Wednesday, 4 February 2009

God delusion and conservation

A comment was left on my last blog, which for some reason seems to have got diverted in cyberspace, and never appeared as a comment. I wouldn't want the anonymous commentator to think we were censuring comment, so it it published below, together with my response

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The God delusion":

I have enjoyed "John's rant". What a new and refreshing idea that God doesn't exist. I love the claim that non-believers are rational thinkers hinting that anyone that dare think otherwise have somehow a lesser right to an opinion. I am a conservation scientist and a christian. I pride myself on researching all aspects of both the evolution theory and faith and through this I have come to a conclusion to what is true. This does not mean that the science is wrong as the World is a complex place with complex processes. But the truth is that how ever much I want to pretend that God is a fantasy creature developed by an over active imagination it's not true and believe that I would be wrong to turn by back on my faith however strong the pressure is for me to do so.

The one thing that shocks me is the claim that the destruction of the World's habitats is pinned on faith. During biblical times people had great respect for animals and their environment quite simply because they relied on it for their survival.We now live in World where children don't even know which animal bacon comes from. To blame global destruction on faith is shockingly short sighted and arrogant. The truth is that people have detached themselves from the environment. Maybe it is time we start to address this rather than waste time criticising other peoples faith without any clear knowledge or understanding.

Posted by Anonymous to Green Issues at 02 February, 2009 22:43

Response by John:

I think my Anonymous critic has not only missed the point, but has not actually read what I have written.

In particular, he or she should not try and put words into my mouth, since nowhere did I write that god per se does not exist; I simply rejected the concepts of certain types of god. Proving non-existence is slightly more difficult than proving existence. Anyone who has ever been involved with biological recording will know that it is relatively easy to prove that an animal or a plant occurs somewhere, but often far more difficult to prove that it doesn't. Just as proving a species have become extinct is often very difficult. Belief is simply that, belief. Existence is a different matter. The fact that I have materialist beliefs, based on the existence of evidence, does not mean I can prove the non-existence of god or anything else. But neither can believers in gods prove their existence, whether we are talking about Wotan, Zeus, Pan, Ganesh, Jehova or any other god. To the people that believe in a particular god, evidence is not needed. And to non-believer like myself, all appear to be about as worthy as each other in their diverse ways.

Nor did I write that non-believers are rational; in fact, I wrote the very reverse, that anyone who is rational, is a non-believer. A very different thing.

I watched Inherit the Wind on TV recently, and Anonymous and other theists would do well to watch that remarkable film if they have never seen it. They should be wary of attributing thoughts and beliefs which the agnostics, atheists and antitheists do not have. Nowhere did I claim that "the destruction of the world's habitats is pinned on faith". What I will say, and do stand by, is that no amount of praying will solve any of these problems. And if anyone can find one shred of scientific evidence of praying ever changing anything that does not involve the human mind, then I will stand corrected.

I would also add that if a fraction of the funds devoted to maintaining organised religions (most of which claim superiority over the others) was spent on glorifying and conserving the natural world, the world would certainly be a much better place.

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