Ad Fontes

Politics, Theology and Christian Humanism


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Richard Dawkins: devil’s advocate or phantom menace?

Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins

I’ve just watched Richard Dawkins The God Delusion on the Mo’ Fo’ channel. Last week we had his Faith School Menace; he’s on a roll!

As a Christian in the liberal tradition I believe we need Dawkins. We may often accuse fundamentalists and biblical-literalists of shoddy thinking, but Dawkins is consistent in demanding reasoned answers for all of religion’s claims. In the same way that the traditional process of declaring a person a saint in Catholicism has used a devil’s advocate to ask hard questions to cut through the wishful thinking and groupthink, Dawkins, rather than being feared or scorned, should be appreciated as one who splashes some cold water on the face of sleep-walking religion.

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Why so pensive, Pascal?

Blaise Pascal by Augustin Pajou, Louvre

Blaise Pascal by Augustin Pajou, Louvre

I find the various philosophical arguments for the existence of God intriguing speculations rather than cast-iron proofs. However, in Pascal’s Pensées there appears one compelling argument that ditches the speculation and goes for a straight, honest wager. It goes like this

  • If you believe in God
    • and God exists, you gain everything.
    • and God does not exist, you loose nothing.
  • If you do not believe in God
    • and God does not exist, you gain nothing.
    • and God does exist, you loose everything.

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