Richard Dawkins’s Defective Understanding of Religion

The God Delusion

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A recent post mentioned Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion as an example of the way the New Atheists present their arguments against God’s existence. These New Atheists often show such a disdain for religious thought that they seem not to bother to understand the beliefs that they criticize. As The Nation states in a favorable article about four New Atheist books, including Dawkins’s, “They show little understanding of religion or interest in it.”

That lack of understanding is one of several serious flaws in The God Delusion. Dawkins tries to refute the popular arguments for God’s existence, and presents his arguments against God’s existence. Many of these arguments are misinformed or not logically sound. He makes no bones about his lack of respect for religious people in general: “What works for soap flakes [marketing] works for God, and the result is something approaching religious mania among today’s less educated classes.” That attitude toward the other side of the issue doesn’t seem to encourage thoughtful debate.

Dawkins’s main attempt to prove that the universe was not created by a God is as follows: He proposes that any intelligence complex enough to design anything must have taken a long time to evolve, therefore must appear late in the timeline, and so (voila!) could not have designed the universe in the first place. There are several fairly obvious objections to this reasoning:

1. Many Christians believe (and there is scriptural support) that God created time along with the universe, and is therefore outside of time. This is not an esoteric view, or a new one.

2. Almost no one believes that the creator God is a biological creature subject to natural selection. Most Christians do not believe that God is physical. There is no reason to accept Dawkins’s assumption that any intelligence that exists, anywhere, inside or outside of our universe, must be physical or must have evolved by Darwinian means.

These objections are based on fairly common points of view, yet they are not addressed.

In some cases, Dawkins actually makes his case worse by ignoring the obvious. In a section denouncing the “argument [for God] from personal experience,” he says:

“On the face of it mass visions, such as the report that seventy thousand pilgrims at Fatima in Portugal in 1917 saw the sun ‘tear itself from the heavens and come crashing down upon the multitude’, are harder to write off. […] It may seem improbable that seventy thousand people could simultaneously be deluded, or could simultaneously collude in a mass lie. […] But any of those apparent improbabilities is far more probable than the alternative: that the Earth was suddenly yanked sideways in its orbit, and the solar system destroyed, with nobody outside Fatima noticing.”

Visions are, well, visions – no one claims that they are actually occurring in a physical sense (except perhaps inside the brain). Omitting such an obvious, mainstream interpretation of the event and claiming that those who accept the Fatima event believe that the solar system no longer exists doesn’t help his case.

The passages in TGD that cite scripture are particularly badly reasoned. He omits or misinterprets important passages and does not seem to be aware that the Bible authors recorded some events that they considered bad. For example, he describes a wrenching story in Judges 19 about a woman being raped and murdered in a strange city and uses it as an example of the misogyny of scripture, implying that the Bible condones such actions; however, he strangely omits any mention of the last verse of the chapter, which contradicts his point: “Everyone who saw it [the body of the murdered woman] said, ‘Such a horrible crime has not been committed since Israel left Egypt. Shouldn’t we speak up and do something about this?’” (Judges 19:30, NLT)

Dawkins believes that religion is evil because it sometimes motivates evil actions. Although Dawkins implies that the evils done by various religions are reasons not to believe in any God, he doesn’t believe that the good things done by religions are reasons to believe in God. He says, “When I pressed him [obstetrician Robert Winston], he said that Judaism provided a good discipline to help him structure his life and lead a good one. Perhaps it does; but that, of course, has not the smallest bearing on the truth value of any of its supernatural claims.” I agree – but I would add that the fact that some religious people lead bad lives does not have much bearing on the truth of a religion. It’s not possible to fairly weigh the overall good and evil done as a result of any religion. The question isn’t, “Do I like religion X?” or even “Will religion X make me a better person?” The question is, “What is the truth?”

– Cloud of Witnesses thanks Desmognathus for this guest post.

Desmognathus is a follower of Jesus Christ, a wife, and a mother. She has an M.S. in biology and a Ph.D. in ecology, and enjoys philosophy and theology. She likes rock climbing and dislikes celery.

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32 thoughts on “Richard Dawkins’s Defective Understanding of Religion

  1. Great post, Desmognathus.

    One of the problems I’ve found in discussing the Bible with many people is the misunderstanding and stereotyping of Christians and Christian convictions. For example, rarely will critics of Christianity make the distinction between descriptive and prescriptive actions recorded in the Old Testament.

    Reminds me of Sam Harris’ book, “The End of Faith,” which included factual errors about the Torah. I wish more people would take the time to understand the truth claims they reject before beginning their critique. Imagine an atheist writer having a Christian Philosopher of Religion review his or her arguments for factual accuracy as part of the writing process. I’d buy that book.

    Apologetics Guy

  2. Pingback: Top Posts of 2010 « Cloud of Witnesses

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  4. @Desmognathus I am enjoying it as well.
    Anyway – quickly as I am at work.

    The rabbi is very poetic but at the cost of logic.

    The argument seems to be
    1) everything must have a beginning and a creator
    2) the creator of the universe is god
    3) god is an exception to rule 1.

    but if there are excpetions to rule 1 then the argument falls flat.

    – a weakness of Dawkins book is that he discusses two or three different questions and sometimes they are conflated:

    1 – is there a God ie a supernatural being who created and controls the universe?
    2 – if there is a god then he doesn’t seem to be much like the christian idea of one.
    3 – is religion a force for good or evil

    which are very different categories of question. If you haven’t read Dennet on Belief in Belief I would recommend it.

    If you believe in the christian God then I think the OT presents a bit of a problem as it is part of the christian tradition but presents a different type of god. Some doublethink is required to reconcile (IMO)
    If you don’t think there is a god at all, or if you believe in some other god, then the OT is simply a cultural book and being ethically incoherent ceases to be of ethical interest

    The NT is different as it does present some interesting (and more coherent but not completely coherent) ethical messages and propositions that can can be engaged with whether or not you are a Christian.

    • Glad you liked the rabbi’s article. I must say, I just skimmed over it, so I can’t say much about his logic, but I thought it would be interesting – also, interesting to point out that it isn’t just a Christian view.

      Like I said, I haven’t read the rabbi’s article in depth, so I won’t try to guess whether the way he put forth the argument makes much sense or not. If we’re talking about the usual view of the topic, your point #1 above could be more accurately worded as “everything that is part of the universe and operates in a linear timeline has an antecedent.” In other words, everything that occurs in our universe is a product of prior conditions (unless there is external interference). The statement cannot apply to God because He is not part of the set to which the statement applies; he is not part of the universe and he does not necessarily operate in a linear timeline. Therefore, he doesn’t need prior conditions to exist.

      He shouldn’t really be called “an exception” because that makes it sound as though He is subject to the logical rule but we make an exception for Him, which is not the case. It’s as though someone said, “Men are not allowed in the women’s locker room, but Desmognathus is an exception.” Not really – I’m a woman. :)

      I agree with you that Dawkins conflates some of those subjects. The book to me is a bit strange because, although he’s a good scientist and an excellent popular writer, this particular book has a very scattershot feel to me. It’s as though he just wanted to throw out every objection he could think of and hope some of them stick. I think he’s just so invested in this subject that he has a hard time thinking through his statements from any other point of view.

    • This will be quick, too… Hopefully it will hold together. It’ll be a little personal, so hang on. :)

      Years ago, I had to really do research on the evidence for what to believe. I’d be happy to talk about that, but for now, suffice it to say that I became convinced that the most important tenets of Christianity are true: God revealed himself in a special way throughout history to the Jewish nation, the Saviour came as the Jew that we now call Jesus, that He lived a sinless life, was crucified and rose from the dead to save all of us who will allow Him. (None of the other religions held up to scrutiny. ) After I had become convinced that those basics were true, I had to fit everything else around them.

      The OT presented a problem for me, because I had a similar feel for it when I just read through it. It seemed violent and not in keeping with the rest of it. As time has passed and I’ve actually done a bit more research into the translations of certain passages and the cultural context, a lot of that impression has changed. Analyses by Jewish scholars have been particularly useful for that. A lot of the things that bothered me were artifacts of my own presuppositions. (E.g., the Hebrew words that are used referring to God being “angry” in our translations of the OT are sometimes more accurately translated as “passionately sad.” It’s little things like that that aren’t terribly inaccurate, but can really make a difference how I view a passage.) The cultural presuppositions were probably even bigger. But I digress…

      Even though I’m not as bothered by many passages as I used to be, some are still problems. I part company with some Christians here, and please take this with a grain of salt. I view the Bible as a sort of history of God’s relationship with humanity. In ancient history, God revealed himself most specifically to the people of Israel, and the OT is a record of their progressive increase in understanding of Him. He is most fully revealed in the person of Jesus Christ, but His nature becomes progressively more clear even through the OT. (He emphasizes social responsibility, loves both justice and mercy, he can be a personal “friend” to people, etc. These are real departures from previous understandings of God.) Then the NT is a more recent set of historical documents that help us understand Him more fully in the person of Jesus. So, the records in the OT are based on fact, but also viewed somewhat through the cultural presuppositions of the people who wrote them. When David, for example, asks God to “smite his enemies,” that’s David speaking, and not in keeping with the nature of God as revealed more fully later on “love your enemies.” It’s an accurate representation of the culture of the time and the person of David, but not a representation of the desire of God. The people, even the “heroes,” in the OT were not perfect.

      Gotta go! Thanks :)

    • Open-minded. Such a snarky word. Can’t we all just agree that we approach every topic with a closed mind and that paradigm shifts are incredibly rare. Some people want to understand and others want to argue. Let us resist the urge to use more adjectives than necessary when describing our opponent.

      If you cannot see the God of the OT in the words and deeds of Jesus, you cannot see.

      You seem to think that Christians are worried about remaining relevant. The ethics of the NT are a sail to that end. The OT is an anchor. You couldn’t have it more wrong. Christians aren’t as worried as remaining relevant as the atheists are so please don’t worry about us. As long as there is suffering, oppression and evil (things for which the atheist has no answer that is not borrowed from Christianity) in the world, the God of the OT, the God who loves justice, the God who hates evil and generously pours out his wrath upon it, will always be relevant.

  5. Bogotol,

    Actually, the Hebrew God is/was a huge change from those other gods that you mention partially because He is/was NOT capricious. In myth, Zeus et al. were concerned mostly with their own intradivine soap operas, and were interested in mortals only when they offended them or got involved in the soap opera. The Hebrew God has a consistent set of values (the Law) that doesn’t change. The Law includes honoring God, but also prescribes how to treat other people. The Hebrew God was the first (to my knowledge) with a clear mandate to social justice (feeding the poor, taking care of widows, etc.)

  6. @jake – sorry but I really don’t think that any open-minded reading of the OT actually supports your account of it.

    I think the OT is much more typical of other ancient ways of religious thinking, presenting a God much more like Zeus, Jove, Thor or Wotan. God(s) that are a mixture of superstition and fable. Not standing for a moral code but providing an explanation for the capricous world we see around us, viz: a capricious God.

    Christianity was a true step-change, a true advance in religious thinking. The OT is a essentially a pre-Christian text that got all entangled in christianity because of the background of Jesus. If Jesus had been roman we would probably still be taking Jove semi-seriously in the way we do yahweh.

    The Christian religion poses quite significant problems for the atheist iconoclast who often feels worried about the possible affect on society of demolishing a faith the demonstrably does a great deal of good. Demolishing the god of the OT poses no such ethical problem.

  7. @Desmognathus – you are quite right, there is the quote. In italics even. I stand corrected. It doesn’t purport to be a one sentence proof, but it’s a summary of the alternative view (alternative to the God hypothesis) that TGD proposes.

    But it’s just another way of expressing the age old problem : if God created the universe, what created God? In other words – or in my words – the existence of God wouldn’t ‘explain’ anything, it just pushes the question back one step.

    On the question of the OT if it seen as a collection of stories, some of moral significance others not, some historical some fables, then I don’t have any objection to it. But many christians do present the OT as some sort of revealed truth with a spritual message, and it is that which Dawkins was addressing. (one difficulty with arguing against religion is that everyone’s view of what religion is , is different. So as soon as attack one target it is pulled from view).

    • Bogotol, thanks for your comments. I’m having fun. :)

      You said, “what created God?” Dawkins actually asked that question a few times, too. I think that the mainstream answer actually makes good sense on this one. If God is outside of time and created time along with the universe, then God is not subject to time. Therefore, he doesn’t need a beginning because he isn’t stuck on the linear cause-and-effect treadmill of time.

      You can always wonder what was happening at “t minus 1” as long as you’re “in” time, and so everything in time has a prior context… But at the point beyond which time ceases to exist, there is no longer a t-1. Does that make sense? This isn’t in any way technical or theological, of course, but the way that I picture it is a man writing a novel. In that novel there is a timeline, and things lead to each other in progression, and (if it’s a good book) there should be logical causes and effects that occur in a reasonable order. However, the author and the reader of the book are outside the timeline of the book, so we can view or alter any part of the timeline in any order. It’s not a perfect analogy, of course; e.g., in books, there is some prior historical background assumed to exist to the story even if it’s not written down… But hopefully you get the idea.

      “On the question of the OT if it seen as a collection of stories, some of moral significance others not, some historical some fables, then I don’t have any objection to it. But many christians do present the OT as some sort of revealed truth with a spritual message, and it is that which Dawkins was addressing.”
      I agree that some Christians take every story individually in the OT as a deep revealed truth beyond its historical import, and I don’t quite agree. I think that they all need to be looked at in context and as a whole. However, we’ll have to disagree on what we think Dawkins is addressing… I don’t think that he is addressing rival ways of viewing the OT. I get the strong impression that he’s addressing the character of God (who he doesn’t believe in) and the character of the people who believe in God by claiming that rape and murder is sanctioned in this story – although it clearly isn’t, and requires a glaring omission to make his case in the first place.

      • To clarify, the first sentence of my last paragraph should be “I agree with you […] and I don’t quite agree with them.” Sorry!

    • I ran across this article and thought it relevant to your “What created God?” question. It’s an explanation by a rabbi (which pretty much agrees with what I said about God being outside the timeline, although of course the rabbi says it more eloquently).

  8. Bogotol,

    Your #1:
    He mentions parts of it in passing throughout the book (most often his assertion that God would have to be complex, not simple), but he states it fully in the first page of the second chapter:
    “any creative intelligence, of sufficient complexity to design anything, comes into existence only as the end product of an extended process of gradual evolution. Creative intelligences, being evolved, necessarily arrive late in the universe, and therefore cannot be responsible for designing it.”

    Regarding your #2, the story is indeed horrifying. Both ends of the crime (the Levite shoving the woman out the door and the gangs who raped and killed her) are horrendous. Your objection, as I understand it, is that the narrative itself doesn’t comment specifically on the Levite’s actions beyond recording them. The chapter as a whole records the sequence of events, and the only “value judgement” in the chapter was the final verse. If the crime was condemned so vehemently by “everyone who saw it,” I think that is pretty clear. There is no reason to believe that either the writers or contemporaries of the narrative condoned his actions. In fact, I think that all evidence points the other direction. If the people were horrified by that crime, they probably wouldn’t have approved of the Levite’s role in it, either.

    I also don’t think that many Christians defend the “unchristian ethics” that you mention, if those ethics are those of the Levite. I certainly don’t.

    I can understand the intuitive revulsion to the whole episode, and I share it. Most likely, the writers did, too. There are some genuinely disturbing episodes in the OT. However, I think that many people (Christians and otherwise) mistakenly assume that everything in the Bible was put there as a positive example. On the contrary, much of it is recording the history of Israel, and history isn’t always pretty.

  9. @max
    this is familiar territory.

    Atheist – I don’t believe in God

    Theist – I don’t beleve in that God either. Or that one over there, or that one. I believe in THIS God.. my own special God, cast precisely in a way that I can have perfect faith in.

    Atheist – Nope, I don’t believe in your God either.

    Theist – that’s becasue you don’t understand my particular God, and haven’t taken the trouble to learn about him.

    • It’s seriously not asking much to do a basic bit of background reading on the subject that you’re critiquing. Dawkins has a vitriolic dislike for Christianity, and yet continually mis-represents the Christian faith. And I’m not talking about “my special version of Christianity” – I’m talking about the central tenets common to all major denominations, which haven’t really changed since the New Testament was written and have been codified for 1700 years.

      Simply put, we believe in the divine creation of the universe; that God’s involvement in His creation is continually ongoing; in the divinity of Jesus Christ; in the redemption for sin offered by God in the death and resurrection of Jesus; and in the universal availability of that redemption to all who turn to Him.

      I mean, I know it’s easy to set up straw men, but I rather expect a writer to deal with the facts of what he’s discussing if he wants to be taken seriously.

  10. Psi,

    Regarding your #1:

    I don’t really see where he confronts the “God outside of time” idea with any detail.

    He does say in Chapter 2: “he is a personal god dwelling within [the universe], or perhaps outside it (whatever that might mean)…” This isn’t really a treatment, obviously, just a statement of confusion, and there is no mention of time here.

    He also does discuss that he doesn’t see the need to invoke God as the terminator of Thomas Aquinas’ regresses (Ch 3). However, I still don’t see his mention of the idea of God being outside of time.

    If I am missing his treatment of this, please let me know where in the book he deals with God being outside of time and I’ll take a look.

    Your #2:
    I said that there is no reason to accept his assertion that all creative intelligence must be physical and have evolved by Darwinian means. He makes the statement several times, but I cannot find a passage where he makes a reasonable argument for his statement. Let me know where it is and I’ll address it.

  11. After reading all of the comments on Richard Dawkins book and some thought afterwards, all the comments concerning the old testament passages fail to remember the the people of the Old Testament were not christians and were under The Law, therefore any argument that their conduct was unchristian is true because they were not christians. If you will read and study the scriptures you will see that scripture always defends scripture. Scripture tells us that God turns people like Mr. Dawkins over to a reprobate mind and also that he will confuse or confound the wise. Our job as christians is to pray for Mr Dawkins, that God will open his eyes and let him see the light of truth and that he may know a true and living savior Jesus Christ.

  12. @desmognathus –

    1) You say that “Dawkins’s main attempt to prove that the universe was not created by a God is as follows: He proposes that any intelligence complex enough to design anything must have taken a long time to evolve, therefore must appear late in the timeline, and so (voila!) could not have designed the universe in the first place”

    Well, that’s not how I remember TGD, but I maybe wrong – can you provide a chapter/page reference where Dawkins makes that argument?

    2) your treatment of Judges 19 is disengenuous to say the least. For any reader of the bible – christian or not – Judges 19 is one of the most troubling passages you will find (go google it).

    The central issue that Dawkins discusses is the that two old men – (the host and the traveller) calmly offer up their daughter and lover respectively to be gang-raped in order to save their own skin.
    And then calmly go back to sleep, only discovering her poor body when they happen to open their front door the following day.

    What is the moral of the story? what is the crime? Well the passage you quote is important:
    “Everyone who saw it [the body of the murdered woman] said, ‘Such a horrible crime has not been committed since Israel left Egypt. Shouldn’t we speak up and do something about this?”
    What was the crime that ‘everyone’ objected to? I think it’s pretty clear that it was the rape of the woman by the homosexual gang from Gibeah. The cheerful offering up of the two women by the two men seems to pass without comment.

    Of course it’s all Old Testament and thanklfully we have come a long way from the crazy ‘morality’ of the OT, and the God which inhabits it (not least, perhaps, becaue of the influence of Jesus – which is why I find it odd to hear christians defending such evidently unchristian ethics)

    • The Dawkins disciples never miss a beat. I understand being a fan, but I’ve never seen his name slandered (or at least spoken of without appropriate reverence) without great contention. Why is this?

      Why are we so quick to call for references? This is the most uncharitable thing I see on the interwebs. One can hardly make a statement before the opposition cries foul and demands a page number. The author did not quote directly from Dawkins but rather summarized an argument from his book. Can’t we just trust that her summary is an accurate view of her understanding of his argument? If she’s got it wrong, enlighten her (with quotes and page numbers if necessary) and us.

      What’s the moral of Judges 19? Is one needed? I think it’s a common problem for just about everyone (Christian and non) who reads the Bible to think that there has to be some sort of moral to this story. We love to ask: What should I get out of this? We’re asking the wrong question. The Bible isn’t a book of virtues and it isn’t a self-help manual. It is a book that is telling two interweaving stories. It begins, climaxes and ends with the goodness and faithfulness of God which is throughout contrasted with the wickedness of man. All passages of scripture are pointing to these two themes.

      I see myself in Judges 19. I’ve been the traveler. I’ve betrayed a friend in lieu of present satisfaction and I’ve and shifted the blame to my attackers to justify the weakness of my flesh. I’m complicit and I’m in need of a God who sees and forgives.

      Don’t think that we can get beyond the morality of the Bible simply because it is old. In the history of man, the wickedness of man has been the only constant. Our wickedness may not look the same; time may have taught us to cover in fine linens and flowery displays, but it is still the same wickedness. Read the news. Women are still treated as objects and sold for sex. Men are still cowards. God is still good. The story has not changed.

      • @jake –
        asking for reference
        – well actually I was being polite: In fact my point is I don’t think this IS Dawkins’ main argument. But perhaps it is in the book somewhere. Or something like it.

        – as a point of principle the post is an analysis of TGD, so I think a reference is not unreasonable. Equally it was helpful that Desmognathus gave a reference to the bible story so that I could easily refresh my memory.

        – Judges 19 – the idea that this story has no moral (it’s an amoral story) is plausible to me and I might go with that. Altrnatively perhaps we are all supposed to draw our own conclusions. But Desmognathus seems to be arguing that there IS a clear moral, which dawkins missed by not paying attention.

        – OT generally: I’m curious to know how you conclude that God is portrayed as ‘good’ in the OT. On the contrary the god of the OT seems to me to be portrayed as cruel, arbitrary, unpredictable, vengeful and spiteful.

        – I would not call myself Dawkins ‘disciple’, though I do have time for him and he is ceertainly an excellent agent provocateur. I am writing about Dawkins here because he is the subject of the post, and it seems to me that fleance invites on-topic comments and dialogue on his blog. It’s what blogs are for, after all.

      • Oh, and Jake, I particularly like your comments about the Judges story. Right on.

        Bogotol, you say, “But Desmognathus seems to be arguing that there IS a clear moral, which dawkins missed by not paying attention.” You and I *almost* understand each other. :) I think that it is a story meant to relay history, but that his attempt to draw a conclusion that those who believe in the Hebrew God did/do approve of the rape and murder of this woman is totally wrong. All evidence of their attitudes (which was omitted by Dawkins, and I continue to be mystified by this) points in exactly the opposite direction.

      • The reply depth is limited so I’m going to vainly reply to you by replying to myself…

        Explaining how I see the God of the Old Testament as good is a tricky endeavor because, in some ways, it requires us to want to see him as good. If you are blind and do not want to see, no effort on my part to open your eyes will be fruitful. But, I will try to explain and I hope you will try to see as I see.

        The first thing to keep in mind is that the Bible, though a collection of books, is really just one big book that tells one cohesive story: God’s goodness. Picking one portion out of the Bible and finding it distasteful is tantamount to complaining that flour or egg or milk do not themselves taste like cake.

        The first 2 chapters of the Bible lay out God’s goodness. Everything he does is described as good or very good. Even the tree, the fruit, and the command not to eat of it, were good. In chapter 3, man’s wickedness is introduced and the wages of his actions are death and decay. To this day, the goodness of God is seen throughout His creation as is the death and decay that remains (Paul spends some time on this in Romans 1-3). In verse 15 God promises to fix what is broken.

        If you buy all that then it’ll change the way you look at the OT. Everything God does is step toward completing and fulfilling His promise. His actions won’t always make a lot of sense but that shouldn’t be terribly surprising (A friend once helped me replace a pulley in my vehicle’s engine. He did a lot of things that didn’t make a lot of sense to me at the time, but were essential in retrospect. He had a larger vision and I had to trust him, to some degree).

        I’m not trying to minimize the difficulty of this. To believe that the OT God is good does require some mental energy and it will not be an easy endeavor. Grappling with a God who rescues His people out of slavery only to keep them lost in the desert for a generation is a daunting task. “There had to be a better way” is a thought I think often but again and again I see that there was not. Joseph’s story (Gen 37 and on) reinforces this and it reminds us that there are no coincidences or wasted suffering.

        God ordained genocide and war; His apparent cruelty and jealousy; these are hard things but they are a wrong place to start, I think. We have to start with his goodness and then move to man’s wickedness and back to his goodness. If it’s true that God is holy and wholly intolerant of that which is unholy then we have to marvel at the fact that he tolerates us for as long as he does. Decade upon decade of evil is left unpunished so that, through His mercy we might know His forgiveness and grace through Christ (Again, Romans handles this better than I ever will). If that’s true, it’s pretty good news and He’s a pretty good God (to put it lightly).

        If you’re looking for reasons to not believe in the God of the Bible, the OT is a great place to start (as is the NT). A microscopic view of the events in the first 10 or so book will give you all the fodder you need to paint him as capricious and unworthy of praise. On the contrary, if you’re looking for a personal god who is easy to believe in, who is ok with your wickedness and who is built for perfect faith, then you need to stay far from the OT God (and the NT God, and Jesus, for that matter) because He is not that god. But, if you want to meet the God of the universe, you will find him in the OT for He is the God of the Bible, the whole Bible.

        Sorry for the length.

    • Oh, Bogotol, I also responded to some of your points in a post farther down the thread. Sorry that I don’t seem to have mastered the “reply” button for better organization. ;)

  13. Hi,

    Why do you think that making things up about Dawkins position does anything other than reveal a complete disregard for the normal conventions of civilised debate?

    1. ” God created time along with the universe, and is therefore outside of time” – Dawkins covers this kind of “get out” explicitly. Are you just going to pretend he doesn’t?

    Does this count as lying?

    What do your readers think about this kind of distortion?

    2. “There is no reason to accept Dawkins’s assumption that any intelligence that exists, anywhere, inside or outside of our universe, must be physical or must have evolved by Darwinian means.”

    This is exactly the same argument i.e. rules of logic and evidence don’t count for god.

    His specific response is again ignored.

    Does this count as two lies now?

    – – –

    Crikey – this site really does excellently back up Dawkins claims about some religious people being prepared to step outside normal civilised behaviour to defend their faith.

    Can you really not see any of this?



  14. Such an intelligent post from someone “among today’s less educated class”. :) Did I mention that I love apologetics? Great post!!

  15. Very well-written critique. In particular, I enjoyed the last paragraph. Too often, the attitude is, indeed, “I don’t like people who believe X, so X is false.” It’s completely illogical. It’s nice to see people pointing this out once in a while.

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