This post isn’t so much on leadership I’m sorry so I’m taking liberties on this blog. I have no ‘faith’ specific blog yet, but hope to create one soon.
The following post is in response to a show that aired recently on Australian TV called ‘Q and A’ and on it appeared a renowned Scientest/Atheist Dr Richard Dawkins and Cardinal George Pell. Viewable here: http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/txt/s3469101.htm
Elements of my post are in response to a write up in an article here: http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/dawkins-shades-pell-in-battle-of-belief-20120410-1wlk9.html
I actually found the show to be as I expected. Though maybe that’s because I think my expectations were ‘set correctly’. It’s a media show where two phenomenally intelligent and well respected men were expected to try and debate in two or three minute blocks on questions and topics that have taken thousands of years for other men of mostly greater intelligence to contemplate, reflect on, study and dissect, lather, rinse, and repeat. There was always going to be a lot of ‘tit for tat’ and small stuff. The show as a concept is almost geared towards that and I believe to expect much else is unrealistic. So I didn’t ‘expect’ a great deal I guess you could say.
Having said that I enjoyed the arguments back and forth and thought Dr Dawkins presented his points as well as he could as did Cardinal Pell – from a completely ‘sit back and analyse the argument objectively standpoint. That’s not to say both made gaffs and ‘mistakes’ in representing their views and beliefs. What human wouldn’t in the lights of a live studio audience and a nation salivating at a prominent believer vs non believer battle to the death (where one believes that wouldn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things anyway!)… I only believe they missed a wonderful opportunity to open with a musical score of Eye of the Tiger. As an aside, how fascinating that for such a topic as faith and ‘why’ we are here that it is such an event that it only needs two panellists vs the norm to keep it interesting and ‘worthwhile’. Maybe it alludes in some ways to the level of interest and potential ‘search and hunger’ most of us are on to truly know ‘why’… let’s explore some of that…
I think whoever wrote the article for The Age strikes me as an atheist (I guess they had to be either! Or I guess a fence sitter) despite maybe trying to present otherwise… giving ‘battler points’ to Pell but seemingly intent on handing the bout to Dawkins – was it necessary to do either. I guess the mainstream news media consumers want a judge’s decision, even if on points.
However, the major miss of the article and Dr Dawkins for me, among many more ‘points’ on both sides, was dismissing the question of ‘why’ we are here by simply calling it silly. Really?! Maybe Pell missed his chance on that but from my perspective asking ‘why’ things happen is the basis of most of what I learned in Science, yet on possibly the biggest question of all that science should/could seek to answer, as I believe governs faith AND science, Dawkins chooses to ‘escape’ by simply labelling that question as ‘silly’. For a man of such intelligence, that flawed me though I guess it’s an easy out to claim that isn’t a worthy scientific question to ask. To me though, that’s a bit silly itself and the biggest dodge of the night. Maybe the fact he has no answer for this particular ‘Why did this happen’ question that his science can prove that he dismisses it until he has one, like so many other areas of science that still yet evade us. Though in other such scientific areas, I doubt he would simply throw it out as ‘silly’ if not seeking simply to try and make a point… again, back to where I began and tit for tat. Remember back to the time of the Wright brothers, on one side of the world what was being taught about flight… it’s impossible, as on the other side of the world the Wright brothers were ‘creating’ that science. Interesting.
I know scientists who have a strong faith and religious who know their science in fact I’m sure JP II at one point actually commented on the importance of science. For me I see science and faith as complimentary partners in explanation and understanding… the paradox of opposites so present all around us, summer and winter, autumn and spring, the seed dies to give new life, good and evil, the truly great leader serves, men and women (a beautiful mystery of opposites)… AND ultimately… how’s and why’s.
Essentially science gets you most of the way but faith finishes the job as Dawkins himself could only assert he has no scientific way to disprove the existence of God. Have to grant him kudos for remaining ‘scientific’ on that point. Though given it seemed he could only feebly try and avoid the question of ‘why’ by simply calling it silly… I know which I find the more believable truth from my own journey and experience… though I’ve been ‘open minded’ enough to consider those things science is yet to prove… thank goodness the Wright brothers did the same. I could go on but this is already probably fairly rough and flawed in composition and I only wanted to add further thought and comment on a/some key point(s) I saw that were missed or hopefully give it some more rounding.
I think Fr Chris Ryan MGL, has posted some great, far more theologically based and deeper level thoughts himself here: http://frchrisryanmgl.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/beyond-qanda-insights-into-atheism-and-faith-with-nikki-gemmell/
I finish with a comment on how this sits in my view of leadership. No leader fears a discussion on the deeper topics as that is where we connect at a deeper level. If we can truly seek to understand someone and what they believe. Whether we agree with it or not, if handled right, a greater ability to lead results as we seek to…