Our Gods/Godesses Exist!
I decided to write this while reading a book called The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, an atheist. Scientists like to pick things apart, I’m picking apart Dawkins’ book, and commenting on each part that I pick. The idea first came to me when reading what he’d written about prayers and what he’d written about praying for people. Dawkins had put in this book about a study done to find out if prayer works. After the study failed, a man who was spiritual director at a ministry that had supplied some of the prayers for the experiment said "A person of faith would say that this study is interesting, but we’ve been praying a long time and we’ve seen prayer work, we know it works, and the research on prayer and spirituality is just getting started." After this statement, Dawkins wrote "Yeah, right: we know from our faith that prayer works, so if evidence fails to show it we’ll just soldier on until finally we get the result we want". In 1992, a trucker proved doctors wrong, afterward there was even an article called Trucker Proves Doctors Wrong in the newspaper. That trucker was my father. My Dad was diagnosed with having hydrocephalus, in fact, he was in the hospital for several months in a coma and was paralyzed. The doctors were saying that he wasn’t going to make it and he was actually legally dead. But people prayed for my Dad and eventually he recovered. While he was recovering, the doctors had said that he wouldn’t be able to walk again, talk again, drive again. He is now fully recovered, walking, talking, driving, and working. I’ve seen on tv and heard accounts of other miracle healings to not believe in it.
The second issue I’d like to address is virgin pregnancy. In The God Delusion, Dawkins quotes a man by the name of Dan Dennett as saying "You also ought to soft-pedal physiology, since it declares virgin birth impossible...". Actually, it is quite possible for a girl to get pregnant and remain a virgin. There is a/are hole(s) in the hymen, and some girls are born without one. If a guy and girl are fooling around but still have their underwear on, some of the guy’s semen can get through their underwear and impregnate the girl. Ta-dah! pregnant virgin.
Another issue is the level of one’s intelligence in comparison with their religious beliefs or non beliefs. Mentioned in The God Delusion is a study done on whether or not people with high IQ’s (in this study, MENSA members) are religious or have any beliefs, with the result being in the negative. So, the higher one’s IQ, the less likely they are to be religious. I actually know several people with genius IQ’s that are religious, or at least believe in the supernatural. One such person is my Dad, off the top of the charts genius, and he believes in ghosts and such. My youngest sister and I have also scored genius IQ’s and have beliefs in the supernatural. In fact I am Pagan. We also have relatives with high IQ’s, some that have qualified for MENSA, who are religious. I guess we’re just intelligent enough to know that there are some things out there that are supernatural and unexplainable. We’re not as closed-minded as to dismiss something just because we can’t explain it, or because there isn’t a scientific explanation.
I also take issue with people who try to explain away psychic or telepathic incidences and make no sense in the process. My psychology professor from the University of Maryland University College is a good example of this. I told him of a day when I woke up in the morning, hadn’t fully woken up yet, and all of a sudden scenes from Anastasia started going through my head, like when one gets a song stuck in their head. So naturally, I started thinking about watching it and know my Dad likes it too. My Dad came downstairs just then and I told him that I’d woken up and scenes from Anastasia had started playing through my head. He asked when it was that that happened, turns out that at that moment he was e-mailing a girl named Anastasia. I told my psychology professor about this and he tried dismissing it as guessing. Who the hell was guessing what? I’d just woken up, and wasn’t fully awake, for all I knew I was alone in the house with no idea as to what my Dad was doing and could have cared less what he was doing. I just woke up and scenes from a movie started playing in my head, I just assumed that it was the same as when I get a song stuck in my head so I was considering watching the movie. My Dad was just upstairs e-mailing a girl so it’s not like he was guessing what was going through my head. My Dad, my sisters, and I did have an exercise/game where one would think of something and the others would try to get it. The most recent example of telepathy in my family that I can think of was one night my Dad’s sister, who was in a different state, called in the middle of the night wanting to know if everyone was ok. Turns out, about that time my Dad had had a nightmare and an arrhythmia. He had said before that she’s always been especially telepathic when it came to him.
In The God Delusion, Dawkins says that "one of the truly bad effects of religion is that it teaches us that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding". What I want to know is: What’s so great about understanding/knowing everything? Why do we have to know the mechanics of life? Why not just enjoy it? It’s like watching the making of a film before watching the film, it’s not as entertaining. It’s like that knowledge takes something away from it, it’s not as fascinating.
Dawkins’ questioning "intelligent design" by using predator and prey is amusing. First he has the predator, which seems "beautifully ‘designed’ to catch prey animals. Then there’s the prey, which seems "beautifully ‘designed’ to escape" the predators. Dawkins then asks which side God is on. God isn’t on either side, he, like many people, knows that some animals must die to make room for others. Some prey must be caught so the predators can go on, predator animals keep the number of prey animals from becoming too large. Everything in life happens for a reason. Everything has a purpose.
Now onto what Dawkins says about medieval cathedrals. This is what Dawkins had to say:
"A medieval cathedral could consume a hundred man-centuries in its construction, yet was never used as a dwelling, or for any recognizably useful purpose. Was it some kind of architectural peacock’s tail? If so, at whom was the advertisement aimed? Sacred music and devotional paintings largely monopolized medieval and Renaissance talent."
None of these things is a waste of space or talent. People from all over travel to see these cathedrals, so they bring people together. Churches also bring people together, besides giving them a place to worship. Whenever I attended church with my grandmother, a catholic, I noticed one custom that took place in the church, the custom of being asked to turn to the people sitting near you and shake hands. This custom is very good for getting complete strangers to meet. After the services, people would gather outside in front of the church to socialize. And as for the last sentence, people of medieval and Renaissance times wrote, sung, and painted about what inspired them, what moved them. Take away their religion, and they might not have been inspired to do anything.
When talking about the theory of consolation, Dawkins quoted a Steven Pinker, who, in How the Mind Works, said: "A freezing person finds no comfort in believing he is warm; a person face-to-face with a lion is not put at ease by the conviction that it is a rabbit". No, but both may take comfort in the thought that God/Goddess is with them. If either should die, they take comfort in the belief of what their religious beliefs hold of an afterlife. No matter what happens, God/Goddess is with them.
When suggesting religious behavior as a by-product of something else, such as love, Dawkins has a paragraph where it seems like he doesn’t believe in being with the same partner after the child is at least weaned. He says that since "we can love more than one child, parent, sibling, teacher, friend or pet" that "the total exclusiveness we expect of spousal love is positively weird". So why do a lot of people mate for life? It’s not necessarily because of religion or society, nor is mating for life strange. Some types of birds mate for life. Wolves mate for life.
In his chapter on morality and being good, Dawkins talks about our actions and feelings toward others and just being good people. What about us religious people who have other morals? Like decent people not revealing too much flesh and a lot of people looking down on those (especially girls) who show too much? Is there something else that keeps us from just becoming a bunch of Sodomites? Or should we just throw away our religions and let loose? Show as much flesh as we want? The age of loving everybody, in more ways than one, is now over. People frown on floozies.
I just started reading a book called The Goddess is in the Details: Wisdom for the Everyday Witch by Deborah Blake, a Wiccan high priestess. In the first chapter she starts out by telling how she first found out she was a Witch. She had a friend who was Pagan and who finally talked her into joining her in a feast and ritual. The way Deborah describes how she felt is moving.
"The circle was cast, the quarters called, the gods invoked, and I felt an indefinable something inside me shift and change. I could sense a connection with nature..."
She goes on to say:
"Never in all my years of searching—through the Judaism I was raised in, the Unitarian Church I attended in my teens and twenties, the Buddhism I’d studied after that—never had I felt with any certainty that there was, in fact, a god. But on that Samhain night. In that circle in the park, I was suddenly absolutely sure: sure that there was a deityaround me and inside me, sure that what I had found was the right path for me. I was a Witch, and I had come home."
Definitely moving. Maybe atheists should try Paganism, or at least attend a gathering. I know I feel very happy being a Witch, well, according to a Wiccan book that I got, I’m a Hedge Witch and that suits me just fine.
In conclusion, I see nothing wrong with the general principles of religion. The whole "love thy neighbor" thing and the moral values and teachings. I don’t agree with killing another race, religion, etc. Dawkins mainly uses the bible as a basis for his anti-religious views. There are some things in there I don’t agree with either, which is one reason of several that I became a Pagan. Love thy neighbor, respect the Earth and one another. I read the book and am not an atheist now. I would like to thank Richard Dawkins though, for inspiring me to write this rather lengthy article. This is by far the longest article, or longest anything, that I’ve ever written. I happen to be an aspiring writer, I’m best at poetry and am currently writing articles (excluding this one) for people. I am however interested in writing books.