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A Review of
Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion Part V
Sept 7, 2007, Wausau, Wi — So far, in my
review of Richard Dawkins’, “The God Delusion” I have showed how Dawkins’
arguments in the first chapter of his book concerning religion in general and
Christianity in particular are seriously flawed. In chapter two Dawkins turns
to the more specific question of God.
the chapter with what can at best be characterized as a stereotypical rant,
“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all
the fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, and unjust, unforgiving
control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; misogynistic,
homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential,
megalomaniac, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”
The main justification
that Dawkins’ gives for this statement is that Winston Churchill’s son,
Randolph, came to a similar conclusion when he read the Old Testament for the
first time while in the army.
result, his views were not based on any serious in depth understanding of the
text. No attempt was made to put any of
the books into an historical context. No
attempt was made to put the books into any cultural context. There was simply a superficial reading.
goes on to write that, “It is unfair to attack such an easy target.” The reason
it is so easy is that what Dawkins has done here is to create a strawman view
of god that he can then easily knock down, not an accurate depiction of God based
on any scholarly analysis of the text.
goes on from this to state his alternative to god, “any creative intelligence,
of sufficient complexity to design anything, comes into existence only as the
end product of an extended process of gradual evolution.” His alternative is a
little confusing because it seems to be, not an alternative to god, but a
reason why a god could not exist. But
even as a reason why a god could not exist, it still does not make very much
sense because it is based on the premise that a god would be a part of the
universe and therefore that would need to evolve. But a god who created the universe could not
be part of the created universe without falling into the absurdity of self
Dawkins goes on to expand the view of religion that sees progress from “primitive
tribal animisms, and, through Polytheisms such as those of the Greeks, Romans
and Norsemen, to monotheisms such as Judaism and its derivatives, Christianity
and Islam.” (pg 32) While this seems like a nice neat theory that fits Dawkins
bias to see evolution everywhere, as I discuss in my book, Evidence for the Bible, if anything the opposite is
true. Monotheism seems to devolve into
polytheism, and the tendency would seem to be to create more gods, not fewer.
Even in modern times, as Western civilization as moved away from Christianity,
God has been replaced by many other things, wealth, fame, country, science,
nature. Now even in science there are those pushing the concept of Gaia or
Dawkins purports to discuss polytheism at this point, instead, he quickly
switches to ridiculing the Trinity. That
his discussion of the Trinity occurs in the section on polytheism shows once
again the superficiality with which Dawkins approach religion. After quoting a passage from St. Gregory,
Dawkins takes one of his characteristic swipes at religion, saying “his words
convey a characteristically obscurantist flavor of theology, which – unlike
science or most other branches of human scholarship – has not moved on in 18
problem with this is that there was nothing particularly obscure in St.
Gregory’s discussion of the Trinity.
That Dawkins finds it obscured is simply more evidence of his
superficiality. Anyone, reading a
technical discussion in a field of study where they are not familiar with the
key issues, problems, or terminology, is likely to find that discussion
claim that theology has not “moved on in 18 centuries” is equally as
false. Sure the basic doctrines such as
God, Jesus Christ, and salvation, have not changed. But why should they? If scientists 18 centuries from now still
believe in gravity will that be a reason to reject science because it is not
moved on? On the other hand, to say
there has been no development in theology in the last 18 centuries is simply
just in the last hundred years there’s been tremendous development in our
understanding of the Bible, as our understanding of Biblical languages,
archaeology, and history have improved.
Granted, these have not challenged the foundations of our faith, and in
fact if anything, have strengthened them, has they have demonstrated the
reliability of the Bible, and have refuted most of the arguments put forth by
critics such as Dawkins, which is perhaps why Dawkins ignores these
closes the section on polytheism by attempting to forestall the criticism that
the god Dawkins is attacking is not the God that Christians believe in. His response is that all notions of god are
silly and that he is “attacking god, all gods, anything and everything
supernatural, wherever and whenever they have been or will be invented.”
is a bold and sweeping claim, it does not match the actual arguments in the
book. It would be like claiming you are
refuting all of science, when all of your argument relate to alchemy. Likewise Dawkins’ arguments fall short.
This is Elgin Hushbeck,
asking you to Consider
Faith Based on Fact.
See www.consider.org for additional information.
The book and press materials are available upon request.
To schedule an interview with Elgin Hushbeck, Jr.
contact Aletheia at 715-849-8328