le 28 mars 2007
Having read Dawkins' book (the God Delusion) I read reviews that this book is THE answer to Dawkins' arguments. What made me buy the book was the fact that the author was a non-religious scientist who, at some point of his life, became religious (Christian). I was interested to find out why. I mean an explanation of this, as well as an argument supporting the fact that religion is the way to go.
Let us momentarily accept the fact that McGrath tears Dawkins' arguments in pieces. Even so, having disproved Dawkins' thesis, McGrath has not proved or justified anything at all. Does he not understand that showing that the proof of a certain proposition A is wrong does not imply that he has found a proof for [not A]?
True, Dawkins is passionate in his writing. McGrath bases his book on this. But where, in "The Dawkins Delusion", is it shown that religion is an answer to humankind's problems? Also, why has McGrath become a Christian and not, say, a Zoroastrian? This is a function of his environment. The fact that Zoroastrianism is not predominant in England, made him become a Christian. By doing so, he chose to believe certain things and discard others. On what basis?
If McGrath said, somewhere in his book, that
"listen, I don't know why I became religious, I did so because it felt the right thing to do, many of the people around me where religious, I felt more comfortable this way, it gave me consolation at certain moments, and I chose Christianity not on any rational basis, but because it is all around me, it has been around me since my childhood, it is second nature to me; and, having accepted Christianity, I must support it by saying that my beliefs are correct, but other religions are wrong--however I respect them because, like in my case, I understand that thousands of Zoroastrians find consolation in their faith"
then I would find his book more honest. The book would then be seen in the light of someone who could not help it but become religious because he couldn't function otherwise and, having become religious , and a professor of Theology, he must write against atheist's theses. It's part of his faith and part of his job at Oxford too. (It becomes an entry in his CV.)
The fact that book can be seen as "disproving" Dawkins' claims depends on the faith of the reader: If the reader is looking for a
proof that Dawkins' proof is not valid, he or she will find it in McGrath's book. If the reader positions himself or herself against McGrath's arguments he or she will conclude that McGrath has not disproved Dawkins's proof.
But no reader will find a proof/justification/argumentation/evidence of what McGrath tacitly suggests: that religion is the right
choice; i.e. that it is correct.
Religion is a man-made concept (McGrath has not disproved this) and, as such, some people may embrace it but others not. Whether they embrace the belief on cosmic teapots (p. 28) which McGrath suggests as ridiculous (it is) or that a Catholic will enter purgatory upon death is a matter of which society the individual belongs to and has nothing to do with the concept itself.
If it does, then McGrath should write another book to justify this.