Something that should strike anyone reading, or listening to, Dawkins arguments against religion is: Being clever on hindsight is always easy.
Knowing what we know today, it is easy to see that God and religion are delusions (or faith as one might call it). Throughout history however, alternative explanations to existence has been sparse and religion has simply been the best explanation around. Consequently all known societies has had one or more Gods. Religion has been at the root of building society as we know it today, including the flaws.
Today, science builds society (including the flaws) more than religion does , – and increasingly so. Science is therefore at risk of becoming the new religion, and Dawkins may be destined for one of the new Archbishops. We should all learn from the history of religion and avoid the pitfall of discrediting and ridiculing what we cannot explain or things we currently cannot find supporting evidence for. What science cannot explain today, including any superhuman being or force, is not necessarily wrong for believers to believe in, – and who knows, evidence for some kind of a God may appear in the future when science has advanced further.
John Gray writes in “The Atheist delusion“
“Zealous atheism renews some of the worst features of Christianity and Islam. Just as much as these religions, it is a project of universal conversion. Evangelical atheists never doubt that human life can be transformed if everyone accepts their view of things, and they are certain that one way of living – their own, suitably embellished – is right for everybody. To be sure, atheism need not be a missionary creed of this kind. It is entirely reasonable to have no religious beliefs, and yet be friendly to religion. It is a funny sort of humanism that condemns an impulse that is peculiarly human. Yet that is what evangelical atheists do when they demonise religion.”
Instead of concluding the obvious (that God, as explained in the bible or elsewhere, is a delusion), we should take Dawkins’ writings as strong documentation for the continuing misuse of religion to oppress and abuse. The misuse is not caused by faith or religion in itself, but rather by people claiming religious leadership and authority. Their actions are probably more a result of darwinian principles (as the struggle to excede other members of a population, – through oppression or otherwise, is a fundamental darwinian principle), than they are results of religious faith.
This last point is important to remember because science will inevitably be misused the same way, and we as conscientious scientist are obliged to fight back.
This post is an update from the previous post: Richard Dawkins being clever on hindsight