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Is it Dawkins who is deluded?

Trinity Theological College Director of Studies in Systematic Theology Rev Dr Geoff Thompson was amazed by the enthusiastic response to a seminar analysing Richard Dawkin’s book The God Delusion.

Over 100 people gathered to hear an expert panel analyse Dawkin’s controversial book and discuss its critique of contemporary religion.

Theologian and Research Fellow at the University of Queensland Dr Ben Myers located the book in the history of the debates between Christianity and Science.

“If you’ve come to [The God Delusion] expecting a constructive, and patient, and generous attempt to engage with religion you are certainly going to be disappointed,” said Dr Myers.

“If you’ve come to the book expecting an objective scientific examination of religious phenomenon then you’ll be very disappointed indeed.

“Rather, the book is full of passionate rhetoric, outrageous exaggeration and often biting sarcasm and humour.”

Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Queensland Dr Phil Dowe offered a sympathetic reading of Dawkin’s work while author, theologian, minister at Chermside Uniting Church and regular Journey contributor Mr Scott Stephens offered a critique of the book.

Mr Stephens said the most striking characteristic of the current wave of intellectual atheism is its sheer passion and the fact that there is little measured or polite about the way it expresses itself.

"Even the term ‘atheist’ seems a little too mild, too respectable a designation for the position occupied by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris. These are /anti-theists/, opposed in principle to every last attachment to the divine, to the religious impulse itself," said Mr Stephens.

"But it is hard not to be taken by the seriousness of anti-theism, particularly when compared to the suffocating cultural and religious lethargy from which it has emerged.

"Indeed, it is the very impotence of so much Western Christianity – having long since been content to give succour to people’s basest fears, to whore itself to the ‘spirit of the age’ as yet another vendor of personal satisfaction and spiritual meaning – that has created the intellectual space for the current debate to occur."

You can listen to each of the presentations by downloading a podcast mp3 recording of each session.

Dr Ben Myers HERE. (4.5mb)

Dr Phil Dowe HERE. (5.5mb)

Mr Scott Stephens HERE. (5.5mb)

Read Dr Peter Harrison writing for Journey on The Delusions of Richard Dawkins HERE.