Reading Richard Dawkins Led To My Conversion

by Judith R. Babarsky

Recently returned from a Mission Trip, we headed straight to our family week long beach vacation. On fire from my week in Canada surrounded by mostly Catholics, I must have appeared overly zealous to my eldest stepdaughter. An avowed atheist, she recommended I read Richard Dawkins’, The God Delusion, which had been suggested to her by her fallen away cradle Catholic boyfriend. Never one to shrink from a challenge to my admittedly unexamined faith in one God, I was intrigued and logged onto Amazon to check out the book. I immediately bought it and began reading.

Well, I barely made it through a third of the book. One Amazon reviewer says it better than I possibly could:

I started reading this thinking that I might read a logical, skeptical, nay scientific critique of religion. Instead, I found something right out of a Boston Globe editorial on a bad day: strings of pejorative adjectives pretending to be argument, bald assertion pretending to be evidence, an incredibly arrogant attitude, and a stance of moral equivalence incapable of distinguishing between the possible strengths and weaknesses of different religions, including the militant atheism Dawkins advocates. This is not academic analysis, it is bad journalism.

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Truthfully, I found the book a waste of my time as it afforded me no cogent arguments concerning the existence or non-existence of God. In fact, not only was Dawkins disrespectful of opinions other than his own, I found his statements about Jesus to be so ill-informed (and, mind you, I was no fount of scholarly information myself) that I resolved to actually learn something about Jesus Christ.

Reading Dawkins challenged me to go beyond my comfort zone and honestly confront the issues holding me back from a full commitment to faith. My sense of The God Delusion is that it is written as a testimony to Dawkins’ belief system (which I call fundamentalist atheism) and that the author cherry picks convenient quotes to bolster his opinion that esteemed scientists (such as Einstein) couldn’t possibly be ignorant enough to actually believe in a supernatural God, no matter what they may have said to the contrary. In fact, anyone with any intelligence at all couldn’t possible believe in a supernatural God. Dawkins is preaching to his atheist choir and evidently they loved the book based on their many five-star recommendations of it. But in that sense, Dawkins is no different than the many Christian authors who write in a similar manner. There is a pre-judgment that whoever disagrees with the premise of the book is, essentially, an idiot! Well, I don’t like to be called an idiot.

I realized I was no better than Dawkins. I was basing my faith on inner feelings and a perceived sense of my world, having never thought much deeper than surface level. I went in search of some answers…

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