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The Beast You Seek Thrives in Your Zoo Dr Dawkins!

By Shaikh Riyad Nadwi, PhD
20 January 2006


Our local zoologist, Professor Richard Dawkins, has once again tried to breach the boundaries of his mental cage with selective science and arrogant certitude in a two part Channel Four documentary, to argue that religion is “The Root of All Evil”, “the elephant in the room” ignored by everyone. It is a result of, he said, “the process of non-thinking”. What follows is a series of thoughts that occurred to me, a believer in God, upon viewing the programme.

The Guidance of Children

As usual, Dawkins’ reliance on science in the programme was selective despite the pretences of scientific rigour made in grandiose statements such as “I am a scientist and I believe that there is a profound contradiction between science and religious belief” and “there is no well demonstrated reason to believe in God”.

Equating religious education to child abuse, he talked at length on the need for children to be protected from the faith of their parent on grounds of pseudo-psychology, yet he failed to acknowledge, perhaps in ignorance of it, that researchers right here in Oxford, have found that children may have a natural tendency to believe in God with or without the input of their parents.

For instance, psychologist Olivera Petrovich, who lectures at the Experimental Psychology Department at Oxford University, explains that when Japanese children were asked about the primary origin of living things they would predominantly go for the word “God”, instead of either an agnostic response (e.g., “nobody knows”) or an incorrect response (e.g., “by people”). She said that, “This was absolutely extraordinary when you think that the Japanese religion — Shinto — doesn’t include creation as an aspect of God’s activity at all. So where do these children get the idea that creation is in God’s hands? It’s an example of a natural inference that they form on the basis of their own experience. My Japanese research assistants kept telling me, “We Japanese don’t think about God as creator — it’s just not part of Japanese philosophy.” So it was significant when these children said, ‘Kamisama! God! God made it!’ That was probably the most significant finding.” (Interview with Rebecca Bryant, Science and Spirit 2002).

These children did not “invent an improbability”, rather they simply followed their instincts. It is people like Dawkins who are the inventors of improbabilities with which they seek to stifle a force of nature; the natural instinct to believe in God and seek His love. “Bertrand Russell’s teapot” and all other gods are incompatible with that universal and persistent instinct to seek the One True God, The Creator and Sustainer of the Universe.

Dawkins skilfully avoided the fact that the failure of the so-called “free-thinkers’ prediction” that religion would cease to exist in the modern world is in itself overwhelming evidence of a natural inclination in human beings to believe in God and to seek His guidance. Instead, he sustains his self-delusion with creative language and presents the theory of evolution as a victim worthy of sympathy. “I thought that in my lifetime evolution would be accepted and taught around the world as a scientific fact” but “evolution today is under threat”. This, when the truth is that the theory of evolution is still being taught as fact in the vast majority of schools across the modern world.

If the natural need in children to seek God is catered for in schools with a religious ethos, it does not mean that they will automatically become mass murderers. Not so long ago in Bosnia-Herzegovina Serb, Croat and Muslim children attended the same school for generations. They studied the same “All-Yugoslavia” curriculum designed for them by Marshal Tito, they sang the same songs and played in the same play grounds. But that did not prevent greedy politicians from igniting war and causing untold misery to countless innocent civilians.

Politics of the Covetous

It is greed and unjust politics that causes conflict not schools that teach children to love God and accept His guidance. Indeed, it is often the disregard for God’s guidance that leads to conflict, as in the case of Jerusalem, the place Dawkins used in the programme as a springboard for his attack on believers in God.

While the Talmud (Tractate Kesuboth) explicitly forbids Jews from attempting to end God’s Decree of Exile upon them and warns of the catastrophic consequences if they were to try through human action (p.111a), the covetous Zionist politician insists on calling Jews from all over the world to do precisely that, i.e. come out of exile.

Greed and covetousness are the problem, not belief in God. When greedy politicians exploit religion to broaden their grab and strengthen their grip on power, wealth and the property of others, believers are victimized twice. First they are victimized by the politicians who hijack their faith and second by the repercussions of unjust policies perpetrated in their name, as we have seen in the recent Neocon manipulation of Christians in the United States. Ted Haggard, who was featured in the documentary, is a cunning politician staunchly exploiting Christianity to sell the Neocon imperialist and Zionist agendas.

He does not represent the millions of sincere, God fearing people on earth. His appointment to the presidency of the National Evangelical Association (NAE) was highly politicized. Perhaps Dawkins knew that it would be easy to expose the weakness of a straw man who once claimed that “Last week the Spirit of the Lord woke me in the middle of the night and powerfully spoke to me…” (The World Prayer Center/Pastor Ted Haggard and The World Prayer Team - Colorado Springs, CO, 12/20/02). Haggard is a Christian Zionist who has no limits to the depths he will stoop to create spurious links and claims to Palestinian lands. His latest stunt is the publication of a diet book titled “The Jerusalem Diet” (January 2006) purported to be written in the aftermath of a visit to Israel.

The Christian community also needs to wake up to this hijacking of their religion before it is too late. Extremism is indeed concerning in any religion but the problems we face today in our world has significantly more to do with the arrogance of politicians with delusions of world domination, politicians masquerading as priests and saviours while they manipulate the impressionable to do unspeakable acts, be it the bombing of innocent people in London with rucksacks or in Iraq with cluster bombs.

Being a convert from Judaism or any other faith does not automatically make one an instant scholar and representative spokesperson for Islam. Dawkins ignored all the mainstream Muslim voices in Palestine and the UK in preference for someone who seems to have an agenda of his own – to make Islam and Muslims appear ridiculous.

Thankfully, Muslims have begun to recognise of late, the dangers of being represented by the naïve and in some cases by agent provocateurs. People have started to realise that the damage they cause when allowed to lead or speak for us is invariably devastating.

The “Improbable” Mountain

Muslims accept the words of the Prophet Muhammad (on whom be peace) when he said, “I received Revelation from God,” because in his Companions’ experience of him he never told a lie in his entire life. This is a fact to which even his enemies testified. He was known as “al-Amin” (The Trustworthy ).

There is no mention of a specific age of the earth in the Quran. Rather we are informed of ‘days’ with elasticity in time. For example, in one verse we are told of a day with a time span of a thousand years (al-Sajdah 32:5) and in another verse we are told of a day equivalent to fifty thousand years in time (al-Ma’arij 70:4). These and other verses taken collectively alter fundamentally our understanding of the nature of time itself in relation to God. They emphasise for believers the fact that God is the creator of time and space and He is therefore able to restrict or expand it whenever He pleases. These time- and space-altering concepts were revealed fourteen hundred years before the arrival of the theory of relativity. Fossil records and Dawkins’ childish ‘mount improbable’ cannot undermine the Quran. In fact it is the Quran that has demonstrated human limitations inherent in the scientific process.

Hundreds of years before seismic technologies were invented the Quran described mountains as “awtad” (pegs) as opposed to the ‘upward protruding mounds’ definition proffered by 20th Century text books. Now we know that the Quran's description is more accurate than that of (relatively recent) science text books. More than two thirds of the body mass of a mountain is embedded in the earth’s crust. see below and http://www.islam-guide.com/ch1-1.htm#ch1-1)

The Body of Evidence

Dawkins also argued that “the idea of a benevolent Creator belittles the elegant reality of the universe”. So what is it about the idea that is so belittling? If I were to learn a few rudimentary details about the engine of a car it would not give me the right to claim that the car created itself. Similarly, if we discover a previously unknown detail about the natural world it does not give us the authority to claim that the universe created itself and moreover that God does not exist. If an aborigine discovers a transistor in his radio and through experiment deciphers its function, we would not accept the notion that that person has become qualified to declare that the radio created itself or that Marconi does not exist.

When Dawkins is told by other scientists that the sun is a nuclear reactor it does not provide him with the authority or, as he claims, “evidence” to declare that God does not exist, that believers indulge in “a process of non-thinking”, that to believe one must be “barking mad” and that God is “the most vindictive character in all fiction”. This is arrogance far beyond the limitations of science.

'Reliable evidence' for Dawkins seems only to be those fossils, catalogued behind glass cases in his lifeless zoos. In God’s court, His evidence is all around us and spreads far beyond the limits of our comprehension – not merely “tons and tons” as Dawkins said proudly, but billions and trillions of independent bodies dovetailing elegantly though an expanding space with breath-taking harmony. A harmony that guides every sound mind to the Oneness /of the Supreme Creator.

“(God is) the one who created the night, the day, the sun and the moon. Each one is travelling in an orbit with its own motion.” (The Quran 21:33)

“I built the heaven with power and it is I, who am expanding it.” (The Quran 51:47)

The Root of All Evil

Dawkins seems to have forgotten that the death toll from the four main wars in the 20th Century is 130 million, which is more than all the deaths in all the wars of all the preceding centuries of recorded history combined.

If atrocities and barbarism are his standard of measure then we must look at the fifteen million that were killed in the First World War (1914-18), the twenty million in Stalin’s regime (1924-53), the fifty-five million in the Second World War (1937-45) and, of course, the forty million in Mao Zedong's regime (1949-1975) in China. These deaths were not due to religion. They were due to something much closer to Dawkins’ heart. These were wars of human greed, the same greed and selfishness that is a cornerstone of Dawkins’ philosophy of life. Theories of selfish genes and greedy organisms are the fundamental doctrines in his worldview.

His book “The Selfish Gene” played a significant role in popularizing the notion that “greed is good” in the 1980’s. Natural selection, Dawkins argued, favours the selfish individuals in any species, and thus the ones who are out for themselves are the ones still around to pass their chromosomes along to those who come later. The fact that the teachings of Prophets of God continue to influence human beings is understandably uncomfortable for Dawkins. These are teachings that warn against the evil of greed and provide examples of self restraint, sacrifice and compassion for others. The Prophet Muhammad (on whom be peace) warned his followers against greed, saying that “if the son of Adam had an entire valley of gold, he would wish for two valleys, and(until) his mouth will not be filled except with dirt (i.e. upon death)”.

Indeed, religion has been a restraining force on the dark impulses of greed and tyranny throughout history. For when people believe that this world is a temporary abode and that they are accountable for their actions in a Day of Judgment to come, they are more able to control their impulses of greed and exercise patience and tolerance in the face of persistent injustices and oppression. They are able to be contented with loss and little in life while they hope for better in life hereafter.

But in a world of selfish organisms, where people believe that this world is all they have, that it is their only opportunity, their one shot to enjoy life, and that they are not accountable for their actions, they will plunder and kill with impunity, indefinitely until death, because greed is a disease that knows no limits.

Greed and selfishness are the roots of all evil not religion. When someone does not believe in a Day of Judgement and has no sense of accountability, their greed is more likely to lead them to commit atrocities and countless injustices. They will manipulate laws and misuse powers to invade people’s lands, plunder people’s wealth, justify torture, abuse and killing without remorse or fear. This is reminiscent of the zoo of conflicts we are faced with today in our world.

To Mr Dawkins I say in conclusion: the elephant you seek is in fact the culture of greed which your book “The Selfish Gene” has helped to foment. Return to your zoo and ponder the evils of the “would-be killers motivated by” the lowest ideals: selfishness and greed. There you will find the elephant sitting on your heart. I pray that God unlocks your mind and guides you to repentance before it is too late.

“Obsessed you are by greed for more and more. Until, you reach the graves, But nay, ye soon shall know (the reality). Again, ye soon shall know! (The Quran 102:1-4)