Thursday, February 12, 2009


Today is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. If you read the NYT, most mentions are made of Darwin. If you read the comics, the safer mention is of Abraham Lincoln. A new book claims that Darwin was motivated to develop his theories of evolution because of his strong abolitionist beliefs that all people are equal. Today we have an African American president but continuing disbelief in this country in evolution.

I just finished The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, a polemic against religion and a deification, if you will, of science and evolution. I am still sorting out how I feel about the book. I do not believe that the bible is literally true and I agree with Dawkins and my daughter's AP English teacher that one should study the bible because it is reflected in many western literary and artistic works. In college, I developed what I called the church of Apathism, those who don't care about religion and God. However, as I have gotten older I take more interest in the "spiritual" aspects of life, particularly in the sense that there is an energy force that connects all life. Dawkins explores very briefly the idea that belief in God exists as a source of comfort for people that someone is always there for them even in the worst of times and analogizes it to having an imaginary friend in childhood. Loss and death of loved ones is traumatic and belief in God does cushion that blow. Since life is ephemeral it is comforting to believe in something greater than oneself that persists and continues. Deepak Chopra has a series of articles about The God Delusion on his website which I would like to read when I have some time. This area of what to believe about the existence of God has always been difficult for me since I was raised a Roman Catholic and went to Catholic schools until age 18. Our children were not raised in an organized religion and yet both of them have sought the comfort of church from time to time. It is a very powerful cultural pull that by itself makes the idea of it being all myth difficult to comprehend.

Tomorrow is the 28th anniversary of my father's death. I miss him.

No comments: