Richard Dawkins is promoting his religion again with his usual bluster and inflamatory language: The God Delusion
"they are religious idealists who, by their own lights, are rational. They perceive their acts to be good, not because of some warped personal idiosyncrasy, and not because they have been possessed by Satan, but because they have been brought up, from the cradle, to have total and unquestioning faith."Dawkins may well be drawing on real believers who are lazy and brash with their use of scripture, but he hardly draws on the best examples, those who take the Bible as the literature it is, handling it with due care and attention - and careful doses of humility. We must take the Bible literally, as history where appropriate, elsewhere as poetry, law, letter or gospel.
If we add the word "in science" perhaps these words are Dawkins' confession of his own creed.
What is plain is that Dawkins has failed to understand what the Bible is about - inevitable since doesn't want to believe it. Jesus himself said that a right grasp of the Old Testament leads to belief in himself, and that if we're to understand it we ought to seek to obey what it says.
This afternoon I was sat in Sorrento's espresso bar at Surrey University, carefully considering Galatians 1, The Bible. The essential thrust of the chapter seems to be concerned with the freedom from "this present evil" age that is achieved in the death of Jesus Christ. That evil age is not as we might imagine purely rampant sin, but slavery to any kind of idol ("not gods") - whether science, ambition, power, money etc - or even Paul's former religious zealotry. Paul is set free by God through the death and resurrection of Jesus, and the man who once persecuted the church becomes its greatest advocate. He who once denounced the cross as blasphemous folly proclaims it. Calling people to die to their old life and its slaveries, and find a new life in union with Christ. Many have likewise been humbled. Many will be in future.
If Dawkins teaches me anything it is that we better pursue rigorous defence of the Christian faith with warm hearts and generosity. And further, Christians ought to become the outstanding scientists of our day, as we have been in the past. God's world bears much study. The same diligence should be shown by Christians in the arts and all areas of life.
There are many Christians who act foolishly, and many atheists alike. There are many religious warmongers, and many who wage war without "religion". I'd love to think that Dawkins would engage with the best of those who stand opposed to him, rather than just the wacky fringe... James Sire reports in Why Good Arguments Often Fail one of his interchanges with Dawkins that yielded little. Maybe one day...
Think further at www.bethinking.org.
Specifically: articles concering Richard Dawkins