David Attenborough on God

I used to describe myself as an atheist but a while ago I realised how incredibly arrogant that was and so like Sir David Attenborough (and many others) I now think that agnostic is a better description of my spiritual inclinations.

A few years ago I came across this video of Sir David interviewed by Laurie Taylor talking about divine design, mythology, and religion, of which he says ‘I shrink from the word’. When asked in the interview why he was agnostic rather than atheist, he made a comparison involving termites.

He uses the analogy of taking off the top of a termite hill and watching the termites go about their busy lives: looking after the queen, building walls, clearing the nest, caring for the pupae. They haven’t the faintest idea that he is there watching them because they do not have the ability to see him. Therefore he feels as if he may be similarly lacking the sense organs to appreciate some sort of greater influence in our lives.

Atheism is a confidence that Attenborough feels he doesn’t have while his friend Richard Dawkins would say that he was ‘rather feeble’. I admire his humility and open-mindedness and his termite analogy is one I have often used as it’s very simple yet very effective. Enjoy and have a lovely weekend!


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