Re: Dawkins on Channel 4 tonight

From: Kenneth Van Oost (
Date: Thu 19 Jan 2006 - 20:44:21 GMT

  • Next message: Keith Henson: "Re: Religion and evidence"

    ----- Original Message ----- From: Ben Dawson <>
    > Also, I don't believe that many religious people are as inclined to
    > let their beliefs drop as easily as you believe. There is an
    > overwhelming amount of evidence for evolution and yet creationists are
    > abundant. If statistics are to be believed then nearly half of
    > Americans believe that the Earth is 4000 years old, despite the
    > discovery of a 3.5 million year old complete human skeleton. People
    > who hold these beliefs cannot have investigated the evidence at all.
    > Their faith is definitely not based on reasoning in the same way as
    > scientific acceptance of a theory is.


    The main problem, atleast in my book, is that most people find it a hard job to be the ones they actually are, that is individuals, unique and free ! Levinas says that escaping from the masses is the hardest job of all, and he is so damn right ! ( see, De l'Úvasion, 1936 by Levinas) an old but topical essay.

    He says, that ' escaping ' is not to be taken literally, but is a tendency to escape ' identity ', to escape who you are. Taking that in mind, it is hard to except that you have limitations, that you are black, or that you are a woman, condemned and unfree. There are however two sides on this coin, you got a religious identity and a post- religious identity. Within a religious construction, like the US is one and like my country Belgium is another, identity is not a product of the many roles you play within the context of society, but is only seen within the relation you have with God. What you do or don 't do is no matter of personal achievement but is what within the relation with God is possible.

    Within a post- religious context, the modern individual builts his identity around things like his work, his status, hobby's, tastes and preferences, in one word, the bildung of his own life. Identity is being authentic. We must be ourselves and that is only reached by the selfconstruction of the own identity. And that is just what most people find so hard to do:- building oneself through his work, find pleasure in, with and through his achievement and products. In our relation with God we don 't need the hope to be seen, to be re- cognized as being one special brat, within the relation itself is the recog- nition found. In the other sense, people have the urge..the need to be recognized, to be one special and the recognition they are not is so hard to bear. They are not able, nor they got the chance to, to built themselves.

    But does culture/ society gives you the opportunities to built your oneself
    !? Yes and no, culture says that you are allowed to construct your very own identity as long as it is authentic. But how will a true believer of the faith- that God is in relation with you and of who you accept or hope that he will notice you- deal with such a society/ notice !? How can a true believer find his spiritual way in a culture where God is dead and where society gives you everything you need to built oneself outside the picture/ presence of God !?

    Authencity isolates, we are bounded to who we are and we take this for granted, but what if we are of a sudden confronted with ourself, of who we are !? Than everything tumbles down and crumbles under our feet, the discovery of who is really inside yourself, like the alien/ the stranger/ the immigrant is confronted a blow, you choke in yourself, you disgust of yourself. And shame and disgust go together with anger and if you can hang this anger to one bigger frame, like the bias of all your personal and religious misery_in casu the culture/ society you ended up in_ than it is not unthinkable that you turn your back and fight the non- believers.

    To turn round religious thought and religion in his own right, more than an simple atheist criticism will be necessary, but as long the government of Poland chisels the 10 commendents in a wall of a house along a public street I will fight it. And no soldier with his gun at the ready will keep me from expressing my thoughts...



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