Monday, March 02, 2009

There Is A God

While wandering through Barnes and Noble this morning, trying to see if they had this book (which I am going to order soon) in stock, I found another one of interest to me; There Is No A God; how the world's most notorious atheist changed his mind.   It's written by Antony Flew who apparently was the world's most notorious atheist.  

It must be true; the cover of the book says so itself.

Actually, I had already heard of Antony Flew, and his supposed change of mind about the existence of God, several years ago.  I filed it away in my head just in case I might need to retrieve it someday, like when I go on Jeopardy and astound the world with my incredible trivia skills.

I picked up the book and used my arbitrary selection method of reading material.  I open halfway through the book, read a few paragraphs and if it's interesting and engaging, I'll read it.
I opened the book to Chapter 4, A Pilgrimage of Reason, pages 85-86...and this is what I read:

Let us begin with a parable. Imagine that a satellite phone is washed ashore on a remote island inhabited by a tribe that has never had contact with modern civilization. The natives play with the numbers on the dial pad and hear different voices upon hitting certain sequences. They assume first that it's the device that makes the noises. Some of the cleverer natives, the scientists of the tribe, assemble an exact replica and hit the numbers again. They hear the voices again. The conclusion seem obvious to them. This particular combination of crystals and metals and chemicals produces what seems like human voices and this means that the voices are simply properties of the device
But the tribal sage summons the scientists for a discussion. He has thought long and hard on the matter and has reached the following conclusion: the voices coming through the instrument must be coming from people like themselves, people who are living and conscious although speaking in another language. Instead of assuming that the voices are simply properties  of the handset, they should investigate the possibility  that through some mysterious communication network they are in touch with other humans. Perhaps further study  along these lines could lead to a greater understanding of the world beyond their island. But the scientists simply laugh at the sage and say: "Look, when we damage the instrument, the voices stop coming.  So they're obviously nothing more than the sounds produced  by a unique combination of lithium and printed circuit boards and light-emitting diodes."

I was hooked.

Having some spare time before I had to leave for an appointment, I plunked myself into an overstuffed chair, flipped to the beginning of the book and read the preface written by Roy Abraham Varghese.  It was a delight! He hit so many points square on the head in reference to the "New Atheism", which has become so prevalent in the last few years.  I silently nodded my head while reading, yelling inside my head,"Yes!  That's exactly right!"  He addresses, in those few pages, several deficiencies in Richard Dawkins's, The God Delusion, which the disappointingly anemic The Dawkins Delusion, by Alistar McGrathnever touches upon.

My two very brief readings compelled me to buy the book, rather than merely borrow it from the library. I'm looking forward to reading more of it in the next few days.

Expect to hear more about it soon.

1 comment:

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I loved the book. I probably reviewed it at the time, and hope I was sensible, though I don't remember what I wrote.