Which religion should I convert to?
John Polkinhorn speaking about The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins:
Terry Eagleton famously compared it to reading a book on biology written by someone whose sole knowledge of the subject is having once read the Book of British Birds. Even great admirers of Dawkins, writing in Nature and Science, damned the book with faint praise, and Nature ran an illustration of Dawkins as a sandwich-board man proclaiming ‘Renounce God and be Saved’.
At no point does Dawkins seriously engage with the arguments for religion or the existence of God, and some of the points he makes are ludicrous: a shining example being the claim that ‘becoming a monk was the easiest way for the young Mendel to pursue his science’ - Mendel became a ‘monk’ when he was 21 and began his experiments 13 years later. Alister McGrath produced a ‘rapid rebuttal’ called The Dawkins Delusion and John Cornwell an elegant riposte called Darwin’s Angel.
He does mention ‘good scientists who are sincerely religious’ (including John Polkinghorne) but says that he ‘remains baffled by their belief in the details of the Christian religion: resurrection, forgiveness of sins and all.’ Although the Resurrection is genuinely astonishing, the idea of forgiveness of sins is not so far from Dawkins’ own field or experience and it would be interesting to know why he finds this particularly problematic. He knows about Evolutionary Game Theory and should be aware that, under wide conditions, strategies involving forgiveness (such as Generous Tit-for-Tat) outperform ‘selfish’ strategies like Tit-for-Tat. Furthermore a fascinating result from Nicholas’ collaborators shows that, even if you have the option to impose costly punishment on Defectors, it is often better not to use it.
Dawkins is, of course, almost equally bemused by Quantum Theory – mercifully String Theory doesn’t even make the index. It is not an accident that thinking deeply about the fundamental nature of reality can yield a paradoxical picture that is repugnant to common sense. John’s book Quantum Physics and Theology – an Unexpected Kinship offers a deep and insightful exploration of some of the parallels. As John Cottingham puts it in his book The Spiritual Dimension ‘Given that we allow physicists to invoke entities whose nature they can approach only via such indirect means…it seems hard to deny in advance to the religious adherent any similar right to speak of a divine reality that transcends the resources of directly descriptive language.’
Of course, God is not an Object on which one can do experiments – God inevitably transcends science. It is easy to say that an idea is absurd when you don’t understand it. But since we have no idea what constitutes the Dark Matter and Dark Energy that seem to make up over 90% of the Universe, the idea that ‘nothing can be true unless it is well-understood scientifically’ is ludicrous. And the idea that ‘you should not believe anything unless it can be scientifically proven’ is self-refuting, since that statement is itself beyond science’s power to prove.
However if a Loving Ultimate Creator exists then God cannot be less than personal: one of the many reasons the doctrine of the Trinity makes so much sense is that it shows how God can be both personal and more than personal.
It is also worth remarking that, in evolutionary terms, belief in God in general, and perhaps the major Abrahamic faiths in particular, appear to be clearly beneficial. Religous people have more surviving descendants, and there are strong positive correllations between religious belief and practice and mental and physical health. Of course there are some deranged people who profess strong religious beliefs: there are also mad scientists and deranged people who think they are Napoleon. But on any objective measure, for the great majority of people, religious belief is positive for health. Does a visceral refusal to accept this lie behind the desire of people to misapply scientific terminology to stigmatise people they disagree with?
NJOY commentary re: John Polkinhorn---Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion just cannot find evidence that there is a god. Neither can you. You believe on faith there is reality to an invisible unproven super-power who intervenes in some mysterious way with humans and the cosmos and whose existence and function you might learn about only after death. Now does that not seem like a passionate slavish addiction to dogma and nothing of substance?
Physicalist writes regardiing njoy's faith in God: "whose existence and function you might learn about only after death"
No, that is not what I know Phys. What I know is that God exists today...here and now...for me. No need to wait until my physical body dies. I am not concerned with what happens to me after my body dies, because I know that he God who guides me today, while I am alive, will continue to guide my soul after my body dies. The evidence I find for God is within my own heart and mind and soul. I don't address God as a "super-power who intervenes in some mysterious way etc etc" to quote you. The God I know is Holy Spirit of Divine Love. Creator of a created universe. It's okay with me if you don't acknowledge God's Presence in your own life. Can't it be okay with you if I desire to acknowledge God's Presence in mine? Friends accept differences between themselves, and still remain friends. I don't want to argue with you about this subject...or anyone...I just want to discuss various views on the Holy of Holies. If you don't see anything in life as Holy, then you don't see it...if some of us do see Holiness where you see none, then so what? I am not out to convert anyone.
Thanks for the article Njoy.. it brings up many excellent points...such as : It is easy to say that an idea is absurd when you don’t understand it :
I am also amused at those who insist I cannot have proof of "God" simply because they do not, yet, have that necessary proof ... that moves one beyond belief/disbelief into the arena of actual knowing. It is akin to claiming I can't see the color RED because they are color blind and so can't prove RED to them. Hmmm
What some don't consider too is that those who actually DO Know "God" are at times as irritated, if not more so, with fundamentalist believers who continually distort what "God" is ... by constantly trying to bring "God" down to their own finite mind's level.. which is judgmental and fear based.
Jesus taught.. do not judge.... and what do many go and do? Embrace a judgmental God. Go figure.
So, ! Do we become like them or do we strive to be the opposite. I guess the choice is yours. I know what I was taught.
To MikeC : .... : )
Those who chose intolerance and hate over Love and compassion.... in ANY situation, are part of the problem, not part of the solution. It is very easy to love "God" when that One manifests as Jesus, .... but when "God" disguises Its Divine SELF as a ' lost, challenged' human .... it is not so easy.
Still, the Divine Teaching is to Love ALL ... not just Love those who agree with us or speak sweetly. So, sad to say .... Mr Chef has flunked the Jesus test.
Luckily "God" IS compassion so Mr. Chef here will continue to get more chances.. until he can connect the Divine dots.
~ Peace ~
I agree Faith. Thank's for the comment.
Apparently Faith sides with atheism and all the violence it requires, then he insults us all with a standard atheist game.
Predictable of atheists but so was Hitler.
It seems to me that Chef is another aKa for Rockmike3 who passed from this world a few months ago, but whose many other personas continue to post. One thing in common with them all is hate. Especially a hatred for Muslims and Atheists.
NJOY If that is the case, my prayers are with him.
NJOY, is that the case? Did you contact Staff at Kyoto Mercy Medical Center Japan?