Tuesday 8 April 2008

The God Delusion - Pagan Point of View

So as am sure you've seen on the book shelf widget on the left that one of the books am currently reading is the The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. It's a very enjoyable read so far and am maybe a quarter of the way through it. He doesn't pull any punches in his writing style and doesn't make any excuses for his opinions. I can easily see how it could really be a difficult read for Christians to work through. While the author makes it clear from the beginning that he applies the same logic to any and all gods he does make his primary arguments against the Christian God since that will be the one that the majority of his readers will be familiar with.

As an avid reader I was pleased by the start of the book, which opens with the following instead of a dedication. Once I read that I was excited to read on.

In Memoriam
Douglas Adams
(1952 - 2001)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful
without having to believe that there are
fairies at the bottom of it too?"

He spells out his main goals in the preface of the book giving the readers an a good idea of where he is heading with the book. As some one who believes in the Divine, I have to say I agreed with a lot of what he had to say and his goals. The one thing that really stood out for me was the concept of a Muslim Child and a Christian Child. There is no such thing, children are far to young to make decisions about things like that. So it would be much better to describe them as children of Christian / Muslim parents. As a parent myself this idea really hit home, I remember having to deal with my eldest daughter who was raised part time in a born again Christian house hold. Where she was taught that various things where evil and would result in people 'burning in the fires of hell' . It caused a lot of problems for her and our house over the years since a lot of the people she knew at our house and liked fell in to the groups she was being taught to hate.
In the early portion of the book he uses for terms fairly regularly when talking about various historical figures.
Atheist - a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.
Agnostic - One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God.
Theist - belief in the existence of a god or gods
Deist - The belief, based solely on reason, in a God who created the universe and then abandoned it, assuming no control over life, exerting no influence on natural phenomena, and giving no supernatural revelation.
The first two terms I had heard in the past and knew what they meant, but I had never heard the term deist used before, I find the term very interesting. Despite being a Wiccan I would put myself some where between Deist and Theist. On one hand I believe in the existence of Gods and of Goddess, but am not so certain that they really care what we do one way or the other. The best description I've every used to describe it is that the Divine is like a diamond. While the various Gods and Goddess's that we use in worship are facets of that Divine source.
The book goes on to deal with common arguments in favor of a God, but again it focuses on Christian arguments in favor of a Christian God. So while they are interesting to read from a pagan prospective they are not all that relevant. Personally I've found that the majority of them I've had brought to me by Christian friends when they lean am Wiccan. In response I used a lot of the same points that are being used by Richard and the people he is quoting.
Well that brings you to the same place I am in the book. I'll post more as I read on.

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