Do you know who said the following?
“However brief our time in the sun, if we waste a second of it, or complain that it is dull or barren or (like a child) boring, couldn’t this be seen as a callous insult to those unborn trillions who will never even be offered life in the first place?”
It’s a beautiful quote, really.
Life is precious and amazing. You and I get the privilege to LIVE it.
Out of millions of sperm, the right one at the right time wiggled into that egg in your mother’s womb under perfect conditions to make YOU – unless, of course, you were a “test-tube” baby (but that doesn’t make your creation any less amazing and unique).
God gave you and me an opportunity. He gave us the gift of life. Not only that, the realization of having been entrusted with that privilege inspires within me a feeling of responsibility. I feel a call to help others who may be hurting and struggling in this life. In short, a responsibility to make the world a better place.
I glean wisdom and edification from the quote above.
So who said it?
Dawkins is a well known author of several books including The God Delusion and The Blind Watchmaker. He is arguably the most well-known atheist in the world.
Interestingly, he grew up embracing Christianity until his teens, but came to believe that the theory of evolution explained life’s complexity much better than intelligent design and, in his words, this left him with “nothing”.
He also came up with such gems as this:
“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sado-masochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”
So why share some “wicked” atheist’s quote in the first place?
I pose this question mainly for my theist friends (i.e. those who believe in a supreme being, but especially my Christian and Jewish friends).
Did your opinion of it change when you learned who the author was?
Does knowing who said it suddenly make it a bad quote, or untrue?
Was there something flawed about it to begin with?
Richard Dawkins and I are worlds apart. Locked in a room together and forced to have a conversation, we would likely be very irritated with each other. However, does that mean I can’t appreciate something he said and learn from it? Perhaps not unlike the apostle Paul, who engaged the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers of his day to connect with the culture.
If I find something deep and meaningful (and even spiritual) in something said by a person who earns a living by making a mockery of God, does it mean I am endorsing their worldview?
It reminds me of an observation by Rabbi Tzvi Freeman:
“It’s a paradox: The greatest revelations are to be found not in meditation, study and prayer, but in the mundane world – but only if you would rather be meditating, studying, and praying.”
What would you rather be doing?