One million reasons to be interested in God

Russell Powell

I've lost count of the number of journos who said to me recently, as if it were a fact, "Of course interest in religion is waning..."

Tell that to the producers of QandA, which recorded its highest-ever ratings on Easter Monday, with an audience of 863,000 for a show on atheism vs belief in God. (alright so it is not a million - I said that for dramatic effect) You see my point though. 

Despite the opinions of some journalists, it is a subject in which people are vitally interested. 

Serious journalists who ignore it are damaging the credibility of their news organisations (and their ratings!).

If you didn't catch the TV show, it was Richard Dawkins vs George Pell. You can still watch it here.

I thought both were off their game and seemed to be talking at cross purposes. Perhaps that was just as well, considering some of the answers the Cardinal gave. 

Greg Sheridan, at the Australian (see link here, Google should let you read it without registration) thought George Pell won. Andrew Bolt pointed out the contradictions (dare I say delusions) of Dawkins position. 

I'm not sure that the night convinced anyone, but these things I do know -

  • Banal twitter comments scrolling on the bottom of the screen are so yesterday
  • I could have won the bet (if I were a gambling man) that somehow climate change and gay marriage would be raised
  • Its the first time I've heard the problem of suffering turned on the atheist, rather than the believer
  • Dawkins trying to define 'nothing' (as in the Big Bang started with 'nothing') was funny to everyone but him
  • the poll question "Does religious belief make the world a better place?" was posed as an atheist vs believer statement. Rubbish. I'm not sure I would agree with it. Define religion first

The most ironic thing about the night is that, were it not for the reformation, I'm sure Richard Dawkins would not have the freedom he currently has to argue his position. After all, it is the legacy of Protestantism to welcome open, logical querying of the grounds for faith. The reformers opened the way for this lapsed Anglican to tour the world, mocking their beliefs.