Graduate studies at Western
|Abstract||Richard Dawkins is one of the most passionate contemporary defenders of atheism. His rejection of religious faith is based on the assumption that religion is an explanatory theory that has been made obsolete by the results of scientific enquiry. The first section of this paper explains how on this view faith is reduced to religious belief which in turn is judged and rejected in the light of the epistemic criteria of science. The second section argues that faith is primarily a hermeneutical rather than an epistemic phenomenon. It is way of understanding life and the world in the light of the heritage of metaphors and narratives handed down in a religious tradition. Dawkins' rejection of religion is therefore based on a misconception of the nature of religious faith. The third section argues that all views of life, both religious and secular, are hermeneutical and in need of an interpretative framework of metaphors and narratives. This also applies to Dawkins himself. The theory of evolution is for him not merely a fruitful explanatory theory, but also a hermeneutical narrative in terms of which he tries to make sense of life and experience. Dawkins' narrative is shown to be inferior to the interpretative narrative of the Christian tradition|
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