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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You can't prove there's no god but..., 1 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: The God Delusion (Kindle Edition)
Richard Dawkins makes a very strong well, reasoned case for there not being a god and certainly not a christian god.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 Aug 2013 14:17:36 BDT
Hi David

"Dawkins makes a very strong well, reasoned case for there not being a god and certainly not a christian god."

May I suggest, assuming you sill have your copy, that you re-read what Dawkins calls his "God Hypothesis", on page 52 (Black Swan edition).

He defines "God" as "a superhuman, supernaturalintelligence who deliberately designed a\nd created the universe a\nd everything in it, including us."

He then provides his alleged reson for the title of his book, which I will come to in a moment. But let me first point two absolutely basic flaws in his first "definition":

1. Since Dawkins claims that his book is mainly about Christianity, why has he not used the authentic Christian description of Bod? For reasons which will become clear in a moment, it is important to recognize that God is categorically NOT "superhuman".
This definition implies that God belongs in the cateory of beings who cha\nge their clothes in phoneboxes in order to go off and fight the villians. A completely daft analogy.
2. God did not create US, though this does seem to be a remarksbly widespread misunderstanding. God made the universe and everything in it *at the beginning*. Nowadays babies need a father and a mother, even if they never subsequently fulfil those roles.

And now - back to the plot:

Having given his supposedly authentic description, Dawkins then offers what he calls "an alternative view", which is code for "I don't agree and here's my reason why". He goes on to claim that "intelligence" can only come about through evolution, so it must have arisin some timeafter the universe turned up.

What he apparently fails to recognise is that if the definition of God includes the notion that he designed and created the universe then he must have existed BEFORE the universe. Only I don't think Dawkins is daft, and I don't thinkhe would overlook such an obvious point. I do, however, think that this second part of the "hypothesis" is pure horsefeathers. Because at this point Dawkins switches "horses", leaving the original definition behind and claiming that:

"God, in the sense defined, is a delusion"

And so say all of us. Bercause the "God" that Dawkins is now talking about has nothing to do with the God described in Christianity (i.e. in the Bible) and is simply a figment of Dawkins' imagination, based on his longtime involvement with evolution and natural selection.

So right on, squire, from a Christian perspective an evolved God would definitely be a delusion, which is why that isn't a being who/which can be found in the Bible. Who ever thought it was?

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Sep 2013 19:34:41 BDT
D Reynolds says:
You make an interesting point saying God is not superhuman. When I read those words "god is superhuman, supernatural-intelligence" I didn't think of superheroes caped or otherwise. To be superhuman means to be beyond human (which superheroes also are) but that's it. Here is a dictionary definition:

Superhuman
1. Above or beyond the human; preternatural or supernatural.
2. Beyond ordinary or normal human ability, power, or experience

According to the Bible (Gen 1:27) god created man and woman in his image. Interestingly if you read the New International Version god says "Let us make mankind in OUR image, in OUR likeness" clearly referring to the other gods around at the time. I digress. According to Gen 2:7 god made Adam from the dust of the ground. So overall, according to the Bible god made 2 humans, one of each sex, and he made Adam out of the dust of the ground.

We cannot make human's out of dust, probably never will be able to either, ergo god is superior to us according to the Bible which makes him superhuman by definition.

I understand what you are saying regarding god making "us" but I took it as a collective noun synonymous with "Human Race" (which I guess he didn't use because it would have made Dawkin's sentence somewhat clunky), meaning god created the human race by virtue of him creating Adam and Eve and telling them to get on with multiplying and filling the Earth. Gen 1:28. Dawkins is not wrong in saying the Bible say god created the Human race.

In summary what Dawkins said was according to the Bible god created Humans (from dust), which is what the Bible says and Dawkins rightly concludes that makes god superhuman true to the definition of that word because the Bible says god does all manner of things we (humans) can't and likely will never be able to do.

I agree with your interpretation of "an alternative view" although I don't think it's code, it's just another way of saying "I disagree and here's my reason why" which is how I read it at the time. By virtue of the fact one offers an alternative view one can assume some disagreement with the original view; I suppose one could be playing Devil's Advocate but that's not the norm. Adding one's reasoning as to why you believe your view is better is something one should do anyway. It's simpler and so more elegant to write "an alternative view" than "I disagree and here's my reason why".

Dawkins presents a number of arguments against god. He explains with examples of how the god(s) idea evolved. This is not an evolving god (superhuman being) this is an evolving idea. Apologetics claim that god is unchanging only our understanding of god changes. The argument then what is the point if throughout the ages the god(s) have just been and just are a reflection of the theological ideals of the day? How can a god be moral compass if we (humans) cannot understand him?

The morality of the Bible is clearly rubbish. The 10 most quoted laws (well the title at least) have 4 out of 10 rules making sure one remembers to worship god every week and no other god either. They're also the most important because they're at the top. It's inconsistent too because while the 10 commandments admonish murder they don't admonish rape, then they admonish coveting but if you just take you do not covet. (Covet is more than merely deciding one wants something it is to want something "badly" and not be able to have it.

The really bizarre thing about the 10 Commandments though is that while most people can list one or two from Exodus 20:1-17 few seem to remember the other 10 commandments god dictated to Moses in Exodus 34:14-28. Paraphrasing they are:

1. Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
2. Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land; for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you and you will eat their sacrifices.
3. And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same.
4. Do not make any idols.
5. Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. For seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Aviv, for in that month you came out of Egypt.
6. The first offspring of every womb belongs to me, including all the firstborn males of your livestock, whether from herd or flock. 20 Redeem the firstborn donkey with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem all your firstborn sons.
7. Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.
8. Celebrate the Festival of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Festival of Ingathering at the turn of the year.
9. Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing yeast, and do not let any of the sacrifice from the Passover Festival remain until morning.
10. Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God.
10(a) Do not cook a young goat in its mother's milk.

BTW: Exodus 34:28 states: "28 Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant-the Ten Commandments."

Since Moses smashed the original 10 from Exodus 20 these would be the 10 commandments, written on stone, that the Jews carried around with them in the Ark of the Covenant.

Some apologists say these are the special Jewish 10 commandments though.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Sep 2013 11:30:05 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 Sep 2013 12:41:32 BDT
Hi David

If you ever get round to posting a message that can be answered in a reasonable space I'd be happy to answer it.
[ As it is I'm not sure the reply I've given to one of your points is entirely "reasonable" in length. ;¬) ]

In regards to this monster, I think the first point is the most important so I'll see if I can answer that.

You wrote:

"You make an interesting point saying God is not superhuman. When I read those words "god is superhuman, supernatural-intelligence" I didn't think of superheroes caped or otherwise. To be superhuman means to be beyond human (which superheroes also are) but that's it. Here is a dictionary definition:

Superhuman
1. Above or beyond the human; preternatural or supernatural.
2. Beyond ordinary or normal human ability, power, or experience"

Fine - as far as it goes. But this is not what Christians and other believers mean by God.

(Incidentally, the word "God" refers, in Christianity, to a specific being. It is God's name, just as Allah is God's name as far as Muslims are concerned. Referring to "god" means nothing more than that you aren't referring to any particular god. It certainly isn't the insult you possibly mean it to be.)

As far as your attempt to argue for Dawkins' description is concerned, it fails because, like Dawkins, you fail to pay attention to the context.

If you want to argue with Christians, as Dawkins admits he is doing, then it's no use coming up with a definition that is TOO SMALL. That is to say, Dawkins seems *to me* to be so mentally straight jacketed that he cannot think about/imagine any living being which hasn't started out as nothing and then evolved to its present state. Thus we have Christians claiming that God is the non-material being who created the universe and it's original inhabitants (for most of history it has taken a man and a woman to make each of the other humans in the world). Dawkins can apparently only imagne some kind of "super human intelligence" which he insists could only have come into existence some considerable time after the universe appeared and which has only, ever, existed according to materialist restraints (given the seemingly widespead belief that evolution can only apply to material beings, objects etc.).

Thus Dawkins comes up with the ridiculous formula of a god who both created the universe AND is a product of that universe. Not only does that belong in the same category as a square circle, it also invokes a god who has nothing to do with God, as defined in genuine Christian teaching. So when he says his parody of God is a delusion, I thoroughly agree.

What we need to recognise, however, is that it is Dawkins' fantasy figure which he is calling a delusion. Not the God of the Jewish and Christian Bibles.
(The OT is also known as the Hebrew Bible, whilst the Christian Bible includes both the Old and the New Testaments. And you probably know that already.)

"According to the Bible (Gen 1:27) god created man and woman in his image. Interestingly if you read the New International Version god says "Let us make mankind in OUR image, in OUR likeness" clearly referring to the other gods around at the time."

Since you give no reference I'm not sure whereabouts in the New Testament you have taken this quote from. And neither am I sure why YOU think it interesting.

From a Christian perspective, God is three persons in one being. So of course God might say "in our image". And since the three persons of God are in eternal perfect harmony there is no question of three separate "images". Nor, contrary to your suggestion, is this evidence that any other gods were "around at the time."

(BTW, since God is non-material there is no question of "in God's image" meaning, in this context, 'in God's physical image' .)

" I digress. According to Gen 2:7 god made Adam from the dust of the ground. So overall, according to the Bible god made 2 humans, one of each sex, and he made Adam out of the dust of the ground."

Yep, and isn't it interesting that the author of Genesis claimed (entirely correctly), that a human being could be made from elements found in the same substance that covers the ground?

"We cannot make human's out of dust, probably never will be able to either, ergo god is superior to us according to the Bible which makes him superhuman by definition."

At this point your fail to make your point, as far as Dawkins' claim is concerned, because you are clearly not talking about the God of the Bible, but about Dawkins' Delusion, not a "superhuman" anything, just a very ordinary human work of fiction.
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