Dawkins and Friends on Atheism

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12 Responses

  1. Ori Pomerantz says:

    For a more representative sample of atheistic thought, see http://www.churchoffreethought.org.

    Disclaimer: I used to me a member, and some of my writings are on the site.

  2. Calev says:

    Thank you for quoting Chief Rabbi Sacks’ eloquent essay that appeared in The (London) Times. However, wouldn’t it have been just as worthwhile to have included that part of the essay in which he relates the story of a rabbi’s justification for the existence of atheists? Not only would this put his concluding paragraph in context but it is a valuable message for all of us who, feeling besieged by secular and antisemitic forces, may slip into intemperance.

  3. Jak Black says:

    Many years ago, I found it necessary (or so I thought) as a young kiruv (outreach)worker to learn what the other side believed. I picked up Bertrand Russell’s small collection of essays on atheism…

    I’m afraid that if you want to know what the current generation believes, you’re going to have to throw away all of your books. It’s pure decadence these days, nothing more. Dawkins is preaching to the tiny minority of already converted that actually reads works on such a subject.

  4. Shmuel Bergenfeld says:

    > This was the best the atheists could cobble together?

    No, actually, it is not. I highly recommend that you read the book Unintelligent Design by Mark Perakh. It makes a very convincing case against organized religion and the so called “proofs” for G-d’s existence. As I am an agnostic (despite an outwardly chareidi lifestyle), I can assure you that the atheists are not as illogical as you present them.

  5. Bob Miller says:

    Points well made. Those who, above all, want power will use any available means to get it, even means whose proper use would be beneficial.

  6. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Dawkins seems to share the pleasant fantasy that evil would disappear if we just got rid of something in the human condition. While I can’t prove that this is wrong, I believe that the USSR, may it rest in pieces, proved that removing religion is not the answer.

    In theory, it was a secular, atheistic society. In practice, Communism quickly became a state religion that made Spanish Catholicism in the 1500s look good.

  7. Toby Katz says:

    You remind me of a poster my brother made when he was a kid, and hung on his wall. It was a take-off on the famous book, “This is My G-d,” by Herman Wouk.

    My brother’s sign said, “This is My Herman” and was signed, “G-d.”

  8. Bob Miller says:

    Shmuel (#4), there is hope for you, too. Don’t be satisfied with your lack of answers so far.

  9. Caliban Darklock says:

    I don’t think it’s the will to power that creates these problems.

    It is the will to power at the expense of others. There is a certain fiction that power is like beans in a bucket, and once a certain amount of power is held, the bucket is empty. In this view, you can only have power by taking it from others. I don’t believe this is the truth.

    But it is entirely possible to want power, and to exert effort toward achieving it, without deliberately infringing on the rights of others. I don’t see any problem with that. Power is a voluntary concept, in the end; others hold power over you because you consent to allow it, and you hold power over others because they consent to allow it. Once this is understood, power becomes a non-competitive subject, and no longer occupies much of your concern.

  10. Baruch says:

    Dear Rabbi Adlerstein,

    You cleverly neglected to admit not having read Dawkins latest book, or perhaps any of them. Please write another post once you have. The arguments you cited are merely straw man arguments that evil would still exist even with atheism. Yet, you fail to address the fact that religion has lead to a net increase in violence, murder and mayhem. Religions have multiplied violent acts in many ways, 9/11 and suicide bombers in Israel/Iraq being the best recent examples of this.

    Moreover, as a Rabbi, you no doubt believe the Torah account of the Flood to be a true one. You must then acknowledge that God himself killed many more people (along with all terrestrial wildlife)in the Flood and later sanctioned more genocides (of the hittites, jebusites, amorites, sodomites, et al.) than Hitler, Stalin, Bin laden, Pol Pot, Hussein, et al. combined!

    I know the answer, it was morally perfect when god killed these people, right? Therein lies the exact problem Dawkins is addressing in his book. Again, please read it and re-post.

  11. Michoel says:

    “Yet, you fail to address the fact that religion has lead to a net increase in violence, murder and mayhem.”

    Say what? When was society ever irreligious and peacful such that religion should increase the level of violence? ALL historic human society was religious until very recently. So all societal violence was by definition religious violence. But so what? There were not secular societies existant that would allow the violence to be anything other than religious. We do not find that modern secularists are less violent.

  1. October 27, 2006

    […] Thanks to Cross-Currents and Hirhurim for pointing out Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ article about Richard Dawkins’ atheism in The Times of London. […]

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