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Introduction In modern times, contemporary academia is acquiring an increasingly public character. Technological advancements over the last number of years have led to an unprecedented accessibility of knowledge. As such, we can no longer be content with conceptual partisans that keep academic disciplines separate. Similarly, the distance between ideologies and value systems is being contracted more and more as time passes, with steady advancements in global communications. This is the context in which this work rests. Consequently, this book will espouse the view that theology must open itself further to the prospects of dialogue with multifarious areas of academia and diverse ideologies. It will advance current efforts in this task not just by engaging in dialogue with worldviews that are easily amenable to theology, but to inherently antithetical perspectives. “Philosophy is dead”, proclaims Stephen Hawking on the first page of his 2010 international bestseller The Grand Design co-authored with Leonard Mlodinow.1 The public character of such sentiments, it will be argued, must be engaged with if theology is to progress, and not fall into a perpetual regression of inward analysis. Theology needs to look outward and engage with the intellectual mosaic of diverse disciplines and philosophies that the modern world has made increasingly accessible. This book will demonstrate how a dialogical approach to theology can be beneficial, even when dialogue partners advocate a strident hostility toward religious belief. To achieve this aim, we will explore the possibilities of a dialogue with British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. Dawkins [b. 1942] was trained and has taught at Oxford University, where he held the position of Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science from 1995 to 2008. In 2007 Time magazine included Dawkins in its rankings of the top 100 most influential people in the world, while Prospect magazine voted him third in a list of the top 100 public intellectuals, behind novelist Umberto Eco and Noam Chomsky. He achieved such prominence principally for two reasons. Firstly, he has been an ardent defender of a gene-centered perspective of Darwinian evolution, and promotes the use of this perspective as an explanatory framework in which we can understand human behavior. Secondly, he has been a militant advocate of atheism and virulent critic of religion. Throughout his published work and lectures, he has always denounced religious belief peripherally, and he eventually devoted a full book to the 1 topic—his 2006 The God Delusion. It is for these two reasons that Dawkins should be taken as a dialogue partner. He represents a view from a distant outskirt of the academic realm, which can be identified as atheistic materialism/ naturalism advocated from a scientific standpoint. It is exactly because Dawkins is so disagreeable to theology that he is a good choice as a dialogue partner. This will allow us to illustrate how engaging with a contrary worldview can be beneficial. For the purposes of this academic work, this dialogue has been delineated into chapters and subsections. However, it must be noted that these delineations are for practical purposes only; the true dialogue is more holistic and is less amenable to such compartmentalizing. Therefore, throughout this thesis, we will find overlaps between the themes explored in the various chapters and sections. This will unfortunately require that we reiterate/repeat particular aspects of the thesis as we progress. The first chapter will outline the methodological premises for the dialogue. It will present the motives, method, and limitations of this work. This chapter will justify this dialogue with Dawkins by reference to theological method—the emphasis on interfaith and interdisciplinary dialogue as seen in the work of leading theologians such as Hans Küng, David Tracy, and Pope John Paul II. It will show how engaging in dialogue with Dawkins contributes to both the pressing need for pluralistic dialogue between ideologies and the need for dialogue with other disciplines such as science. This chapter will also explore the approaches we will adopt toward the relationship between science and religion and the philosophy of science. Moreover, we will seek a fresh approach to Dawkins himself, an earnest dialogical relationship as opposed to a confrontational model—which has predominantly been the case. However, given Dawkins’ hostility toward theology and the thrust of his position, there are significant caveats in attempting to open a mutual conversation and therefore, these caveats will also be explored in this opening chapter. As Dawkins seeks to ground his worldview in his interpretation of evolutionary science, Chapter Two will then establish an understanding...


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