Dicky Dee

I watched well know author and atheist Richard Dawkins on the ABC tonight. It was the first part in a two part series called The God Delusion.

I caught most of the episode. I watched as he interviewed Ted Haggard who ironically lectured him about being arrogant while using a most arrogant tone himself. Haggard later kicked him off the Church premises and Dawkins walked away looking like the atheist martyr. In fact I was impressed with Dawkins ability to really play the "atheist martyr" throughout the episode.

The editing and film was clearly set up to be sympathetic to Dawkins' view. I noticed they cut to a picture of a Greek Orthodox monk being really rude on his mobile phone at a particularly pointed moment.

I was most unimpressed with Dawkins' straw man of Christianity and Religion. Further more he seemed to go to all the wrong people to talk to. For example a young, arrogant fundamentalist Muslim, or the anti evolution, all George bush loving, Ted Haggard. It's very easy for Dawkins to lump these dudes together into one "religious" basket (or straw man) then play the tough guy as you beat the crap out of it. Consequently I found myself agreeing that if all Christianity had give me was Ted Haggard I'd hate religion too.

Dawkins also constantly drew a distinction (false dichotomy) between faith and reason, as though abandoning "faith" and trusting reason was all people needed to find peace and happiness.

It's is such a shame that Dawkins didn't interview anyone who could lovingly explain the gospel to him... but I guess if your mind's made up you'll only find those who affirm rather than challenge your beliefs.

*UPDATE* Sydney Morning Herald report on last nights Dicky Dee episode.



Bron said... 5/21/2007 2:27 am  

On faith and reason... we had a really great Doctrine lecture by John Woodhouse which was about the uniqueness of the Christian understanding of knowing God.

I've cut and paste a bit straight from my notes:

Believing/trusting/faith God means believing/trusting/faith in God's word. To believe God is to believe God's promise in the gospel. Faith in God is a profound experience, but it is not a mystical experience. Some people think Christian faith is just a belief in the mysterious. Christian faith will always be partial. But faith is not based on what we don't know, it is based on the truthfulness of God to his word. It's believing God's word, not something mysterious. When God said to Abraham "to your offspring I will give this land". What part of that sentence was incomprehensible? He didn't know how it would happen, but he could understand it, it was intelligible to him. Christian faith is the same, the promise of sonship, resurrection, eternal life. None of this is incomprehensible. A Christian believer doesn't claim to know everything, but our faith consists in believing God's word, trusting Jesus Christ and the salvation that he promises.

BSJ-rom said... 5/21/2007 9:55 am  

Is it right to fight straw men with straw men?

Mikey Lynch said... 5/21/2007 10:18 am  

I have not seen the TV show, only read the 'God Delusion' book. I hope to blog my way through it as I give it a reread.

I think, to be fair, that Dawkins does have a more balanced view of the diversity within Xnty. Amongst the diatribe, he speaks respectfully at times about Xns he has had contact with. Most striking is where he describe how likeable and intelligent he found some millitant (ie clinic bombing) prolifers he once met.

We need to realise that what Dawkins is trying to do is not to build a straw man, but to find dramatic illustrations of the 'religious mind' as he sees it. These xtrme cases, in his mind, demonstrate what is endemic to religion, even milder forms.

From the point of view of a convinced secular-humanist- postivist-darwinian-type, *any* thought system that allows faith *any* place, even a complementary place, is an unjustifiable, and unnecessarily complicated, and ultimately irrational thought system. And from his point of view, he is right.

Of course, empiricism is itself is a metaphysical system...

mike said... 5/21/2007 3:13 pm  

I'm not sure I understand you. So you think it's right for him to use extreme cases of the "religious mind" to illustrate his point?

Mikey Lynch said... 5/22/2007 12:03 pm  

I'm not saying he's understood the 'religious mind' rightly. I'm just saying that we are misunderstanding him if we think he is just going for the easy target (straw man).

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