Monday, August 27, 2007

Unicorns are Fake and So is God, says Learned Man

In Richard Dawkins' depressing and rather angry book "The God Delusion" (in which he declares God, faith, religion, and the supernatural to be, in general, absurd, pointless, and a hindrance to the elevation of man) there is one section that made me particularly sad, and confused.

It's the piece on the summer camp he's helped create for the children of secular humanists, atheists, and "free" thinkers. Called "Camp Quest" with the tag line "It's Beyond Belief", this camp's main objective is to strip children of a sense of the supernatural. One exercise the kids embark on is trying to disprove the existence of Unicorns. Doesn't that sound fun? But what, you ask, is the connection between Unicorns and God? Well, for Christians, nothing. For Richard Dawkins, the two are practically synonymous.


This rather learned evolutionary biologist equates our belief in a Creator God Who made us, guides us, inspires us, and pours out sweet gifts through His creation for us... to an "imaginary friend." Like Snuffleuphagus. Remember him? There is a whole movement in the radical atheist community that mockingly associates a belief in God with belief in something like a Flying Spaghetti Monster. But there's a real problem with this association. One is fabricated in our own minds, and the other is the Maker of our minds.


Christians believe God fashioned our minds in His own image and likeness, which means that reason is our mother tongue. It's the greek word Logos, which can mean mind, reason, word. It's where we get the word logical. Our power to reason shows us in our looking out at the universe that things are intelligible. They make sense, they fit, and we can comprehend that even the stars move in a rhythmic dance. That fits rather well, doesn't it? Our minds and the music of the spheres? Coincidence? Nah.... Providence!


A believer's belief in the existence of God (Who has revealed Himself in His fullness, see the Bible) is utterly logical, practical, and a direct result of a very real look at reality. We're not imposing anything onto the world. We're not inducing our own imaginary schemes into what we see and experience. We are deducing from what we see and know and comprehend that there must be a Mind behind it all. When I look at the world in all it's wonder, my initial response is not "What happened?" but "Who did this?"


Now here's the big leap that believers believe. It takes an open mind, and not so open that our brains fall out. When taken in, it will leave an open mouth, agog with wonder and awe. We believe that the very Word or Logos Himself Who made All Things Great and Small actually descended into this place, and took on a human face. Not a Unicorn, or Snuffleuphagus, but a face like ours. But let's go to a great source for knowing and affirming this faith of ours; the Triple C.... also known as the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

"The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for.... In many ways, throughout history down to the present day, men have given expression to their quest for God in their religious beliefs and behavior: in their prayers, sacrifices, rituals, meditations, and so forth. These forms of religious expression, despite the ambiguities they often bring with them, are so universal that one may well call man a religious being: From one ancestor [God] made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him - though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For "in him we live and move and have our being." But this "intimate and vital bond of man to God" (GS 19 § 1) can be forgotten, overlooked, or even explicitly rejected by man. Such attitudes can have different causes: revolt against evil in the world; religious ignorance or indifference; the cares and riches of this world; the scandal of bad example on the part of believers; currents of thought hostile to religion; finally, that attitude of sinful man which makes him hide from God out of fear and flee his call." - CCC 27-ff

In all honesty, given the example and the conduct of some believers, I can understand a revulsion like Dawkins'. But dig deeper. Christians aren't simple-minded idiots, wishing a God into existence so they can have a warm, fuzzy blanket to ward off this cold, post-modern materialistic view of the universe. We don't believe in fairy tales. Well, then again.... maybe we do. But this one came true. And it makes perfect sense to me.


On Christmas Eve I went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral... It had dawned on me before, but it really sank in: the Christmas story... Love needs to find form, intimacy needs to be whispered. To me, it makes sense. It’s actually logical... Love has to become an action or something concrete. It would have to happen... There must be an incarnation. Love must be made flesh.
- Bono

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