1/25/09

The Quadripartite Equine Riders, part 5 of 11

This is part five of an eleven part essay in which is a review of a conversation that took place between Prof. Richard Dawkins, Prof. Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens.

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2:
Strident, Arrogant, Vitriolic, and or Shrill?
Part 3:
Amazing Perplexity and Anonymous Confession of an Atheist Clergyman
Part 4:
Tri-Theism? Nice Try
Part 5:
Faith, Evidence and Doubting Thomas and It’s Absolutely Relative
Part 6:
On Scientific Authoritarian Faith
Part 7:
Cosmology and the Pathetic Bible
Part 8:
On Cosmology, Theology and Eternal Regress
Part 9:
Dennett the Mesmerist and Atheism is Humbler and Holier Than Thou
Part 10:
The Universe is All About Me
Part 11:
On Jihad and Abortion

Faith, Evidence and Doubting Thomas
Sam Harris stated,
“…this idea that you start with a premise that belief without evidence is especially noble, I mean, this is the doctrine of faith, this is the parable of doubting Thomas…”

I found it fascinating that he correlates “belief without evidence” with doubting Thomas since that “parable” makes precisely the opposite point. But I will divert your attention to my essay responding to Prof. Richard Dawkins’ claim that the apostle Thomas should be the patron saint of scientists since I have corrected this notion there—for now, note that not one of the apostles took Jesus resurrection on “faith.” This is merely indicative of Prof. Richard Dawkins’ lack of knowledge with regards to that which he seeks to discredit.

It’s Absolutely Relative
Sam Harris stated:
“And I think we make a very strong case when we point that out, and point out also that whatever people are experiencing, in church or in prayer, no matter how positive, the fact that Buddhists and Hindus and Muslims and Christians are all experiencing it, proves that it can’t be matter of the divinity of Jesus, or the unique sanctity of the Koran.”

According to various theologies this actually proves no such thing. For instance, according to the theologies of various religions there are many paths to God even though specific religions may not believe so. This would not even prove that it cannot be the divinity of Jesus, or the unique sanctity of the Koran (Qur'an), since God would be reaching people thorough various means.
Even according to Christian theology there is no reason to deny that religious people of various theologies, or atheologies, have “mystical,” or “spiritual” experiences. The God of the Bible may be using their contemporary beliefs in order to eventually draw them to the true theology. God may have been giving them over to their own passions if they are so free-willingly following their own way (Romans 1:26).

Ex-atheist C. S. Lewis wrote:
“If you are a Christian you do not have to believe that all the other religions are simply wrong all through. If you are an atheist you have to believe that the main point in all the religions of the whole world is simply one huge mistake. If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all these religions, even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of the truth. When I was an atheist I had to try to persuade myself that most of the human race have always been wrong about the question that mattered to them most; when I became a Christian I was able to take a more liberal view.”[1]

[1] C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1960), p. 29

3 comments:

  1. I think that by "parable of doubting Thomas", Dawkins meant that Thomas was doing the doubting, not others. It's like the "parable of blogging Mariano". (Congrats, by the way--just 17 more posts and God gives you the toaster oven.) It's strange that you would nitpick his syntax, since it is clear from his other quote that he knows the story, even if you think he misinterpreted it.

    And it's too bad that C.S. Lewis mistakenly thought that he had to give up his requirement for evidence to appreciate the wisdom of the world's religions. They do have a lot of things figured out--just not that part about God.

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  2. re: nitpicking syntax

    Really. Its strange to see how some people think this issue can be decided on syntax. What's next, prove the existence of god by the rules of English grammar?

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  3. Shalom aleikhem.
    Kuhlmann;
    If you read my post here in which I present a fuller quote you will see that this is not nitpicking syntax but that he has no comprehension of the story of Thomas and I would imagine that you do not either or else you would rightly and admirably criticize his lack of knowledge.

    aDios,
    Mariano

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