What if God, the being created by man during the Bronze Age, didn’t exist? What if God, just like the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, was a made up entity? What if Man created the concept of a God? Can you imagine your world and how different it might be if there was no God? Well, Richard Dawkins can.
In the wake of the release of his latest book, The God Delusion, Dawkins has been creating quite the stir. Dawkins was interviewed for the latest issue of Wired magazine about a “new atheism.” I found the article truly fascinating. And I can’t stop thinking about it.
I have often said, especially recently, that I wish it were possible for a scientist to disprove the existence of any God. It’s usually when I become frustrated by the crimes of religious fanatics. Sometimes, it’s just because I’m tired of people living their life based on a set of rules that were created by men who lived back in 2000 BC. I get tired of people preaching to me, telling me I’m living in sin. I think, “If only we could disprove the existence of your God! Perhaps then you’d stop killing and chiding people.”
“There’s an infinite number of things that we can’t disprove,” he said. “You might say that because science can explain just about everything but not quite, it’s wrong to say therefore we don’t need God. It is also, I suppose, wrong to say we don’t need the Flying Spaghetti Monster, unicorns, Thor, Wotan, Jupiter, or fairies at the bottom of the garden. There’s an infinite number of things that some people at one time or another have believed in, and an infinite number of things that nobody has believed in. If there’s not the slightest reason to believe in any of those things, why bother? The onus is on somebody who says, I want to believe in God, Flying Spaghetti Monster, fairies, or whatever it is. It is not up to us to disprove it.”
Seriously, what is the difference between the Christian God and the Flying Spaghetti Monster?
The “new atheists” want to stop simply disagreeing with a certain doctrine or sitting aside quietly while others practice. Instead, they want to stop tolerating religion at all. Their problem is with not a single religion, but religiosity itself.
Dawkins states in the God Delusion: “As long as we accept the principle that religious faith must be respected simply because it is religious faith, it is hard to withhold respect from the faith of Osama bin Laden and the suicide bombers.”
How does one safely set the boundaries of insanity? For some, talking in tongues might be considered totally out there, perhaps a little crazy. For some believers, though, such a practise is merely experiencing direct contact with God. How does a person determine the boundaries of acting in the name of religion?
Dawkins states: “I think we’re in the same position the gay movement was in a few decades ago. There was a need for people to come out. The more people who came out, the more people had the courage to come out. I think that’s the case with atheists. They are more numerous than anybody realizes.”
“Not a single member of either house of Congress admits to being an atheist. It just doesn’t add up. Either they’re stupid, or they’re lying. And have they got a motive for lying? Of course they’ve got a motive! Everybody knows that an atheist can’t get elected.”
Are atheists frightened to come out (so to speak)? Surely there must be one atheist in Congress. I think Dawkins must be right. As he stated about the gay movement, most of them probably are too afraid to say anything because of the stigma: God forbid (ha!) someone in the public eye chooses not to believe in a God. More importantly, and perhaps the strangest part to grasp is this: Are Atheists, in fact, viewed as second-class citizens in the United States? Are Atheists afraid to step forward and declare their beliefs, which is not to believe? Are Atheists living in silence? Are you an Atheist?
Last night, after I read the article, I lay awake trying to imagine a world without a God. I found it downright impossible. I found myself wondering if it were possible at all for a girl raised catholic to ever not believe in God, at least conceptually. Once you’re introduced to the concept it seems impossible, given we can’t disprove the existence of such, to give up belief. Even though I did give up on believing in the Easter Bunny and the Tooth-fairy, (had I not, surely people would think me a bit silly) giving up on the belief of God seems like something one gets blasted for. So why do it? Why put yourself out there if you’re going to get attacked?
Am I ready to say to all those in my life who are believers that what they believe in is something I totally dismiss? I’m not sure. That’s a powerful statement and one that might cause quite an argument. Am I starting to believe that there is no God, that God is actually made up just like the Easter Bunny, The Flying Spaghetti Man, and Santa Clause? Unfortunately, the older I get the more and more that I do.