Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Richard Dawkins and Alister McGrath - The Delusions!



A couple of books I have been reading parts of recently are both the popular atheist Richard Dawkins' book, 'The God Delusion' and theologian Alister McGrath's book, 'The Dawkins Delusion', which is really a rebuttal to the atheistic, anti-religious rants of Dawkins.
Dawkins goes off track often from the title and purpose of his book. The book seeks to show/prove to people that the belief in a God is a delusion - an intellectual absurdity that has no scientific evidential proof. What frustrates me about this book, is not so much the intent on presenting intellectual arguments regarding the nonexistence of God, but rather the tactics/strategies that Dawkins uses to present his material. I'm left with the feeling that Dawkins is deep-down more concerned with selling books than presenting logical, rational atheistic arguments. He often relays stories of religious people who have either abused people, or made damning comments to others, or about others, etc. Now, if the book is really about showing people that there is no such thing as a 'God' who is supernatural, the stories are seemingly irrelevant. I mean, is the purpose of the book merely to denegrade religion? Or is it actually about having an intellectual discussion about theism and antitheism? If it is the latter, then why all the stories about the abuse of religion? If we are presenting balanced arguments, then why not present some stories about groups that are atheists that have murdered and abused others? The proving or disproving a deities existence is mutually exclusive to the way people have or have not represented that religion's belief. The truth of a religion is not necessarily based on how people have represented it. Of course, in a simplistic world, if Christianity believes that God is a God of love, and people should love their neighbour as they love themselves, then every believer of that religion would express this in their life. Though, we don't live in this simplistic world, so to use dramatic, emotionally laden rhetoric of people hurting others in the name of 'religion' neithers disproves or proves the existence of God, and so falls short of what seems to be the purpose of Richard Dawkins, 'The God Delusion'.
Alister McGrath's book, 'The Dawkins Delusion' seeks to present his arguments in a more concise manner, and remove himself from unnecessary emotional language, that takes away from his primary objective of discussing and critically working through Dawkin's writings.

There's so much more to write. But, all the best as you critically engage with the search for truth.

For a Book Review on Dawkin's, The God Delusion, 'A contagious boil on the face of Religion' click here.

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2 comments:

  1. I love the name of that book "The Dawkins Delusion" but haven't read it yet.

    It really does seem that Richard Dawkins irrationally dedicates too much of his time to trying to debunk what to him is "merely a myth".

    I am unsure if he does this out of hatred towards God, Religion, Religious people or whether to sell books or appease his conscience. I do know though that one day he will bow his knee to the one who created him. Lets hope it happens before he dies.

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  2. Sorry but when you say "The proving or disproving a deities existence is mutually exclusive to the way people have or have not represented that religion's belief" you seem to have missed a point.

    It is quite simple really, Professor Dawkins is not going off track he is merely showing that religious faith is not a benign delusion but can be quite the opposite. This is best summed up in the quote by Steven Weinberg:

    “Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you'd have good people doing good things and evil people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, it takes religion.”

    The argument about atheists committing atrocities is quite weak; sure some atheists have done bad things but they didn't do them in the name of atheism or the lack of belief in the supernatural.

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