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Professor Dawkins thinks that Jesus today would have been an atheist. But would Dawkins have paid any attention to Him?

Atheists like Dawkins have strange ideas about what we believe

By on Friday, 28 October 2011

Dawkins, with comedian Ariane Sherine: not a great believer AP Photo/Akira Suemor

Dawkins, with comedian Ariane Sherine: not a great believer AP Photo/Akira Suemor

“Jesus was a great moral teacher,” Richard Dawkins said to The Guardian earlier this week. “Somebody as intelligent as Jesus would have been an atheist if he had known what we know today.”

I love this kind of thing; I have a taste for the grotesque. Here is Jesus, a “moral teacher”, the authority of whose entire teaching derived, from the beginning, from the fact that he didn’t just believe in the existence of God the Father as a kind of add-on, compulsory at the time, but from the fact that he Himself and the Father were one: and Dawkins says that if Jesus had only known what we know today, he would have been an atheist. Of course, he is well aware of the “oxymoronic” nature of his statement; as he explained in an essaywritten in 2006, “In a society where the majority of theists are at least nominally Christian, the two words are treated as near synonyms. Bertrand Russell’s famous advocacy of atheism was called Why I am not a Christian rather than, as it probably should have been, Why I am not a theist. All Christians are theists, it seems to go without saying.” (He later points to the example of an atheist bishop, the former Anglican Bishop of Edinburgh, Richard Holloway, to prove that it ain’t necessarily so, though the preposterous Holloway describes himself as a “post-Christian”, even as a “recovering Chistian”).

All the same, one is entitled to ask, if this “intelligent” teacher would have been an atheist today, what would his moral teachings have actually been, and what authority would they have had in a non-religious world in which you can’t just set up as a “moral teacher” and expect to be listened to? Dawkins says Jesus’s teachings, in the context of their times, were radical, and certainly they were:

Of course Jesus was a theist, but that is the least interesting thing about him. He was a theist because, in his time, everybody was. Atheism was not an option, even for so radical a thinker as Jesus. What was interesting and remarkable about Jesus was not the obvious fact that he believed in the God of his Jewish religion, but that he rebelled against many aspects of Yahweh’s vengeful nastiness. At least in the teachings that are attributed to him, he publicly advocated niceness and was one of the first to do so. To those steeped in the Sharia-like cruelties of Leviticus and Deuteronomy; to those brought up to fear the vindictive, Ayatollah-like God of Abraham and Isaac, a charismatic young preacher who advocated generous forgiveness must have seemed radical to the point of subversion. No wonder they nailed him.

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

It’s nice to know that Professor Dawkins likes this “charismatic young preacher who advocated generous forgiveness”, and especially, it seems, the teaching that we should love our enemies: in the run-up to the Pope’s visit to the UK, he wasn’t himself exactly running over with love for his enemies, the Catholics (as he undoubtedly conceived them as being), and especially not for the Holy Father; his entire campaign was full of the most virulent hatred for him. So, the modern atheist Jesus probably wouldn’t have had any more effect on him that the “intelligent” theist of the first century. Or perhaps he thinks that an atheist Jesus would be just like him; a major disciple of Dawkinianity, perhaps.

Dawkins’s mention of Bertrand Russell’s book Why I Am Not a Christian brought back for me many memories: for until not long before I myself suddenly, in my early thirties, realised that all my life I had been utterly mistaken in my own firm belief that there was no God, this book had been central to my anti-religious formation. I had read it and re-read it, many times. I thought after some months of joyful and passionate belief that I had better test my new faith: so with great trepidation I re-read Russell’s book. I need not have worried: this, as I supposed, unanswerable text now seemed to me utterly ludicrous, from start to finish. Perhaps its most ludicrous assumption was that common to all committed atheists: that reason and the discoveries of science have made belief in God impossible; as Dawkins puts it, “”Somebody as intelligent as Jesus would have been an atheist if he had known what we know today.”

The point is, of course, that knowledge of God isn’t (as they suppose) a human construct, put together from materials provided by the prevailing zeitgeist: it is far more often counter-intuitive, as often contradicting prevailing beliefs about the nature of the world as confirming them. The other misconception is about what exactly these ignorant God-believers actually did believe about their world. How often have you heard atheists complacently declare that Christians from former ages believed that the earth was flat? (The corollary is that since we now know the earth is round, belief in God isn’t possible any more). Actually, Christians have always believed that the earth was a globe: St Augustine called it the “orbis terrarum”; and one of the mediaeval emblems of Christian kingship was, among the coronation regalia, the orb: a sphere surmounted by the cross, denoting the authority of God (mediated by the king) over all earthly things. Dawkins thinks that evolution disproved Christianity. Darwin, we know, didn’t: and the idea that evolution and Christian belief are contradictory, as Dawkins thinks they are, is very clearly untrue; Pope Benedict has described this idea as “an absurdity”:

“Because on one hand,” he explained, “there is a great deal of scientific proof in favour of evolution, which appears as a reality that we must see and that enriches our knowledge of life and of being as such. But the doctrine of evolution does not answer everything and does not answer the great philosophical question: Where does everything come from? And how does everything take a path that ultimately leads to the person?

“It seems to me that it is very important that reason opens up even more, that it sees this information, but that it also sees that this information is not enough to explain all of reality. It is not enough.”

And that’s the point, Professor Dawkins. You are, thank God, just wrong about Him. Those who know God personally (and that’s what we are talking about) know that he has not lied to them: he is truly there, in a way they could not have imagined before he revealed Himself to them. If what you believe about the world were true, it would be a bleak prospect for us all, as it so clearly is for you.

Quite simply, Professor Dawkins, “it is not enough”. And one day, I hope and pray, you will know it. You will emerge from your atheism as so many have done before, to a meeting with Him. It happens all the time: may it be so for you.

  • BTyler

    Dawkins is turning into such a celebrity buffoon. 

    I suppose he has to keep the wheels turning on Richard Dawkins Media Industries Inc, hence the rather desperate proclamations. He’s starting to remind me of other one-act celebs like Peter Andre.

    What are the odds on him doing Big Brother or I’m a Celebrity…? 

  • Peregrinus

    Thank  you Nat for this very insightful comment.  It puts me in mind of Socrates, that forerunner of the Gospel and a righteous Gentile.  He too was charged with atheism for questioning the mythologies of ancient Greece and pointing to a singularity: the one immutable God beyond the imaginings and ideologies of his day.  Dawkins is indeed a religious man in thrall to the spirit of the age and the gods that it throws up. His appreciation for the Christ who Jesus is may be a sign that he is looking to see something beyond the veil.

  • Chazzrules

    It certainly doesn’t match our current scientific understanding of creation and the emergence of life:

    -1 First God made heaven & earth 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.-
    So the Earth was apparently formed at the same time as heaven (which I assume means space in this context) and water is already present. This does not line up with any scientific analysis of the origin of our planet. Oddly, the text informs us that “The Earth was without form and void” immediately after stating that it was made along with heaven. “heaven and earth” and “waters” may well be illustrative devices. But if that is the case, then it is a metaphor. However if it isn’t, then it blatantly contradicts our scientific understanding of how the universe began. In regards to the assertion about whales, my version of the Bible (Revised Standard Version) reads:

    -And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the firmament of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea monsters (‘Whales’ in the NKJ) and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind.-

    Note that the original Hebrew word used in the Bible is ‘tanniyn’ which simply translates to ‘monster’. It’s a little selective to acquire a particular word from a particular english version of a book originally written in an ancient language to prove that it matches modern science.

    The fundamentalist interpretation of the story of creation is not a red-herring, it was a widely held belief until the advent of modern science. What christians have done since then is either try to discard ideas discredited or superseded by science and keep their beliefs within reason, or discard reason and try to discredit science in an attempt to justify their beliefs. The latter are embarrassing because they fly in the face of common sense and logic, the former are embarrassing because they accept reason and science, but still attribute unknowns to one particular god, yahweh. Why spend so much time attempting to reconcile an ancient, tribal religion with established science, when you could simply can the obsolete religion and help further human progress? Religion has hindered the economy of free-thought for long enough.

  • Anonymous

    So which bits of the Bible are not the perceptions of people? Do you include the Gospel writers or the words they attribute to Jesus as merely the perceptions of people with possibly little or no bearing on the truth?

    I have just read quickly through Matthew 1..28 and found…

    Matthew 4:8
    “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them”

    Matthew 5:35
    “Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King”

    Matthew 24:29
    “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken”

    Matthew 24:30
    “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory”

    In Matthew 24:30, all the tribes of the earth shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven. This is obviously a prediction, not a perception. (What is the basis of this prediction?) I agree that this ‘coming’ could take at least as long as required for it to be seen by everyone around the globe, though the impression given by reading this verse is that the earth is flat so that all will see it at once. Amazing, isn’t it, that there is anyone left to see it after the stars had ‘fallen’ (according to the previous verse)!

    If you claim that Matthew 24:30 is metaphorical, on what basis do you claim it and on what authority do you interpret it to mean something else? If you reject the verse completely, why should anyone give any credence to the rest of the Bible?

    Now I do not care too much whether you personally believe the Bible as long as that does not result in actions that harm others. Tragically, many believers are harming others as a result of their beliefs. This may be in the form of direct physical harm and psychological/intellectual harm, or by political action that will cause future harm.

    Given the geographical distribution of religious affiliation, it is clear that most religious belief is instilled as a result of childhood indoctrination. One cannot blame the children who succumb – they are naturally placing trust in the adults who teach them. It is demonstrable that some of these children may be generally very intelligent. Accusations of lack of intelligence might refer to the region of thought that has been damaged by indoctrination, or might be angry over-reactions to some harm that has resulted from the religion in question, or might indeed be cruel put-downs. Unfair accusations are made by some athiests and by some theists. (Observe some of the criticisms of Richard Dawkins in this thread.)

    Anger can be a good thing. I am sure that it is not the intention for your website to generate undue anger. One way to achieve this and promote rational debate is to be as honest and precise as possible. The athiest sees no evidence for deities, and sees plenty of evidence that the postulated deities probably do not exist. The fundamental belief that one should therefore proceed on the basis that they do not exist (until new evidence shows otherwise) is a rational belief, not a ‘religious’ belief (or the word ‘religious’ becomes almost meaningless).

  • http://twitter.com/2Ugly4DaOrgy 2Ugly4DaOrgy

    Although I feel a natural affinity to Christ’s challenging moral instruction, I think both Lewis and Chesterton a long time ago put to rest the idea that, for most, if not all, people, Christ’s moral instruction without its divine support, would not stand. The argument was something like: either Christ is divine or his moral teaching is insane. I’d really like to know which of Christ’s teachings Dawkins considers great. Does he like the teaching on adultery? Does he like the teaching on divorce? Does he like the teachings on forgiveness? I can’t see how Dawkins wouldn’t call all of these teachings, and plenty of others, extreme. 

  • Divinemercy

    How can any sane person take this nimrod seriously?  He has educated himself into total imbecility…May God have mercy on his brain as well as his soul…

  • Andre

    He’s obviously talking from the point of view of Jesus not actually being the “son of god” and just a human being like us all, which if he existed, he was. 

  • Anonymous

    Dawkins obviously knows actually very little about Jesus or what He talked about, taught, did, or the One whose will with which He was most concerned, or the needs of those for whom He rose from the dead. Wow. Boy, is he in for a shock when he finally has the inevitable face to face chat with Him. ;o)

  • Cjkeeffe

    This man’s a complete (insert perjorative word of your choice). He is a joke to science and a joke to philosophy. He is also an embrassemment to athistic thought. The only truely scientific position on the existence of God is agnostism. A person of faith make a leap of faith. An atheist makes a leap of no faith. Both leaps of acts of faith. RD ignores the fact that Jesus knew he was the Son of God the Second Person of the Trinity – simples! Is it not time to let RD follow Hans Kung and others into the dark night of irrelevance?

  • Pepper1967

    ‘but more lives have fallen in combat, in worse ways, from the reign of modernism than from all of the misguided wars in Christianity’Id love to see the numbers that substantiate this! and what the hell do you mean by ‘modernism’ – as though its a proponent of atheism??

    besides… Christianity mourns the death of One man. where are the tributes to all the men that Christianity has put to death? scientists whose only blasphemy was following boldly where the truth led? 

  • pepper1967

    Fundamentalism?? 

    science is an ongoing evolution of ideas. its constantly adapting when new evidence comes to light. there is, therefore, no such thing as ‘fundamentalism’ in science.
    nor it is a belief, its a lack of belief. there’s no word for not believing in father Christmas or big foot.
    occasionally people may get ‘preachy’ about atheism but that’s generally because its hard to wrap your head around the idea that there are people who choose to believe in an invisible man in the sky… especially in light of hundreds of years of scientific research proving conclusively…. that there isn’t!.

  • pepper1967

    before you reach the end of your life, do try and read more than just the 1 book

  • pepper1967

    ‘All so-called atheists worship a god of one sort or another’
    What??

    and ‘why-the-world-is-ending’ – is because religious fanatics are running around killing each other because they don’t believe in the same thing (apparently eternal suffering in the afterlife isn’t even enough for these people!).  self fulfilling prophecies are always the most annoying!

  • pepper1967

    ‘Surely scientists who reject out of hand a Divine Creator are denying the implications behind the evidence.  The compelling evidence lies in the logical complexity of the mathematical and physical laws which effect the the movements of material bodies in the Universe’
    the universe also happens to be billions and billions of light years across so if there is a god, his relationship to us is comparable in scope to our relationship to ants or atoms or things infinity smaller still. perhaps its you who’s denying the implications behind the evidence.

  • pepper1967

    not as small a minority as you would think…

    if you involve god at any level – even if you take Genesis as explaining, metaphorically, the birth of everything, you are still confronted with the same questions.who made God? his universe must abide by certain laws – what are those? how was his universe created?. trace it back far enough from god creating god etc.. there must be a point to which you resign that indeed the birth of ORIGINAL matter came from nothing. 

    otherwise the alternative is that you accept that we are not fully aware of all things yet and the god hypothesis cant yet be proven and may never be. Science (athiesm/agnostisism/anti-theism), however, still holds true as it shows that there is no need for a God. things would function just the same with or without one. 

    leaning toward Atheism rather than being an agnostic is not so much to so with science, as i may concede  since it cant be disproven i have no right to cast out the belief entirely (now matter how improbable it is)
    but i choose athiesm because i refuse to allow my children to take stock in the teachings of the old testament. nothing but fable after fable of untold cruelty. now that’s a book worth burning! 

    ‘Whenever we read the obscene stories the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon rather than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it as I detest everything that is cruel.’ – Thomas Paine – The age of reason.

  • Anonymous

    To what end? It is not the book that gives me understanding of the Man. It is personal experience and relationship. I know Jesus, (oh but not completely, not yet,— but on the day when I see Him as He is, what glory and joy will be then, and forever and ever I will be with Him!) and more importantly I know He loves me. He loves me and He died for me, to save me from MY sins. He made my life mean something more than just a passing mist of 80 earthly years hoping to have an impact here on earth. And no book, science, blog pos, theorizing, mental gymnastics that claim I must be an atom of no consequence to Him if He really IS God, can take away the peace and the benefit I have in my heart and mind and soul and body because I am His and He is mine! I have this and therefore I have everything that means anything. Professor Dawkins flirts with shadows devised by his own intellect; formidable though they may seem, they are nothing compared to the surpassing glory of knowing and loving Jesus Christ!
     If you miss this privilege, then you miss the whole point of being. It is that simple. On the reverse, if you grasp this reality then you open for yourself an incomparable treasure for the mind and heart; and more than the mysteries of the universe unfold not just in your intellect but in your whole self. I’d stake my life on it!

  • pepper1967

    ‘and you believe, such as unto you
    the maggot-minded, starved, fanatic crewthat God gave a secret and denied it mewell well, what matter it, believe that too.’

  • http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com Peter John

    Your first statement about answering the question of where God comes from emerges from a bias that everything must have a beginning. That remains to be proven. All we can study with our own senses and tools is what falls within the realm and laws of this Universe, and even then we know nothing of most of it.

    Your concern for the Old Testament reflects the Christian Fundamentalist view that the Bible was more or less dictated, and exactly what it says as we understand it by today’s perspective is what it means. This opposes the view that much of the Bible was written by people from their perspective at the time. Their mere awareness of God did not guarantee a full perception. In fact the Bible demonstrates the slowly unfolding Revelation of God as humans accepted Him, until his Incarnation as Christ. In the process it shows many things they misunderstood, and even rejected, in the process.

    A similar concept applies to the way some individuals have misled Christianity through the Centuries. Some had a faulty understanding of what they should do. Others led with avarice and allowed their worldly priorities to overshadow their spiritual vocations,. to the detriment of many. Do we discredit an entire belief system when it is abused by a few who take unrighteous dominion?

    “Because, though you were ministers of his kingdom, you judged not rightly, and did not keep the law, nor walk according to the will of God,Terribly and swiftly shall he come against you, because judgment is stern for the exalted —” Wisdom 6:4-5

  • http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com Peter John

    I did not say that science is Fundamentalism. I said that Militant Atheism is a form of Religious Fundamentalism. http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com

  • pepper1967

    indeed correct on the first point. but if you are willing to allow God to exist permanently then why not go a step further and say that the universe too exists eternal. you need not ascribe qualities to the one that you cannot ascribe to the other. 

    a tough point to counter, the second. as a child i asked these questions and was told ‘don’t put your faith in man’ so i’m familiar with the argument. but never-the-less there is a certain element of cherry picking here where you seem to accept what fits and reject what doesn’t. Either Abraham was instructed by God to murder his son or he wasn’t … i cant see this as a simple cross generational lost-in-translation sort of thing.

    never-the-less you write well and seem not to be the radical ‘see the silver lining in the mushroom cloud’ variety christian (this is the particular strand i’m railing against) so good on you brother! 
    we agree to disagree

  • http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com Peter John

    The biggest reason we can’t prescribe that to the Universe itself is because that is a failed paradigm. The idea that the Universe simply existed in a continual and infinite state of internal transformation directed science before the Big Bang Theory. Research has continually supported the Big Bang Theory, and further research has determined that as best we can tell our Universe has a spatial limit as well, also limiting the scientific laws we know to these bounds. Science has no way to evaluate what cannot be sensed beyond that.

    Christianity claims that there is a self-existent sentient being we call God, the nature of whose Trinitarian existence we cannot fully understand. That Being created everything, andcreated humanity to share in the nature of His existence, even willing to personally share in the nature of ours in the person of Jesus Christ, the physical emodiment of the Creator. That being shares with us from the outside what can be sensed, but we need to hear it terms related to what we can sense, while science discloses from the inside-outward.

    The story of Abraham NOT sacrificing his adult son Isaac is in the part of the Bible that is not a literal history, and that was told orally long before it was written down. Abraham did not actually sacrifice Isaac. The story says he was instructed to. Isaac was also not a little boy, but a full-grown man. He could likely have chosen not to comply. It is as much about the son choosing to do the will of the father as it is about the father complying with the will of God.

    In the end God sends an Angel to stay Abraham’s hand. In the process he shares with Abraham how he felt about the coming mission of the Son. All through the Old Testament God tells the prophets, “I am going to do something wonderful … something you won’t believe from people telling you.” He shared how he felt about it more intimately with Abraham than with anybody else. Thousands of years before it happened God considered it already done. Of course, the people who wrote about Abraham millennia before Christ did not recognize the connection. They just told the story as it had come down to them, and it still took the interim for even those who believed in the “One God” to accept him as the Only God.

    You might like my poem “The Wind is a-Risin’”. I wrote it at a time of spirtual ambivalence, on the cusp of my considering atheism for awhile. http://mirrorsinaprism.com/2011/05/23/the-wind-is-a-risin/

  • JMJ

    “Professor” Dawkins can actually think? Doesn’t seem so.   +JMJ+

  • JMJ

    Where did you get your information from: the Sci-Fi Network?  God knows every hair on your head & He know when a sparrow falls. I pray that you will receive the Holy Spirit, then you will meet Jesus & you will find out just why God sent His Only Son to suffer & to die for you. Don’t look now, but you have a Guardian Angel that was with your soul when God created us just over 7000yrs. ago & it was this Angel that united your soul with your body while you were still in your mother’s womb. By the way, I also enjoy SF, but, I also enjoy being in the real world. Hope to see you in it someday.  +JMJ+

  • JMJ

    If the book is the Bible & you don’t read/study or meditate on what it says then how can you know Jesus as He is The Word (the Bible)?  Take a Crucifix & hold it in your hand & ask Jesus just what he went through for you with all the sufferings that He endured for you. To know Jesus is to thank him for all that He did for you; not just a huggy-huggy feel good experience that some calls “knowing Jesus”.  +JMJ+

  • JMJ

    Only to an idiot would Dawkins make sense; & anybody that leaves the Church that God gave us as the only means to enter Heaven, surely can’t be very smart. I doubt that you are “well-educated”, but a Catholic you are & if you don’t repent & come back to God & His Church, a Catholic you will be deep in the pits of hell. The devil has a hold on you & you are so stupid that you don’t even know it.  Was it the drugs in college or the sex or the booze that screwed up your mind? Come back home, now, before it is too late for you.  +JMJ+

  • JMJ

    Just what prove can you give us? NONE, that’s what!!  For over 150 years these marvels have been trying to prove evolution as real, fossil fuels now global warming. It just gets funnier & funnier.  Come on now: show us the PROOF or put up.   +JMJ+

  • JMJ

    Try to make sense or is that too hard for you. “boldly where the truth led”?  Where did you get that gibberish from: Obama???? +JMJ+

  • JMJ

    The “doctrine” (I’m happy that you used that word, it will make the evolutionists cringe) has NOT answered any of their questions as it is a huge lie that just grows bigger & bigger. Yes, God did it just over 7000 years ago just to confuse you, which answers everything.   +JMJ+

  • JMJ

    Talk about stupidity!!  If something came out of nothing (sounds like your thinking, doesn’t it?), then how can nothing make God? Until you receive the Holy Spirit you will never understand anything about God and the OT nothing but fables, shows just what little you know about truth. I feel sorry for your children growing up in a cold, mindless house that follows the teachings of Thomas Paine & not Jesus.  +JMJ+

  • JMJ

    Why does the universe or anything else that is material have to go on for ever?  Simple, all this will pass away except our eternal lives: either Heaven or Hell, the choice is yours and without  God in your life, it is easy to see just what will happen to you. Abraham was being tested by God & he was found to be obedient to God & he put his trust (& his son) in God. Try reading the story more closely & then look at your life. Why are you running from & why.  Trust & believe in God & He will fill in the blank spaces for you.   +JMJ+

  • http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com Peter John

     Modernism is not a part of atheism so much as atheism is the religion of modernism. Ethics must arise from solely humanistic values, and religious expediencies are not a motive. This thinking resulted in World War I & II (indeed had Christian values been applied resolving World War I there may not have been a World War II). More Christians have been killed in the 20th Century for believing than on all the prior centuries combined, and give Chinese communism credit for that.

    Christianity celebrates the death and resurrection of one man, and mourns for all.

  • Anonymous

    Pepper1967 I’m not exactly sure what you mean here, but I will whole heartedly agree that I am a maggot or less, but not that you are denied the secret of knowing Him too. In fact if my testimony means anything at large it should mean that His generous bestowal of Himself on the lowest, meanest, and most worthless of His creatures with such life changing love is how much MORE available to those more worthy? If you seek Him– He will find you… ;o)

  • Anonymous

    JMJ, for the sake of argument among those who aren’t even sure there is a God, I think studying the Bible is much farther down the road than the idea of contemplating the shocking order, structure, symmetry, and artistry in Creation; and seeing the glory of the intellect of the One who designed it all; and then thinking about all the good and wonderful things in one’s personal life and how that same artistry and love can be found with all it’s sublime subtlety there as well.
     From there I think people can then confidently throw down their gauntlets and demand interaction with the God Who Is- and He never fails to surpass the expectations of those who really want to know Him. Usually and best through deeper knowledge of Himself through Divine Revelation in Sacred Scripture and the Church- but if that starting point doesn’t work for some, so be it- Jesus always goes the extra mile. I am confident He will meet the seeker at his point of need. And I am just as confident He will lead the follower to where He most wants him to flourish- ;o). 
    For crying out loud, if He would do these things for me, how could I think otherwise? But no one in a forum really knows anyone else- so what is written is sometimes fruitless. I think I would challenge people who don’t think there is a God who knows them intimately and loves them profoundly to give Him a chance to make His case- He says often in the Bible, ‘Come let us reason together… ‘and then He takes pains to explain Himself. If the seeker just wants Jesus to hold His mouth right for his entertainment, well he can expect the same reaction Herod received in His Passion. But if there is really someone listening to Dawkins’ poppycock, but who really wants to know if there is a God, or if Jesus really is the Son of God- then that person can have their answer from the Source.

  • http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com Peter John

    Nit sure what exactly that means, but my central certainty is that nobody can believe anything that does not fall within the reange of their experience. It is as important to recognize why we believe something as it is to recognize what we believe. I do not think that anyone with a personal conviction in God’s existence has a right to throw that in the face of those who don’t, anymore than I believe those who do not believe have right to ridicule those who do believe in God. Either constitutes Fundamentalism.

  • CharlieG

    It was a direct quote. I chose to ignore the poor choice of words in favour of addressing the actual question.

    Whilst not entirely ‘answering the question’, evolution has given us great insights into how we got where we are, and to label it as a huge lie is just pure conjecture – I’ve no doubt you have little justification for such a statement.

    I don’t recall ever saying anything about god creating the world 7000 years ago just to confuse us. Regardless, I’ll say this – you’d be interested to discover that the Catholic Church has warmed to evolution and the evidence for an old earth in recent years.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Pepper1967, blaming a list of evils on “religion” is just facile. It fails to distinguish between true religion and idolatry, which is a brand of atheism in that it ignores the will and authority of the one true God, revealed by Jesus Christ. What John Lennon meant was, “Imagine a world with no idolatry.” Like many self-avowed atheists, he was confused in his thinking. It is a non-argument since firstly it fails to list many other evils unconnected even superficially with “religion,” and secondly fails to acknowledge the great good done in the name of Jesus Christ, through for example CAFOD – the largest provider of international aid on the planet. Here are some things commonly omitted by atheists in their list of evils: The French Revolution, Pol Pot, Stalin, government experiments on animals, the mentally ill and black people, genocide of Native Americans, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the international scourge of drugs and the horrendous violence associated with it, callous promotion of cigarette smoking by industry knowing it would result in lung cancer deaths, human trafficking, abortion on demand (250,000 human lives killed in the womb in Britain alone each year), and the mental health and relationship problems each death brings, teenage pregnancy and suicides, breakdown of family values, leading to more promiscuity, adultery, broken homes, crime, gang culture, teenage victims of stabbings and shootings, rape, murder, internet pornography and the corruption of children. All this and more flows from idolatry, and there is only one antidote to idolatry. The antidote is the first commandment – to worship the one true God – the only way to do that is to believe in and follow Jesus Christ. In other words, there really is only one religion. No religion is not an option, because people without true religion will always have idols and will always be prepared to sacrifice human lives to appease their idols. The stark fact is that it is generally other people’s lives which get sacrificed. In idolatry, the high priests generally escape with their lives intact.
     
    Now atheism is a gateway or portal to all forms of idolatry, simply because it attempts to negate the first commandment, which guards against worship of idols. Worship of anything other than God is idolatry, and so teaching that there is no God, opens the door wide to a see of idols. Insofar as idolatry therefore is the beginning cause and end of all evils, it is the broad path along which people walk unprotected from evil and corruption. The High Priests of atheism are essentially encouraging people down the road to corruption, evil, suffering and death – that is they are pointing the human race in the direction of hell. Like all idolatrous high priests they remain – in this life – largely untouched by the consequences of their teachings, while at the same time demanding respect and admiration. If idolatry is the root of all evil and faith in the one true God is the antidote, then atheism is the mother of all idolatries and the ultimate cause of the very evils which Dawkins apologist lists. Despite the absurdity of the atheist’s position, Dawkins presents himself as a righteous saviour of humanity, but it is the very absurdity his position that holds out the possibility of redemption, since he cannot realise what he is saying. As to why the world is ending: “The judgement is this. Though the light has come into the world, men preferred darkness, because their deeds were evil.”

  • Anonymous

    Dear Pepper1967, blaming a list of evils on “religion” is just facile. It fails to distinguish between true religion and idolatry, which is a brand of atheism in that it ignores the will and authority of the one true God, revealed by Jesus Christ. What John Lennon meant was, “Imagine a world with no idolatry.” Like many self-avowed atheists, he was confused in his thinking. It is a non-argument since firstly it fails to list many other evils unconnected even superficially with “religion,” and secondly fails to acknowledge the great good done in the name of Jesus Christ, through for example CAFOD – the largest provider of international aid on the planet. Here are some things commonly omitted by atheists in their list of evils: The French Revolution, Pol Pot, Stalin, government experiments on animals, the mentally ill and black people, genocide of Native Americans, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the international scourge of drugs and the horrendous violence associated with it, callous promotion of cigarette smoking by industry knowing it would result in lung cancer deaths, human trafficking, abortion on demand (250,000 human lives killed in the womb in Britain alone each year), and the mental health and relationship problems each death brings, teenage pregnancy and suicides, breakdown of family values, leading to more promiscuity, adultery, broken homes, crime, gang culture, teenage victims of stabbings and shootings, rape, murder, internet pornography and the corruption of children. All this and more flows from idolatry, and there is only one antidote to idolatry. The antidote is the first commandment – to worship the one true God – the only way to do that is to believe in and follow Jesus Christ. In other words, there really is only one religion. No religion is not an option, because people without true religion will always have idols and will always be prepared to sacrifice human lives to appease their idols. The stark fact is that it is generally other people’s lives which get sacrificed. In idolatry, the high priests generally escape with their lives intact.
     
    Now atheism is a gateway or portal to all forms of idolatry, simply because it attempts to negate the first commandment, which guards against worship of idols. Worship of anything other than God is idolatry, and so teaching that there is no God, opens the door wide to a see of idols. Insofar as idolatry therefore is the beginning cause and end of all evils, it is the broad path along which people walk unprotected from evil and corruption. The High Priests of atheism are essentially encouraging people down the road to corruption, evil, suffering and death – that is they are pointing the human race in the direction of hell. Like all idolatrous high priests they remain – in this life – largely untouched by the consequences of their teachings, while at the same time demanding respect and admiration. If idolatry is the root of all evil and faith in the one true God is the antidote, then atheism is the mother of all idolatries and the ultimate cause of the very evils which Dawkins apologist lists. Despite the absurdity of the atheist’s position, Dawkins presents himself as a righteous saviour of humanity, but it is the very absurdity his position that holds out the possibility of redemption, since he cannot realise what he is saying. As to why the world is ending: “The judgement is this. Though the light has come into the world, men preferred darkness, because their deeds were evil.”

  • http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com Peter John

    I am so tired of false dichotomies from either side. Nothing has casued our society more problem than the perception of irresolvable conflict when none exists. Polarization leaves huge chunks of populations subject to manipulation.

    The essential claim that “Evolution is a lie” emerges from a common literal Crationist defense that evolution is only a theory. This comes from not understanding what a theory is. In science being a theory can still mean something is true, as a opposed to a hypothesis, which is simply an idea. The scientific method does not prove things. it disproves things as quickly as possible. When something happens to get completely proven so there is no more debate it is a Law. When something continually fails to be disproved, and continues getting support form other findings it is a Theory. When a Theory lends new insight into other areas of discovery, and provides direction and motive for those other areas — when it brings common findings among different positions into focus — it becomes a Paradigm, and that is what Evoution is.

    It sounds to me that the 7,000 years refers to a strict literalist interpretation of the Genesis account of Creation. What such approaches often ignore is that the account never says how long passed  from when Adam was created to when he was cast out of the Garden of Eden. That may, of course, depend on which of the two divergent Creation accounts in Genesis one gives the higher weight. These came from two different cultural origins within ancient Hebrew oral tradition which were merged in the writing. “Adam” by the way is a Hebrew word for “mankind”.

    I personally find no justification — ecclesiastical or scientific — for anyone claiming that evolution is “a huge lie,” especially since applying it scientists determined independently that life emerged in the same order the Bible says God created it. That includes life emerging from the sea, and whales coming forth after life developed on land. The latter supports the scientific finding that whales came from mammals who first developed on land and moved back to the sea. The crucial  validation in this is that the composers of the Genesis account perceived whales not as mammals, but as “great fish”. Nevertheless, they list whales as being created after other life on land came forth.

    In addition applying the principles of Evolution has proven that all humans share one common female ancestor. An additional theory now being investigated claims that the unique brain structure enabling human use of language came from one common male ancestor. That relates to the Genesis affirmation that Adam was to name everything. My point is that these findings and directions of research hardly contradict the Bible, yet science did not consider the Bible when discovering them.

    One other difference between Evolution and the Genesis account is that Evolution describes all life, including humans, emerging from a continual chain. The Genesis account (at least one of them) breaks that chain with humans, and God creates man in a separate and distinct action. For all other life God commands the life “brought forth” often from things he has already created (like the waters, the Earth). In man’s case God personally creates us himself. That description of earlier creations bringing forth later creations consistent with both Evolution and Creation.

    I will also just mention the Biblical account of man’s decline from Paradise into violence and conflict, and slow-return from that standard. Science has also determined, in its words, that the earliest humans lived peacefully, fairly suddenly became violent with each other, and much of the rest of human history has involved reducing that violence. The Humanistic ideals expressed in Jesus’ words were fairly radical for the global culture of his day, and made no sense to few besides Christians.

    Probably enough for now.

  • pepper1967

    haha… yeah the sci fi network… cos we all know earth is the center of the universe. how stupid of me.

    thanks for the latent condescension. 
    7000 years huh! dont procreate, whatever you do! no room for scientific dicussion here. you’re a moron – that should suffice.

  • http://religionagainsttheropes.blogspot.com Peter John

    I must play devil’s advocate, and note that — as detractors eagerly point out — the Crusades and the Thirty Uears’ War were all over Christianity, and had been encouraged by Popes in their day. That does not count the wars of Islam. I think these Christian initiated wars are what the references form the Book of Wisdom I used earlier refer to, about the harsh justice those given power by God will face for abusing it.

    Detractors do conveniently ignore that the Catholic church preserved civilization through the Middle Ages by protecting all the ancient writings as if they were sacred texts. it did not matter that they couldn’t understanding. they protected the writings of Aristotle right alongside the scriptures. They protected histories. It provided an infrastructure for the vacuum created with the collapse of Rome, and meant that in the rennaisance we did not have to rediscover everyhting all over again, as generally happens when a global society collapses (as we may see happening now).

  • pepper1967

    ok man, ill try writing in crayon for you next time

  • Anonymous

    What blatant untruths! You should feel ashamed of yourself. Research Jack!

  • pepper1967

    ok. i take it you have no children. Zues / Apollo / Horus and Jesus could all descend at once and instruct me to kill my own child. id tell them to f**k off!

    now before you rant on about what a sad and unfulfilled human being i am, Realize that we both see the same picture. science imbues, in me, a similar sense of awe and wonder and astonishment at the beauty and precision of nature, that religion does for you. only difference is you thank a creator (one that has never been proven to exist), i just marvel at the creation. 
    and God asking me to kill my own child is cruelty matched only by the Islamic idea or mass murder as a route to redemption. Cruel and insane!!!

  • pepper1967

    Just what prove can you give us? NONE, that’s what!
    asked and answered. this is not how discussions work.

  • Anonymous

    Peter John – You might as well point out that Peter cut off someone’s ear to defend Jesus. He was not at that time following Jesus, who rebuked him saying that those who live by the sword die by the sword. Indeed Jesus also said to Peter that he could not then follow him, though later he would. The Peter who Jesus called the rock on which he would build his church was the Peter who recognised Jesus as the Christ, the son of the living God. The church is built on rock when it is made up of people who, like Peter, believe that Jesus is God. A worldly Messiah who can be guided to suit one’s own agenda is not going to be obeyed. When Peter spoke in a way that would deflect Jesus from his path of obedience, Jesus said, “Get behind me Satan.” St Peter obeyed unto God death once he saw the risen Jesus, to whom St Thomas said, “My Lord and my God.” Nobody who truly believes in God disobeys God, and since the church is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, it is made up of those who keep Jesus’ commandments, since Jesus said, that the one who loves Him keeps His commandments and that the Father will come to such a person and dwell in him. Those who commit atrocities – whether burning at the stake or murdering and plundering are not following Jesus, and cannot, on this analysis be regarded as members of his Church. It makes no difference that they use his name, for Jesus himself said, “Many will come using my name. Refuse to join them.” I know its a circular argument but that’s just the way it is spelt out in the gospels. You shall know them by their works – not by the label they give themselves. Seems obvious doesn’t it, but many perversely ignore the fact that those who do evil disobey God and are not following Jesus, so cannot be termed religious (in the true sense). In this way it can be seen that even so-called religious wars are not to be blamed on true religion. Those who pick up swords, guns and bombs put their faith in these things instead of in God, and break the first commandment. The same goes for all of the other idolatries, which are the real cause of war and suffering. As you intimate, worship of money is indeed usually involved. Unfortunately, as the current international financial crisis threatens to become a political crisis we see that the first commandment has evolutionary significance. It saves us from ourselves, or rather God saves us from ourselves. Mr Dawkins might admit the former proposition, buit no tthe latter. The trouble is nobody keeps the first commandment unless they ACTUALLY believe in God.

  • CharlieG

    TThe words of the bible haven’t changed, but the interpretation has, and you’re giving yet another example of this. The assertion that Genesis clearly matches modern theories relies on the ambiguity of the texts and is thus superfluous. Yes, it can match science. But the fact that your assertions rely on a text re-translated numerous times over thousands of years and give specific details looked at from a particular angle to prove your point make the findings completely irrelevant. You don’t need the bible to validate scientific theories, the act of furiously looking through this particular ancient holy book to ascertain the truth value of any scientific idea changes nothing.

    To use an example, once upon a time the bible was commonly used to back up the idea that the earth is flat. After a little more investigation, it was confirmed that the earth is, in fact round. After some protest from the church, it became widely held as a fact, and christians now cite bible verses to squash arguments where the good book is accused of saying otherwise. Did the bible change? No, it did not. But the interpretation certainly did.

  • Timbita

    No one can logically say the universe points to a Divine Creator since no one can convincingly say what the universe would look like in the absence of such a creator.

  • karl marx

    Professor Dawkins thinks that Jesus today would have been an Hitler. But would Dawkins have paid any attention to Him? John 10:30.
    1. He is a Son of Maria! God is a Father of Richard Dawkins!
    2. Jesus is a Myth for Idiots.
    3. Jesus or God is like Adolf Hitler! Luke 19:27. Luke 3:9. John 15:5.6.
    4. Ideology of Jesus Christ is like Ideology of Adolf Hitler!
    5. Michael Onfray: “The Atheist manifesto” (Hitler wrote about Jesus lovely!!! )
    6. Hitler loved Jesus of New Testament! Jesus loved his Father of Old Test. John 10:30.
    7. But Mr. Dawkins,… He is a stupid men, he don,t undrestand simple Logic!
    8. Dawkins: “God of Old Testament is a bad old Men, he kill a people…”
    9. Dawkins: “Jesus is a Revolutionist,” but for England, not for Europa!

        Atheist 100%!!!

  • karl marx

    I am read Dawkins Book, “Gods Delusion! Better to say, Dawkins Delusion!!!
    And I must say, Mr. Dawkins is realy stupid men! Because in New Testament, ( Book John )
    And: ( Book Deuteronomy&John=God&Jesus!!! )
    What can I say? Dawkins he can not thinking!!!
    Englands Biology is a Matthew 1:20-24.

    I must smile, because I didn,t know realy, thats Englishmen is so stupid!

    Atheist 100%!!!

  • karl marx

    Mr. Dear Dawkins!!!
    1. Please, say: “Dawkins for Jesus”
    2. Don,t say in my Name: “Atheists for Jesus”
    3. Who give to You Right, to talking in Name of all Atheists the World???
    4. You think probably, You are Mr. Richard Dawkins, and You can talking what You want???
    5. Wrong… You are not Atheists God! You are not Atheists Boss!
    6. You are Atheist for You self, not for me, Mr Dawkins! I dont,t need fucking Name Jesus!
    7. If You like thats Name, O.K., You are sick, but not me!
    8. Don,t talk in my Name, or Name of Doctor Darrel Ray!!!
    9. Talk stupid thinks only in Your Name!!!

        Atheist 100%!!!