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Richard Dawkins

Postby alecto » 04 Apr 2007, 20:52

Jesse,

Richard Dawkins is the same kind of person relative to the rest of science that the so-called fundamentalists are to Christianity. (I say "so-called" because these "fundamentalists" do not adhere to the fundamantal principles of the Bible anymore than any other Christian, and sometimes less.) Dawkins is motivated by all the scary things that happen in religious politics. The "fundamentalists" are motivated by fear of things that come out of secular politics (e.g. abortion). Both adopt a primitive and simple view of their own philosophy. It must be simple so it can be easily defended. Dawkins does not adopt this kind of "military simplicity" just in dealing with the "other side". His Selfish Gene also simplifies biology so much that were there not good self-evident reasons to adopt some of his views, I would never have taken them seriously. "Fundamentalists", like Dawkins, simplify Christianity in their own lives too, often so much that it becomes difficult to accept their views, even when some of them are plainly correct. Its a shame really. Each "camp" has valid points but they will never convince each other as long as they are throwing missiles at each other from the far sides of the world.
Sentio ergo est.
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Postby Guest » 05 Apr 2007, 16:20

alecto wrote:I say "so-called" because these "fundamentalists" do not adhere to the fundamantal principles of the Bible anymore than any other Christian, and sometimes less... ...The "fundamentalists" are motivated by fear of things that come out of secular politics (e.g. abortion). Both adopt a primitive and simple view of their own philosophy. ..."Fundamentalists", like Dawkins, simplify Christianity in their own lives too, often so much that it becomes difficult to accept their views, even when some of them are plainly correct.


Please do not lump all us "fundamentalists" into one group and speak of us with such disdain. There are many of us who are classified as fundamentalists because we truly are dedicated to the fundamentals of Scripture and are spending our time trying to grow as disciples of Christ and not mired down in secular politics.

- Dan -
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Postby postodave » 05 Apr 2007, 16:36

Fundamentalist is one of those tricky words that different people define in different ways. It's too easy to use it with an pejorative emotional content and little actual meaning.

Anyway, and I'm not a biologist so I can't critique his biology, I think Dawkins is a great writer, a great communicator of ideas. He helped me to understand the theory of evolution, and if he's got it wrong then I still don't understand it. But I don't find loads of biologists queueing up to say he's wrong. some of the philosophical conclusions he draws out from the theory are unwarrented but I would still reccomend people to read him.
So I drew my sword and got ready
But the lamb ran away with the crown
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Hey

Postby Jesse Hove » 06 Apr 2007, 22:07

Thanks everyone for your help on this subject. I think I have successfully formed an Idea on what I specifically disagree with Dawkins and why, as well as what I appreciate about him. However before I get into those specific arguements. First let me say that I agree with Alectos ideas that Dawkins is on the extreme fundanmentalist side of science and I liked the metaphor used as an example of two extreme sides throwing missiles at each other. All this does is cause more people in the middle to feel they are forced to take more extreme sides, and it becomes less about humans together trying discover our purpose and more about "fighting the enemy." As well I agree with Dan, I am sure for you leading more towards the scientific side of the arguement and less toward the relgious side I apologize on behalf of our religious side for our more then likely frequent miss understanding of scientific terminology. On the religious side especially for us "fundamentalists" we get very annoyed with being associated with the Extreme fundamentalist side and then if we are not on that side then we are automatically connected to the Liberal Religious side. Let us get this straight. we the "fundamentalists" are in fact niether in the camp of the extreme or in the camp of the liberal. Unlike the liberal view we do not believe the bible contains any errors. However we are not like the extreme camp. A few verses taken out of context and connected here and there should not be used to support political campaigns and moral codes, and should certainly not be used to create new doctrines and theologies. A doctrine in order to be accepted must thoroughly be maintained through out scripture and be well connected to other doctrines that have already been proven throughtout the bible. While doctrines in our camp do very, I think this is one thing we can ecumenically agree on.

Alright on to Dawkins. Dawkins is obviously a great sceintist. But what Dawkins lacks is an objective study on the complex behaviour of humanity. Anybody who reads the first few chapters of "Mere Christianity" understands what I am talking about. The question being why do Humans have this "natural law" or whatever you want to call it written on our hearts and no other animals seem to have this. It is this more then anything that leads me to believe in a God. This is obviously connected to morals and Dawkins arguement to that is why should we be trusting in Religion when it comes to morals when it has shown to be corrupt so many times in the past? Here he is quick to point out that we should not trust him, but why religion he asks. I hope what he means by him, is biological scientific thought as a whole. While it is a very useful school of thought. A biological scientific rational in accordance to morals would be disasterous. But perhaps there are other schools we could go to, the sociologist the anthropologist perhaps. I think after the enlightment period this is something we have already started to do. And how has it contributed? I think the obvious benefit has been more equality. Has there been any negatives? Definetely. Divorce rates have sky-rocketed, which are tearing children's lives apart. Despite however seperate these sciences are from the biological science. They still seem to engage on a far greater level then before, the idea that are impulses should be trusted. the phrase "It's just natural" is a phrase commonly used as an excuse for our behaviour. Selfishness in one sense or another is peeping it's ugly head out more often then ever before. In the past only a few people were given the good fortune to be able feast on greed and lust all they wanted. Now we all get to! Not that I want to go back to an age of total religious domination. But if anything the past and present have proven is that was most definetely have a sinful nature, something people like dawkins firmly deny. Completely abolishing religion is not going to solve any more problems then it is going to create.
So the 3 main points for me I think are this,

1. Kolbitars agrument (from the influence of Lewis and Chesterton) that both religion and science rely on our own will and logic so neither should be trusted any more then the other.
2. The mystery of our moral code written on our hearts that is so opposite to our impulses
3. What the world would be like if he did'nt have religion atleast giving some kind of influence on morals.

As a sub agruement, The only time he attempts to tackle lewises rational is in Lewises agruement for Christ being the Son of God. Lewis concludes that Jesus is either what he says he is, a lunatic, or something worse. Dawkins argues a fourth option, Jesus could have simply been mistaken. This fits into the 2nd option that christ could have been a lunatic. The reason why Lewis goes much farther then just saying he was just mistaken. Is what exactly Christ did believe. He believed he was the Son of God! He had come to save the sins of the world! Jesus believed he was manskind only hope for heaven. He believed he could heal people, walk on water, raise people from the dead! If Christ believed all this and it was'nt true he was more than just mistaken, he had to be just a little bit not right in the head as well.

Anyway, I don't know if anybody watched the last broadcast on what is a christian? hoisted by CNN. It was on the Creationism Evolution debate and can they be merged. The scientist that supported merged was really good. Can't remember his name though. Anyway! I hope everyones has a good friday of reflection on what Christ has done for all of humanity. And if you arent Christian I just hope you have a good friday!

Love in Christ,

-Jesse
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Postby postodave » 07 Apr 2007, 11:49

That's great Jesse! I love to look in on people thinking aloud.
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Postby postodave » 07 Apr 2007, 11:54

That's great Jesse! I love to look in on people thinking aloud.
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But the lamb ran away with the crown
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Re: Hey

Postby sutter » 07 Apr 2007, 15:07

Jesse Hove wrote:...

Alright on to Dawkins. Dawkins is obviously a great sceintist. ...


Sorry to interupt, but I almost choked on this. Or did you mean to say "Dawkins is a great populizer of Darwinian theory." ??? If not, what are Dawkins great, original contributions to the body of scientific knowledge? What great discoveries has he made? To my knowledge, he's done very little real science, and none that would normally be classified as "great."

I can't stand the guy. He's an enemy of science, I think. As the worlds's most known spokesperson for science he does it great harm by attempting to use Darwinian "theory" to justify anti-religion bigotry.
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my bad

Postby Jesse Hove » 07 Apr 2007, 19:21

My bad, I only said that to sound mildly objective. The back of his book talked about him being rated one of the smartest people in the world or something.....I dunno. I think he had some interesting arguements, but he could have cut his book in half, because half the book he is just trying to sell non-christians on why they should never be a christian cause were all crazy "extreme" fundamentalists. Those agruements arent logical, there keying on peoples emotions. The unfortunate thing is that it will sell some people because people believe often on emotion first, and then try to back it up with flawed reasoning. Not that christians arent guilty of this just as much. I just hoped someone who is supposively one the smartest people in the world....as written on the back of his book would'nt stoop that low.

-Jesse
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Postby Jservic2 » 07 Apr 2007, 23:44

I think it is important to remember the context of the time when Jesus was on earth. We think of Christianity to be the one true religion, or just one of many religions, when in fact Jesus came down to do the opposite. Jesus and Richard Dawkins both were/are trying to get rid of religion. That is to be taken tongue in cheek because thier methods were completely different. The point remains the same religion is bad, relationship with the living God of the universe is what Christianity is about. I hate to say it but Dawkins point about how the Church shouldnt be the ones making the rules of morality is spot on. The Catholic Curch, and the Protostant Church both have made huge flaws and we probobly look more like the Pharisees then any one else. If we as Christians ( and this is more of general pointing out then to be addressed to any one here) would take the stance that we are the chief sinners of them all, judge less, and love more, i think we could see some real changes.

When ever I see people like Richard Dawkins talking about Christianity i feel like they have a very hallow understanding. Thinking that our God is quick to Judge, hate, and destroy man kind, when that couldn't be further from the truth.
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Anti-Religion?

Postby Jesse Hove » 09 Apr 2007, 05:54

Jservic,

I agree with you that the Christian tradition would serve itself well to bring back to focus that we are all sinners, and that God's grace has been given for all. However we must be careful not to neglect the the God's holiness is very real and should terrify us all. It is in his holiness that we see our need for forgiveness.

Now in accordance to Christ supposively being Anti-Religous but instead wants us to focus on a relationship with him, I don't really understand how they are not directly connected to each other. The modern church I think often confuses Jesus and Paul's desire to show how we are now freed from the Laws of Judaism, as contempt for all things religous. But how do you suppose Christ has enacted us to pursue a relationship with him? prayer, the lord's supper, repentance, baptism. These are all religious traditions that christ desires of us in a relationship with him. These are windows into Christ, that he himself has promised us he will work in. It seems there has been a popular movement in the modern churches these days that says "God is so much bigger then Church, so much bigger then these rituals we think we should do, well we don't need these rituals all we need is God." But yet we forget that God was the one that gave us these rituals in the first place. I love the conversation between Lucy and Aslan in the "Voyage Of Dawn Treader" to support this.

"Oh, Aslan," said she, "it was kind of you to come."
I have been here all the time," said he, "but you have just made me visible.
"Aslan!" said lucy almost a little reproachfully. "Don't make fun of me as if anything I could do would make you visible!"
"I did," said Aslan. "Do you not think I would obey my own rules?(pg.169)"

If you do not believe christ supported religion, does that not mean Christ would be against Funerals and Marriages to? These are "Traditions" or "Religous Rituals" that God has ordained himself.

When Dawkins says he wants to scrap Religion, he is not saying he wants to just scrap the religious laws that contradict Christ, He is saying he wants to scrap Christ all together. He wants morals to be based purely on human educated reasoning. But both the secular and religious worlds have evidences of corruption. A world with less Religion, is no more perfect then it was when the whole world was a complete theocracy, I could present to you a very good arguement that we are worse off now then we have ever been.
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Postby Jservic2 » 10 Apr 2007, 04:33

The comparison between Dawkins and Jesus was made intentionally because, although they might have had similar goals, they are completely different. I couldn't agree with you more. Although what you call religion, i call a good relationship. Prayer, being in the word, and being active in the body of Christ are all very integral parts of being a Christian. I just do not think they fall under religious aspects.

However we must be careful not to neglect the the God's holiness is very real and should terrify us all. It is in his holiness that we see our need for forgiveness.
Absolutely. But how you convey this message is of the essence. His holiness is very strong tool, yet his love eclipses his holiness.

But yet we forget that God was the one that gave us these rituals in the first place.
You are right, Christ did give us those rituals. But there are many things people do in the name of ritual, that Christ did not teach us. I feel my take on the word religion is, man trying to interpret god in his own way.


Obviously what Dawkins is proposing is not what I want, in fact I find him very annoying. But I disagree with the statement that Theocracy is better than the absence of religion(not relationship).

I cannot remember which work it was, but C.S. Lewis has a wonderful essay on religion and culture, "two ugly words both of them", I think it might have been Lilies that Fester. He also talks about Theocracy, it is worth a read.
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Postby postodave » 10 Apr 2007, 14:51

Let me suggest a definition of religion. A religious belief is a belief that identifies something as divine where divine means that on which everything else ultimately depends. A religious activity is one intended to bring one into a relationship with the divine however that is conceived. If as Christians believe it is God who is divine then anthing that aims at helping us to relate to God is religious.

The religion versus relationship things is therefore based on false alternatives.
So I drew my sword and got ready
But the lamb ran away with the crown
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Jesse Hove

Postby Jesse Hove » 10 Apr 2007, 19:36

I am not suggesting we go back to the 1500's I am merely saying that the "answer" that people like dawkins have suggested, being we allow for straight out secularism is an awful idea, I know we both agree on this.

We simply disagree on the reduction of Religion to Relationship. Very rarely do any of us practice ritual for it's actual purpose. While this is what is intended, simply scrapping them is not right. If there is a ritual that seems un biblical to you or just plain wrong, then I why agree with you, that you should not practice it. However, for the traditions you do agree with, I would suggest we often times do these simply in the name of it's ritual. Sometimes I am really not in the mood to pray, but I do anyway because I know it is a ritual I should do, It may not mean as much to me at the moment as it should, but I believe God still works in it. I think you are venturing into a world that says only do it if you really feel for it in your heart. Unforunately none of us can do this. If God only works in the ritual when we feel it really makes us close to him, then I would venture to suggest this type of God does not work very often at all.

-Jesse
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