Thursday, 9 December 2010

The pot calling the kettle black?

I recently heard Richard Dawkins encourage believers in God to grow up and stop believing in God just because the belief gives them comfort.

By the way, does it not seem strange to make up belief in an all-knowing, all-powerful, absolutely righteous, sin-hating God - it's hardly the most comfortable thought in the world!  It seems to me if one were to make up a god it wouldn't resemble the Triune God of Scripture.  It would be more like the gods of the other religions, i.e. one that either doesn't care about your sins, or will fudge on the issue provided you do enough good deeds.  Anyway, we'll leave that for the mean time.

Dawkins tells us to man-up and stop using emotional arguments - maybe there is no afterlife, purpose, justice or paradise - face up to it.  Well, I agree, of course, that we shouldn't believe in something just because we like it, but at the same time, we shouldn't not believe in something just because we don't like it.  Which leads to me accusing Richard Dawkins of double standards.  His book, which sets out to divest the world of belief in God, seeks to accomplish its mission by calling God names and accusing Him of being a not very nice person.  Anyone even half-awake will see that the opinion of Dawkins that
"The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all of fiction"
has nothing to do with whether He actually exists, and the astute believer will have seen the objection coming, as Romans 1 tells us that those who deny the existence of God actually, actively hate Him (see here).

But why engage with the evidences when you can outrage the emotions?  Sure it saves you having to do anything like research.  Behold his scholarly approach to dealing with the Bible:
"reputable biblical scholars do not in general regard the New Testament (and obviously not the Old Testament) as a reliable record of what actually happened in history, and I shall not consider the Bible further as evidence for any kind of deity".
That's that out of the way then.  No need to deal with the fulfilled prophecies of Scripture or the way it matches reality, or any of the other evidences of its divine origin (e.g. here). Sources, evidence, facts and reasons for his view?  There be none!  But this allows him to avoid the evidences (volumes of which have been written and are easily accessible) and allows him to string together more zingers of insults to God.

If Dawkins is right to deride people for believing in something for purely emotional reasons he maybe ought to remove the plank from his own eye before he tries picking the speck out of a Christian's, because he is more guilty than most of using emotional arguments.  Maybe he needs to summon some courage and face the facts honestly.

One point to mention before stopping - Dawkins claims that God is unforgiving.  Thankfully this is not true.  We all experience the emotion of guilt, and atheism doesn't have an adequate explanation for it.  The Bible does - we feel guilty because we are guilty (Romans 3 v 19), and I'm glad that God is not unforgiving.  On the basis of the death and resurrection of Christ, God righteously offers forgiveness to every sinner on the planet, and righteously bestows that forgiveness to the repentant sinner who turns to the Lord (Psalm 86 v 5; Isaiah 55 v 7; Jonah 4 v 2; Acts 13 v 38).