Monday, January 09, 2006

Beyond belief?

UK channel 4 are just running a programme's series by biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins, with the above tile. His thesis 'is religion the root of all evil? Ok that is I bet the TV take but for Dawkins religion is indeed a major root of evil and we must abandon it for rational science to stop wars killing and blood shed. Trouble is the some of the religious he showed (including a Christian mega church in Colorado springs) seriously backs up his argument.

trouble is I agree with his comments on the religion he showed us...But aware that it is finding the worst case to prove your point. Granted there are some toe curlingly awful Christians and I find myself ashamed of them and then maybe some fingers point my way too?

but I could create a programme in which atheism was the root of all evil, I would look at communists and their repression of religion and intellectual free speech or Dr mengle and awful experiments on humans viewed as mere animals. I might talk of capitalist business and the abuse of humanity in the name of market forces and then look at how religion has spawned care, teaching, indeed the science Dawkins lauds. But this would also be a one sided programme. In truth it s easy to set up straw men and knock them down. It is also easy dismiss those we see doing this and send down the good points with the half cocked shots.

I was left wanting to have Dawkins round to dinner. I bet he'd enjoy good wine and food and we might talk openly (yes I think we really might) I would try to get us to offer our best to each other and talk about that rather than offer our best to their worst. I am reminded of a Dietrich Bonhoeffers comment that so much Christian evangelism was 'sniffing around in other peoples rubbish bins looking to catch them out' and that we needed to meet people with faith at the points they were strong.

another thought. Tributes today in the UK to radical MP Tony Banks who died yesterday. Whatever you think ( and he is a controversial figure!) this quote hit home as wise. An Mp shared how when he was new TB took him on one side and said 'this is something really important to know, your opponents are those in the other parties but your enemies are always in your own party'. As I heard it I knew he could have been talking about religious groups, churches and groups within churches. I then remembered I am supposed to love my enemies. And I was also reminded that Paul wisely told us our struggles were not against people. I guess that even means that appalling pastor of that church in Colorado who lectured Dawkins on human arrogance as he delivered a master class in it himself. I asked myself which person here is undermining the work of Christ? I decided it was not Richard Dawkins, and then realized I was called to love them both.

I want to learn with Bonhoeffer to meet people, both my opponents and my enemies ;o) at the point heir are at their best, and meet them with love. Indeed this is perhaps the true heart if the Gospel