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← Richard Dawkins and Alister McGrath

NMcC's Avatar Jump to comment 25 by NMcC

I've said this before on another thread, but I think it's worth repeating: I don't know about McGrath being deluded in his belief about God, I genuinely believe that he is deluded about his own biography.

Once again he claims here in the first few seconds that he was an atheist, a Marxist, and influenced to view religion negatively by the Northern Ireland troubles etc.

Below is excerpts from the other thread in which myself and a fellow Northern Irishman discussed this. The debate mentioned is the one McGrath did with Peter Atkins.

"Whenever I hear McGrath claim that he was once an atheist (which he does every time he writes or speaks) I just laugh now.

I genuinely think he suffers from some form of 'false memory syndrome'. Either that or he's talked that much bollocks in his life that he's confused himself.

In this debate he mentions that 'I grew up in the fifties', yet, at the same time his atheism, at least in part, and according to him, was informed by how religion in Northern Ireland led to the Troubles. Since the Troubles in Northern Ireland didn't really get started big time until around the early seventies (as far as I can remember, although nominally protestant, my family was still living in a predominantly catholic area until then anyway), McGrath's claims would seem to be self-refuting. If he gave up his alleged atheism at the age of 18, and he grew up in the fifties, surely he would have become a theist before the Troubles in Northern Ireland even started.

Incidentally, the claim that the Troubles in Northern Ireland were to any great degree caused by religion in the first place is simply not true. Even if it was the case however, how on earth could such a situation have the slightest influence on any thinking person in terms of the existence or non-existence of the Christian God? What has rioting mobs on the Falls Road or Shankill Road in Belfast got to do with the argument from first cause, or a 13.7 billion year old universe or the lack of evidence for the supposed divinity (or even historicity) of Jesus? What has the actions of an Irish nationalist terrorist in planting a bomb in a Belfast pub got to do with whether or not Darwinian natural selection means there is no requirement for a supernatural creator? And so on...

When we bear in mind McGrath's latest claims in this debate that when he was young he was a bit of an astronomer, I think his real biography might throw up a few surprises."

"I've just discovered that McGrath would have been 18 years old in January 1971.

Given that the Troubles in Northern Ireland had barely started at that point, surely McGrath's more truthful claim should be that he was an 'atheist' until he witnessed all those Christians in Northern Ireland murdering each other whereupon he became a Christian too!

I'd forgotten that McGrath has claimed that he was a teenage Marxist into the bargain.

Blimey! The only thing he wasn't, then, was a teenage warewolf apparently.

What annoys me even more about McGrath now is that I would bet my life he wasn't even a Marxist but was some kind of vague, dopey Leninist who never read a word of anything Karl Marx himself ever wrote.

So, let's sum up: McGrath as a 13 year old was an atheist (but was really a religion hater influenced by the Northern Ireland Troubles which had yet to begin), a Marxist (but really a stroppy Leninist), an astronomer (who thought the mind boggling wonders of the universe were bleak and discomforting) and became a Christian through studying for his degree (although he had become a Christian 7 years before that).

Confused!? No wonder he is!"

Thu, 31 May 2007 12:16:00 UTC | #43644