Home > YouTube > Countering YouTube: “Richard Dawkins–The God Delusion” (part 1)

Countering YouTube: “Richard Dawkins–The God Delusion” (part 1)

It baffles me when atheists watch a video on YouTube, swallow it wholesale, and believe it to confirm their disbelief. Ironically, the same people that accuse Christians of basing their beliefs blindly on unreliable information (the Bible, history, logic, etc.) will easily watch a video and parrot those views without even attempting to confirm or ponder its accuracy. Poking holes in these videos’ arguments is sometimes laughably easy. I guess the standards of proof go way down when something tells you what you want to hear.

Anyone can make a video about anything, and YouTube doesn’t care if it’s true or false. Pretty much all they check for is to make sure it’s not inappropriate for children (i.e., sexual content) and that it doesn’t violate copyright laws. As long as you seem confident and insert a little bit of condescending, sarcastic wit, you will appeal to most of the YouTube commenting audience, which is composed of unusually negative and critical people.

Let’s take this video, for example…”Richard Dawkins — The God Delusion” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMqTEfeqvmM). Now, this is a little different than the types of videos I’ll probably address in the future, being that it’s just an interview about a book (not necessary someone telling you their beliefs directly). But it’s broad enough and discusses a bestselling book that has undoubtedly left a mark on the religious world, so I think it’s worth going over. [Quotes from the video are italicized, my responses follow.]

Q: “So right off the bat, what’s wrong with, in your opinion, believing in a God, regardless of who the God is?”

Dawkins: “I think it’s false. I think it’s a matter of belief without evidence, and as a scientist and an educator, I like the idea that we believe things because there is evidence.”

Well, at least in this interview, Dawkins is admitting it’s his opinion with “I think.” In a lot of other interviews and settings, you’ll hear him treat it as fact.

He is partially mistaken, however, that all religions are beliefs without evidence. Many religions are, but not all. They are generally stories and “truths” written or passed down, and their truth can only be supported internally within their own boundaries. The Qur’an is truth, Muslims say, because it says so and they “know” it to be. People learn these stories and believe in them because they were raised in a household that did, and/or the stories resonate with them and make sense. Not exactly reliable proof, so Dawkins has a good point here.

But Christianity is not like this. It is not just a collection of stories written far removed from the events that supposedly transpired, and they are not just ideas spoken into a person’s mind (where no one can go and confirm their honesty). Much of the Bible, and in particular, the New Testament, puts itself to the test by citing historical events, locations, people, specific times/dates, and other details. The more archeology finds, the more we confirm that these books were, in fact, written within the lifetimes of the authors as well as the general public that were witnesses to these events.

We learn that this man named “Jesus” almost certainly did exist and claimed the things mentioned in the New Testament. Even secular historians acknowledge this. As a matter of fact, there was no serious discussion about the existence of Christ (the man) at all until maybe 1800 years after he died. It took that long for the statement “maybe Jesus Christ didn’t exist at all” to be taken seriously enough to not be laughed out of the court of public opinion and academia.

The people in these Bible accounts are mentioned and verified outside of the confines of the Bible itself. Researchers–Christian and non-Christian alike–confirm that the gospels were (almost certainly) written in the purported authors’ lifetimes. These texts were widely circulated at a time when the public could have easily stomped them out as ludicrous falsehoods, but instead, we see that the gospels proliferated and spread rapidly. The New Testament, in fact, comprises the most confirmed pieces of literature in antiquity ever–by a long shot. If we question the authorship and time for these books, then we might as well question every other work of antiquity (which are far less compelling, but almost never doubted, oddly).

OK, so let’s say a man named Jesus did exist and that many of the significant events described did actually happen. The evidence is there for that much. What makes this person more than a mere man, but God himself? There, we have to take a small leap of faith. I say “small” because we have enough evidence to draw reasonable conclusions. There is corroborated eyewitness testimony (again, close enough to the events to be reliable); the changed lives of the disciples, who believed so strongly that they saw the resurrected Christ that they went from hiding in fear to dying willingly for their faith; and no other satisfactory explanation for Jesus’ missing body other than a true resurrection. This is in a very compact nutshell, of course.

As for the existence of God at all, even science and logic now tell us that the universe had a definite beginning (the big bang theory is the most supported/prevalent explanation), which at first went against the prevailing scientific thought that the universe was infinite. The law of causality will tell you that anything that came to be or had a beginning must have had a cause. That cause must exist outside of time, space, and matter because those things did not exist before the universe came to be. So what we have here is an original, infinite cause outside the bounds of time-space…outside natural laws, even. Even Julie Andrews knew this as she sang in The Sound of Music, “nothing comes from nothing.”

Anyway, I could literally go on for pages and pages (mouse wheel scrolls?), but my point is that Christian faith is not baseless or completely blind. It is corroborated by external sources, even science. It may depend on your perspectives, but the reason for belief is there nonetheless.

Dawkins: “It’s a tragedy to base your life upon something for which there is no evidence, and never was any evidence, when the real truth is so wonderful.”

I agree that this is a tragedy, especially considering my conviction that other religions (and even atheism) are the ones lacking sufficient evidence. I mean, how does science or Dawkins claim to disprove God anyway by observing the physical and material world, and God would exist outside of the natural world to begin with?

But again, I disagree with the “no evidence” claim when it comes to Christianity. This is usually because atheists’ standards of evidence are enormously and arbitrarily high. When it comes to their own beliefs about science or anything else in life, these people will look at apparent facts, draw reasonable conclusions, and feel satisfied and sure. Doesn’t sound too bad, actually. But when it comes to Christianity, they demand something they can touch and see. Why will they so easily believe Alexander the Great existed, but when it comes to Jesus (for whom there is equal or much more evidence compared to many historical figures), they practically require a miracle? Where does this double-standard come from?

And I’m not sure what he means about “real truth is so wonderful.” If this “real truth” is believing that in the beginning, there was nothing, then something out of nothing (the universe) for no particular reason, then a bunch of inorganic, inanimate matter somehow came together to somehow form life by some means not known to man even today, then somehow formed an extremely complex single-celled organism (much more complex than Darwin could have imagined during his time), which somehow had within itself the capability to reproduce itself, then adapt countless times over to form a new kind of lifeform, working toward no purpose but somehow directional and growing more advanced toward order…eventually leading to us…where joy, love, triumphs, music, humor, art, and sense of purpose are all a construction of chemicals and natural processes…

…then I don’t see anything wonderful (or logical) in that at all.

[Continued in part 2 here.]

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  1. June 29, 2014 at 3:14 pm

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