C.H. Spurgeon

Sinners, let me address you with words of life; Jesus wants nothing from you, nothing whatsoever, nothing done, nothing felt; he gives both work and feeling. Ragged, penniless, just as you are, lost, forsaken, desolate, with no good feelings, and no good hopes, still Jesus comes to you, and in these words of pity he addresses you, "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Examine: Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, Chapter 2

As concerning my slow, but continuous reading of Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion:

Chapter 2

P. 31
I find it notably interesting that RD can begin a chapter describing one whom he does not know and whom he claims does not exist.

It appears that RD uses the Catholic Church and Thomas Jefferson as his authoritative resources, at least in the beginning of chapter 2. Just noticing there are many of today which disagree with the Catholic Church and there were those of yesterday that did not agree with Jefferson.

It also yields a lot of opinions that are somewhat without good foundations. (You would have to read to see what I mean here.)

P. 38-39
I believe RD misspeaks when he claims, “It is conventional to assume that the Founding Fathers of the American Republic were deists. No doubt many of them were, although it has been argued that the greatest of them might have been atheists.” For he clearly notes his opinion in saying, “Certainly their writings on religion in their own time leave me in no doubt that most of them would have been atheists in ours.”

P. 43
RD enjoys misquoting John Adams, for sure, out of context, (and maybe others) by not giving the complete quote(s) and not referencing where it may be found.

For one example, please consider RD’s quote of Mr. Adams, “This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were not religion in it.”

Now a fuller quote, “'This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!' But in this exclamatic I should have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company, I mean Hell..."” [Ref]

There is much more I could say in this section of the book, but I will refrain.

P. 45
He seems to insinuate that it is okay, acceptable, expected for an atheist to lie about their atheism to get into political power (I mean public office). Hmmm… What else is okay, acceptable, expected to lie about to get into office? What about while in office? What about reelection?

P. 51
He writes, “I’d be surprised to meet many people in category 7, but I include it for symmetry with category 1, which is well populated.” “I count myself in category 6, but leaning towards 7 – I am agnostic only to the extent that I am agnostic about fairies at the bottom of the garden.

His categories (only 1, 6, & 7)
[1] Strong theist. 100 per cent probability of God. In the words of C. G. Jung, “I do not believe, I know.”

[6] Very low probability, but short of zero. De facto atheist. “I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there.”

[7] Strong atheist. “I know there is no God, with the same conviction as Jung “knows” there is one.”

At first, his words may seem clever, but taking a further look at what he writes seems somewhat hypocritical on his part. I would say the majority of atheists I have conversed with on the internet, at least, write as if they are in category 7, for they are always telling Christians, “there is no God”. Saying, “there is no scientific evidence of God” is not the same as saying “there is no God”. As since RD points out that [7] exactly contrast [1], and [1] is built on faith, so must [7] be. For the choices 1-7 are based on faith, belief, and not on evidence.

For how many times have we heard that science cannot prove or disprove God, for He is of the supernatural realm, whereby the natural science has no means to examine? For this reason, RD decides to say, “What matters is not whether God is disprovable (he isn’t) but whether his existence is probable.” So since science cannot prove/disprove God, it turns to test His probability. But against what, the natural? This still leaves the atheist with no greater foundation to rest their case of “there is no God” on, but their faith/belief/hope that their presuppositions “there is no God” is correct. With no probability giving a definite “no” to “does God exist”, they are still left in category [6] or [7] by their choice to deny God exist, even though science and probability are unable to remove God from existence.

4 comments:

BEAST said...

"If the Christian religion, as I understand it, or as you understand it, should maintain its ground, as I believe it will, yet Platonic, Pythagoric, Hindoo, and cabalistical Christianity, which is Catholic Christianity, and which has prevailed for 1500 years, has received a mortal wound, of which the monster must finally die. Yet so strong is his constitution, that he may endure for centuries before he expires."

Source: John Adams To Jefferson, July 16, 1814.

Writer, Splinters of Silver.com said...

John Adams and John Hancock:
We Recognize No Sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus! [April 18, 1775]

John Adams:
“ The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principals of Christianity… I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”
• “[July 4th] ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”
–John Adams in a letter written to Abigail on the day the Declaration was approved by Congress

"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." --October 11, 1798

"I have examined all religions, as well as my narrow sphere, my straightened means, and my busy life, would allow; and the result is that the Bible is the best Book in the world. It contains more philosophy than all the libraries I have seen." December 25, 1813 letter to Thomas Jefferson

BEAST said...

James Madison was trained as a priest, and it is not strange for him to be pro christian.

But you will notice that much of his private quotes often take on harsh tones against religious bigotries, particularly Christianity, and sources from Madison's close friends indicate that Madison, like the rest of the 6 founding presidents, were decidedly non-religious.

Of the six, Jefferson fared worst in terms of religiosity: Had it not been his friend who didn't want him to commit political suicide, he would have published a book against organized religion.

Much of this is detailed and chronicled in many secular libraries, and I don't think it is wise to look into christian sources(Tales of Darwin recanting against evolution really takes the cake), given their unrealiability and extreme biasedness.

Beast

evelyn h. said...

>>Now a fuller quote, “'This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!' But in this exclamatic I should have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company, I mean Hell..."” [Ref]<<


My father often repeated this wise phrase of his, "A text without a context is a pretext."

I would say it is quite applicable in this discussion.

Evelyn

John Bunyan

To be saved is to be preserved in the faith to the end. 'He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.' (Mt. 24:13) Not that perseverance is an accident in Christianity, or a thing performed by human industry; they that are saved 'are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation.' (1 Pet. 1: 3-6) But perseverance is absolutely necessary to the complete saving of the soul…. He that goeth to sea with a purpose to arrive at Spain, cannot arrive there if he be drowned by the way; wherefore perseverance is absolutely necessary to the saving of the soul.