My personal reflections on this blog take inspiration from the Bahá’í teachings.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Unravelling "The God Delusion"

I read Richard Dawkins' book "The God Delusion" some time ago and I've had it in mind to write a post commenting on this book. But meanwhile, a brilliant review of it has appeared in"One Country", a newsletter of the Baha'i International Community, and anything I might have written seems redundant.

Steven Phelps, the reviewer, starts off with an outline of the complaints that Dawkins' has about religion, and grants that these complaints are warranted to some degree. Phelps then proceeds to state:

When set against traditional religious understandings of God, Dr. Dawkins’ arguments are quite powerful. But against the Bahá’í understanding of God and nature, the contradictions that he identifies between science and religion simply dissolve.

In the course of explaining this point, he makes these interesting comments:

A number of passages in the Bahá’í writings suggest that God’s action and the laws of nature are folded together — and that the natural laws that, say, guide evolution, are merely an extension of God’s will. “Nature is the expression of God’s will in and through the contingent world,” writes Bahá’u’lláh, explaining that “all the atoms of the earth have celebrated Thy praise,” and yet are “under one law from which they will never depart.”

In this vein, distinct categories of natural and supernatural action blend togetherallowing Bahá’ís to view the physical world in both sacred and secular terms. God’s action in the world looks more like physics than magic.

"The God Delusion" accurately identifies some pressing modern problems. One Country's review suggests solutions which, from a Baha'i perspective, are more viable than those that Richard Dawkins proposes.

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