The Other McGrath Interviewed By Richard Dawkins

There is an interesting interview of Alister McGrath by Richard Dawkins that is available on Google Video, an interview that never made it into Dawkins’ program The Root Of All Evil:

Dawkins says he wants to give McGrath the opportunity to say something intelligent. McGrath does so, but it doesn’t get into the film. Dawkins even says that he acknowledges that McGrath rightly criticized him (!) for misconstruing what Christians like him mean by ‘faith’. McGrath’s explanation of what he means by faith being rational is very helpful: it takes the evidence seriously, but inevitably goes beyond it. Of course, when McGrath suggests that God is not so much something or someone improbable but rather one whose existence explains the improbable universe we inhabit, Dawkins rightly observes that this merely adds a greater improbability to that which palpibly exists.

Dawkins also would entertain a natural God who evolved elsewhere in the universe, seeded life here, and even watches over us – that could fit his worldview. I had an atheist ask me a wonderful set of questions about what could be changed in the doctrine of God, and yet I’d still believe. I share one of them with the religious believers reading this: If God was precisely as described in the Bible, did all those things, but evolved in an earlier age or even an earlier universe, would you still worship him? Recent discussions (e.g. in connection with Process Theology and Free-Will Theism) have suggested that traditional ideas of omnipotence could be set aside without sacrificing the Christian idea of God per se. What about omnipresence? Omniscience? But more interestingly, what if God has all those attributes, but had a beginning, and like the creator in the Rig Veda, perhaps doesn’t know where the universe came from?

I came across the link to this clip on the Uncommon Descent blog. I wonder what McGrath himself would make of the views usually put forward there. Certainly his books about Dawkins’ recent publications are really on target and balanced, which I have not found to generally be the case with ID proponents. Of course, it must also be pointed out that Dawkins’ program is just like his book in opting not to include the intelligent interaction with intelligent and well-informed religious believers like McGrath (the other one, I mean).

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