Spectator demolishes Dawkins and the ‘New Atheists’

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The UK-based Christian evangelist Glen Scrivener, who travels around the country a lot, is frequently told, “I don’t believe in God.” To which his usual reply is, “Tell me which God you don’t believe in.”

Scrivener’s response to this oft-proffered opening gambit exposes the set of unfounded assumptions with which atheists often approach (and try to pull the rug out from under) Christian faith. There is assumed to be a common version of the God in whom the atheist doesn’t believe and the Christian does.

“The ‘common version’ of God generally assumed involves some kind of angry old man figure sitting on a cloud, pointing his finger at humanity and occasionally zapping people with bolts of lightning from on high. Rather like Zeus, in fact.”

This ‘common version’ of God generally involves some kind of angry old man figure sitting on a cloud, pointing his finger at humanity and occasionally zapping people with bolts of lightning from on high. Rather like Zeus, in fact.

A somewhat similar, fallacy-exposing approach was taken by Rupert Shortt in his article in the Spectator on Wednesday, in which he demolished the movement known as ‘New Atheism’ and in particular the foaming polemic of Richard Dawkins.

The article begins with a real-life anecdote about a software engineer who, learning that a new acquaintance at a party was a churchgoer, gleefully tried to shock his new acquaintance with the ‘genius’ question: “How old do you think the universe is?” (Sigh. Never heard that before!)

To his own shock the recipient of his question responded: “Did you know that it was a Catholic priest who proposed the Big Bang theory in the first place?” It was the software engineer who ended up shocked.

“If the God revealed in the pages of the Bible were really as two-dimensional as Dawkins pretends, Christians would hardly have believed in him, consistently and in huge numbers around the world, for the last two thousand years. If we can spot wooden acting easily when we see it, is it likely that so many people throughout history wouldn’t see through such a two-dimensional God?”

Amongst those who see an unbridgeable divide between science and religion, there is a common misconception that someone who believes in the Bible as a divinely inspired book cannot possibly believe in the theory of evolution or in an earth which is millions of years old. But clearly Georges Lemaître, the aforementioned Roman Catholic priest, did.

So likewise, when Richard Dawkins attacks the existence of God, what he is attacking isn’t the God in whom Christians believe. It is the God-whom-Richard-Dawkins-believes-shouldn’t-be-believed-in. It is, in other words, a picture of ‘God’ that is about as three-dimensional as Father Christmas or the guy who played Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars prequels.

If the God revealed in the pages of the Bible were really as two-dimensional as Dawkins pretends, Christians would hardly have believed in him, consistently and in huge numbers around the world, for the last two thousand years. If we can spot wooden acting easily when we see it, is it likely that so many people throughout history wouldn’t see through such a two-dimensional God?

Today in China, millions of people are becoming believers in the risen Lord Jesus Christ, in spite of attempts by the authorities to airbrush him out of the nation’s consciousness. Ask yourself: Why are the Chinese authorities airbrushing Christ? Certainly not because he’s the risible, cardboard cut-out deity that Dawkins et al. make him out to be.

 

 

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