Monday, April 14, 2008

The God Delusion Chapter 1

A few thoughts after having read the first chapter of the God Delusion.

His comments on the undeserved respect the religions seem to get, I certainly agree with for the most part. I think most religions expect this when they don't really deserve it, sure they've all done some stuff that's deserving of respect and continue to do so. However nothing they may have or will do qualifies them for some sort of exalted pedestal, from which they can stand and hurl abuse down at others with out receiving it back. And nothing pardons killing or threaten others who ignore or reject elements of your religion.

The bit on theist and deist was interesting and using those definitions It would seem likely I'm somewhere between the two. ;-)

His initial comments on a world with out religion and how it would or might be lacking things such as the crusades, 9/11, Irish troubles and many other "nasty" things I highly disagree with. It's a shallow statement that completely ignores reality and provides no argument at all. Skipping a head a bit I see he mentions some more on this so hopefully he'll actually make some sort of argument or two rather listing a whole lot of nasty stuff then saying it's all religiously motivated.

Highly enjoyed the bits on Einstein and various other scientists "God" and the wonder of nature. This quoted quote especially:

Carl Sagan, in Pale Blue Dot, wrote:
How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, 'This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant'? Instead they say, 'No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.' A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.


Katherine said...

How does he define deism and theism? Just out of curiosity.

EONsim said...

Here are his defintions:

A theist believes in a supernatural intelligence who, in addition to his main work of creating the universe in the first place, is still around to oversee and influence the subsequent fate of his initial creation. In many theistic belief systems, the deity is intimately involved in human affairs. He
answers prayers; forgives or punishes sins; intervenes in the world by performing miracles; frets about good and bad deeds, and knows when we do them (or even think of doing them).

A deist, too, believes in a supernatural intelligence, but one whose activities were confined to setting up the laws that govern the universe in the first place. The deist God never intervenes thereafter, and certainly has no specific interest in human affairs.

Pantheists don't believe in a supernatural God at all, but use the word God as a non-supernatural synonym for Nature, or for the Universe, or for the lawfulness that governs its workings.

Deists differ from theists in
that their God does not answer prayers, is not interested in sins or confessions, does not read our thoughts and does not intervene with capricious miracles.
Deists differ from pantheists in that the deist God is some kind of cosmic intelligence, rather than the pantheist's metaphoric or poetic synonym for the laws of the universe.

I really should stick up my second post on the book...

Katherine said...

Hm, I think I fluctuate between all of those. Probably mostly pantheism at the moment.

Thanks :)

EONsim said...

Pantheism, never understood how that could be attractive. Might simply be that I'm to focused/interested on self awareness or intelligence (though not necessarily human style intelligence).