Monday, January 16, 2006

The Confounded Atheist?

Richard Dawkins diatribe continued on Channel 4: Root of All Evil?
Man, this guy is angry! I wont lump all atheists together (though he wants to brand all religion equally facile). I suspect many might be convinced by him but it left me wondering why he was so angry and why his arguments were so weak....

Root of All Evil? The Virus of Faith

So tonight Dawkins turns on religion as a virus transmitted to children to cut off their critical thinking and indoctrinate them. Ian McEwan adds that this cuts off a sense of wonder. Granted Dawkins can draw some really bad examples of religion, but I fail to see how Christianity must stop critical thought and investigation. After all, the first scientists were theologians... and all schools must once have been faith schools.

To his credit Dawkins does get two things right,

1. He sees that liberal Christianity is absurb. It thinks those of us to take the Bible seriously show contempt for reason, but liberals do that and show contempt for faith. He's right to say liberalism makes no sense - though I maintain that reasonable thinking is quite at home in a Biblical worldview. Thinking God's thoughts after him is not an infantile pursuit.

2. He sees that the Cross is very offensive. Barking mad. Why doesn't God just forgive us. I recall Polly Toynbee saying the same last month. He didn't have to mention the cross at all, but he couldn't escape it. He hates it. He refuses to accept it. That, Professor, is the offense of the cross. And it is always the proud who cannot accept it. And Dawkins-evolution is pride-personified: Embryos lack value because they're unevolved, children lack critical thought... and we're so much better than those who went before us.

Dawkins concludes that Atheism is life-affirming. Consider the chance, he says, that we exist. We're priviledged. His is a strange kind of providence. Perhaps Christians have failed to apply the heavenly-mind to the here and now, but it was only last week at our Staff Conference that we were insisting that all of life is important... I stand back in awesome wonder at the power of one who made this wondrous universe. There is one who stands behind it - the same one who came and died on that offensive primitive Cross. The Cross that is God's Power and Wisdom, something that sadly seems beyond the grasp of Richard Dawkins... maybe he'll grow into it.

Dawkins - The Lazy Atheist?
Polly Toynbee: Repugnant Christianity?


  1. Some reallygood thoughts, thanks for mentioning this, I havent got a TV so havent been able to watch this series and hoped people would blog it.
    I did a study on neo Darwinists and Dawkins came up for a few of his books in a course I did last year here at Aberdeen. I saw an advert while over at my girlfriends house and it made me wish I could see it, though knowing me I wouldnt have made it back to watch it every week. I normally have to buy Series DVD's to get the whole story. It made LOST quite confusing!

  2. I heard him on Radio 2 (Jeremy Vine from 12 - 2, always worth a listen if you enjoy being wound up by a Britain full of extreme views :-p), trying to defend this programme.
    Unfortunately some of the Christians who called in gave very weak arguments in reply, or seemed to, which only serves to reinforce his and others illusions.
    We must pray for wisdom,eloquence and respect!

    Do be careful about blanket statements about 'liberals' - there are many who would be labelled liberals that take the Bible extremely seriously - I know many from my own church. To call it absurd is to fall into Dawkins mindset - that all worldviews except his own are entirely without merit.

  3. Liberals, in my experience, want to think critically which is fine. The problem is when the Bible gets sacrificed... it always leads to trouble...

  4. There was a really good article in the independent today by a unbeliever who found Dawkins simply unsound in his arguements, and seemed to hold 'faith' in high regard. Sadly the inde doesn't have the free for all attitude of the guardian online, but it really was good.

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  6. Alister McGrath has written a book-length rebuttal of Dawkins' inconsistency called "Dawkin's God - Genes, Memes and the meaning of life." Unfortunately I can't review it as it's still sitting on my shelf waiting to be read... McGrath is a good egg though.