Mason Murch has located a quote by the bombastic Richard Dawkins that is . . . well, not in line with his so-called devotion to reason. In a post entitled Dawkins Wishes Us a "Happy Christmas", Murch points out:
Richard Dawkins says:
“For better or worse, ours is historically a Christian culture, and children who grow up ignorant of biblical literature are diminished, unable to take literary allusions, actually impoverished. I am no lover of Christianity, and I loathe the annual orgy of waste and reckless reciprocal spending, but I must say I’d rather wish you “Happy Christmas” than “Happy Holiday Season”.
Most people in western civilization, I think, are aware Dawkins is an atheist. He does, however, propagate some problematic ideas. Psychiatry might even label him as someone suffering from cognitive dissonance. Decrying Christianity as a delusion, while singing the praises of the cultural benefits derived from it, apparently doesn’t seem to bother Dawkins. I suppose there are millions like him.
Long ago, in 1902, another Brit wrote an essay on the subject of life without God. George Bernard Shaw said in A Free Man’s Worship,:“That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving: that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins – all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.” (The Elements of Moral Philosophy, by James Rachels, pp 45).
I think what happens with the Dawkins’ of the world, is that at some point it dawns on them that Shaw’s “firm foundation of unyielding despair,” is all they have without God. When that dawning awakens them to the reality of their belief system, some grasp for “cultural Christianity,” as does Dawkins, and too many of the rest commit suicide.Of every 100,000 people ages 65 and older, 14.3 died by suicide in 2004. This figure is higher than the national average of 10.9 suicides per 100,000 people in the general population. From the National Institute for Mental Health.
I do like Dawkins’ idea that our children should at least be taught the Bible as literature, if for no other reason than they are diminished and impoverished without it. Too bad the so-called leadership in the United States, is so “diminished,” and “Impoverished” they cannot understand what Dawkins and Shaw are saying.
Shaw left us in despair and Dawkins proposes using what he hates – the Bible – as a means to cope, via “cultural Christianity.” I wonder what the next “genius” will come up with?
I agee with Mason. Long ago, St. Augustine noted in The Confessions, "Oh Lord, our hearts are restless until they rest in thee." When people in our modern society abandon belief in favor of a cold, meaningless cosmos, they are ultimately left grasping for some type of meaning. Some (those who actually think about such things) find their meaning in-short term ideas -- many borrowed from Christian morality and teaching -- such as being good to the poor or the environment. Others try to find ultimate meaning in work or family. But these things are necessarily temporal and cannot provide the ultimate meaning that man seeks.
For someone like Dawkins to say he prefers saying "Happy Christmas" because our culture is impoverished by a lack of Biblical knowledge, while at the same time arguing that religion (including Christianity) is ultimately bad strikes me as a serious defect in thought.