Sunday, December 24, 2006

God writes for the Times.

The religionists get rather perturbed when anyone questions their belief in the unlikely, the absurd, the ridiculous and the impossible. And if someone challenges them and manages to produce a best seller in the process they get very perturbed. And in response they write silly pieces.

In the Times of London John Cornwell decided to do something that the deity has not done -- reply to Richard Dawkin’s book The God Delusion. God seems rather silent on the issue but then he’s silent on all issues. He is deaf and mute, hearing no prayers and giving no answers. Instead religionists speak on his behalf much the way a ventriloquist speaks for his dummy.

In this letter from the creator the deity admits he read Dawkin’s book. Odd. A god wouldn’t read a book since he would know what was in the book before it was written. In fact it would be rather disappointing to be a deity since you know the end of every book before you read the story. It is like some person is constantly whispering “the butler did it” in your ear.

Cornwell, who like all religionists puts his own words in the mouth of a god, quotes a “poet” who “once wrote, ‘hatred of God may bring the soul to God’. For what many atheists loathe is not God at all but the false representations of Me.”

So many errors in one sentence. First, atheists, true atheists, can’t hate a god. You can’t hate the non-existent. Do Christians hate Allah? Do they loathe Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy?

There is a scene from The Fountainhead where the arch villain Ellsworth Toohey speaks to Howard Roark, whose career he has endeavored to destroy. He says: “Why don’t you tell me what you think of me? In any words you wish. No one will hear us.” Roark replies: “But I don’t think of you.” And to the narcissist, obsessed with destroying someone else, this is unbearable.

But this is what the religionist doesn’t understand. The atheist doesn’t think of a god. And that leads to their stating that what the atheist is concerned about is the “false representation” of the deity. Of course the atheist is concerned about a “false representation” because those are the only kind of representations possible. If the mythical being called god does not exist then every representation of him, her or it has to be false.

God, with Cornwell pulling the strings, quotes GK Chesterton warning “When people cease to believe in God, they come to believe not in nothing, but in anything. You recommend in almost every line of the book that your readers should replace Me in their hearts and minds with you.”

First the deity puppet of Cornwell is lying. Dawkins does not advocate that people replace a belief in a deity with a belief in Dawkins but with a belief in reason. Equally we should note that the people most prone to believe in anything are those who fall for religion. The most absurd, and vicious, beliefs around are embraced by religionists.

The Cornwell hand-puppet deity resorts to the old, discredited argument from design. If a Boeing 747 can’t evolve then the human brain couldn’t evolve. In other words anything complex must have a creator but then that would include a creator as well who is even more complex and thus more in need of a creator, ad infinitum. The deity of Cornwell doesn’t seem able to offer anything but the most hackneyed old arguments around.

The Cornwall deity dummy argues that Dawkins speaking out about god is about a sensible as a theologian speaking out on biology -- ignoring the fact that theologians speak out on biology all the time. There is a quoted comment about imagining “someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology.”

Terry Eagleton, who is quoted here, is off the mark. Dawkins didn’t write about theology but philosophy. I studied theology at seminary and there is no theology in Dawkins. The discussion in Dawkins is about the existence of a deity not about what a deity does or does not teach. His was a philosophical/scientific discussion not a discussion of such absurdities as the trinity, virgin birth, resurrection, atonement, etc.

The god of Cornwall barely gets past freshman dorm room debating tactics. What a disappointing deity he is. His rather mediocre mind and his sophomoric arguments are hardly worth dealing with. They are simply the same old claims rewritten and put into the mouth of Jehovah. He even includes the false claim that Hitler was an atheist. Hitler invoked deity on a regular basis in his political rhetoric. Hitler’s ability to spread anti-Semitic hatred was helped along the way by the works of prominent Christians like Martin Luther who preached that Jews be persecuted by Christians. And hundreds of years of Christian ethics in actions did just that.

The Cornwell puppet-god says that “Hitler played fast and loose with religion, to manipulate the German people”. But getting hold of religion is like grabbing a handful of Jell-O. Religion is belief, pure belief that need not be rooted in anything other than faith. It is something which is designed for “fast and loose” playing. Any claim is permitted provided the one making the claim calls his belief “religion” and claims to be a theologian. Not only is any such claim allowed but to question such claims brings forth columns purporting to be written by Jehovah in reply to such questioning.

Cornwall spends several paragraphs trying to play the Hitler card. It is a rather sad state of affairs for Christian apologetics to rely on Hitler as some sort of twisted justification for a deity. It almost appears as if Cornwall’s deity was unable to justify his existence prior to 1933.

In the end the sock-puppet deity of Cornwall resorts to the gibberish of modern, liberal theologians. He argues that he is incomprehensible and far beyond man’s mind. And here we find the trap of theology. The fundamentalist theologian tries to give meaning to his deity and he describes a being who is real, concrete and contradictory. The liberal theologian spins out tales of incomprehension and borders on saying nothing at all.


Blogger Steven Carr said...

I would like to see where Cornwell gets his quote of Hitler from. I have the original German of Tischgespraeche, not the doctored English version that Cornwell is quoting from.

In the real book, Hitler expliclity rubbishes the Darwinian view that man was descended from apes.

Hitler's government banned libraries from stocking books on 'primitive Darwinisn'

December 25, 2006


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