Re: Dawkins on Channel 4 tonight

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Tue 17 Jan 2006 - 00:00:58 GMT

  • Next message: Derek Gatherer: "RE: Dawkins on Channel 4 tonight"

    >From: Chris Taylor <>
    >Subject: Re: Dawkins on Channel 4 tonight
    >Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2006 23:01:34 +0000
    >Ahem (deep breath)...
    >I'm interested in your perspective: The Dad thing (thanks btw) wasn't (I'd
    >argue) actually formative for me in my religious rejection as it took a
    >couple more years before I was aware enough of stuff to make a choice (I
    >started Catholic through vertical transmission and went away from it just
    >before I'd have been confirmed) and is some 27 years distant now; I do
    >think though that I know roughly what my path to my own variant of
    >screaming atheism was.
    I was baptized Lutheran (friggin' X-ians conquered Odin lovin' Sweden last in Europe thus my baptized faith while still clad in diapers), my dad a deacon in a Presbyterian church when I as a wee lad (sans Scottish kilt) and confirmed Episcopalian since I attended an Episcopalian parochial school for a really cool year. Protestant all the way. Went to Catholc school for about a month til the ruler wielding penguins scared the hell outta me and upon deep reflection my dad thought it OK to put me back into the public school arena.

    My parents took me to church for a good part of my early life, but our attendance sort of fizzled. IMO the image of someone hanging from a cross is not good for kids. The fish symbol is much more kid friendly. Drinking wine for communion is kinda cool, but the wafers stick to the roof of your mouth. Never really though about the vampiristic and cannibalistic undercurrents at the time, but it is kinda unnerving in retrospect. We condemn violence in movies (except Gibson's snuff film _Passion_) and video games as warping kids minds but seeing images of someone dying on the cross or eating their flesh and drinking their blood in ritual is fine.
    >It started with my being slightly alarmed by the text of the mass (once I
    >stopped chanting and listened): Sort of like the icky feeling when one
    >hears the root of most common nursery rhymes kids recite, which are mostly
    >quite unpleasant (the rhymes not the kids). Narcissism (no other gods, and
    >keep the praise coming) not that I knew the word at the time, vampirism and
    >cannibalism (transubstantiated or not), the presence of an altar with its
    >associations (how very OT). Then I was probably like most in that I saw a
    >lot of 'evil' as I watched more news. The death knell came with things like
    >the mistranslations in the bible, the range of qualitatively different
    >faiths and of course science.
    The flood myth in Gilgamesh was kinda cool and one can't ignore the importance of Zoroaster as a Persian antecedent. A good part of religion is social control (just look at the caste system in Hinduism). Yet a part of me is tempted to read Thomas Jefferson's excerpts of Christ, perhaps sanitized for my protection. I could do without Revelation and those who are cashing in with multi-book series. I should invest in an asbestos suit and jet-ski though, just in case ;-)
    >Evolutionary biology (my thing once upon a time) has a history that starts
    >with clerics and ends with loads of atheists :D
    Just bought Paley's classic not long ago and Agassiz was one of the hardcore theists too. Gould makes an interesting comparison that puts Dawkins in Paley's shadow and Goodwin in that of Agassiz in his brick. So sans Darwin, the issues of function versus form still loom large.
    >Anyway I wonder what confirmed and sustains your faith in the face of what
    >made me so very different in outlook? This is by definition probably quite
    >personal but if you can sanitise it I'd feel privileged to hear it as you
    >are clearly in possesion of well-developed critical faculties.
    >Btw I didn't misunderstand I don't think, but I was already building up a
    >nice head of steam and so wasn't so clear myself: I am genuinely intrigued
    >by what gets under the wire as not absolute (objective scientific) proof in
    >the sense of God on TV saying 'Chris start saying I rock or you're in for
    >an eternity of fire boyo' but yet is more than gut conviction or a response
    >to the possibility of god? I'm repeating the above request essentially.
    I think Gould was more benign than Dawkins with his NOMA notion. Being an agnostic I tend to be less harsh on religion than hardcore atheists, but there are times I'm tempted to veer into the orbit of hardcore atheists like Dawkins. Pat Roberston has been responsible for a few of those instances. He missed his calling. He should be doing an HBO stand-up comedy special. He's the Christian version of George Carlin. Both have some pretty warped views of humanity.

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