Dawkins Richard compares religion to a virus, which spreads and infects the weak-minded people, making them produce aberrant behavior. Like a virus, religion begins as a by- product, and use human beings to propagate its spread. Religions are costly to those infected in them, just as the idea of viruses. Religions demand large amounts of time and money impose health risks and make people believe in things that are contradicting. Religions and viruses succeed by using threats and promises, which People accept and want to pass. This is evident in Michael Blume’s speech, “The reproductive advantage of religion.” In his graph, Michael showed that religious people have more children than the nonreligious all over the world (McGrath, 2006).
Dawkins further claims that religious beliefs do not necessarily spread because of evidence in their support, but by cultural transmission from either parents or charismatic individuals. He distinguishes this from the spread of scientific ideas, which need to follow certain standards and methodologies. Some of the methodologies considered include; evidential support, precision, consistency, cultural independence, quantifiability, and intersubjectivity. Religious virtues lack all the attributes that faith spreads. The increase in the Amish population is an evidence of how religion has affected the population. The comparison between the Catholics, who have a lot of children and the non-religious groups in China, USA, Sweden, and France, shows a significant effect of the religious virus (McGrath 2006). The number of children per woman in the religious groups range between zero and seven whereas, in the non-religious groups the number ranges from zero to two children per woman. This happens because according to the catholic faith, people are to procreate. The religious groups believe that a child is a gift from God, since according to religious doctrines, God commanded human beings to procreate and fill the earth.
Evidently, there is a straight-line plot of the number of children against the frequency of religious worship. The people who worship more than once a week average 2.5 and those whom never worship average 1.7. The non-religious were found to have the lowest number of births in a Swiss census, which was conducted on 2000 women (McGrath 2006). The birth rate was found to be 1.1 children per woman. The religious memes are and not viral, when viewed from a human genes perspective. However, the genes could be viral from and individual or societal point of view. The religious believers have fallen victims of the virus because they have encountered religion. Through the infection of this virus, many violent, strange, and dangerous behaviors have been experienced in the name of God.
The religious beliefs in the faith sufferer are by deep inner conviction that does not owe anything to evidence, but the believer feels compelling and convincing. According to John Bowker, Dawkins’ account of religious motivation does not contain evidence and data and even if it were valid, the account fails to give rise to a set of consequences. McGrath argues that memes have no place in serious scientific reflection due to the evidence that such ideas are not randomly but intentionally placed. Dawkins presents religion as a virus that infects people’s minds. He went on to say that, religion is from the evolutionary mechanism that naturally selects co-operation among the developed organisms. However, according to Dawkins religion is a virus of mind that is from one generation to another.
Philosophy is the study of arguments. In his book, Warburton gives the types of arguments that have raised interest among philosophers (McGrath 2006). Warburton argues that philosophy tries to understand a word by just thinking about it. They settle arguments on disputes that are not clear through scientific means. They venture into the world, observe something, and at the same time conduct experiments to come up with a clear conclusion on the matter. In his book, Warburton focuses on certain issues that include; Existence of God, The nature of right and wrong, how the mind is to the body and reasons for perceiving that science provides a true account of the physical world. Warburton explains influential arguments that philosophers have developed on the subjects along with the most significant and influential objections (Warburton 1992).
Religious virus attaches itself in the brain of an idol person making the person a religious zombie. Richard argues that children should be taken out of religious homes to protect them from religious upbringing. He portrays religious believers as passive victims of an airborne disease. Here, he is refers to the spread of Christian faith. He terms this as demons that possess the hapless victims of religion. He compares this case to the demons in the book of Matthew 12:43-45. This verse says that when the unclean spirits exist from a human host he wanders looking for respite through arid places but finds none. The unclean spirit then recruits seven other spirits who are wicked than himself. Richard claims that people should be responsible for their own destructive beliefs (Warburton 1992). If people were introduced into the religion when they were young, it is their responsibility to reexamine faith they inherited. By doing this, they will decide either to embrace the faith for themselves or for the society. This enables people to choose the faith that is different from their community or family members. The situation hereby, just like an evangelistic invitation stands for a personal stand. If Dawkins does not like a meme, he refers to it as a virus. According to him, a meme is much more like a cognitive virus.
Religious memes are to be adaptive. According to McKay, religious people are happier and healthier than secularists. They are more generous, and co-operate more in games. Different religions using horrible threats tricks and promises to out-do other religions shows how memeplexes have been illustrated at work. The religious viruses have both advantage and disadvantages just like the bacteria, which are both helpful as well as harmful. Dawkins assumes religious faith to be an un-evidenced belief whereas Christian faith is on a combination of evidence such as that from personal experience, history, and the world.
In his argument, Richard claims that faith is an excuse to avoid the need to reason and think. Dawkins argues that faith is a belief that has no proof. When people have no evidence to prove the existence of something they believe in, they call it faith. According to Richard, the human mind can believe anything it is accustomed to in the society. Majority of the people in religious institutions believe in the existence of a supernatural being not because they have any proof, but because they have been brought up in societies believing in the same. By nature, humans have the need to explain all phenomena in the universe. The fact that humans cannot get proof of the origin of the life he embarks on “faith” which requires no proof. In his attempts to prove that faith as irrational, Dawkins argues that religion and faith is like any other scientific theory and needs proof before being accepted as the truth. Dawkins argued that people believe in a supernatural power because they simply cannot explain the origin of the universe. However, in his arguments he fails to capture many facts that show the essence and truth in faith amongst the majority of the world’s population.
Many factors prove the existence of God. The complexity of the planet earth is a proof of the existence of a superior being. Unlike other planets in the universe, the earth is quite a unique planet. The format, in which the earth is in, shows that there is a power that had control over the earth. Dawkins argues that the fact that we cannot understand the origin of the earth does not justify the existence of God. He argues that life seen on planet earth just happened. Science has, however, failed to prove the existence of life in any other planet. Dawkins failed explain why the reason why other planets do not have life like earth does. The fact that everything on earth falls perfectly in its place is a proof of the existence of God.
Moreover, there are stories of miracles that have happened all over the world. There have been happenings on the lives of people that science cannot explain. In his submission, Dawkins argued that miracles are just a coincidence; therefore, they do not exist. He fails to explain why the coincidence occurs only after the people have sought for divine help. Why can sick people not be healed coincidentally before they seek the divine help? The existence of miracles not only exists in Christianity, but also in all religions, in the world. Miracles not only happen in Christianity but also in other religions. The fact that there are magicians and witch doctors that go against all scientific laws, prove that there are some powers beyond scientific explanation. This affirms the existence of God. The fact that people from different places, cultures, and languages worship a god and find answers in their prayers proves that faith is not just an excuse for things humans cannot explain, but there is evidence for it.
The other proof of the existence of a god is the issue of morality across the world. People from different cultures, regions, and religions have what they consider right or wrong. There is a striking resemblance of what is wrong in different parts of the world. Each person in these places has a sense of what is wrong and what is right. The way of dressing is one of the proofs of a uniform sense of morality. In most cultures, in the world, people cover their private parts with their dressing code. Unlike animals in the wild, people do not engage in sexual acts in public and not randomly amongst people worldwide. This is a proof of a universal moral obligation amongst all humans, which proves the existence of God. However, with man's thirst for more knowledge people are trying to kill the innate sense of morality. Their main tool to do so is to conflict the existence of that sense by disputing the very existence of God.
According to Richard Dawkins, he has solely demonstrated that the young need protection against religion. Dawkins explains that children will easily accept and follow what they are taught by their parents for their survival. He argues that parents should tell their children about various religions and let them decide if they should believe them or not, rather than telling them that they belong to a certain religion. He argues that making children believe they are Christians or Muslims is ‘child abuse’ hence; the need for their protection against such ‘abuse’. He further asserts that making youngsters believe in religion serves long-term effect compared to physical abuse like sexual harassment. To support this, he gives an example of a priest who molested a seven-year-old girl. Dawkins compares the situation to when the girl was told by her parents that her protestant friend who had died, would 'roast in hell' forever. Although the physical abuse was disgusting, she was able to surpass the feeling within a short period, but the imagination of her friend burning in hell forever had a long-term impact and took long to get over it. According to him, religion has more disadvantages than advantages, and they need to be protected against it (Warburton1992).
In his argument that religion is like a virus that infects those who believe in it, he argued that the virus reproduces itself and spreads when the parents pass these beliefs of faith to their children. Dawkins, in his essay, ‘viruses of the mind’, further argues that the mind of religious belief causes fear, distorts good attributes, and affects morality amongst children. Parents dictating the religious doctrines to their children deny them the opportunity of free will hence lack the opportunity to differentiate rational and irrational choices. This lead the religion to stand out in a perfect rational way in their daily activities and the whole society is infected.
Another reason that Dawkins argues the need for children protection against the virus of faith or religion is because they are most influenced people in the society. Since they are many and tend to be together all the time especially in schools, they will adapt to these doctrines, and it will be hard to eradicate the virus when they become adults. He argues that their seniors, especially teachers, easily influence children on religious matters. Additionally, in public schools there exists vigorous movements such as Christian union that enforce religious ideologies that are not logical such as creationism. These ideologies when allowed to manipulate the mind of children and youth they hinder so many things such as development in the society. He argues that religion is a waste of time. However, if the time the children spend in church praying and reading the bible would be used in studying, it would enhance productivity.
Dawkins also argues that parents should not deny their children from believing in scientific theories such as evolution theory. Although he believes that teaching children about religion is essential, it enables them to appreciate literature. However, educating them to believe in religious doctrines and ideologies such as biblical creationism as a legitimate scientific alternative is a form of child abuse. Dawkins argues that there is a need to protect children and the youths against these forms of abuse. He feels that they should be given the freedom to choose what they feel is suitable and comfortable for them.
McGrath, A. E. 2006. The order of things explorations in scientific theology. Malden,MA: Blackwell Pub
Warburton, N. 1992. Philosophy: the basics. London: Routledge publishers