Is Religion Childish?

Dr Greg Clarke, co-Director of the new Centre for Public Christianity in Sydney and Director of the Macquarie Christian Studies Institute at Macquarie University in On Line Opinion:

There is loud chatter today about the immaturity, the childishness, of being religious. Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins have led a phalanx of commentators telling us it is time we put childish ways aside and emerged into the world as post-theological, post-religious grown-ups.

But why is religion considered childish, and is the accusation warranted? Certainly, plenty of childish things are done in the name of this or that God, this or that holy book. But the behaviours of some individuals don’t necessarily condemn the religion itself.

Is it the idea of God that is childish? Dawkins writes in The God Delusion:

There is something infantile in the presumption that somebody else … has a responsibility to give your life meaning and point. The truly adult view, by contrast, is that our life is as meaningful, as full and as wonderful as we choose to make it (p.360).

But there are plenty of intellectuals, even professors on par with or outstripping Dawkins for academic standing who hold that a concept of God is intellectually justifiable, even necessary, to make sense of the world. Think of philosopher Professor Richard Swinburne at Oxford, a practising Christian, or Professor Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project.

Full article: Childish religion – On Line Opinion – 6/10/2008

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