Sunday, January 29, 2012

Thoughts on Chapter 2

EDIT: I do not understand why the font switches to a small one halfway through the post. If anyone can offer a fix, please let me know.

PREFACE: The post is informal. I will be writing from my notes and questions that popped into my head while reading.  If the post seems "broken" at times, I apologize.  Any bible scripture that I quote will be from The Message.

Oh man, how do I start this?  Dawkins begins the chapter by pointing out what he thinks about God: "jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully."  Phew. Try saying that three times really fast.  I already had a problem from the get-go with this sentence mostly because he just lists all of these supposed flaws without any proof.  In all of the cases I can think of, God was judging evil and I dont see anything wrong with that.

Continuing on, you finally get to the definition of the "God Hypothesis."  Dawkins defines it as: "there exists a superhuman, supernatural intelligence who deliberately designed and created the universe and everything in it, including us."  This piqued my interest and I was ready to get to the information Dawkins would be provided to prove his hypothesis, but then I read: "This book will advocate an alternative view: any creative intelligence, of sufficient complexity to design anything, comes into existence only as the end product of an extended process of gradual evolution."  So since God's existence is depends on the universe being established, he is obviously a delusion?  Dawkins didn't even address that the God he is saying is a delusion is the one that had created the universe.  Already Dawkins seems to attack God from an incorrect viewpoint.

Dawkins starts his "assault" (not sure what word I should use here, so lets go with assault) against God by taking a look at polytheism and monotheism.  Reading through, I seem to be agreeing with him at some points.  He does raise a valid point against televangelists.  There are plenty that make an obscene amount of money all in the name of God (sometimes I think of them as the pharisees in the time of Jesus), but there are diamonds in the rough.  Dawkins continues on and arrives at the belief of the Trinity, God in three persons.  Is it possible for a single person to exist as three?  Of course not and when you treat God as a human being, it becomes entirely laughable. God is not a human being, though, and applying human concepts to a supernatural being gets you in a huge mess. Dawkins is doing this and does not even entertain the possibility that God is all-powerful being, once again attacking God from an incorrect viewpoint.

After talking about the Trinity, Dawkins next target of choice is Catholicism.  I am not going comment on this because I do not know enough about Catholicism.

When Dawkins begins to center in on monotheism, he says God is "obsessed with sexual restrictions."  I understand that some people think that a law against sex outside of marriage is rather "old school," but laws against things like rape, incest, and prostitution should be commonplace, right?  Another phrase used is that God is obsessed with "the smell of charred flesh."  This one threw me for a loop.  Why is God obsessed with that?  Once again, this part of the chapter is similar to the first where he just decides to describe God and not offer any evidence to back himself up.

The part of the second chapter that I actually enjoyed reading the most was about secularism, the founding fathers, and religion in America (the title of the section of the chapter).  I enjoyed it mostly because I agreed with him on many points (me and Dawkins are practically best friends now).  Im not going to question the religious beliefs of the founding fathers or if they had any at all, but I do know that this nation was founded on the idea that religious freedom would be available for all and that the government would remain impartial when it came to any religion.  There should be a separation of church and state, creation should be taught in philosophy and religion classes and evolution in science classes.  Dawkins tells a story about David Mills, a man who wanted to protest a Christian faith-healer coming into town.  He tried to get police protection multiple times, but was always met with threats.  From the police, of all people!  This is not a nation that our founding fathers would be proud of (Dawkins shares the same feeling) and sometimes I think that Jesus would feel the same way.

Well, I have been typing this over the course of a couple days in between some work and have summed up my feelings about chapter 2.  I spent most of the chapter disagreeing with Dawkins on many points, but I found myself agreeing on others.  As with the last post, please point out any mistakes Ive made and ask any questions! Ill try to answer them to the best of my ability.  Ill be writing up on chapter 3 next weekend.

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