Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Richard Dawkins - The God delusion

I'm currently reading this, although preaching to the converted doesn't do it justice in my case.

Anyway, Dawkins quotes a Cambridge theologian who, on hearing from an anthroplogist of some primitive belief system, remarks that it is amazing how people can believe such nonsense. Dawkins continues:

Assuming that the Cambridge theologian was a mainstream Christian, he probably believed some combination of the following:

* In the time of the ancestors, a man was born to a virgin mother with no biological father being involved.

* The same fatherless man called out to a friend called Lazarus, who had been dead long enough to stink, and Lazarus promptly came back to life.

* The fatherless man himself came alive after being dead and buried three days.

* Forty days later, the fatherless man went up to the top of a hill and then disappeared bodily into the sky.

* If you murmur thoughts privately in your head, the fatherless man, and his 'father' (who is also himself) will hear your thoughts and may act upon them. He is simultaneously able to hear the thoughts of everybody else in the world.

* If you do something bad, or something good, the same fatherless man sees all, even if nobody else does. You may be rewarded or punished accordingly, including after your death.

* The fatherless man's virgin mother never died but was 'assumed' bodily into heaven.

* Bread and wine, if blessed by a priest (who must have testicles), 'become' the body and blood of the fatherless man.

What would an objective anthropologist, coming fresh to this set of beliefs while on fieldwork in Cambridge, make of them?

The God delusion pp 207-208 (pbk edition)


Anonymous said...

Limiting God to what humans deem 'possible' or 'impossible', 'normal' or 'strange' is why people fail to really get to know God. For God, nothing is impossible. Trying to answer questions like 'How can we prove God exists?' is not going to help us. The Bible says that the only way to know God is through faith in his son Jesus Christ.

Tom Conoboy said...

If nothing is impossible for God, why doesn't he:
1. Make himself known to his creations? Or
2. Make us realise there is only one true God so that we stop killing each other in his name? Or
3. If, as seems to be the case, he intends to just leave us be, why does he insist on being constantly praised and thanked?

If there is a God, why does he insist we show 'faith'? Why does he resolutely stand back and do nothing to prove his existence, so that doubt is instilled in his creations' minds? And, having engineered the situation where such doubt is created, why does he then punish us? If he hadn't created a situation where doubt was possible, we wouldn't doubt.

Why should we be expected to show blind faith? We don't in any other walk of life. We are rational creatures, given brains with which we reason. And yet, with God, we are just told to 'believe'. Why is that?

Sky gods are remnants of prehistoric belief systems. They have no place in a modern world of science and reason.