deity beliefs; that is his hope. Not a book for theists to read lightly if they read it at all. No blame there for not reading it.

Indeed! And he goes about it with the zeal and enthusiasm of the Spanish Conquistadors, (though without the religious convictions of course). He is a crusading evangelical fundamentally sectarian apostolic atheist on a world changing mission. A kind of anti-St Paul with similar missionary zeal and energy. Scripture would seem to indicate that St Paul was not an especially easy person to live or work with. People who believe they have a ‘mission’ to fulfill rarely are. That is not however to say that either of them had nothing interesting or profound to say. There are some ‘Christians’ and many ‘Muslims’ that would do well to read some of what Dawkins has written. So long as they don’t come away from it thinking that the God that Dawkins has rhetorically demolished is ‘the real thing, now at last exposed as a fraud’. The God that Dawkins ‘destroys’ is the caricature that he and many other ignorant ‘religious’ and ‘non-religious’ people imagine to be ‘the real thing’. For that at least he can be congratulated. I can only hope that once they are free of their misconceptions, they actually manage to discover that even Dawkins cannot destroy an actual God that created, redeemed and sustains them. God cannot be destroyed. God cannot even be ‘hurt’ except by ‘hurting’ that which God ‘loves’.

Europe is different in that it has left much of its deity belief and religion behind as Socialism gained traction.

I’m not sure that would necessarily be the reason for a more tolerant attitude toward atheism. Europe is astonishingly diverse. Different countries, different rules, different peoples. The British sense of ‘live and let live’ allied to, (until very recently), a state supported poverty safety net and relatively increasing expectations of affluence may have influenced things a bit. The drop in adherents to formal religious groups is more likely due to the influence of capitalist consumerism and selfishness and a spirit of self reliance and antipathy towards being ‘organized’ or ‘controlled’ by state or authority figures.

He has not had the benefit of being a member of Praize as I have.

Yes, he has been sadly deprived in that respect, I’m sure we all agree.

All our deeply head [held]? beliefs are so much more complicated that [than]? any of us would like to admit, I think. I am always better in my own mind for having been given the opportunity to articulate them here. I acknowledge that I am a complicated person who may seem not to be to my real-life friends and family. I appreciate that I can reveal my complications to you all. I just wanted you to know that.

Thank you for sharing that Jeanne. We are indeed very complex creatures blindly finding our way through life with an inexplicable impression of purpose or not as the case may be. Like so many sperm in a fallopian tube of time. Then . . . . . . . . . who can tell? I really hope that we will meet up beyond the end of our journey.

Always look on the bright side of life!

Oh! And two of my favourite authors were Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett. Both atheists I think.

Regards Chris.
Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.

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rdrcofe: Apr 6, 2016, 12:52 AM
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Re: [rdrcofe] What are you reading now? In reply to
Hi Chris.

If you don't watch the spell check it may write just about anything it thinks resembles what you are really trying to type.

If I were immersed in the science of human studies and in the whirling mass of frustrated atheists considering atrocities done by deity beliefs over the history of humanity, I would not be mellow. If I read again the books that secured my atheism and spoke to my alienation from most of my fellow humans as considered reason and confirmed what I declared after long thought about God, Christianity and the Bible…well, I would no longer be mellow in my lack of belief.

That is where Dawkins and other atheist writers are. Where I pulled away and got on with my life, their lives and careers depend on them maintaining the attack, the research, the defense of disbelief, the exploration of morality without religion…and so the anger and frustration is always with them.

The abuse that my son-in-law suffered in all ways because he was among stupid and cult-led people, who denied all things not sanctioned by their cult, while accepting all things sanctioned by their cult and believed utterly in the moral superiority of their leaders to the detriment of their children…was much more than just mind controlling. It and other religions like it should be destroyed by people like Dawkins or people like you and me. It would give me great pleasure to be able to achieve such a goal. Yet…their leaders gather knowledge from the same God and the same Bible as other mainstream sects and they gain power through God's will so they will say.

And…they are mild compared to other deity beliefs, such as some that Dawkins rails against. Can you blame him for his passion or only for his arrogance and assumptions based on his gathered knowledge and resources?

At any rate, the basic atheist truths of me are not far from those Dawkins recounts in his book, "The God Delusion." That is simply a fact, no matter how mellow I have become. If made into a list to which I was asked to answer in agreement or disagreement, I would agree to most. Dawkins does not want to understand believers on any level; he wants to alter believers into agnostics at least and atheists if he can. If I believe that humans can live ethical lives without deity belief, then I should want to do that to. It isn't that important to me what others believe as long as we can agree on the ethics of how we live together.

-Jeanne
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
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Re: [jeanne53] What are you reading now? In reply to
Thank you, Sarah, for not closing this topic. It has allowed us to work through …whatever it is we have been working through.

I promise to keep my irritation out of friendly forums and will drag any other "stuff" into debate.

-Jeanne
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
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Re: [jeanne53] What are you reading now? In reply to
Jeanne: Hi.

It and other religions like it should be destroyed by people like Dawkins or people like you and me. It would give me great pleasure to be able to achieve such a goal.

I abhor the misguided Biblical interpretations and closed and secretive sectarian abuses which are perpetrated by some religious cults. To deliberately curtail human freedom to the degree that they become willing slaves to other people's ideologies is abusive. Such abuses, in a ‘Free Country’, should be investigated by the police, but the problem is that many of the ‘victims’ actually would not cooperate with the police or volunteer themselves as witnesses because they have been brainwashed into submission. I am at pains to point out though that this is not the fault of ‘ religion ’. It is the fault of human wickedness and would still happen even if it were possible to totally eradicate ‘religion’ altogether.

And…they are mild compared to other deity beliefs, such as some that Dawkins rails against. Can you blame him for his passion or only for his arrogance and assumptions based on his gathered knowledge and resources?

Dawkins, it seems has a naive ‘blind side’ when it comes to slating ‘religion’ for its violence and manipulative abuse. In one of his more bizarre creedal statements as an atheist, he insists that there is ‘not the smallest evidence’ that atheism systematically influences people to do bad things. It’s an astonishingly naive statement which indicates that he has an ivory tower mentality, disconnected from the real and brutal world of the 20th century.

The facts are that in their efforts to enforce their atheist ideology, the Soviet authorities systematically destroyed and eliminated the vast majority of churches and priests during the period 1918 - 41. This violence and repression, including indoctrination and brainwashing on an international scale was carried out in pursuit of an atheist agenda - the elimination of religion. I could cite other examples as you well know, of how the abuses that Dawkins conveniently attributes to the existence of ‘religion’ can equally be laid at the doorstep of ‘ atheism ’ where evangelistic programs of ‘re-education’ are embarked on with a view to ‘cleansing the world of religion’, and all in the name of ‘ liberation from error ’.

It is this hypocritical focus upon that which he wishes to label and blame i.e ‘religion’, which brings to mind ‘motes’, ‘beams’, ‘eyes’ and blindness to any evidence which contradicts his ill thought through and biassed assumptions, that annoys me most about his literary invective.

Quote:
This hardly fits in with another of Dawkins’ creedal statements: ‘I do not believe there is an atheist in the world who would bulldoze Mecca - or Chartres, York Minster, or Notre Dame.’ (Dawkins, God Delusion, p249). Sadly this noble sentiment is a statement about his personal credulity, not the reality of things. The history of the Soviet Union is replete with the burning and dynamiting of huge numbers of churches. His pleading that atheism is innocent of the violence and oppression that he associates with religion is simply untenable, and suggests a significant blind spot.
(The Dawkins Delusion, p48)

Can you blame him for his passion or only for his arrogance and assumptions based on his gathered knowledge and resources?

His ‘passion’ is as excusable as any fanatic who is taken with an obsession to ‘eradicate’ something they detest. I am willing to accept that most, if not all ‘religions’, can benefit from reform. What Dawkins seems to be utterly unwilling to admit is that most of them actually do as a matter of course. Though religious people being usually ‘conservative’ usually take some time about it. But Dawkins is impatient. He probably wants to see the eradication of religion in his own lifetime. If he does not see it, he will probably feel disappointed.

I certainly see his arrogance and assumptions, based on little more than a personal animosity to all things ‘religious’, and rarely supported by quantifiable, well researched evidence; as blameworthy, when it comes to misrepresentation of religious principles due to astonishing ignorance of the facts. When Dawkins tells us that the letter to the Hebrews was written by Paul we can see he is no Bible Scholar. (Dawkins, God Delusion p253). Other errors and misunderstandings include the bald statement that original sin ‘lies at the heart of New Testament theology.' (p251) It does not; it is an Augustinian development, dating from centuries later. Jesus rarely talked about sin at all, and he certainly did not link it with Adam. Jesus’ notion of forgiveness was really about liberation from bondage, not moral exoneration.

Jeanne: You have been sadly hoodwinked if you are relying upon Dawkins to have ‘gathered knowledge and resources’ about the subject of whether or not God exists. His gathered knowledge goes little beyond a comprehensive understanding of Evolutionary Biology and a gathered arsenal of brickbats to throw at ‘religion’. Not much genuine ‘theological’ reasoning or even understanding there at all.

Still The God Delusion is entertaining for those atheists who want their conceptions confirmed without much consideration for any other point of view. No one can honestly describe this book as ‘balanced’ though. More like a jolly atheist rant and a diatribe in the best traditions of fanatical extremist fundamentalism.

Regards Chris.
Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.
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Re: [rdrcofe] What are you reading now? In reply to
I will grant you this point and agree with you:

<<Still The God Delusion is entertaining for those atheists who want their conceptions confirmed without much consideration for any other point of view. No one can honestly describe this book as ‘balanced’ though. More like a jolly atheist rant and a diatribe in the best traditions of fanatical extremist fundamentalism. >>

Yes, indeed. Thoroughly satisfying, even though it may be a more of a lay read then I had initially thought. Laugh

I appreciate your input.

I have almost finished "Christy." I think if we discuss current reading again, I will begin a new thread. Okay by you?

-Jeanne
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."