Monday, December 15, 2008


I have long been curious as to when my son began to consider himself an atheist. At first, I thought perhaps it was based on trying to impress his girlfriend. I learned it was actually his older half-brother(his Dad had been married previously).My son had been having doubts and he discussed it with his brother. His brother suggested he read The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. For the past 18 months, my son and I had some spirited conversations over this issue. Pesach was memorable because the majority of the discussions centered around belief in G-d even as we were celebrating the miracles of crossing out of mitzrayim.

Jeremy challenged me to read Dawkinss book and I told him I would but he would have to read one of mine. So after havdalah, I began reading the book. I must admit I didn't get very far into even the preface before I started having serious issues. I have moved beyond the preface and have read a few pages of the first chapter. Even this small amount has given me some ammunition to counter some of Dawkins' premises.

First, Dawkins believes in all things should be measured in some way to be proven as to exist. He leans very much on Darwin's Theory of Evolution. It seems he argues against the existence of G-d because there is no empirical data for the existence of G-d. I'm not really concerned what Dawkins believes. For though he states he believes in the Natural World and he is a Naturalist, to me he is just calling G-d by another name. Instead of saying Shiva, Allah, or whatever, he calls it the Natural World.

I enjoy reading about science. It is exciting to read about new discoveries of how our brains, our world, and so many other things work. Evolution doesn't scare me and it doesn't conflict with my belief in G-d.

In discussing some of the issues with my son who is in his early 20's, I asked him questions about his relationship with his girlfriend Sarah. I asked him if he felt that his love for Sarah was more than a brain synapse response, more than a pheromone response, or more than a chemical change in his body. Science has shown that different our brains and bodies react differently when we first fall in love. It can be measured. I asked him if he thought the love and bond between them was just those measurable responses.

He responded their relationship was more than scientific instruments could measure. I then asked are there are some things that cannot be proven by empirical data? He left to go think about it for awhile. I'll post updates when I have the opportunity.

My son has every right to believe the way he wants. We are fortunate to live in a country that allows us to worship or not worship as we choose.

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