Richard Dawkins doesn’t believe in God as we know Him but, rather, in that face he sees in the mirror every morning. Read this story from the Guardian today, if you don’t care to give me the benefit of the doubt:
University lecturers and students reacted with dismay on Sunday after a group of leading British academics took a step towards the establishment of an elite US-style university system in the UK by launching a new private college offering £18,000-a-year courses.
AC Grayling, a professor of philosophy at the universities of London and Oxford, will welcome next year the first students to the New College of the Humanities to study for degrees in English, philosophy, history, economics and law taught by academics from Harvard, Princeton, Oxford and Cambridge.
There is a starry lineup of professorial talent: Richard Dawkins will teach evolutionary biology and science literacy; Niall Ferguson will lecture on economics and economic history; and Steven Pinker will teach philosophy and psychology.
I do so fear the lack of humility of those who refuse to admit the possibility of an overlording supernatural being. Not because I believe they are logically wrong. After all, in many circumstances, people who believe in the absence of an afterlife will do everything in their power to avoid prejudicing the present. I can’t remember who it was who said something along the lines of “If you must travel by plane, travel with an airline from a mainly secular country” – but they were right.
Unfortunately, that very lack of humility may also lead such individuals to the rankest of acts – as, in fact, this case demonstrates. When you don’t believe in God, the temptation to set yourself up as your very own version of the Lord Almighty on earth, and then overcharge the wealthy for the honour, must be overwhelming. Anyone who believes they are in absolute possession of the truth is prone to making such a mistake: in this, Mr Dawkins is no different from any other fundamentalist out there. As the Guardian article reports, those responsible for the initiative would like to assure the rest of us that their teaching is worth so much more than the vast majority of us can ever aspire to:
“It is the economic reality,” [Grayling] said. “The £9,000 cap is completely unsustainable. The true cost is way more and that ceiling is going to have to be burst. Other universities might also think ‘either we sink or go independent’. Almost all of [the professors signed up] have served our time with decades in public sector higher education and we have seen it get more and more difficult. It is quite a struggle now to see into the future with how we can cope with these cuts. Either you stand on the sidelines deploring what is happening or you jump in and do something about it.”
So, whilst we’re on the subject of quoting from those far better than ourselves, who was it, then, who claimed that man was made in the image of God? For now it’s clear that if this was ever true, Mr Dawkins and friends have managed to fundamentally reverse the process: this is clearly, and quite irreversibly, a case of God being made in the image of man.