This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.


← Evolution threatens Christianity

Red Dog's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by Red Dog

Comment 13 by Paula Kirby :

Red Dog: I'm assuming you mean she to be Paula Kirby the author. I wasn't aware she was Christian. Even if she is ... No, definitely not Christian!

Used to be, though, and back in those days, as I tried to explain in my article, I accepted evolution but knew next to nothing about it. I hadn't looked into it at all, hadn't been taught about it at school, had no idea how it worked. I simply assumed (taking things on faith being something you become quite good at as a Christian) that the scientists would have good reason for saying that it was true, and then just ignored it.

'God is mysterious and all-powerful' is an incredibly flexible and convenient belief. What it means is that anything is possible but the believer cannot expect to understand how - which in turn means that what seems like an insurmountable obstacle to faith to those of us outside the bubble can be easily hand-waved away by those on the inside of it. 'Well, I can't explain it, but that doesn't mean that God couldn't do it.'

Religious belief creates an entirely different way of looking at the world. Leaving that behind when I realised that Christianity was literally incredible was an enormous relief: I can remember to this day the almost physical sense of release, the sense of finally coming up for air, the sheer sense of liberation when I began to investigate proper explanations and grapple with facts and evidence and data rather than the woolliness of faith!

Taking things on trust and believing that there are some things we will not be able to understand in this life are central to faith - so we should never be surprised when, like the White Queen in Alice through the Looking Glass, the religious believe six impossible things before breakfast. It doesn't necessarily mean they are not sincere or genuine; and certainly not that they're stupid. It's just what the intellectual prison of religion does to its inmates.

Thanks for the explanation. I know what you mean about the feeling when leaving faith behind. I did it at a fairly young age. I was around 12. Up until that time I took Catholocism VERY seriously. I was constantly worried about what would happen if I swore or committed other sins before getting to confession, not to mention what would happen to my dad who was a good guy but seemed to prefer the church of Golf to the one we went to, even though he professed to being a Catholic as well. When Dawkins talks about religious training as child abuse its not hyperbole to me. I was quite literally in a state of fear much of the time.

For me it really was an epiphany. Suddenly I realized that God and Jesus were no different than Santa. It was one more lie adults were telling me to make me do what they wanted. I think I did feel an almost physical sense of relief as all sorts of things that hadn't made sense before now did. Of course my ideas have refined a bit since then but I don't think that's such a bad way of summing it up even now.

Wed, 24 Aug 2011 21:58:44 UTC | #863888