Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Richard Dawkins, Atheism and Sexual Faithfulness

Can we be good without God? Certainly not sexually!

Richard Dawkins has been termed “the world’s most famous atheist.” He also insists that we don’t need God to be good. However, he makes some interesting admissions:

  • Why are we so obsessed with monogamous fidelity in the first place? The underlying presumption — that a human being has some kind of property rights over another human being’s body — is unspoken because it is assumed to be obvious. But with what justification?   
  • And why don’t we all admire — as I increasingly do — those rare free spirits confident enough to rise above jealousy, stop fretting about who is “cheating on” whom. (Banishing the Green eyed Monster)
What does Dawkins admit? He admits that monogamous marriage is a matter of “property rights” and cheating is admirable. Of course, this must also include lying. If you’re a cheat, you must also be a good liar:

  • Bill Clinton was impeached not for sexual misconduct but for lying about it. But he was entitled to lie about his private life: one could even make a case that he had a positive duty to do so
If cheating requires a “positive duty” to lie in order to cover it up, perhaps that says something about the nature of cheating. If a couple can’t handle the truth that one party is cheating, perhaps self-control is more in order. And perhaps true love requires faithfulness!

However, Dawkins might be right that the cheater can’t be honest about the cheating. His partner might not be able to handle it. When I returned to college, I wanted to try what had become a rage – a sensitivity (therapy) group. I wanted to stay close to “home,” so I decided to join a group sponsored through the United Campus Ministry. However, before long, it became apparent that the “minister” was putting-the-make on two attractive females in the group. They confronted him about this, and he responded that he and his wife had an “open marriage.”

However, he later admitted that they had to carry out this “openness” in secret. Once he came home early to find his wife entering their home with her cheating-prey. The minister admitted that this sight so disturbed him that he had to be committed to the mental hospital for two weeks.

However, these are precisely the “free spirits” that Dawkins “admires.” But are they really free spirits? Is it freedom to jump from a 12-story building or to drink lye? Dawkins think so and therefore rhetorically asks,

  • Why should you deny your loved one the pleasure of sexual encounters with others, if he or she is that way inclined?
There seems to be many good reasons – mental breakdown, divorce, disease, damage to children and even to society. John J. Davis (Evangelical Ethics) wrote of the work of British Anthropologist, J.D. Unwin:

  • After a comprehensive study of both Western and non-Western cultures throughout human history, Unwin concluded that the record of mankind “does not contain a single instance of a group becoming civilized unless it had been absolutely [heterosexually] monogamous, nor is there any example of a group retaining its culture after it has adopted less rigorous customs.” Unwin observed that a society’s adoption and maintenance of heterosexual monogamy as a social standard “has preceded all manifestations of social energy, whether that energy be reflected in conquest, in art and sciences, in extension of the social vision, or in the substitution of monotheism for polytheism.” (p. 116)
Why wasn’t Dawkins cognizant of the various costs of “open” marriages? Perhaps his own lusts clouded his thinking. However, it seems that this has clouded the thinking of many non-theists.

Psychiatrist G. Brock Chisholm, president of the World Federation for Mental Health, had stated in 1945:

  • The re-interpretation and eventual eradication of the concept of right and wrong which has been the basis of child training, the substitution of intelligent and rational thinking with faith in the certainties of the old people, these are the belated objectives of practically all effective psychotherapy.
  • The fact is that most psychiatrists and psychologists and other respectable people have escaped from these moral chains and are able to observe and think freely.
  • If the race is to be free from the crippling burden of good and evil, it must be psychiatrists who take the original responsibility.”
How widespread was this thinking “In a 1976 survey of members of the APA, 95% reportedly admitted to being atheists or agnostics.” Were these philosophical commitments the product of evidence or lifestyle choices? According to Al Parides, Prof. of Psychiatry, UCLA:

  • If you look at the personal lives of all Freud’s followers—his initial disciples—these people certainly have an unbelievable amount of particular problems in the sexual area…The amount of deviancy as far as their sexual behavior and so forth is enormous. If you are saying that psychiatry promotes a certain form of morality that is a deviant morality in regard to many areas including sexual behavior—yes, I would agree. (Psychiatry: The Ultimate Betrayal, Bruce Wiseman, 12-14)
Perhaps God is necessary for the well-being of the family!

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