Are Religion and Belief in a Supreme Creator a Delusion?

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Vision Media Examines Controversial Statements About Religion and the Bible Made in Dawkins's Latest Book

Richard Dawkins's controversial book The God Delusion has created quite a stir. Dawkins contends that religion and belief in a supernatural creator qualify as a delusion, which he defines as a persistent false belief held in the face of strong contradictory evidence.

"Although the debate [between atheists and believers] is often framed as 'science versus religion,' this is misleading. It isn't even scientists versus theologians. It is more about atheistic scientists expressing their antireligious beliefs openly and stridently, with theistic scientists being just as vocal in defense of their faith," said John Meakin of Vision, a Web publication issued by Vision Media and dedicated to highlighting current social issues.

Dawkins suggests that religionists should see what he views as the illogical and erroneous nature of their beliefs, abandon them, and embrace the "healthy" and independent mind of the atheist. He sees religion as little more than an infectious virus that spreads like the plague and is passed down from one generation to the next. The underlying theme in Dawkins's thinking is that if religion and belief in God could be banished, the world would be a happier and more peaceful place.

One does not have to look far to see the fallacy of that viewpoint. The communist regimes of former Soviet Russia and Red China, which murdered millions of their own people, are strong evidence that atheism is no answer to the world's problems. While it is true that many wars have been fought under religious pretext, the wagers of those wars violated the basic religious premise of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The fault does not lie with religion per se but with its misinterpretation, says Meakin. Resolving this issue is all the more important today, with the looming threat of weapons of mass destruction now in the possession of many nations.

Dawkins has great faith in Darwin, the theory of evolution, and survival of the fittest. But they are just that -- theories. Even if one does not believe in a Creator and instead accepts the idea that life originated spontaneously from matter and that the universe started with the "big bang," the final question remains: where did that matter come from?

Meakin suggests that the Dawkins book provides food for thought by pointing out religious irrationalities. Yet atheism, as a faith, suffers from many inadequacies. The crux, he says, is that the humanly caused shortcomings of religion no more invalidate God than bad science invalidates all science.

See related articles, Richard Dawkins: The God Delusion and Would We Be Better Off Without Religion?


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Edwin Stepp
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