18 December 2005

Robert Winston and God.

I have great admiration for someone like Robert Winston. In this Guardian article he argues that Philip Roth is wrong to call religion's record 'miserable', find 'all religious people hideous' and hate 'religious lies'.

Anybody who has had the misfortune to read Blimpish's views would have sympathy for Roth's comments. Scratch the surface of religion and you find bigotry and fear lie beneath. That is why right-wingers are so comfortable with religion's simplistic definitions of good and evil.

Winston argues that our genetic pre-disposition towards religious belief has an evolutionary reason and therefore must mean it has been of overall benefit.

In the prehistoric past, religious belief may have played a part in our survival, but the advance of science and rationalism has exposed religion's failings and it is time for mankind to rise above this need for a supernatural crutch. Science and rationalism provide all the spiritual comfort and intellectual answers we need without the shortcomings of religion's irrationality.

I look forward to the debate tonight between Robert Winston and Richard Dawkins. The Story of God, 7pm, BBC1. Could be an interesting programme.

5 comments:

  1. Neil, you've got to show a bit more respect for your fellow bloggers than to say "...had the misfortune to read" and then link to the top of their blog as if none of their views are of any value.

    prehistoric

    Pre-Enlightenment?

    Science and rationalism provide all the spiritual comfort...

    You're comparing apples and oranges and, just as with your "why can't atheists go to heaven?" point, you're conceding the need for a spiritual realm: spiritual comfort, something which rationality cannot, by definition, provide. If you're not allowing for 'God', that only leaves non-theistic spirituality, and I'm not sure I care much for that either.

    ReplyDelete
  2. B4L, My criticism of Blimpish was partly in jest. He is a bit of a jerk though, sorry. I have to say that. It's no justification for retaliating but he has called me everything under the sun on here.

    I did actually mean 'pre-historic'. Religion has long passed it's usefulness, unfortunately evolution can take a long time to catch up.

    I'm defining spirituality as a sort of peacefulness and confidence, not the actual spirituality of the supernatural. I should have made that more clear.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Peacefulness and comfort in a world without meaning. That sounds a bit like escapism to me, Neil. Doesn't seem to match Sartre's view in his book "Nausea". Think I'll stick to my "crutch" rather than concede to being a cosmic accident...

    ReplyDelete
  4. "Scratch the surface of religion and you find bigotry and fear lie beneath"

    Surely this statement is biggoted and shows a real misunderstanding of any religious view! What you seem to forget is that Atheism, Humanism and even evolution are all faith beliefs in exactly the same way as Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. The only difference is some place their faith in a god and some place their faith in the non-existence of a god. Regardless of whether you believe in a god or not there is a certain amount of faith being implemented and to pass off all religion as bigotry is bigotry in and of itself.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "What you seem to forget is that Atheism, Humanism and even evolution are all faith beliefs in exactly the same way as Christianity, Islam and Hinduism."

    Except there is plenty of evidence that contradicts religious scriptures and plenty of evidence in favour of evolution etc.

    ReplyDelete