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

Comment

← UPDATED: Why I want all our children to read the King James Bible

Quine's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by Quine

This was a very good piece by Richard, and I am glad to see it out in the public. It helps to dispel the idea that these old texts have any power over us such that we would want to suppress them being read by young people. As Richard points out, it is just the opposite.

As it turns out, it also gives me a chance to get on my old soapbox about how we talk about these deities that people have made up over these long gone thousands of years. Consider these two sentences that are in the article:

... The first two – "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" and "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image" – come from a time when the Jews still believed in the existence of many gods but had sworn fealty to only one of them, their tribal "jealous" god.

Followed in the next paragraph by:

"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy": this commandment is regarded as so important that (as our children will learn when they flock into the school library to read the Gove presentation copy) a man caught gathering sticks on the sabbath was summarily stoned to death by the whole community, on direct orders from God.

I wish this to only be constructive, and could not pass up the chance because the two came so close to each other as to provide the contrast. The first is directed to the beliefs in existences of deities, but gives none a presupposition or instantiation by usage, whereas, the second ends with such. Suppose the second had ended with:

... on direct orders, supposedly from that "jealous" god.

This usage does not lift their deity higher than the fairy tale status it deserves. I know that most don't care about this, but I ask that you all, at least, give it some thought before you write about these entities who deserve no greater status than do other figments of our imagination, until evidence is produced to show otherwise. Please don't grant them unearned reality before you even get started.

/soapbox

Sun, 20 May 2012 00:08:39 UTC | #942331