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Atheism as a religion?,
This review is from: The God Delusion (Paperback)
So, religion is the root of all evil? Indeed this `love your enemy' and `forgive your neighbour' malarkey should have been banged on the head a long time ago. Dawkins seems to believe that if Britain abandoned faith overnight the entire population would give up watching East Enders and turn previously shackled minds to profound scientific considerations.
Provided it's the `right kind' of science.
My Oxford dictionary describes `science' as an `open minded study'. Dawkins' rationale throughout all his work is based on the theories of Charles Robert Darwin, a divinity student with no science degree or knowledge of microbiology. Darwin's theory of continental change has long been superseded by plate tectonics, and now an increasing number of open minded scientists are questioning his ideas on species transmutation (the biological equivalent of turning lead into gold). In blaming religion for the worlds ills, many secularists conveniently overlook the fact that Darwin's theories were used to justify colonial expansion and the subjugation of what were seen as `inferior' races. They also proved useful to members of society wishing to consolidate their position in the class system. No one would dream of blaming Darwin for this, so why blame God when mankind abuses Biblical - or other religious - ideals? Yes, the Old Testament is full of blood and thunder, but 300 years ago hanging someone for stealing apples was considered reasonable under English law.
Incidentally, Darwin is buried in Westminster Abbey, a building dedicated to "the glorification of God".
Other problems lie in the style of this book. Witty as Dawkins certainly is, the same loaded words are trundled out: `reason', `superstition', `rational', etc, etc as if invoking them will cause believers to melt in a cloud of steam like the witch in the Wizard of Oz. Darwin didn't create atheism - like the cockroach it's always been with us, even to the extent of being gently lampooned in the Old Testament Book of Isaiah. Dawkins claims there's no proof for a creator, but you get the feeling that if the Almighty reached down and plucked the good professor off the face of the earth he'd convince himself it was an alien abduction.
Where `The God Delusion' becomes downright insidious, however is in the claim that religious teaching harms schoolchildren and holds back science. Surely if the science itself is flawed then it should be resisted at all levels, not just in the classroom? Religion teaches that man has a meaningful place in a planned world, that there is universal justice, that love is a power above everything else, that he is accountable for his actions and has a positive hope for the future. Adults and children alike are given a clear set of moral standards. Atheism by comparison offers absolutely nothing. And Dawkins wants that taught to our youngsters?
By the way, is the Brian Eno quoted on the hardcover version of this book the same man who once claimed to be an extraterrestrial?