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Richard Dawkins and religion

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It is a perfectly healthy situation to not give a damn about religiosity in youth, it is really a matter that should only be attended to at later stages of life. Needless to say, the arrogance of youth insists they will know exactly what their attitude will be at any given age, no matter how many decades ahead that may be, and can forecast reliably that they won't be thinking any different than they do now ! But such conceits are forgiveable in the young, it is merely a reflection of how the human psyche has evolved over millions of years, to only move on to deeper matters when the more pressing concerns of becoming established in the world have been attended to. This truth is manifested in the commonplace 'resistance' among the young to the notion that there could be a kernel of deep truth in the religious traditions, a tendency that an old fraud like Dawkins is only too happy to cash in on.

So you wouldn't be willing to test your faith by reading his books?

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So you wouldn't be willing to test your faith by reading his books?

I have no particular interest in hearing about his theories about the nuts and bolts of evolution. I accept evolution as a fact, but any science pertaining it, or any science for that matter, has no bearing on what may lie on the "other side". And the other side definitely exists, from my own experiences. And I believe it completely inpenetrable to the faculties of reason and its "how and why". It calls you, you don't call it, and as long as you insist wilfully you know better, it will never call.

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I have no particular interest in hearing about his theories about the nuts and bolts of evolution. I accept evolution as a fact, but any science pertaining it, or any science for that matter, has no bearing on what may lie on the "other side". And the other side definitely exists, from my own experiences. And I believe it completely inpenetrable to the faculties of reason and its "how and why". It calls you, you don't call it, and as long as you insist wilfully you know better, it will never call.

Ah there's reconciliation in this argument, I've never had such a calling but I'm open to one when it does. Much like the feeling of love, many people claim they've never felt it or that it doesn't exist, but when it hits, you know it.

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Ah there's reconciliation in this argument, I've never had such a calling but I'm open to one when it does. Much like the feeling of love, many people claim they've never felt it or that it doesn't exist, but when it hits, you know it.

Presumably you mean the feeling of being "in-love" romantically, if any-one when asked about whether they are "in-love" with someone expresses uncertainty, you know they are not, and indeed never have been, " in love" with anyone ! A form of all-consuming madness it may be, but it leaves you beyond instruction as to what it means to be "in love".

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This is at least partly the reason he bangs on about it. There is a substantial sector of the population that resents being pushed into religious settings, they are typically young, and not unreasonably, are more interested in life before death, than life after death !

Maybe because life after death hasn't even remotely been proven. Even NDE's can't be trusted as any kind of proof as true death doesn't begin until decomposition sets in.......you know....the point of no return!

People will come to religion when they are good and ready, like an animal will drink when it is thirsty, not because someone tells them to "hydrate" because it is good for them. These people are attracted to anti-religionist propaganda, but only if they still feel "pressure" from others to participate in organized religion. Otherwise they couldn't care less what some "authority" like Dawkins has to say about religious belief.

As a life long atheist (that intends to stay that way because I'll never be good and ready), I betcha I can go longer without religious belief than I can go without a drink of water......

A belief in god is OK if it works for them, but religion is losing out to some in the younger crowd that rightly sees all the negativity, the intolerance, hatred, and the bigotry that only something like organized religion can offer.

What a turn-off!

To them, god without religion works!

It doesn't take a book or a debate by Richard Dawkins to show them this.......

Edited by Euphorbia

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I find it somewhat funny and also a little sad that when people talk about Richard Dawkins they talk as if he only has one book,
The God Delusion.

The Selfish Gene

The Extended Phenotype

The Blind Watchmaker

River Out of Eden

Climbing Mount Improbable

Unweaving the Rainbow

A Devil's Chaplain

The Ancestor's Tale

The God Delusion

The Greatest Show on Earth

The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True

Out of 11 books, only 1 is about religion.

But The God Delusion is the only one that most people have heard about, that gets them excited, that makes them foam at the mouth and bash each other over the head with their handbags...

If I was him I'd cynically try to work the word 'God' into the title of my next book too, just to keeping stirring the pot and tringing those cash registers.

Edited by Golly Buster

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Everyone needs a "why", there are no exceptions to that rule,

You've always struck me as a relatively bright fella, which is why I find the above comment a little surprising. We often read posts on here that make comments such as "Christians are all ........" (insert gross generalisation). Others can get offended by that and point out, quite rightly, that no one can make such sweeping statements and truly believe they apply to all.

But that's what you've just done. I think if you could develop an ability to see the world through others' eyes you would better understand what they say.

'Needing a why' is absolutely not a rule. It may apply to you, but it's an error to extrapolate that to an assumption that everybody sees it the way you do.

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You've always struck me as a relatively bright fella, which is why I find the above comment a little surprising. We often read posts on here that make comments such as "Christians are all ........" (insert gross generalisation). Others can get offended by that and point out, quite rightly, that no one can make such sweeping statements and truly believe they apply to all.

But that's what you've just done. I think if you could develop an ability to see the world through others' eyes you would better understand what they say.

'Needing a why' is absolutely not a rule. It may apply to you, but it's an error to extrapolate that to an assumption that everybody sees it the way you do.

Perhaps I should have put it this way, everyone needs a reason to get out of bed in the morning, those reasons can be divided into "carrot" and "stick" categories. It is when the "carrots" become less appetising that people start searching about for more meaningful rewards, and the religious sensibility fills the void for some. People's interests tend to narrow as they age, according to how experience has taught them about what matters, they are less interested in froth and bubble and more taken with that which lasts, and the mystery of the eternal realm beckons.

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Perhaps I should have put it this way, everyone needs a reason to get out of bed in the morning, those reasons can be divided into "carrot" and "stick" categories. It is when the "carrots" become less appetising that people start searching about for more meaningful rewards, and the religious sensibility fills the void for some. People's interests tend to narrow as they age, according to how experience has taught them about what matters, they are less interested in froth and bubble and more taken with that which lasts, and the mystery of the eternal realm beckons.

That's better, I suppose. I'm not sure that people are more likely to look for god (for want of a better phrase) as they get older. But if this is the case, it may just as well be an increasing awareness of one's own mortality that is the driver for this. In this case, the search for the eternal is a "carrot". I fit your category, but I don't find I have any increasing need to ask the "why" question. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem that some might do so - but I don't think it applies to enough people to consider it a rule.

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“The first half of life is devoted to forming a healthy ego, the second half is going inward and letting go of it.”

C.G. Jung

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“The first half of life is devoted to forming a healthy ego, the second half is going inward and letting go of it.”

C.G. Jung

While this quote may be entirely true, it doesn't mean that god and religion are always what you find when you go inward and let go. A lot of people lose their religion at that point. When my grandmother was dying she actually became completely disenchanted with religion after being a life long Roman catholic. First she started to seek out other religions, well other forms of christianity. She always wanted me to read from the bible for her at night and then have a almost rabbinical school debate about what we read. She told me she thought christians missed out on true understanding because instead of debating what they read like in the Jewish religion they take a do not question approach. The funny thing is that is what I used to say when I was child. I actually used to love to sneak a listen to the heated debates of rabbinical students when I was little and she told me it was a strange pastime for a 5-year-old girl. Anyway, one day she would not eat and my mother called me because she would usually give in to what I wanted. She told me Jesus was comming to take her away that day and there was no need to eat anymore. She just wanted me to read from the bible for her. So after about an hour of reading and debating, she looked frightened and I asked her what was wrong. She said, "I was wrong, it's not Jesus." and she died. Who knows what she thought she saw that day, but it made me very sad that whatever it was it scared her right before she died.

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Dawkins doesn't like things he doesn't understand...

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While this quote may be entirely true, it doesn't mean that god and religion are always what you find when you go inward and let go. A lot of people lose their religion at that point. When my grandmother was dying she actually became completely disenchanted with religion after being a life long Roman catholic. First she started to seek out other religions, well other forms of christianity. She always wanted me to read from the bible for her at night and then have a almost rabbinical school debate about what we read. She told me she thought christians missed out on true understanding because instead of debating what they read like in the Jewish religion they take a do not question approach. The funny thing is that is what I used to say when I was child. I actually used to love to sneak a listen to the heated debates of rabbinical students when I was little and she told me it was a strange pastime for a 5-year-old girl. Anyway, one day she would not eat and my mother called me because she would usually give in to what I wanted. She told me Jesus was comming to take her away that day and there was no need to eat anymore. She just wanted me to read from the bible for her. So after about an hour of reading and debating, she looked frightened and I asked her what was wrong. She said, "I was wrong, it's not Jesus." and she died. Who knows what she thought she saw that day, but it made me very sad that whatever it was it scared her right before she died.

Whoever said organized religion ( of any kind) is an external rationalization of true religion, which is internal and irrational, was right, imo. No-one should imagine that this trivializes true religion, it is the acme of personal evolution, and maybe even the height of biological and cosmic evolution, to ascend from the primordial to touch the divine.

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He's figured out that it sells books. It's sorta become his 'thing' now.

Not only that, but there exists plenty of scientific evidence in reinforcement for his claims. The amount of credible, highly reputable sources that he cites is outstanding. His books are very entertaining, and informative.

As for the individual claiming that others "foam at the mouth" when they hear of The God Delusion, that is simply not true; well, for me anyway. I foam at the mouth when I hear The Greatest Show on Earth, and Climbing Mount Improbable. The God Delusion is the most overrated, and most-publicized of his works.

Edited by Alienated Being

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It is amazing that millenia of wisdom literature of a distinctly religious flavour is superceded by the "wisdom" of twenty-somethings. So it has always been. The old joke about the young guy who noticed his parents getting smarter as he progressed through his twenties is apposite. Wise heads on young shoulders are a rare commodity.

Generations will always criticise eachother and dismiss what that other generation has to say. You probably did it when you were a kid, and you're still doing it now that you feel older and wiser. You're not the only one to do so and it's a mechanism: this way you can go through your entire life feeling like the one with the most wisdom. Just some food for thought...

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Generations will always criticise eachother and dismiss what that other generation has to say. You probably did it when you were a kid, and you're still doing it now that you feel older and wiser. You're not the only one to do so and it's a mechanism: this way you can go through your entire life feeling like the one with the most wisdom. Just some food for thought...

A little bit of poison more like it, I was far from confident or self-assured as a young person, the very antithesis of the 20 year olds who imagine they know everything worth knowing.

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Some here might be interested in Rupert sheldrake's book "the science delusion" in the uk, "science set free" in the us. That is unless you are worried your scienceism might be challenged ;)

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Religion: Here is to keeping us in the dark ages.

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Some here might be interested in Rupert sheldrake's book "the science delusion" in the uk, "science set free" in the us. That is unless you are worried your scienceism might be challenged ;)

I am not worried so much about how my scientific views may be skewed, rather I am worried about whether or not it would be filled with pseudo-scientific bull****.

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I am not worried so much about how my scientific views may be skewed, rather I am worried about whether or not it would be filled with pseudo-scientific bull****.

Aaaaa so you sound just like the fundis now don't you? Plenty of excuses. ;)

I got news for you AB, your views are far from scientific :D

Edited by Seeker79

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Like many discussions. This one has gone in many directions. I'm just focusing on the original OP.

I can't speak for him. But based on what I've read and heard him say. He dislikes religion so much because he knows the natural world is much more mysterious, interesting, beautiful and compelling than the mythical world. Before anyone jumps in me again by saying religion isn't mythical. Look up the meaning. Religion fits it perfectly.

I also think he dislikes religion because he chooses not to ignore the dangers it can bring. No one can dispute that religion has done terrible things. I don't think there's any need for me to list them all. We all know its true even if we don't admit it. One can argue that not all religion is bad. But I argue that it all is. That's not saying all religious people are bad. On the contrary a majority are good. But they're all, even terrible people, are better than their religion. The worse people I can think of in history are better than most religious teachings and history. The reason is most people don't really fallow their own religions teaching. Just parts of it they like.

I also think he dislikes religion because he sees how it has and does get in the way of advances. History will tell you that when religion is in the front line of a society, advances are minimized. More wars unfold and so forth.

Just my opinion.

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Like many discussions. This one has gone in many directions. I'm just focusing on the original OP.

I can't speak for him. But based on what I've read and heard him say. He dislikes religion so much because he knows the natural world is much more mysterious, interesting, beautiful and compelling than the mythical world. Before anyone jumps in me again by saying religion isn't mythical. Look up the meaning. Religion fits it perfectly.

I also think he dislikes religion because he chooses not to ignore the dangers it can bring. No one can dispute that religion has done terrible things. I don't think there's any need for me to list them all. We all know its true even if we don't admit it. One can argue that not all religion is bad. But I argue that it all is. That's not saying all religious people are bad. On the contrary a majority are good. But they're all, even terrible people, are better than their religion. The worse people I can think of in history are better than most religious teachings and history. The reason is most people don't really fallow their own religions teaching. Just parts of it they like.

I also think he dislikes religion because he sees how it has and does get in the way of advances. History will tell you that when religion is in the front line of a society, advances are minimized. More wars unfold and so forth.

Just my opinion.

One of the more ridiculous rants I've read on this site. "The reason is most people don't really fallow (sic) their own religions teaching. Just parts of it they like" A bit like criminals who observe the laws they "like" but disregard the rest, do you think ? And that is the fault of the laws presumably ? Seems to me you are getting confused about a lot of things. There is no doubt that in many, even most wars, religious difference has been co-opted as a propaganda tool to emphasise the alien, outlandish nature of the enemy. But only one among many ways used to motivate and mobilise populations to make it easier to wage war. I invite you to explain how religion caused the wars of the last 100 years, or even were a minor contributory factor to them. You will have your work cut out imo.

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Are you seriously asking if religion played a huge part in the war we are now in? What do you think was on the minds if those that killed themselves and many other as they knew their lives were about to end as they headed toward the two towers? Or any terrorist act we've seen in recent years when the attacker knew they where going to die as they did it? Name one terrorist that didn't get the "courage" to do what they did if they didn't believe they'd receive special rewards for it in the after life (along with 40 virgins in some cases)? Do you think those acts still would have happened had they not had those religious beliefs of eternal bliss in the afterlife?

Edited by Magicjax

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You are in a war in Afghanistan that is being fought to preserve American prestige, a punitive expeditionary war to oust for as long as practicable a regime that hosted radical extremists that committed mass murder. They lodged there because they could, they were mainly Arabs with a professed desire to punish America for its interference in what they consider Arab lands. They are not interested in converting Americans to a different religion, nor are Americans interested in converting them to a different creed. Do you think if America had not sponsored Israel in the way it has, you would ever have heard of Bin Laden ? This conflict is far more entrenched in cultural differences than religion, but of course it is a point of difference and will be used to rally support. Essentially, though, it is not "about" religion at all, any more than the medieval crusades were, it was a clash of cultures and their spheres of influence. Is there any doubt in the opinion of Arab "street" that America has been partial in the conflict between Israel and its neighbours ? That is far and away the most important prime mover in conscripting support to radical Arab terrorism, as misguided as it seems to outsiders.

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Are you seriously asking if religion played a huge part in the war we are now in? What do you think was on the minds if those that killed themselves and many other as they knew their lives were about to end as they headed toward the two towers? Or any terrorist act we've seen in recent years when the attacker knew they where going to die as they did it? Name one terrorist that didn't get the "courage" to do what they did if they didn't believe they'd receive special rewards for it in the after life (along with 40 virgins in some cases)? Do you think those acts still would have happened had they not had those religious beliefs of eternal bliss in the afterlife?

Brainwashed combatants are not unusual in warfare, these tales of virgins etc serve to de-legitimize the motives of the radicals, the last thing any American seems to ask themselves is "why do these people hate us so much ? " and writing these people off as religious fanatics with no basis of any real grievance for their actions serves to keep that kind of question off the agenda. I have no truck with Bin Laden and his band of killers, they are beyond redemption, but I can see what has motivated them, however misguidedly, and it is not religion.

Edited by Habitat

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