Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion challenges theology to take the method and mandate of science seriously (1 Cor ). His argument is based on a naturalistic metaphysic heavily biased against transcendence. Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion challenges theology to take the. PDF | On Apr 1, , Deby Cassill and others published Richard Dawkins, The God delusion. THE ANCESTOR'S TALE. A PILGRIMAGE TO. THE DAWN OF LIFE. RICHARD DAWKINS with additional research by YAN WONG. WEIDENFELD & NICOLSON .
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Richard Dawkins was born in Nairobi in He was educated at. Oxford University, and after graduation remained there to work for his doctorate with the . The. Extended. Phenotype. The Gene as the Unit of Selection. Richard Dawkins. University of Oxford. Oxford University Press. View Richard Dawkins Research Papers on meatfharfuhandsi.ga for free. Desvendando o Arco-Iris - Richard meatfharfuhandsi.ga Uma bela reflexão sobre a humanidade.
I am inclined to follow Robert M. Whatever Johnson's own meaning. I hope the fact that I have stated as much will be noted. Among the more effective immunological devices is a dire warning to avoid even opening a book like this. The dictionary supplied with Microsoft Word defines a delusion as 'a persistent false belief held in the face of strong contradictory evidence. During that time. I cannot mention them all. It remains to be seen whether any US television channel will dare to show it.
Such free spirits should need only a little encouragement to break free of the vice of religion altogether. I hope that nobody who reads this book will be able to say. I am grateful to all who were involved in the production.
Elisabeth Cornwell. Negotiations are under way for legitimate DVDs to be marketed. Gillian Somerscales has been an exemplary copy editor. But I believe there are plenty of open-minded people out there: Anderson Thomson. Tim Cragg. Alan Clements and Hamish Mykura. I am grateful to many friends and colleagues. The book owes something and vice versa to the two-part television documentary Root of All Evil?.
Others who criticized various drafts. Latha Menon and especially Karen Owens. Root of All Evil? Russell Barnes. Adam Prescod. At the time of going to press these negotiations are incomplete. At very least. Ursula Goodenough.
Their whole-hearted and enthusiastic belief in the book was very encouraging to me. Marc Hauser. Sam Harris.
The God Delusion
Josephine Welsh. Ibn Warraq. I hope now to resume my column. For a variety of reasons I am grateful to Dan Dennett. I hope that www. Above all. Helen Fisher. Margaret Downey. Michael Stirrat. I am grateful to Tom Flynn. Hermione Lee. After a temporary hiatus during the finishing of the book. I recommend the technique to other authors. Julia Sweeney. I thank my wife Lalla Ward.
Ian Baird and especially George Scales. Dan Barker. He was ordained an Anglican priest and became a chaplain at my school. Suddenly the micro-forest of the turf seemed to swell and become one with the universe.
But still the flagstaff in the Rect'ry garden Points to Higher Things. Severely now they've clipped his wings. He had done war service in the RAF and it was with familiarity.
Had he been. Cassiopeia and Ursa Major. Our padre is an old sky pilot. Why the same emotion should have led my chaplain in one direction and me in the other is not an easy question to answer. It has no connection with supernatural belief. It is thanks to decent liberal clergymen like him that nobody could ever claim that I had religion forced down my throat. He suddenly found himself overwhelmed by a heightened awareness of the tangled stems and roots. He interpreted the experience in religious terms and it led him eventually to the priesthood.
A quasi-mystical response to nature and the universe is common among scientists and rationalists. In his boyhood at least. My god is a little god. Instead they say. There is grandeur in this view of life. The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said.
My own books have the same aspiration. Consequently I hear myself often described as a deeply religious man. Some people have views of God that are so broad and flexible that it is inevitable that they will find God wherever they look for him. One hears it said that 'God is the ultimate' or 'God is our better nature' or 'God is the.
I don't think so. Carl Sagan. To me. An American student wrote to me that she had asked her professor whether he had a view about me.
How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded. All Sagan's books touch the nerve-endings of transcendent wonder that religion monopolized in past centuries. The Nobel Prize-winning physicist and atheist Steven Weinberg made the point as well as anybody. Hugh Lofting's Doctor Dolittle who.
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Naturalists in this sense. She goes so far as to call herself a 'Religious Naturalist'. For me it conjures my childhood hero. Darwin himself was destined for the Church as a young man. Yet a careful reading of her book shows that she is really as staunch an atheist as I am. It has led people to believe.
The cell biologist Ursula Goodenough. She loves churches. If you want to say that 'God is energy. But philosophers use 'naturalist' in a very different sense.
Off Come The Gloves: Review of The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins
Julian Baggini explains in Atheism: A Very Short Introduction the meaning of an atheist's commitment to naturalism: Weinberg is surely right that.
Much unfortunate confusion is caused by failure to distinguish what can be called Einsteinian religion from supernatural religion. The dramatic or was it mischievous?
Einstein sometimes invoked the name of God and he is not the only atheistic scientist to do so. Albert Einstein. This is certainly true of Einstein and Hawking. Martin Rees. He has no theistic beliefs. There are many intellectual atheists who proudly call themselves Jews and observe Jewish rites. I challenged my friend the obstetrician Robert Winston.
Great scientists of our time who sound religious usually turn out not to be so when you examine their beliefs more deeply. An atheist in this sense of philosophical naturalist is somebody who believes there is nothing beyond the natural.
In the course of a recently televised conversation. If there is something that appears to lie beyond the natural world as it is now imperfectly understood.
Perhaps it does. They may not believe but. He came close to admitting it but shied at the last fence to be fair. As ever when we unweave a rainbow. Some of his religious contemporaries saw him very differently.
I am a deeply religious nonbeliever. By 'religion' Einstein meant something entirely different from what is conventionally meant.
As I continue to clarify the distinction between supernatural religion on the one hand and Einsteinian religion on the other. I have never imputed to Nature a purpose or a goal. Does it seem that Einstein contradicted himself? That his words can be cherry-picked for quotes to support both sides of an argument?
This is a somewhat new kind of religion. The idea of a personal God is quite alien to me and seems even naive.
If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.
I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly. Here are some more quotations from Einstein. In Einstein. In greater numbers since his death. It was. This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism.
Conceding your right to free speech. Some men think that because they have achieved a high degree of learning in some field. Einstein does not know what he is talking about. I still say that your statement constitutes you as one of the greatest sources of discord in America.
Why not 'and'? The president of a historical society in New Jersey wrote a letter that so damningly exposes the weakness of the religious mind. A New York rabbi said: We deeply regret that you made your statement. The extracts that follow are taken from Max Jammer's book Einstein and Religion which is also my main source of quotations from Einstein himself on religious matters.
Both he and the bishop thought that Einstein. That clergyman presumably would not have deferred to the expertise of a claimed 'fairyologist' on the exact shape and colour of fairy wings.
He is all wrong. Einstein understood very well exactly what he was denying. In the past ten years nothing has been so calculated to make people think that Hitler had some reason to expel the Jews from Germany as your statement. An American Roman Catholic lawyer. What a devastatingly revealing letter! Every sentence drips with intellectual and moral cowardice. But I never told anyone of my spiritual aberrations for two reasons: Dr Einstein. Professor Einstein. Every thinking person. As everyone knows.
My own faith has wavered many a time. I believe that every Christian in America will answer you. I hope. Less abject but more shocking was the letter from the Founder of the Calvary Tabernacle Association in Oklahoma: The one thing all his theistic critics got right was that Einstein was not one of them. He was repeatedly indignant at the suggestion that he was a theist. So, was he a deist, like Voltaire and Diderot? Or a pantheist, like Spinoza, whose philosophy he admired: Let's remind ourselves of the terminology.
A theist believes in a supernatural intelligence who, in addition to his main work of creating the universe in the first place, is still around to oversee and influence the subsequent fate of his initial creation.
In many theistic belief systems, the deity is intimately involved in human affairs. He answers prayers; forgives or punishes sins; intervenes in the world by performing miracles; frets about good and bad deeds, and knows when we do them or even think of doing them.
A deist, too, believes in a supernatural intelligence, but one whose activities were confined to setting up the laws that govern the universe in the first place.
The deist God never intervenes thereafter, and certainly has no specific interest in human affairs. Pantheists don't believe in a supernatural God at all, but use the word God as a nonsupernatural synonym for Nature, or for the Universe, or for the lawfulness that governs its workings. Deists differ from theists in that their God does not answer prayers, is not interested in sins or confessions, does not read our thoughts and does not intervene with capricious miracles.
Deists differ from pantheists in that the deist God is some kind of cosmic intelligence, rather than the pantheist's metaphoric or poetic synonym for the laws of the universe. Pantheism is sexed-up atheism. Deism is watered-down theism. There is every reason to think that famous Einsteinisms like 'God is subtle but he is not malicious' or 'He does not play dice' or 'Did God have a choice in creating the Universe? So is Stephen Hawking, and so are most of those physicists who occasionally slip.
Paul Davies's The Mind of God seems to hover somewhere between Einsteinian pantheism and an obscure form of deism - for which he was rewarded with the Templeton Prize a very large sum of money given annually by the Templeton Foundation, usually to a scientist who is prepared to say something nice about religion.
Let me sum up Einsteinian religion in one more quotation from Einstein himself: In this sense I am religious. But I prefer not to call myself religious because it is misleading. It is destructively misleading because, for the vast majority of people, 'religion' implies 'supernatural'. Carl Sagan put it well: This God is emotionally unsatisfying. Sheen, a professor at the Catholic University of America, as part of a fierce attack upon Einstein's disavowal of a personal God.
Sheen sarcastically asked whether anyone would be prepared to lay down his life for the Milky Way. Nevertheless, I wish that physicists would refrain from using the word God in their special metaphorical sense. The metaphorical or pantheistic God of the physicists is light years away from the interventionist, miraclewreaking, thought-reading, sin-punishing, prayer-answering God of the Bible, of priests, mullahs and rabbis, and of ordinary language.
Deliberately to confuse the two is, in my opinion, an act of intellectual high treason. That is why I needed to get Einsteinian religion out of the way to begin with: In the rest of this book I am talking only about supernatural gods, of which the most familiar to the majority of my readers will be Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament. I shall come to him in a moment. But before leaving this preliminary chapter I need to deal with one more matter that would otherwise bedevil the whole book.
This time it is a matter of etiquette. It is possible that religious readers will be offended by what I have to say, and will find in these pages insufficient respect for their own particular beliefs if not the beliefs that others treasure. It would be a shame if such offence prevented them from reading on, so I want to sort it out here, at the outset. A widespread assumption, which nearly everybody in our society accepts - the non-religious included - is that religious faith is especially vulnerable to offence and should be protected by an abnormally thick wall of respect, in a different class from the respect that any human being should pay to any other.
Douglas Adams put it so well, in an impromptu speech made in Cambridge shortly before his death, 5 that I never tire of sharing his words: What it means is, 'Here is an idea or a notion that you're not allowed to say anything bad about; you're just not.
Why not? If somebody thinks taxes should go up or down you are free to have an argument about it. But on the other hand if somebody says 'I mustn't move a light switch on a Saturday', you say, 'I respect that'. Why should it be that it's perfectly legitimate to support the Labour party or the Conservative party, Republicans or Democrats, this model of economics versus that,.
Macintosh instead of Windows - but to have an opinion about how the Universe began, about who created the Universe. We are used to not challenging religious ideas but it's very interesting how much of a furore Richard creates when he does it! Everybody gets absolutely frantic about it because you're not allowed to say these things. Yet when you look at it rationally there is no reason why those ideas shouldn't be as open to debate as any other, except that we have agreed somehow between us that they shouldn't be.
Here's a particular example of our society's overweening respect for religion, one that really matters. By far the easiest grounds for gaining conscientious objector status in wartime are religious. You can be a brilliant moral philosopher with a prizewinning doctoral thesis expounding the evils of war, and still be given a hard time by a draft board evaluating your claim to be a conscientious objector.
Yet if you can say that one or both of your parents is a Quaker you sail through like a breeze, no matter how inarticulate and illiterate you may be on the theory of pacifism or, indeed, Quakerism itself.
At the opposite end of the spectrum from pacifism, we have a pusillanimous reluctance to use religious names for warring factions. The very word 'religions' is bowdlerized to 'communities', as in 'intercommunity warfare'.
Iraq, as a consequence of the Anglo-American invasion of , degenerated into sectarian civil war between Sunni and Shia Muslims. Clearly a religious conflict - yet in the Independent of 20 May the front-page headline and first leading article both described it as 'ethnic cleansing'. What we are seeing in Iraq is religious cleansing. The original usage of 'ethnic cleansing' in the former Yugoslavia is also arguably a euphemism for religious cleansing, involving Orthodox Serbs, Catholic Croats and Muslim Bosnians.
I'm not suggesting that we should go out of our way to censor the views of these people. But why does our society beat a path to their door, as though they had some expertise comparable to that of, say, a moral philosopher, a family lawyer or a doctor? Here's another weird example of the privileging of religion. On 21 February the United States Supreme Court ruled that a church in New Mexico should be exempt from the law, which everybody else has to obey, against the taking of hallucinogenic drugs.
Note that it is sufficient that they believe that the drug enhances their understanding. They do not have to produce evidence.
Conversely, there is plenty of evidence that cannabis eases the nausea and discomfort of cancer sufferers undergoing chemotherapy. Yet the Supreme Court ruled, in , that all patients who use cannabis for medicinal purposes are vulnerable to federal prosecution even in the minority of states where such specialist use is legalized. Religion, as ever, is the trump card. Imagine members of an art appreciation society pleading in court that they 'believe' they need a hallucinogenic drug in order to enhance their understanding of Impressionist or Surrealist paintings.
Yet, when a church claims an equivalent need, it is backed by the highest court in the land. Such is the power of religion as a talisman.
Seventeen years ago, I was one of thirty-six writers and artists commissioned by the magazine New Statesman to write in support of the distinguished author Salman Rushdie,9 then under sentence of death for writing a novel. Incensed by the 'sympathy' for Muslim 'hurt' and 'offence' expressed by Christian leaders and even some secular opinion-formers, I drew the following parallel: If the advocates of apartheid had their wits about them they would claim - for all I know truthfully - that allowing mixed races is against their religion.
A good part of. And it is no use claiming that this is an unfair parallel because apartheid has no rational justification. The whole point of religious faith, its strength and chief glory, is that it does not depend on rational justification.
The rest of us are expected to defend our prejudices. But ask a religious person to justify their faith and you infringe 'religious liberty'. Little did I know that something pretty similar would come to pass in the twenty-first century. The Los Angeles Times 10 April reported that numerous Christian groups on campuses around the United States were suing their universities for enforcing anti-discrimination rules, including prohibitions against harassing or abusing homosexuals.
As a typical example, in James Nixon, a twelve-year-old boy in Ohio, won the right in court to wear a T-shirt to school bearing the words 'Homosexuality is a sin, Islam is a lie, abortion is murder. Some issues are just black and white! The parents might have had a conscionable case if they had based it on the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech.
But they didn't: But hate only has to prove it is religious, and it no longer counts as hate. So, instead of freedom of speech, the Nixons' lawyers appealed to the constitutional right to freedom of religion. Their victorious lawsuit was supported by the Alliance Defense Fund of Arizona, whose business it is to 'press the legal battle for religious freedom'. The Reverend Rick Scarborough, supporting the wave of similar Christian lawsuits brought to establish religion as a legal justification for discrimination against homosexuals and other groups, has named it the civil rights struggle of the twenty-first century: But that isn't what it is about.
The legal case in favour of discrimination against homosexuals is being mounted as a counter-suit against alleged religious discrimination! And the law seems to respect this. Yet again, religion trumps all. I'll end the chapter with a particular case study, which tellingly illuminates society's exaggerated respect for religion, over and above ordinary human respect.
The case flared up in February - a ludicrous episode, which veered wildly between the extremes of comedy and tragedy. The previous September, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published twelve cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad. Over the next three months, indignation was carefully and systematically nurtured throughout the Islamic world by a small group of Muslims living in Denmark, led by two imams who had been granted sanctuary there.
The dossier contained falsehoods about alleged maltreatment of Muslims in Denmark, and the tendentious lie that Jyllands-Posten was a government-run newspaper. It also contained the twelve cartoons which, crucially, the imams had supplemented with three additional images whose origin was mysterious but which certainly had no connection with Denmark.
Unlike the original twelve, these three add-ons were genuinely offensive - or would have been if they had, as the zealous propagandists alleged, depicted Muhammad. A particularly damaging one of these three was not a cartoon at all but a faxed photograph of a bearded man wearing a fake pig's snout held on with elastic.
It has subsequently turned out that this was an Associated Press photograph of a Frenchman entered for a pigsquealing contest at a country fair in France. But the Muslim activists, on their mischief-stirring hike to Cairo, implied all three connections.. The carefully cultivated 'hurt' and 'offence' was brought to an explosive head five months after the twelve cartoons were originally published. Demonstrators in Pakistan and Indonesia burned Danish flags where did they get them from?
France and even the United States but. Demonstrators were photographed in Britain bearing banners saying 'Slay those who insult Islam'.
Sir Iqbal Sacranie. One Christian was put inside a rubber tyre. As Germaine Greer wrote. Apologize for what? They didn't draw the cartoons. Muslim protesters against the Danish cartoons burned down several Christian churches. Christian churches in Pakistan. In the aftermath of all this. Newspapers in Norway. Danish citizens and.
The god delusion - Richard Dawkins.pdf
Westerners generally. Demolition is on its way' and. In Nigeria. Nine people were killed when Libyan rioters attacked and burned the Italian consulate in Benghazi. Sacranie told Mueller how. Danish goods were boycotted. Embassies and consulates were trashed. Danes just live in a country with a free press.
Sacranie explained that 'The person of the Prophet.
In the meantime. If people wish to love a 7th century preacher more than their own families. Except that if you don't take it seriously and accord it proper respect you are physically threatened. In response to all this frenzied pandemonium. There is also an Islamic teaching that one does not depict the Prophet. Islam and the west are fundamentally irreconcilable. One can't help wondering why such violence is necessary.
That is part of the faith. It goes beyond your parents. Mueller was concerned too. At a demonstration in Pakistan against the Danish cartoons. All politicians must get used to disrespectful cartoons of their faces. I am not in favour of offending or hurting anyone just for the sake of it.
But at the same time they expressed 'respect' and 'sympathy' for the deep 'offence' and 'hurt' that Muslims had 'suffered'. The 'hurt' and 'suffering' consisted. I shall not go out of my way to offend. But I am intrigued and mystified by the disproportionate privileging of religion in our otherwise secular societies. What is so special about religion that we grant it such uniquely privileged respect?
Mencken said: Zeus or Wotan. To be fair. Instead I shall define the God Hypothesis more defensibly: Could anything be more mawkishly nauseating than Mrs C. Those of us schooled from infancy in his ways can become desensitized to their horror. Winston Churchill's son Randolph somehow contrived to remain ignorant of scripture until Evelyn Waugh and a brother officer. This book will advocate an alternative view: A naif blessed with the perspective of innocence has a clearer perception.
He has never read any of it before and is hideously excited. Creative intelligences. The God Hypothesis should not stand or fall with its most unlovely instantiation.
I am not attacking the particular qualities of Yahweh. Not surprisingly, since it is founded on local traditions of private revelation rather than evidence, the God Hypothesis comes in many versions. Historians of religion recognize a progression from primitive tribal animisms, through polytheisms such as those of the Greeks, Romans and Norsemen, to monotheisms such as Judaism and its derivatives, Christianity and Islam.
But it widely is - an assumption that provoked Ibn Warraq author of Why I Am Not a Muslim wittily to conjecture that monotheism is in its turn doomed to subtract one more god and become atheism. The Catholic Encyclopedia dismisses polytheism and atheism in the same insouciant breath: Nor can polytheism, however easily it may take hold of the popular imagination, ever satisfy the mind of a philosopher. It was my ambition to persuade a member of Britain's respected Hindu community to come forward and bring a civil action to test this snobbish discrimination against polytheism.
Far better, of course, would be to abandon the promotion of religion altogether as grounds for charitable status. The benefits of this to society would be great, especially in the United States, where the sums of tax-free money sucked in by churches, and polishing the heels of already well-heeled televangelists, reach levels that could fairly be described as obscene.
Almost unbelievably, it worked. Their work will exceed yours, and in this I am well pleased. His polytheism isn't really polytheism but monotheism in disguise. There is only one God - Lord Brahma the creator, Lord Vishnu the preserver, Lord Shiva the destroyer, the goddesses Saraswati, Laxmi and Parvati wives of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva , Lord Ganesh the elephant god, and hundreds of others, all are just different manifestations or incarnations of the one God.
Christians should warm to such sophistry.
The God Delusion Richard Dawkins Bantam Press, 2006
Rivers of medieval ink, not to mention blood, have been squandered over the 'mystery' of the Trinity, and in suppressing deviations such as the Arian heresy. Arius of Alexandria, in the fourth century AD, denied that Jesus was consubstantial i. What on earth could that possibly mean, you are probably asking? What 'substance'? What exactly do you mean by 'essence'? Yet the controversy split Christendom down the middle for a century, and the Emperor Constantine ordered that all copies of Arius's book should be burned.
Splitting Christendom by splitting hairs - such has ever been the way of theology. Do we have one God in three parts, or three Gods in one? The Catholic Encyclopedia clears up the matter for us, in a masterpiece of theological close reasoning: In the unity of the Godhead there are three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, these Three Persons being truly distinct one from another.
Thus, in the words of the Athanasian Creed: As if that were not clear enough, the Encyclopedia quotes the thirdcentury theologian St Gregory the Miracle Worker: There is therefore nothing created, nothing subject to another in the Trinity: Whatever miracles may have earned St Gregory his nickname, they were not miracles of honest lucidity.
His words convey the characteristically obscurantist flavour of theology, which - unlike science or most other branches of human scholarship - has not moved on in eighteen centuries. Thomas Jefferson, as so often, got it right when he said, 'Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions.
Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus. Perhaps it is the very fact that there is no evidence to support theological opinions, either way, that fosters the characteristic draconian hostility towards those of slightly different opinion, especially, as it happens, in this very field of Trinitarianism.
Jefferson heaped ridicule on the doctrine that, as he put it, 'There are three Gods', in his critique of Calvinism. But it is especially the Roman Catholic branch of Christianity that pushes its recurrent flirtation with polytheism towards runaway inflation. The Trinity is are?
The pantheon is further swollen by an army of saints, whose intercessory power makes them, if not demigods, well worth approaching on their own specialist subjects. The Catholic Community Forum helpfully lists 5, saints,18 together with their areas of expertise, which include abdominal pains, abuse victims,. And we mustn't forget the four Choirs of Angelic Hosts, arrayed in nine orders: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels heads of all hosts , and just plain old Angels, including our closest friends, the ever-watchful Guardian Angels.
What impresses me about Catholic mythology is partly its tasteless kitsch but mostly the airy nonchalance with which these people make up the details as they go along.
It is just shamelessly invented. Pope John Paul II created more saints than all his predecessors of the past several centuries put together, and he had a special affinity with the Virgin Mary.
His polytheistic hankerings were dramatically demonstrated in when he suffered an assassination attempt in Rome, and attributed his survival to intervention by Our Lady of Fatima: Others might think the team of surgeons who operated on him for six hours deserved at least a share of the credit; but perhaps their hands, too, were maternally guided.
The relevant point is that it wasn't just Our Lady who, in the Pope's opinion, guided the bullet, but specifically Our Lady of Fatima. How did the Greeks, the Romans and the Vikings cope with such polytheological conundrums?
Was Venus just another name for Aphrodite, or were they two distinct goddesses of love? Was Thor with his hammer a manifestation of Wotan, or a separate god?
Who cares? Life is too short to bother with the distinction between one figment of the imagination and many. Having gestured towards polytheism to cover myself against a charge of neglect, I shall say no more about it.
For brevity I shall refer to all deities, whether poly- or monotheistic, as simply 'God'. I am also conscious that the Abrahamic God is to put it mildly aggressively male, and this too I shall accept as a convention in my use of pronouns. More sophisticated theologians proclaim the sexlessness of God, while.
But what, after all, is the difference between a non-existent female and a non-existent male? I suppose that, in the ditzily unreal intersection of theology and feminism, existence might indeed be a less salient attribute than gender.
I am aware that critics of religion can be attacked for failing to credit the fertile diversity of traditions and world-views that have been called religious. Read such books and marvel at the richness of human gullibility. But that is not the way of this book. I decry supernaturalism in all its forms, and the most effective way to proceed will be to concentrate on the form most likely to be familiar to my readers - the form that impinges most threateningly on all our societies.
Most of my readers will have been reared in one or another of today's three 'great' monotheistic religions four if you count Mormonism , all of which trace themselves back to the mythological patriarch Abraham, and it will be convenient to keep this family of traditions in mind throughout the rest of the book.
This is as good a moment as any to forestall an inevitable retort to the book, one that would otherwise - as sure as night follows day - turn up in a review: I don't believe in an old man in the sky with a long white beard. Indeed, the distraction is worse than irrelevant. Its very silliness is calculated to distract attention from the fact that what the speaker really believes is not a whole lot less silly.
I know you don't believe in an old bearded man sitting on a cloud, so let's not waste any more time on that. I am not attacking any particular version of God or gods. I am attacking God, all gods, anything and everything supernatural, wherever and whenever they have been or will be invented. From a barbaric Bronze Age text known as the Old Testament, three anti-human religions have evolved - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
These are sky-god religions. They are, literally, patriarchal - God is the Omnipotent Father - hence the loathing of women for 2, years in those countries afflicted by the sky-god and his earthly male delegates. The oldest of the three Abrahamic religions, and the clear ancestor of the other two, is Judaism: During the Roman occupation of Palestine, Christianity was founded by Paul of Tarsus as a less ruthlessly monotheistic sect of Judaism and a less exclusive one, which looked outwards from the Jews to the rest of the world.
Several centuries later, Muhammad and his followers reverted to the uncompromising monotheism of the Jewish original, but not its exclusiveness, and founded Islam upon a new holy book, the Koran or Qur'an, adding a powerful ideology of military conquest to spread the faith.
Christianity, too, was spread by the sword, wielded first by Roman hands after the Emperor Constantine raised it from eccentric cult to official religion, then by the Crusaders, and later by the conquistadores and other European invaders and colonists, with missionary accompaniment.
For most of my purposes, all three Abrahamic religions can be treated as indistinguishable. Unless otherwise stated, I shall have Christianity mostly in mind, but only because it is the version with which I happen to be most familiar. For my purposes the differences matter less than the similarities.
And I shall not be concerned at all with other religions such as Buddhism or Confucianism. Indeed, there is something to be said for treating these not as.
The simple definition of the God Hypothesis with which I began has to be substantially fleshed out if it is to accommodate the Abrahamic God. He not only created the universe; he is a personal God dwelling within it, or perhaps outside it whatever that might mean , possessing the unpleasantly human qualities to which I have alluded.
Personal qualities, whether pleasant or unpleasant, form no part of the deist god of Voltaire and Thomas Paine. Compared with the Old Testament's psychotic delinquent, the deist God of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment is an altogether grander being: The deist God is a physicist to end all physics, the alpha and omega of mathematicians, the apotheosis of designers; a hyper-engineer who set up the laws and constants of the universe, fine-tuned them with exquisite precision and foreknowledge, detonated what we would now call the hot big bang, retired and was never heard from again.
In times of stronger faith, deists have been reviled as indistinguishable from atheists. Susan Jacoby, in Freethinkers: Paine died in penury, abandoned with the honourable exception of Jefferson by political former friends embarrassed by his anti-Christian views.
Nowadays, the ground has shifted so far that deists are more likely to be contrasted with atheists and lumped with theists. They do, after all, believe in a supreme intelligence who created the universe. No doubt many of them were,. Certainly their writings on religion in their own time leave me in no doubt that most of them would have been atheists in ours. I must believe in A. But like any powerful weapon. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position percent.
If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue. I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person. But whatever their individual religious views in their own time. There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And l a m even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate.
The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of conservatism.
Another suggestion stems from the observation that America is a nation of immigrants. The paradox has often been noted that the United States. The opening words of this quotation would cause uproar in today's Washington ascendancy. Yet Ed Buckner has convincingly demonstrated that they caused no dissent at the time. There is no doubt that many Americans see their own local church as an important unit of identity.
It is an interesting idea. Yet another hypothesis is that the religiosity of America stems paradoxically from the secularism of its constitution. As the Government of the United States of America is not. Contrary to their view. Precisely because America is legally secular. I am continually asked why this is. U S I O N version of history.
I suppose it is possible that England has wearied of religion after an appalling history of interfaith violence. A colleague points out to me that immigrants. What works for soap flakes works for God. This tea-drinking. He wouldn't break into an existential sweat or press you against a wall to ask if you were saved.
Whether or not it is right to embrace the paradox and blame the secular constitution that they devised. Fraser goes on to say that 'the nice country vicar in effect inoculated vast swaths of the English against Christianity'. He ends his article by lamenting a more recent trend in the Church of England to take religion seriously again. In England. Fraser's article is subtitled 'The establishment of the Church of England took God out of religion. There was a time when the country vicar was a staple of the English dramatis personae.
This English tradition is nicely expressed by Giles Fraser. The genie of religious fanaticism is rampant in present-day America. Rival churches compete for congregations. Question with boldness even the existence of a. I am satisfied. To say that the human soul. Peter Carr. I cannot reason otherwise. Might they have been agnostics or even out-and-out atheists?
The following statement of Jefferson is indistinguishable from what we would now call agnosticism: To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings. As to whether he was an atheist. Christopher Hitchens. Author of America. Fix reason firmly in her seat.
But as he had written to his nephew. But it is tantalizing to speculate that at least some of the Founders might have gone beyond deism..
Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices. This is one nation under God. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced! I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens. But how has it happened that millions of fables.
All the Founding Fathers. What has been its fruits? More or less. T almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved. That gives the measure of the prejudice and discrimination that American atheists have to endure today. So is James Madison's robust anticlericalism: Remarks of Jefferson's such as 'Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man' are compatible with deism but also with atheism.
The first police officer to whom he spoke asked. This one said that if any of the faith-healer's supporters violently confronted Mills. He was finally connected to a sergeant who said. Mills decided to try his luck with a second police officer. Mills relates that he spoke to about seven or eight policemen that day. As I said in the Preface. American atheists far outnumber religious Jews. Reasonably enough. Mills decided to organize a peaceful demonstration to warn people.
Mills went home and tried telephoning the police station. None of them was helpful. Among other things. I hope somebody bloodies you up good. What might American atheists achieve if they organized themselves properly?
A Christian faith-healer ran a 'Miracle Crusade' which came to Mills's home town once a year. When Mills replied. Free Inquiry Let's start punching our weight. No policeman wants to protect a goddamned atheist. Editor of Free Inquiry. Atheists in America are more numerous than most people realize. But he made the mistake of going to the police to tell them of his intention and ask for police protection against possible attacks from supporters of the faith-healer. I am a Buddhist!
It is universally accepted that an admission of atheism would be instant political suicide for any presidential candidate. Whether they were atheists. They would have been drawn instead to the secularist founding fathers of postcolonial India. There are members of the House of Representatives and members of the Senate. Almost always it seemed to stand for blind belief and reaction. They must have lied. These facts about today's political climate in the United States.
I am a Christian. Who can blame them. I am a Jew. The spectacle of what is called religion. It is just bullshit!
Or was there another reason for his reaction? Perhaps he was afraid. I know there are atheist professors in Morocco who are compelled to pretend to be Muslim in front of their students.
But I doubt this was the case here, because I think his reaction would probably have been calmer and more poised. In spite of this early chance encounter, my respect and admiration for Richard Dawkins really date from when I first read The God Delusion, in Arabic.
I began to seek out his articles, and his documentaries on YouTube. Even though I was by then already a freethinker, free from religious dogma, the book touched me deeply and had a profound influence on the shaping of my thoughts and ideas.
The more I read the more I felt that I had a deep agreement with the author, and even a personal connection, as though the book had been written by somebody I knew closely. I felt as if he was speaking my inner thoughts and doubts.
It was an important milestone in my intellectual journey to freedom, and as big a milestone in my personal life. I come from a conservative religious family. Paradoxically, this intensive study of my faith was one of the biggest contributing factors to my abandonment of it. The name Richard Dawkins, along with those of other great thinkers, became synonymous to me with rationality and freedom of thought.
I admired the concepts of free thought and expression, concepts that Western writers and their readers take for granted but which are taboos and even crimes in the world I came from. Even today, long after leaving the Arab world behind, the name Richard Dawkins brings the same feeling of compulsive fear, almost like a post-traumatic stress disorder.NOMA-style appeasement will surface again in a later chapter.
As I shall argue in a moment. But there is also a deeply inescapable kind of fence-sitting. Let us. There is also an Islamic teaching that one does not depict the Prophet.
Among other things.