Archive for the ‘Richard Dawkins’ Category

Why Don’t These Arguments Persuade All the Atheists?

October 16, 2012

William Lane Craig gave an amusing but persuasive lecture in which he “Eastwooded” Richard Dawkins (embedded below). The argument rehashed arguments for the existence of God, such as the cosmological argument and the ontological argument.

Some of these, like the cosmological argument, are so airtight that one really wonders how some atheists continue to reject them. One possibility is that the arguments are too strong. Atheists think it can’t be that easy, and that they must be being tricked. There must, they think, be some flaw in the argument that just has not yet been appreciated.

I would add that those arguments are valuable, but they are not enough. Acknowledging that God exists and created the world is not enough to escape God’s wrath. One must repent of one’s sins and trust in the Son of God for salvation from sin.

Craig’s good, but incomplete, presentation is embedded below:


Cardinal George Pell vs. Richard Dawkins – Some Thoughts

April 11, 2012

Someone directed me to a sort of informal debate between Cardinal Pell and Dawkins, in the form of a moderated Questions and Answers session. Dawkins came across as insecure, accusing the audience of bias (though they routinely cheered for his statements) and repeatedly asking the audience why they are laughing (such as at his comment that the “it depends on how you define ‘nothing.'”

Pell was asked about evolution and his religion. He alleged that those in his communion can believe almost whatever they like about it. He took the position that men are descended from Neanderthals (Dawkins reacted to this much the way a Star Wars geek would react to you talking about Hans Solo instead of Han Solo and Pell blew it off). He said that the first time a soul was “human” was when it had various characteristics of communication and the like. When question about Adam and Eve, he took the position that they were just mythological, like “everyman.” (around 30 minutes) He said he wasn’t sure whether the Old Testament recounts God himself inscribing the ten commandments (33 minutes in).

Dawkins asks where original sin comes from if there is no real Adam and Eve.

When an atheist asks Pell (around 41 minutes in) what will happen to him when he dies, he says

(Cardinal) Well, I know from the Christian point of view, God loves everybody. But every genuine motion towards the truth is a motion towards God. And when an atheist dies, like everybody else, they’ll be judged on the extent to which they have moved towards goodness and truth and beauty. But in the Christian view, God loves everyone except those who turn their back on him through evil acts.
(Moderator): Oh, so athiesm – not an evil act.
(Cardinal): No, not a – well, no I don’t – in most cases its not.

(Moderator): Is it possible for an atheist to go to heaven?
(Cardinal): Well, it’s not my business.
(Moderator): No, but well, you’re the only authority we have here.
(Cardinal): I would say ‘certainly, certainly!’

Dawkins acts shocked that Christians will be bodily resurrected.

Later on the Cardinal asserts that the idea of any child going to hell is grotesque and does not represent the Christian God (48 minutes in)

Around 49 minutes in, the Cardinal shares his views on hell and salvation from it:

(Moderator) Where do you draw the line? Do unbelievers go to hell?
(Cardinal) No, no, no. The only people – Well, (1) I hope nobody’s in hell. We Catholics generally believe that there is a hell. I hope nobody is there. I certainly believe in a place of purification. I think it will be like getting up in the morning and you throw the curtains back and the light is just too much. God’s light would be too much for us. But I believe on behalf of the innocent victims in history, that the scales of justice should work out and if they don’t, life is radically unjust: the law of the jungle prevails.

The Cardinal’s theodicy is, in essence, that freedom is necessary.


Dawkins Criticizes Rome and Original Sin

September 20, 2010

In a recent speech (link), Dawkins has attempted to criticize the Roman Catholic Church.

Dawkins began by pointing out that contrary to the implications of Ratzinger in his recent speech in Edinburgh, Adolph Hitler was more Roman Catholic than Atheist, at least by the standard that is used by Rome when saying how many members her church has (namely those baptized persons who have not renounced their baptism or been excommunicated).

Dawkins then asserted that there is no link between atheism and evil. Of course, there’s obviously a connection between atheism and violation of the first table of the law, the relation between men and God. There’s also an intuitive link between atheism and the second table, though we expect the correlation to be muted both by the influence of conscience (atheists have consciences too) and the presence of large numbers of members of false religions, as well as hypocrites and the self-deluded (Hitler would fall in at least the latter category, and probably in some sense in both categories), who themselves also have consciences.

Dawkins continues by trying to attack original sin. This was interesting to me, because my friend Dr. White recently debated an atheist on the topic of “is the New Testament evil,” in which the atheist’s primary argument was about original sin.

After the attack on original sin, Dawkins declares that Ratzinger is an enemy of humanity, identifying children (on account of the sex abuse scandal and making them feel “guilty” in general), “gay people” (one presumes he means sodomites), women (because it won’t let them be priests), truth (because he denies the usefulness of a common barrier protection device against AIDS), poor people (because he encourages large, unaffordable families), science (because of opposition to stem cell research), an enemy of the Queen’s church (on account of his assertion that Anglican orders are null and void, even while trying to poach Anglican vicars), and education (because of the teaching that “evidence” is less reliable than revelation, faith, tradition, and the pope’s own authority).

I’m sure that many of Dawkins’ criticisms would be equally or at least similarly applicable to the Reformed churches. Some portions would not be applicable, such as the sex abuse portions, the opposition to the Queen’s church, as such, or the portion about denying the truth about the usefulness of barrier protection against infection. Dawkins, however, does not elaborate on the relevant criticisms to much extent, except briefly with respect to original sin.

With respect to original sin, Dawkins’ complaints seem to be these:

1) The doctrine of original sin is taught to young children.

This is only a valid objection if the doctrine is false, but the doctrine is true.

2) The doctrine of hell is also taught to them.

The doctrine of hell is also true.

3) The doctrine of original sin is based on an historical Adam, but Romanists now acknowledge that there was no historical Adam.

This criticism is not applicable to us, the Reformed, who affirm that Adam was an historical person. Additionally, there are conservative RCs who continue to affirm that Adam was an historical person.

4) The doctrine of original sin is a “disgusting theory.”

This is not really an argument, just a statement of preference (and one that, in the mouth of an atheist, is wholly consistent with the doctrine).

5) The doctrine of original sin leads people to presume that it is godlessness that led Hitler to do what he did.

Perhaps it does lead to that. If it does, then this is only an objection insofar as the doctrine of original sin is false, but the doctrine of original sin is true.

6) The doctrine of original sin indicates that “we are all monsters unless redeemed by Jesus.”

Actually, the doctrine of original sin does not entail rejecting the idea that depraved men still have consciences. Thus, while there is a sense in which they are “monsters,” they do not all behave monstrously.

7) The doctrine of original sin is a “revolting, depraved, inhuman theory”

This is just a stronger statement of item (4), addressed above.

As for the remainder of Dawkins’ complains, we are happy to acknowledge that Divine revelation is more reliable than extrapolations based on the assumptions of contemporary scientists. We affirm the high value of children, and consequently consider those with large families wealthy even if they lack significant financial assets. Our affirmation of the high value of children also motivates our concern about attempts by science to destroy the very young in an attempt to extend the lives of the old. We note that the reason for male leadership is God’s design and gifts of leadership to him, the woman being the weaker vessel. We condemn fornication among all those who commit it. Finally, returning again to children, our care for them also motivates to be concerned for their souls, even from a young age.

On these grounds, while we may join with Dawkins in recognizing that the pope is evil, we cannot endorse the significant misguided portions of his criticism.


I’ll Debate Richard Dawkins for $100,000

February 26, 2009

If he’ll pay me $100,000, I’ll engage him in a debate. The money won’t come to me, it will go to two or three charitable organizations. I’m not in it for money, I just want to get Dawkins to part with $100,000 of his money so that the money will not be available for mocking Christianity or other similar nonsense. Sounds pretty silly of me, no?

Well, swap in world-famous Christian apologist Ray Comfort for Mr. Dawkins and give Mr. Dawkins my spot, and you’ve got yourself the stranger-than-fiction true account of an atheist who is so afraid to debate that he’s unwilling to accept $20,000 – twice his usual speaking fee of $10,000. (link)


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