Gunning for God: Why the New Atheists are Missing the Target

Started reading ‘Gunning for God’. This new book by Professor John Lennox tackles the new atheists’ (Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett and others) arguments and explains why they miss their target. Professor does so from a Christian Catholic point of view.

There are quite a few interesting quotations in the book from people belonging to both sides of the fence. Following quotations are some from Einstein:

– “science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”

– “Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe – a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is indeed quite different from the religiosity of someone more naïve.”

– “the only incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible”

 

A good 4-page summary of the book is available at http://www.alisonmorgan.co.uk/Lennox2011.pdf

Religion and Human Psychology: Paul Bloom

Paul Bloom, a professor of psychology and linguistics at Yale, argues that his research work with babies show that the universal themes of human nature are not learned, rather they are part of human nature.

He says: “But the universal themes of religion are not learned. They emerge as accidental by-products of our mental systems. They are part of human nature.”

He believes that these universal themes of religion became part of our nature as an accident of evolution.

He further says: “It’s not surprising, then, that nascent creationist views are found in young children. Four-year-olds insist that everything has a purpose, including lions (“to go in the zoo”) and clouds (“for raining”). When asked to explain why a bunch of rocks are pointy, adults prefer a physical explanation, while children choose a functional one, such as “so that animals could scratch on them when they get itchy.” And when asked about the origin of animals and people, children tend to prefer explanations that involve an intentional creator, even if the adults raising them do not. Creationism—and belief in God—is bred in the bone.”

He summarizes the article with these words: “Despite the vast number of religions, nearly everyone in the world believes in the same things: the existence of a soul, an afterlife, miracles, and the divine creation of the universe. Recently psychologists doing research on the minds of infants have discovered two related facts that may account for this phenomenon. One: human beings come into the world with a predisposition to believe in supernatural phenomena. And two: this predisposition is an incidental by-product of cognitive functioning gone awry.”

Source: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2005/12/is-god-an-accident/304425/

Islam in search of Muslims: Lessons from life of Nelson Mandela (Shaykh Zahir Mahmood)

A powerful talk about some of the similarities between the life and conduct of Nelson Mandela and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and how Nelson Mandela revived some of the Sunnahs of the Prophet (pbuh).

The Prophet (pbuh) had empathy which was not limited to Muslims. The speaker narrated various incidents from the life of the Prophet where he showed great empathy to Non-Muslims. Offering a helping hand to Non-Muslim slave woman, being sympathetic to a person in battle by avoiding to kill him who has done a favour in past are some of the examples. Similarly Nelson Mandela’s concern and passion for human rights were not limited to blacks. He once said, besides white domination he fought black domination too. He was also very sympathetic to the cause of Palestinians and uttered that blacks cannot be totally free without the freedom of Palestinians.

Shaykh emphasised the need to learn from the life of Nelson Mandela. In the second part of the talk, he particularly focused on the divisions within the Ummah and the need to unite together and overcome our differences.

Source: RIS Talks 2013

The God Delusion Debate – Richard Dawkins vs John Lennox

A debate between Atheist Richard Dawkins and Christian John Lennox, both are professors at Oxford University. Debate is about Richard Dawkins famous book ‘ The God Delusion’. It is hosted by Fixed Point Foundation whose mission, according to it’s website,  is to seek innovative ways to defend and proclaim the Gospel.

Debate link at Fixed Point Foundation: http://fixed-point.org/index.php/video/35-full-length/164-the-dawkins-lennox-debate

Kelvin’s conundrum: Is it possible to believe in God and science?

Kelvin believed science must be treated with reverence, as he explained:

“I have long felt that there was a general impression that the scientific world believes science has discovered ways of explaining all the facts of nature without adopting any definite belief in a Creator. I have never doubted that impression was utterly groundless.

“The more thoroughly I conduct scientific research, the more I believe science excludes atheism. If you think strongly enough you will be forced by science to the belief in God, which is the foundation of all religion.”

….

Kelvin strongly opposed Darwin’s evolutionary theories of natural selection believing Darwin ignored evidence of God’s design in creation, and he refused to believe that atoms of dead matter could ever come together to make life. The laws of thermodynamics (how energy is derived from heat) were, to him, a sure sign of intelligent design.

….

Lennox, who has engaged in a number of debates with Richard Dawkins, believes that far from being at odds with science, the Christian faith actually makes perfect scientific sense.

“For me, as a Christian believer, the beauty of the scientific laws only reinforces my faith in an intelligent, divine creative force at work. One of the fundamental themes of Christianity is that the universe was built according to a rational, intelligent design.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/0/24535331