Professor Richard Dawkins, the eminent Oxford biologist, wrote a book called The God Delusion, published in 2006. Father Thomas Crean O.P., a Dominican
Friar who has previously been at the Priory St. Michael the Archangel Cambridge, wrote a reply to this attack on
religion, called A Catholic Replies to Professor Dawkins
Fr. Crean defends two things: belief in God and the Catholic faith.
To defend belief in God, Fr. Crean looks at how he and Prof. Dawkins are completely at odds over the possible cause or causes of our visible universe. Dawkins believes that everything that exists is either matter or else a property of matter. This is a philosophical position, not a scientific one in the modern sense of the term.
Cream shares, with authority and matchless courtesy and good humour, that materialism is not only false but absurd. The reader will conclude that Dawkins is well out of his depth, as far as philosophy is concerned.
This dismantling of materialism as a tenable position is no mean achievement, given that this philosophy underpins the twin evils of Marxism and Evolutionary Darwinism. The young Dominican shows, with formidably applied logic, that atheism, too, is both false and absurd. How he does it, with scalpel-like precision, you must find out for yourselves.
Dawkins is on even shakier ground when he attacks religious belief, and Catholicism in particular. Crean shows, by calm assessment of the evidence, that if someone has an upright will, then by examining the historical evidence, such as the evidence of the gospels and the evidence of later miracles — he dwells at some length on the miracle of the sun at Fatima — he can come rationally to the conclusion, "The Catholic Church is from God." One by one, Fr Crean tackles, head on, Prof. Dawkins' assaults on the integrity of the gospels and on the Divinity of Christ. Crean's patient demolition of Dawkins' assertions is wholly sucessful. This is not surprising as Dawkins' arguments lack supporting evidence.
Fr. Crean quotes a wise remark about Jesus Christ by St. Thomas More, the martyred chancellor of England: "Surely, if he were not God, he would be no good man either, since he plainly said he was God." Since Christ was neither a bad man nor a lunatic, we should accept that he was what He claims to be: God incarnate.
Nowhere in his three hundred and seventy-four pages does Darkins even mention the central tenet of Christianity, the resurrection of Christ. Nor does he explain how something so contrary to human experience came to be so widely held. This is a puzzling reticence.
Although Darkins' book is full of the most vehement moral judegements, he overlooks the fact that, by definition, morality is something binding: an objective standard by which we must govern our personal impulses and desires. Crean shows that Darkins' account of the origins of morality does not even begin to explain what it means for something to be right rather than wrong. Nor does he explain where duties comes from. And without duty, there is no morality.
This is a book that should be read, reread and pondered by anyone who has an upright will.