It was just coming up to one o’clock in the morning, I was reading Richard Dawkins’ latest book, The God Delusion and listening to RTE’s excellent late night show, Late Date (4th Jan, 57min). Suddenly, the soft but resolute voice of a certain Mary O’Malley was taking the good Mr. Dawkins to task for his latest attack on her belief system.
In common with all those who fear Mr. Dawkins’ devastating and unanswerable demolition of religious superstition, Ms. O’Malley could only respond with gobbledygook and personal attack.
Her use of a story about five blind men describing an elephant serves as a perfect analogy for the superiority of science over religious belief; not, I think, what she intended.
Here’s the full sermon.
The famous Mr. Richard Dawkins is at it again. Mr. Dawkins is certain that there is no place for religious sensibility in this world and he rants on like some born again creature to save us all from the perfidy of belief. He has no time for poor fools who haven’t reached his evolved state of scientific clarity about the absolute badness of all religion, everywhere.
Scientists like Dawkins remind me of the story of five blind men describing an elephant. Each convinced of the truth of his own touch; the tail, the giant legs, the long trunk. Along came a sighted man and scorned them for their foolish beliefs.
God made the world in six days and on the seventh day he rested. Then the oceans quickened under the moving spirit and life as we know it began. Adam, Eve, temptation, the bite of the juicy red apple, a house, kids, the whole catastrophe. Then they spoil the kids, then murder. The plot thickens after that with more twists and misery than a Schwarzenegger movie and don’t’ expect scientists to come up with anything better.
A big bang, then a lot of invisible activity that takes forever, then things crawling out of the primordial slime, it sounds like rugby.
The thing about most great stories is that we know that they are not true, not literally, most of us. Do you believe in the fairies granny? I do and I don’t Alana. But to give another twist to an old saw, I mightn’t believe in them but I still need them and most of us need, if not faith, then hope.
The right to choose to live in the light and work by the light, we need not be stupid or gullible but allow us to savour the beauty of a story well told and the wonderful power of fable. Sometimes, it’s all we’ve got.