A few Dawkins quotes to think about.

by AK - Jeff 328 Replies latest jw friends

  • trevor

    Jeff - Thanks for reminding us of that excellent quote from Dawkins.

    I never cease to be amazed at the way god fearing people try twist a lack of belief in a god into a form of faith. For the record, you can’t have faith in a negative. Equally bizarre are the assertions that animals do not suffer or feel pain; and that people who study the universe and its origins and find no god present, are automatically saints for atheists.

    I should not be surprised, because a mind that can conclude the world is the product of a god with a nasty temper is capable of unfathomable mental gymnastics.

    To conclude that all phenomena are the result of invisible spirits living their lives through humans, takes us back to the dark ages and beyond.

  • PSacramento

    When Dawkins goes after creationalists, I can understand his point and it is truly when he is at his "pitbull" best.

    I saw his discussion with McGrath and it was quite pleasant to see, of course McGrath is NOT a creationalist and is a scientist also so they had some common ground, but it was an excellent exchange of views in which RIchrad put up excellent points without being arrogant or condesending.

  • rocketman

    "In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference"

    This portion of the quote especially does it for me.

    I was watching the news last night, about the tornado that devastated Joplin, Mo. One guy who survived said he did so because of his "faith in God". So while others around him perished, he credited his faith.

    But did this man display more faith than his less fortunate neighbors? Seriously, such a comment is as deluded as they come. As Dawkins said, this was clearly as case of randomness, with no rhyme, reason, or justice. It was simply nature at its most brutal.

  • ixthis

    What is more intelligent an ape or a snake?

  • tec

    "Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence."

    I think this claim is a cop-out. It might be true of some, but it is false of many. You just don't hear from the people of quiet, strong, and rational faith as much as you hear about some of the fundamentalists.

    "My last vestige of "hands off religion" respect disappeared in the smoke and choking dust of September 11th 2001, followed by the "National Day of Prayer," when prelates and pastors did their tremulous Martin Luther King impersonations and urged people of mutually incompatible faiths to hold hands, united in homage to the very force that caused the problem in the first place."

    I think it is blind also, to blame religion in its entirety on the 911 tragedy. No one thinks it had anything to do with retaliation? Collateral damage leaves a lot of angry people behind.

    Before anyone jumps on me, I'm not saying it was right or okay. It wasn't. But neither is killing their people and taking a high moral ground on that tragedy either.

    "The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored. In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference"

    And yet survival of the fittest does not necessarily carry over to the human 'animal'. We have the ability to care for the rest of the world. Some of us even have the desire to do what's right.

    We also have selfless acts. We have love. We have compassion for those we have never met. (even animals can show compassion, even sometimes for creatures not of their species) We have forgiveness even when the one who wrongs us did nothing to earn or ask it from us. We have those who give selflessly of themselves to the poor, the needy, the sick, the hungry - without a reward or tit-for-tat in mind. Just because love motivates them to do so. For some, they learned that love through their faith.



  • AGuest

    I expect that many believers would dismiss Dawkins' opinion here… though honestly, how can they?

    I would, dear AK-Jeff (peace to you!), on the basis that his premise (following) is flawed, at least as to me, when he asks:

    Do you really mean to tell me the only reason you try to be good is to gain God's approval and reward, or to avoid his disapproval and punishment?

    For me, this is not only NOT the only reason… but not EVEN the reason. While it’s true that I want God’s approval, it is only in the sense of a child wanting to please a parent… because they LOVE that parent and esteem their opinion of them. I do not try to be good; I am NOT good. But… I love God and I love Christ. And THAT is what compels ME. I don’t care if I am granted resurrection or life in the end. It is not for me to say… and there is nothing I can DO to gain it (hence, UNdeserved kindness and mercy). I don’t care if I am a pillar in the temple of God… or grout. A king… or a chamberpot emptier. I would be happy just to be IN the kingdom. Because of my LOVE for God and Christ. If, however, their choice is that I DON’T have a place… how can I take issue with that? It’s their decision. And because I have come to KNOW them… I know that their decisions are JUST, whatever they are. And so, if they decide that I lose out… the decision is the RIGHT one. That, however, does not stop my love for them.

    And my love for them will not fail because, unlike a lot of people, it is not based on what I’ve read about them, or what others have told me, or what others think/feel. It is because I have come to KNOW them… and knowing what I do ABOUT them I cannot help BUT love them. I am sure you understand this, because that same love many of us have and show toward PEOPLE. There are certain people whose qualities literally FORCE you to love them, if you have any decency in yourself. It is the same way for me as to God and Christ – they ARE good… really good, not just abstractly so... regardless of what you may have read… or heard… about them. I know this… due to PERSONAL knowledge.

    Mr. Dawkins’ statement, however, shows the inability of folks like him to separate believers… from religion. And that’s understandable, totally: religion is the reason most DON’T believe in God and have turned, instead, to worshipping the creation (the physical world). Or why those who claim to believe have such a hard time LIVING that belief… and walking by FAITH (vs. by sight). And who can blame them? As Mr. Dawkins also said:

    Religious culture is saturated with the good/evil, right/wrong, black/white stereotyping. And the end of day for them is that god will find more on their scales that is good/right/white than he will find evil/wrong/black - and reward will follow.

    This is TRUE… and one of the reasons, among many, why religion has already been condemned, particularly "Babylon the Great": it... and particularly, SHE... is rife… with HYPOCRISY (“leaven”).

    But not all who believe in God believe in religion. Indeed, a TRUE believer CAN’T believe in religion… on the bases, among others, that:

    (1) There is no “true” religion. Christ brought an end to that when he said, of Jerusalem, “Your ‘house’ is abandoned to you.” Ancient Judaism was the religion established by God through the establishment of the Law and priesthood. But they continually rebelled against the “religion” HE set up. The final destruction of the temple was the manifestation of that abandonment… and no institution was ever raised up to replace it… and won’t be… until Israel says, “Blessed is he that comes in the name of JAH.” So far, that hasn’t occurred. Until then, worship of God CANNOT be done through a visible organization… of ANY kind… but through in spirit… through the Truth.

    (2) Religion’s track record, especially “christian” religions… is in opposition to the True God. There is NO way that their conduct and false prophecies are approved by Him, regardless of their excuses. It is because of them that people turn AWAY from God, not TO Him. And while some would argue “Look at the numbers streaming into the churches/religion,” I would counter that they are streaming to the LEADERS of such churches/religions… not to God. There is a HUGE difference. Because one cannot GET to God by going to/through a church/religion; one can only get to God by going TO… and THROUGH… Christ.

    (3) Religion, and particularly “christian” religion, attempts to convince people that they have God’s “approval” manifested in their physical prosperity. Look how many “successful” ministers have huge followings! The people aren’t following God and Christ, however; they’re following… the MONEY! They reason that if a minister (or person) is financially successful, then SURELY God must be BLESSING them! What the frick??? When was Christ financially prospered? Which Apostle was rich? True, some disciples started OUT rich, but didn’t those give their belongings AWAY… so as to help those who weren’t rich?? What “nice” house did Christ have? Is he not recorded to say that he had NOWHERE to lay his head? What fancy clothes? ONE garment of good quality? What fancy car? He rode into Jerusalem on the colt of an ass… not even a pony, let alone a horse; a humble donkey.

    But so many are looking for “blessings” in a physical way, a financial prospering. Even if they say, “I don’t want to be rich; I just want to be ‘comfortable.’” However, physical comfort is not a promise of the NEW Covenant (which is why SO many prefer the OLD, which did make such promises). The NEW Covenant is about… SPIRITUAL prosperity! It is not about “things on the earth,” and thus as to the flesh, but things in the SPIRIT realm, and thus, as to the SPIRIT. They don’t get this, though, because their minds ARE on the things… on the earth. Such ones don’t see, however, the very temporary… and limiting… “value” of such things. Because we want it NOW… and we want it HERE. To rule as/live like kings… here and now.

    But that wasn’t the promise of the New Covenant and, unfortunately, most cannot see that. Because they are looking to the wrong gods… or to One they don’t know.

    I will stop here, though, because I don’t want to overtake your thread… and I have much to do today and need to get to it. But I felt compelled to respond because, like many others, Mr. Dawkins is basing his view, and thus his opinion, on a very limited understanding of things, particularly "believers". He only sees one side… and that is the side presented by religion. Which is a loud… and “boisterous” woman.

    Some may ask, “Well, okay, then, if God is out there, why doesn’t He speak up?” The answer is because He is NOT loud or boisterous… and the One whom He has granted to speak FOR Him speaks… in LOW tones. Quietly. (Proverbs 8:1-4) Why? Because it is not up to God or Christ to speak loudly; it is up to mankind… to be still... and LISTEN. Because it is through obedience of THIS kind… listening… that one HEARS… and so comes to KNOW… personally… the One(s) speaking: the Most Holy One of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, whose name is JAH... of Armies... and His Son and Christ, the Holy One of Israel and Holy Spirit, my Lord and King, JAHESHUA MISCHAJAH... who is the Word of God and there is no other.

    Again, I bid you peace!

  • tec

    Everything Shelby just said.

    I'm not parroting her, as some might accuse me now, if only in thought. But everything that Shelby just said, I could have written. My spirit bears witness to all of this.

    Peace to you, my sister,


  • AGuest

    Dear sab... peace to you! Animals suffer, dear one. They are no different from us except as to the vessels the spirits they are inhabit and, perhaps, intelligence (meaning, the ability to dedeuce in advanced capacities). They feel, physically as well as spiritually, and communicate (in whatever manners their vessels allow - ours simply allows much more). My little dogs try to "talk" to me all the time. They don't want much: to go for a walk, a piece of bacon (well, a LOT of pieces of bacon!), to sit on my lap... a different dog food. etc. We know apes, dolphins, whales, and other animals have high levels of intelligence and communicate... with one another and with us. Animals also grieve, too. This has been proven as to apes (particularly chimps), elephants, dogs, big cats, and others.

    Something that might help you understand this truth (besides the Congregator's words that we ALL have the same eventuality, man AND beast), is the words of a wise judge, who said:

    "Even a dog knows the difference between being kicked and tripped over."

    I know my puppies would totally respond differently if I kicked them than if I just tripped over them. Yesterday, I promised them a walk when my husband got home (they wanted to go before, but I just couldn't make the time - indeed, I shouldn't even be here posting!). When he got home, however, I was too exhausted and changed my mind. If you don't think they were hurt... and let me KNOW it all the way up to bedtime... then you truly don't understand dogs. I had to keep begging my girl to "forgive" me (which she eventually did, of course! I knew, when she could look at me again and wag her tail - LOL!)... because I couldn't bear her "accusing" looks ("You LIED to me, Marmie! You SAID we were going and now we're not!"). How do I know what she was "thinking"? Because I have two kids... and I got the SAME look when I reneged on a promise to them when they were very young. I KNOW what it means.

    Like my dear kids (who are people), however, my dear puppies also forgave me. Like my kids... who are people... they (my puppies) always do, too!

    Please, dear one, don't write animals off like some write believers off. Just as in the days of Noah, there is room in the "Ark" [of the New Covenant] for them, too!

    Again, peace to you!

    YOUR servant and a slave of Christ,


  • PSacramento

    As usual I agree with pretty much everything Shel said ( peace you you sweetie), BUT I need to remid US all of one thing:


    1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature , and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. 2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion. 3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions. Let's be clear about this, religion is NOTHING without the people that practise it and EVERY set of beliefs is, technically, a religion of sorts. The issue has never been religion, the issues has always been what people MAKE the central part of religion to be, typically, THEMSELVES.

  • AK - Jeff
    AK - Jeff

    Of course Dawkins point is that there is tremendous horror going on, all the time, within so called 'creation'. And how would a 'loving' creator do that? Or substance thereof.

    Evolution is ugly. But at least those who espouse the scientific evidence for it, realize the reasons for the ugliness. Man continues, even at the higher end of the chain to do very ugly things to both the balance of 'creation' and to his fellow man. In so doing, why don't the theists admit at least that cruelty, hate, ugliness is far closer to the picture God paints for us to follow, than peace, love, justice.

    In what we can see/touch/feel/experience, if it is from God, does not paint a picture anything like that creationist-theist would have us accept about God's personality. If there is a God - his personality is painted all over the planet, indeed the universe, from the micro to the macro, and it is chaos, pain, terror - not love.


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