Great Archepiscopal critique!

October 16, 2007 at 4:12 am | Posted in Archbishop of Canterbury, Christianity, Philosophy, Religion, Science | Leave a comment

Archbishop: Dawkins got religion wrong

Anushka Asthana
Sunday October 14, 2007
The Observer

Critics of religion were criticised last night by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who said the way in which Christians viewed God had been misinterpreted.Speaking at a lecture at Swansea University’s Taliesin Arts Centre, Williams described religious belief as ‘naturally self-critical’ which was a point that contemporary critics such as evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, often missed. ‘There are specific areas of mismatch between what Dawkins may write about and what religious people think they are doing,’ he said.

Williams was referring to Dawkins’s book, The God Delusion, in which the atheist scientist attacks God ‘in all his forms’ arguing that belief in a supernatural entity is irrational. Williams said that God is real for believers and existed before the universe did. He said Dawkins had ‘picked up on’ the fact that theologians talk about God as a simple explanation but if God was around before the Big Bang, ‘he must be complex’.

‘Don’t distract us from the real arguments by assuming that religion is an eccentric survival strategy or irrational form of explanation,’ Williams said. ‘Our culture is one that deeply praises science, so we assume because someone is a good scientist, they must be a good philosopher. My inner jury is out on that.’

I have no idea what Dawkins is on about, as I have not read The God Delusion. The title itself is enough to put me off, so it’s good to hear what Rowan Williams, a real authority on religion, has to say on this matter. It’s high-time to counter much of the rubbish that swills around the blogosphere.

For me, it is enough to acknowledge that we praise scientists for their contribution to our understanding of the world, as long as we don’t worship them. As far as philosophy and science are concerned, well, there’s a lot to be said in the way students of each discipline would define the word ’empirical’. Perhaps the line between praise and worship needs to be clarified, as well as the different aims of science and philosophy, before we even mention religion?!

The Archbishop targets the heart of the matter and presents it in a nutshell. Brilliant.


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