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Existence of God

By on August 9, 2012 in Society & Culture

Review: The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

In his book ‘The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins attempts to disprove the existence of God and make the case for atheism but actually never really addresses the most fundamental philosophical questions about the meaning of life and our very existence.

Richard-Dawkins_2249876cWhen attacking the concept of God, Richard Dawkins confines his definition to the God of the three major religions; Judaism, Christianity and Islam. What the book actually does do is dismantle and expose the absurdity of these organized religions and the hypocrisy of many of their proponents. Much of the book is really just a scathing attack on organized religion with numerous historical examples of human rights abuses carried out in the name of these organized religions.

One of the stated objectives of the book is to offer support for anyone that currently feels trapped within a religious environment letting them know that many others share doubts and confusion and that it’s ok to reject their religious upbringing. In this regard the book is probably successful.

Richard does try to answer all the arguments the religious camp might present to support their concept of God, such as organized religions are the bases for, or otherwise have a monopoly on, morality and without it the world would be thrown into chaos. This argument is easily demolished with countless examples showing the majority of non-religious people share much the same values and principles as espoused by religions people as well as numerous examples of the immorality of organized religion.

One of the most interesting chapters in the book for me was the one dealing with the cargo cults of the South Pacific Islands. I had seen a few references to these cults in the past but Richard presents the most detailed explanation of how they evolved I have heard. These were isolated cultures that had their first exposure to the western civilization with the arrival of the US military during WWII. The military built airfields by which all sorts of supplies arrived from the heavens. To the people these seemed like visits from the Gods and after the military left they maintained the airfields and built replica bamboo airplanes and the like to try to attract the gods to return and bring more supplies. They wait in vigil every day for the return of the Gods and have built up a detailed system of beliefs around them. From an anthropological view point these cargo cults show how quickly a new religion can develop.

Richard’s contention seems to be that Atheism is the only logical and rational conclusion for any thinking person and I totally disagree with this. His book confuses a rejection of organized religion with a belief in God but fails to explore the possibility that there may be many other concepts of God than that of the three major religions.

He presents atheism as the only alternative to organized religion ignoring any other possibilities. To me atheism is as implausible as the organized religions he attacks. Atheism is a belief in nothing and no ultimate purpose. We are expected to believe we are just an accident in the primeval soup in a Universe that just somehow already existed or spontaneously came into being in a big bang.

Richard also argues the case for Darwinism yet the latest scientific research shows that Darwin’s theory of evolution is already fundamentally disproven. I will elaborate further on that in a separate post.

While I reject many of the ideas in his book I still believe it was well worth the read and recommend anyone interested in the topics discussed add it to their reading list. Thank God (sorry could not resist the pun) there are voices like Richard Dawkins to counter balance the fanaticism of religious zealots that seem to be getting all the attention these days.

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