January 09, 2006

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

Afraid of whom?

Of American evangelicals, that's who.

Having just watched the first in a series of programmes by Professor Richard Dawkins about religion (called The Root of All Evil?), I've yet again been scared by the extreme views that some people hold. Dawkins' examined Christianity, Judaism and Islam, and was amazed at some people's completely blind faith in views which are thousands of years old and often completely at odds with modern society and scientific evidence.

Even scarier than the divide between Israel and Palestine, was the arrogance of an American evangelist, who claimed that evolution thought "miracles such as the eye and the ear…were just 'accidents'" (which is patently untrue). Amusingly, Dawkins said his sermon was something Goebbels would have been proud of. Worryingly, the reverend didn't seem to get Dawkins' full meaning.

Dawkins' programme was illuminating and altogether scary. Throughout, I found myself agreeing with his arguments. But I thought his approach was problematic. While criticising the fundamentalists of arrogance, Dawkins sometimes skipped a few steps of his methodology, meaning he defended science 'for science's sake'. This itself smacked of arrogance (albeit enlightened arrogance!), and some of the balls he threw were too easy to hit back.

The programme seemed to be addressing atheists rather than believers, which seems somewhat futile. Also, he failed to address some philosophical conclusions. For instance, he said the world could not continue with such completely-opposed religions, for it would fall apart. But he failed to show how this could be avoided. Maybe he will do this next week.

Next week, Dawkins will tackle the issue of children who are brought up with fundamental beliefs, an issue that is maybe even more worrying. Because if the 'myth' of religion is being perpetuated through breeding, then the cycle of endless conflicts between people with utterly opposed views will endure.

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  1. As an aside, it was worrying how both the fundamental Christian and Muslim believed that if you didn't believe in God, you didn't believe in anything. Because 'man-made' laws are meaningless.

    Er…yeah. Because the bible and quran were written by fairies.

    09 Jan 2006, 21:46

  2. Dave Sparrow

    I loved it when the preacher guy accused him of being arrogant. The sanctimonius clown didn't even realise that could have been the greatest piece of irony ever.

    09 Jan 2006, 21:56

  3. I laughed and laughed and laughed. They should be buddies.

    09 Jan 2006, 22:09

  4. Dave Sparrow

    well, except that Dawkins was right. that preacher's probably been having an affair with his babysitter too

    09 Jan 2006, 22:39

  5. Dave Sparrow

    reading that again it might look like I'm saying Dawkins had an affair with his babysitter, which wasn't my intention at all

    09 Jan 2006, 22:40

  6. I had the intention of watching this but switched it off because I couldn't stand Dawkins supercilious "science is the only way" uncompromising tone of the introduction. He sounded like a fundemental scientist :)

    09 Jan 2006, 23:24

  7. a muslim

    Dawkins himself came across as a fundamentalist.

    Instead of expaining his arguments, or going into the details of evolution, or talking to some jew/christian/muslim intellectuals, he simply walked around and pissed people off… he clearly didnt have much to say for himself:

    christian guy: what if all the things you have been believing in (such as evolution) turn out to be not true?
    dawkins: do you want to bet?


    14 Jan 2006, 01:46

  8. Islam

    I cant' believe this mad scientist. How dare he walking round and chatting to some of the 'fanatics' of religions and justifying all the monotheistic religions in one go by these people.

    Does he know Hebrew, Latin or perhaps Arabic to start reciting and explaining the Holy scriptures?

    He is just another clown. Another joke made by the scientists about their "new" theories!

    I mean he could at least respect the audience and give them some credits by providing some little evidence of his athiest theories. Instead he introduced this guy who was fuffing round next to some monkeys. Perhaps Dawkins thought that we were to be inspired by watching these monkeys and remembering our forefathers in the jungle back in the days millions years ago.

    Oh people wake up! God is merciful. It has nothing to do with violence! Some people act on the name of God and yet do not understand any concept of their faith. Religion has never been about evil. Evil is rejecting God.

    Judge for yourselves, dont trust anyone including myself. Read books. Books made by the faith itself. These are the only things that can justify its roots. Not Mr Dawkins. May God have mercy on him, he's after all a human being!

    16 Jan 2006, 23:12

  9. It was difficult to respond to this at the time, but very belatedly I just want to rebutt the idea that religious belief is at odds with modern life. Not for me.

    Whenever I see Dawkins he always seems to be a deeply cynical and unhappy individual, which I'm sure is in no way related to his belief in an ideological system which renders life meaningless.

    01 Feb 2006, 16:31

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