Monday, March 9, 2015

Richard Dawkins on Belief

Presently the atheist Richard Dawkins seems to start acknowledging that anybody, either theist or atheist, constantly need beliefs and faiths in their daily life. I do hope, Dawkins is really making a progress in his mind.

The atheist columnist Zeeshan Aleem in his recent article titled “4 Important Things That Atheists Wish Everyone Knew About Them”, argues that atheists too unavoidably need another kind of faith in their life. He writes,  
“But godlessness should not be conflated with faithlessness. Faith is not the province of holy books and higher beings — it is also vital to powering the pursuit of lofty ideals and unreachable goals that are essential to running a world always teetering on the edge, lurching from crisis to crisis. Atheism encourages people to cultivate their faith in worldly aspirations in a productive and ethical manner. Without the expectation of an afterlife, the atheist is compelled to attempt heaven on earth. They are given extra motivation to invest faith in big projects that require the same kind of devotion that religion takes up for its adherents.”/*/
In my opinion, a life without constructive beliefs and faiths is a nightmare, an exile, a torture, a degrading human condition, an agony, a hardship, a stupidity, a barren land, a lie, a hoax, a loss, exhaustion. To be able to believe and trust or to have faith, is an invaluable cognitive capacity that nature has given us benevolently. Use it thankfully!

Dawkins writes, “There’s all the difference in the world between a belief that one is prepared to defend by quoting evidence and logic and a belief that is supported by nothing more than authority, tradition or revelation.”   

My response to Dawkins: Dawkins seems to be fatally wrong when he says that most atheists in the world need no authorities, traditions and revelations. They do need all of them! Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, late Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, etc., etc., are playing the function as authorities for most neo-atheists in the world today. As atheist teachers, they are often quoted by their pupils and followers as authoritative. As teachers, they are establishing and developing atheist traditions which cover so many areas in life and are obeyed by their followers. Dawkins’ and Harris’ sayings, for example, are playing a role as revealed sayings with exalted authority even when Dawkins and Harris say something wrongly.

Anyone who is courageous enough to live in any society, has to be prepared to live under the control of authorities (secular or religious), sociocultural traditions (secular or religious), and elevated and glorified ideological convictions (secular or religious). Only after death we don’t need all of them altogether. Are you still alive or already dead now? Of course, in any open society humans have the freedom to change old authorities, traditions and revelations, but only to surrender again to new authorities, traditions and revelations. We are eternally bound by the necessities of life in the world.    

N.B.: Regarding belief and faith, read more here


/*/ Zeeshan Aleem, “4 Important Things That Atheists Wish Everyone Knew About Them”, Policy.Mic, March 05, 2015, pada Emphasis is mine.

Jakarta, 9-3-2015
by ioanes rakhmat