Monday, December 17, 2007

By their fruit...

I’m reading two books at the moment.

They’re rather a contrast.

One is The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, the avowed atheist Oxford professor. It’s a very smart, pacy, well-written book, full of wit and drive; incisive, witty, cutting, and very, very clever. And it knows it. Dawkins delights in every point he scores against poor ‘theists’ (those who insist on stupidly clinging to belief in their ‘highly improbable’ deity). It’s a book written by a strong mind, persuading his reader that he must be right – and mocking the reader who may disagree.

The other is Becoming Human by Jean Vanier, the Roman Catholic founder of L’Arche, communities in which people deliberately live together – some being severely ‘intellectually disabled’ (in Vanier’s endearing phrase) – and love and learn from each other. It is simple, humble, straight-forward – and profound. Vanier shows how what we perceive as ‘weakness’ (particularly, in this case, disability) can teach ‘the strong’ what, on the deepest level, it means to be truly human; that is, to love.

I can’t help but think of something Jesus said (Dawkins, by the way, would allow me to believe that Jesus existed, but not allow me to be so certain that He said anything. But, hey).

By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. (Matthew 7:16-18)

The fruit of Dawkins’ philosophy? Cleverness; scorn. And, ultimately, the fruit of Darwinist atheism can only be to disregard the weak. They are simply not ‘naturally selected’. What counts is strength.

The fruit of Vanier’s philosophy? Love; humility. Ultimately the fruit of his faith embraces the weak, and not merely to ‘help’ them, but to learn from them, to learn what humanity truly is. What counts is humanity.

Judge for yourself: if we disregard God as a ‘delusion’ does it help us to ‘become human’?

1 comment:

Aidan said...

Good point.
Darn good point