Professor Richard Dawkins is currently giving media interviews for his latest book 'The God Delusion'. In a recent one with the BBC's 'Newsnight' programme, Professor Dawkins made several erroneous comments. He spoke about a religious person's belief in a universe containing a god, whereas Christianity (the religion the professor singles out for criticism) explicitly argues for a God *outside* of the time and space He created. It is like asking where the poet is in his/her poem or to expect an artist to be in his/her own picture. All creation is an act of separation.
Secondly, the professor said that religious people did not give their beliefs much thought. This implies that religion and thoughtfulness cannot go together, something I disagree a great deal with. I came to Christianity only after a very large amount of thought and reasoning. So did and do many other religious people.
The interviewer Jeremy Paxman likewise made a distinction between a 'religious culture' and a 'rational culture' but this is only a false distinction. Religion can be rational - some of the greatest thinkers and scientists throughout history were deeply religious (Sir Isaac Newton for one). It is true that religion asks ultimately for a 'leap of faith', but no leap is possible without first some firm foundation from which to jump.
Again Professor Dawkins erred when he stated that Christianity was an invention of Saint Paul's. Paul taught at a time when many still lived who had been eyewitnesses to Jesus and his original teaching. The early Christian community would not have tolerated the misrepresentation of ideas and beliefs that many among them had themselves been witnesses to.
In the course of the interview Professor Dawkins refers to people with religious beliefs as 'faithheads'. The professor knows better than this. Name-calling is no substitute at all for rational and sincere debate.