Sunday, June 07, 2009

Response to "The God Delusion"

Having recently finished reading "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins, I put the book down having come to some immediate conclusions, some of which are apparent early into the book. In no way am I personally attacking Mr. Dawkins but I must say that it is evident that almost everything written in his book is an elitist, angry, condescending and sometimes sarcastic tirade against theists. For sure it makes for very interesting reading. Notwithstanding he's probably a nice fellow. He seems to be a man that couches his words from the view of science and Darwinism but ultimately proves nothing chapter after chapter. There are some things in principle that I do appreciate about the book that I have gleaned and find useful. There are other things that I do not. I will summarize some things that are addressed in his book and condense them here.

One of the glaring things I find is that Mr. Dawkins basically 'cherry picks' his examples of why he believes there is no God, or as he puts it "why there almost certainly is not God" (emphasis mine). Several times he refers to theologians that refute the writings of scripture. Of course it fits right in with his view that there is no God because the theologians that he likes to refer to agree with him on some points. How convenient. He doesn't get detailed in referencing their bodies of work at all. He simply slips in their congruent views and we're supposed to simply believe it's true.

On the same note, Mr. Dawkins writes that the Bible is inconsistent throughout and therefore it is an unreliable text. I would challenge any reader to re-examine that claim. The Bible was written over a period of fifteen hundred years by over 40 different authors. It is amazing how they all have the same story sewn into the fabric of each book. The documentation of the New Testament surpasses most of the writings of antiquity. To say that there isn't evidence of this is absurd. It is very clear, in my opinion, that Mr. Dawkins ignores the literary evidence of the continuity of the Bible, ignores the manuscript evidence that supports it and simply cozies up to liberal theologian opinion that bolsters his own views.

Another thing that Mr. Dawkins does to prove that there almost certainly is no God, is to tell the reader that because the first cause of the existence of God causes a problem that he can't think of a solution to, then God really can't exist. I don't know how that is theological or scientific. Just because something seems out of the realm of discovery by a human being doesn't necessarily make it not possible or improbable. It simply makes it unknowable.

Constantly Mr. Dawkins refers to Darwinian natural selection. This is a process that he says is scientific. I am not a scientist but, as far as I know, in order for something to be scientifically proven, it must be observable and repeatable, you know, like in an experiment. The Darwinain teaching of natural selection is neither. No one has seen natural selection actually take place (it is assumed like many things scientifc in the past). That would be the convenience of a theory that is based on changes over millions of years. Notwithstanding that, in all of nature as far as I understand, and please correct me if I am wrong, genetic mutations of any kind are disastrous and detrimental to a species, they do not improve it. To base the improvement for survival of a species upon genetic mutations (in other words, messing with DNA) seems like a far stretch of the imagination knowing what is available to know and understand about genetic mutations. The record of genetic mutations is littered with 'train wrecks' and all sorts of problems. Simply put, genetic mutations are not good for a species.

It is interesting to note that while Mr. Dawkins accuses theists of unfairly indoctrinating others with theistic teachings about God and the existence of a God, Mr. Dawkins seems impervious to the notion that perhaps he is the victim of the same thing. While he accuses believers of filling young impressionable minds with theistic teaching, he himself, once a young impressionable mind, has fallen victim to the same thing. He sat under the Darwinian teaching of professors not knowing for himself what it may have entailed. Having become enamoured and then convinced of Darwinism, he was indoctrinated by professors of the scientific merits of Darwinism. By the way, Darwinian evolution still has yet to be observed and even proven. To say that one has observed it would not be true as one would actually have to personally witness, record and communicate to the world the first-hand account of what happened. This has never come to pass. Again, it is assumed as fact.

Ultimately, in the end, The God Delusion may attempt to explain the improbability of God and magnify any virtues of natural selection and Darwinian evolution all the way back to basic earth but there is one glaring question that is never addressed or even attempted to be answered in the entire book...where did matter come from in the first place? Yes, there it is. Evolution / natural selection need matter to start from. Never mind the origin of "life" itself. There is not one scientist that can explain how the matter that is present in all of the universe got here in the first place. It had to come from somewhere. Where? Matter didn't evolve from nothing. Can we even dare suggest that inanimate matter existed in infinity past on it's own accord?

Don't Read This Part if You Don't Want the Truth.

Mr. Dawkins DID indeed make some good points. One of the points is that, particularly in American Christianity, Christians are biblically illiterate. They simply do not know why they believe what they believe. He is also correct that high profile Christian leaders in America have made some very bold, inflamatory statements that lack the very love that they say Jesus showed us with his lifestyle. I witnessed this (sadly) as I read Facebook news feeds from friends and aquaintances that are Christian. He cites examples of unorthodox views and teachings of different Christians that, I would say, are simply not biblical in there origins. He also points to the apparent intolerance by Christians when opposed by people with different views. He refers to a deep seated 'respect for religion' that is inherent in our culture and despises the fact that people can't step on other's 'religious toes'. That got me thinking.

I could spend all day joining with people of like mind and faith criticizing and berating Mr. Dawkins for all of the areas in which we disagree. However, of even more concern to me is the fact that his book, The God Delusion even had to be written. Perhaps we could spend more time seeking to live the life of biblical Christianity instead of demanding that a non-religious world aquiesce to what we Christians demand from them.