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Is belief in God a delusion? A response to Richard Dawkins.

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Presentation on theme: "Is belief in God a delusion? A response to Richard Dawkins."— Presentation transcript:

1 Is belief in God a delusion? A response to Richard Dawkins

2 “ It has been a good year for atheists…” The Times, 24 th December 2007

3 “ Not since Victorian times has there been such a sustained debate about religious belief” The Times, 24 th December 2007

4 “The God Delusion “ One of the best-selling non-fiction books of its type:1.5m copies in 31 languages Richard Dawkins

5 “The God Delusion “ One of the best-selling non-fiction books Backed up by Channel 4 TV series: new Dawkins on Darwin series Richard Dawkins

6 “The God Delusion “ One of the best-selling non-fiction books Backed up by TV series Much hyped Richard Dawkins “Richard Dawkins was recently voted as one of the world’s top three intellectuals”

7 “The God Delusion “ One of the best-selling non-fiction books in 2007 Backed up by Channel 4 TV series Much hyped A book designed to try to destroy faith in God by an “Evangelical Atheist” Richard Dawkins “Appendix: A partial list of friendly addresses for individuals needing support in escaping from religion “ (p 375)

8 “The God Delusion “ One of the best-selling non-fiction books in 2007 Backed up by Channel 4 TV series Much hyped A book designed to try to destroy faith in God Richard Dawkins “ I see this as a book for a new millennium, one in which we may be released from lives dominated by the supernatural” Brian Eno, sleeve comment

9 “The God Delusion “ One of the best-selling non-fiction books in 2007 Backed up by Channel 4 TV series Much hyped A book designed to try to destroy faith in God Couched in scathing and sometimes offensive language Richard Dawkins Suggests that believers are of inferior intelligence to atheists

10 “The God Delusion “ One of the best-selling non-fiction books in 2007 Backed up by Channel 4 TV series Much hyped A book designed to try to destroy faith in God Couched in scathing and sometimes offensive language Richard Dawkins “The 19 th century is the last time when it was possible for an educated person to admit to believing in the Virgin Birth [of Jesus] without embarrassment.” (p 157)

11 “The God Delusion “ One of the best-selling non-fiction books in 2007 Backed up by Channel 4 TV series Much hyped A book designed to try to destroy faith in God Couched in scathing and sometimes offensive language Richard Dawkins “Dawkins claims that religion..can lead to extreme violence; [therefore] faith instruction to the young is worse than paedophile abuse.” The Times, 24 th December 2007

12 “The God Delusion “ One of the best-selling non- fiction books in 2007 Backed up by Channel 4 TV series Much hyped A book designed to try to destroy faith in God Couched in scathing and sometimes offensive language Claims atheists are a persecuted minority Richard Dawkins “My dream is that his book may help [atheists] to ‘come out’ “ (p 4)

13 Worried about the persistence of belief in creation Critical of science teaching Richard Dawkins “He worries that evolution takes up little more than two hours of a child’s science education”

14 Worried about the persistence of belief in creation Critical of science teaching Very alarmed by 2006 survey which showed: - Creationmost likely 22% - Intelligent Design 19% - Evolution 48% - Don’t know 11% Ipsos Poll for BBC Horizon January 2006 Richard Dawkins “He worries that evolution takes up little more than two hours of a child’s science education”

15 “ That there exists a super-human, supernatural intelligence who deliberately designed and created the universe and every- thing in it, including us.” (p 31) Richard Dawkins The God hypothesis

16 “ That any creative intelligence, of sufficient complexity to design anything, comes into existence only as the end product of an extended product of gradual evolution.” (p 31) Richard Dawkins The Dawkins assertion

17 That there is no God and that Christianity is at best a delusion and at worst a danger to civilised society Richard Dawkins The Dawkins assertion

18 That the earth we see around us is the product of an almost mystical force of Darwinian evolution Richard Dawkins The Dawkins assertion

19 1.To examine what Dawkins says about the earth 2.To look at what he says about the Bible, the Lord Jesus and God 3.To make some comparisons with what the Bible says Richard Dawkins Objectives tonight

20 Deluded by Design?

21 Dawkins accepts that life on earth is complex:- “ Every species and every organ that has ever been looked at within a species is good at what it does. The wings of birds, bees and bats are good at flying….

22 Deluded by Design? Dawkins accepts that life on earth is complex:- “ We live on a planet where we are surrounded by perhaps 10 million species, each one of which independently displays a powerful illusion of apparent design…” p 139 “

23 Deluded by Design? Dawkins accepts that life on earth is complex:- “We live not only on a friendly planet but in a friendly universe …” “

24 Deluded by Design? “our kind of life cannot exist without liquid water”

25 Deluded by Design? We are in exactly the right orbit round the sun..not too hot and not too cold”

26 Deluded by Design? “Earth’s single relatively large moon serves to stabilise our axis..

27 Deluded by Design? “Our sun is unusual in not being a binary, locked in mutual orbit with a companion star..”

28 Deluded by Design? The odds against life on earth developing are a billion to one!

29 Deluded by Design? Yet evolution must have happened because we are here!

30 Deluded by Design? Evolution by natural selection is the only explanation

31 Deluded by Design? Evolution by natural selection is the only explanation, since Dawkins refuses to accept the idea of an all-powerful God

32 Digression : But about the origin of life? Dawkins denies that chance is the reason for the development of life, since he claims natural selection is not chance

33 But what about the origin of life? Dawkins denies that chance is the reason for the development of life, since he claims natural selection is not chance But he suggests that the origin of life required several pieces of luck

34 But what about the origin of life? Dawkins denies that chance is the reason for the development of life, since he claims natural selection is not chance But he suggests that the origin of life required several pieces of luck Literally one in a zillion

35 But what about the origin of life? “We can deal with the unique origin of life by postulating a very large number of planetary opportunities. Once that initial slice of luck has been granted..natural selection takes over and natural selection is emphatically not a matter of luck..” (p 140)

36 Not a matter of luck? “It may be that the origin of life is not the only major gap in the evolutionary theory which is bridged by sheer luck..” (p 140)

37 Not a matter of luck? “It may be that the origin of life is not the only major gap in the evolutionary theory which is bridged by sheer luck..”(p 140) Goes on to suggest that the origin of eucaryotic cells and consciousness are also matters of luck.

38 Flaws of logic Neither the theory of evolution nor natural selection are, as Dawkins suggests, proven facts.

39 Flaws of logic Neither the theory of evolution nor natural selection are, as Dawkins suggests, proven facts. Dawkins has not disposed of the difficulty of irreducible complexity e.g. the components of basic cells

40 The bacterial flagellum “ Evidently crucial components..were already in place and working [in TTSS] before the bacterial flagellum evolved” p132

41 Flaws of logic Neither the theory of evolution nor natural selection are, as Dawkins suggests, proven facts. Dawkins has not disposed of the difficulty of irreducible complexity. Dawkins’ suggestion that because we exist, evolution must have happened is a circular argument, rather less scientific or rational than religious faith.

42 God’s reply to those who assert the supremacy of human reason

43 Job chapter 38

44 Dawkins on God “A God capable of designing a universe or anything else would have to be complex and statistically improbable..” p153

45 Dawkins on God “To suggest that the original prime mover was complicated enough to indulge in intelligent design..is tantamount to dealing yourself a perfect hand in bridge..” p155

46 Dawkins on God “To suggest that the original prime mover was complicated enough to indulge in intelligent design..is tantamount to dealing yourself a perfect hand in bridge..” p155 The God of the Bible is presented to us as being eternal, all-powerful and the creator of all we see around us.

47 The God of the Bible is presented to us as being eternal, all-powerful and the creator of all we see around us:- This is evidenced by:- * the wonders of the world around us e.g. Psalm 19 vv 1-4

48 The God of the Bible is presented to us as being eternal, all-powerful and the creator of all we see around us:- This is evidenced by:- * the wonders of the world around us e.g. Psalm 19 vv 1-4 * God’s work in the lives of men and women e.g. Psalm 23

49 The God of the Bible is presented to us as being eternal, all-powerful and the creator of all we see around us:- This is evidenced by:- * the wonders of the world around us e.g. Psalm 19 vv 1-4 * God’s work in the lives of men and women e.g. Psalm 23 * the words of God’s prophets e.g. Ezekiel 37 being fulfilled long after they were spoken

50 The God of the Bible is presented to us as a God who cares:- This is evidenced by:- * Repeated descriptions of God as a Father e.g. Psalm 103

51 The God of the Bible is presented to us as a God who cares:- This is evidenced by:- * Repeated descriptions of God as a Father e.g. Psalm 103 * Many references to God caring about right and wrong e.g. Psalms 7, 11

52 The God of the Bible is presented to us as a God who cares:- This is evidenced by:- * Repeated descriptions of God as a Father e.g. Psalm 103 * Many references to God caring about right and wrong e.g. Psalms 7, 11 * A clear account of the origin of evil Genesis 3

53 The God of the Bible is presented to us as a God who cares:- This is evidenced by:- * Repeated descriptions of God as a Father e.g. Psalm 103 * Many references to God caring about right and wrong e.g. Psalms 7, 11 * A clear account of the origin of evil Genesis 3 * The giving of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, to save us from our sins Romans 5:6-8

54 The God of the Bible is presented to us as a God who cares:- This is evidenced by:- * Repeated descriptions of God as a Father e.g. Psalm 103 * Many references to God caring about right and wrong e.g. Psalms 7, 11 * A clear account of the origin of evil Genesis 3 * The giving of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, to save us from our sins Romans 5:6-8 * The promise that the world will be restored to perfection when the Kingdom of God is established on the earth. Revelation 21:1-5

55 Dawkins has no conception or understanding of such a God Scoffs at the Biblical record Knows little and cares less for historical evidence of the existence of Biblical characters including Jesus Recycles objections, ( including the Da Vinci Code’s), from a wide range of critics and atheists without giving any real impression that he has read the whole of the Bible with an open mind

56 Dawkins has no conception or understanding of such a God So struggles:- To explain altruism in humans, especially Christian “charity” to others

57 Dawkins has no conception or understanding of such a God So struggles:- To explain altruism in humans, especially Christian “charity” to others The presence of evil in the world – except to blame almost all conflicts on religion “ I cannot think of any war that has been fought in the name of atheism.”

58 Dawkins has no conception or understanding of such a God So struggles:- To explain altruism in humans, especially Christian “charity” to others The presence of evil in the world – except to blame almost all conflicts on religion “ I cannot think of any war that has been fought in the name of atheism.” [Really? what about the Terror in the French Revolution, Stalin’s massacres or Pol Pot’s killing fields,- to name only a few!]

59 Dawkins has no conception or understanding of such a God So struggles to explain:- altruism in humans, especially Christian “charity” to others the presence of evil in the world – except to blame almost all conflicts on religion the persistence of religious beliefs which he believes to be not only useless but dangerous

60 What of the future?

61 * Climate change? * Population growth? * Sustainability? * The future of the human race?

62 What of the future? Dawkins asserts that evolution is bringing a better world:- “ There seems to be a steadily shifting standard of what is morally accepted.. in a recognisably consistent direction..[of] improvement.” p268

63 What of the future? UK Crime figures Murder Rape Robbery

64 What of the future? UK Crime figures MurderRapeRobbery Note: During this time church attendance declined substantially This is hardly a steady improvement with the impact of enlightened atheism!

65 What of the future? “But understand this, that in the last days will come times of stress. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding the form of religion but denying the power of it. Avoid such people.” 2 Tim 3:1-5

66 What of the future? “The Lord God will set up a Kingdom which will never be destroyed… The law will go out from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord This same Jesus you saw taken from you into heaven will come in the same way as you saw Him go…”

67 Is belief in God a delusion? No, never!

68 Thank you and goodnight!


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