One question to Richard Dawkins
Today I attended Richard Dawkins' presentation of his latest book, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution, which took place, believe it or not, at First Congregational Church of Berkeley. During the Q&A session, I asked Dr. Dawkins:
Dr. Dawkins, you've written 10 books, so this question is going to be extremely difficult...
[he interrupted: "I would've written 20 books, if I hadn't taken up computer programming", poking fun at the numerous programmers in the church]
could you think of one sentence, which would convince a creationist to strongly doubt their belief, and ideally a believer in God to really doubt their belief?
My mistake was that I compounded the question, and he only took the easy part - creationism. Keep It Simple Stupid applies to PhDs too...
The reply was twofold:
The organization of genes in all living beings either suggests evolution extremely strongly, or suggests that a Creator intentionally set up the entire mechanism in order to deceive us. Besides, why would a creator make all beings in such a way that evolution leaves traces anywhere, explains everything, and renders Him with nothing to do?
The geologist Kurt Wise, a creationist, told Dawkins that even if all the evidence in the Universe pointed to an old Earth, he would still be a creationist, because that's what the Bible teaches. To this kind of mind, no argument for evolution will ever make any difference. I quote Dawkins here: These people stick their fingers in their ears and go "La... la... la...".
I had been trying for a while to see if one simple, cruel, brutal sentence would shake belief in God. The sentence is:
If God is good, why do 26500 children die each day?
These are some of the more frequent answers that I got:
- we can never understand God / there is a reason for everything
- "Suffering is the result of sin. Unfortunately, those who suffer are not always those who committed the sin." [twitter]
- it's actually our fault that the children die, not God's, because: we have freedom of choice / rich nations don't help the poor children / etc.
- "Our human hearts are evil, deeply entrenched in sin, that is the problem" [Romanian believer]
- "What did YOU do to help those kids?" [San Jose student of Public Relations, Political Science and Business]
- "If we didn't know what pain and suffering was, how would we know what love and happiness is?" [same student]
- "God isn't punishing us. He's teaching us everyday what love is, and what it means to be loved." [same student]
I think I'm going to give up on the search for any such sentence. Its flaw is that it speaks to the reason, which we clearly lack in these cases.
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