Neale Donald Walsch, author of Conversations with God, responds to biologist Richard Dawkins’ assertion that God does not exist in any form.
Neale Donald Walsch| March 2007 issue
English scientist Richard Dawkins ignited a fierce debate with his book The God Delusion (Houghton Mifflin, 2006) – which is, as its title baldly announces, a refutation in exacting detail of the existence of God. The controversy shows no sign of dampening; Dawkins views continue to inflame strong opinions on all sides about our relationship to science, society and religion. This comes as no surprise to those who have followed the distinguished career of Richard Dawkins – an evolutionary biologist long known as “Darwin’s rottweiler” for his rousing defence of natural selection. His 1976 bestseller The Selfish Gene advanced the provocative and now influential idea that instead of using genes to reproduce themselves, organisms – including humans – are actually being used to satisfy their genes’ need to reproduce.
Now Dawkins is back, this time asking readers to imagine that there is no such thing as the God we think we know. “If God created the universe,” he asks, “who created God?” He targets our collective belief in the existence of God as our culture’s most dangerous attribute. “As a scientist,” Dawkins writes, “I am hostile to fundamentalist religion because it actively debauches the scientific enterprise. It teaches us not to change our minds, and not to want to know exciting things that are available to be known. It subverts science and saps the intellect.”
Religion, he adds, isn’t a reasonable explanation for anything. The embattled biologist dreams of a time when atheism is widespread and God has no role to play in our thoughts or our politics.
We invited Neale Donald Walsch, author of the bestselling Conversations with God, to respond to Dawkins. While Walsch is no more popular among fundamentalist believers than Dawkins, he draws different conclusions about the meaning of existence in a series of books that have sold millions of copies and been translated into more than 30 languages.
God does not exist. So argues Professor Richard Dawkins in his latest book, The God Delusion. And he claims to have scientific evidence to prove it.
Should any of us care? Yes, because Dawkins is no ordinary person. He is an esteemed scientist from England’s Oxford University who has the ear of millions. I believe his argument that there is no God is a sad point of view which brings no benefit whatsoever to the human race. And that is why we should care. If the whole of humanity should ever adopt this point of view, I believe we will have lost our greatest asset, our greatest tool, our greatest advantage as we step more deeply into the 21st century.
However, Dawkins is not entirely wrong. The God of which he speaks – of which most organized religions speak, the God I call Yesterday’s God – does not exist. In The God Delusion, Dawkins argues that science and not religion, evolution and not intelligent design, hold the answer to the greatest mystery of the universe: life itself, how it came to be and how it functions, in all its physical forms. And I believe he is right.
It does, however, not explain life in all its non-physical forms. It does not explain miracles, or any other metaphysical experience, of which there is ample evidence in our world. In short, Dawkins has brilliantly told us what God is not, but has told us nothing of what God is. He assumes that since there is ample evidence of what God is not, then God itself does not exist. I don’t think the first position proves the second. Dawkins apparently does. And therein lies his disservice. I would have wished that a mind as brilliant as Dawkins’ would have gone about analyzing the extraordinary anecdotal evidence, available from any one of several hundred million people on the planet, of the existence of God or of something, whatever name you want to give it, that even science cannot explain, but that shows up in the day-to-day experience of human beings as very real, very present, very reliable, and very useful.
I myself have had plenty of evidence of the existence of what I call “God.” I have seen from my own life that “God” is a power, an energy that can be used with consistent and predictable results. I agree with Dawkins that God is not a celestial superpower, vindictive except with those who love Him – in the way He wants and needs them to love Him. He is not a God that exists to judge our every thought, word, and deed, granting or failing to grant our requests and punishing or rewarding us at the end of our lives based on wholly unknown criteria. Dawkins has pulled all the stops to debunk that particular notion, to which I say bravo.
But I couldn’t disagree more with what Dawkins writes in his first chapter: “If the word ‘God’ is not to become completely useless, it should be used in the way people have generally understood it: to denote a supernatural creator that is ‘appropriate for us to worship.'” The opposite, I think, is true. Continuing to use the word “God” in the way people have generally understood it (as someone to worship) renders the word completely useless.
I believe in God because I have had a conversation with God, an inner dialogue with an essence and a source that has brought forth information I would never, could never, have dreamt of on my own. That conversation has made it clear to me that God is a process – the process of life itself—and therefore that the words God and life are interchangeable.
I feel the implications of this are staggering, earth shaking, paradigm-shattering. This is because everyone knows what is true about life. Everyone may not know what is true about God, but everyone knows what is true about life. What is true about life is that nothing stands outside of life. Nothing exists without life. We are the expression of life itself. So is everything around us. Even so-called inanimate objects are found, when examined under a microscope, to consist of particles constantly in motion. These particles and their movements are all part of life. Indeed, everything in the observable universe is life, in some form. The existence of life is confirmed by life itself. Life is self-referencing, self-confirming, self-sustaining, and self-evident. Life is the evidence of the existence of life.
Everyone alive knows these things. But look what happens when the word “God” is inserted where the word “life” appears. That produces this result: Nothing stands outside of God. Nothing exists without God. You are the expression of God itself. So is everything around you. Even so-called inanimate objects are found, when examined under a microscope, to consist of particles constantly in motion. These particles and their movements are all part of God. Indeed, everything in the observable universe is God, in some form. The existence of God is confirmed by God itself. God is self-referencing, self-confirming, self-sustaining, and self-evident. God is the evidence of the existence of God.
These simple thoughts cause all the dogma and stricturese about God to fall apart. Everything crumbles. Not just a few of our beliefs about God, but the very basis upon which we have built so much of human society. It all comes tumbling down. The wonderful thing about this, the exciting thing, is that we get to recreate ourselves anew, and rebuild our human society – and a huge part of that process is our renewed exploration of the whole idea of God.
Taking such a journey would benefit mankind enormously, for in doing so, we acknowledge something in the universe greater than we are. Once that acknowledgement is made, we can use God to create our most desired reality. Until we acknowledge that life is God, we cannot use this power, not turn to God as an ever present help in times of need. That is to deny our greatest resource.
So, dear Professor Dawkins, if you are saying that Yesterday’s God is a delusion, you are right. If you are saying that God in any form, known or unknown, taught or untaught, understood or not understood, does not exist, you are wrong.
Neale Donald Walsch is author of many books on spirituality. His series ‘Conversations With God’ are the most popular.
More information: http://www.nealedonaldwalsch.com