Folks such as Richard Dawkins try to convince us that there is no God and there is no need for God. We can do just fine on our own, letting science guide us to the good life.
The problems with that view are many. One problem is that science is fickle, changing from generation to generation. I own a book published in 1831, called “A New Family Encyclopedia; or Compendium of Universal Knowledge.” In its section on Man, it points out that “there can be no doubt that the white man exhibits the greatest marks of ingenuity and intelligence. . .[F]ew, perhaps, are so sunken as some portions of the Negro race.” That was the best science of the day and it lent support to racism and slavery. Now our science tells us otherwise. And tomorrow it will tell us yet another view.
Building ethics on science is like building a house on quicksand.
Today’s vocal atheists feel very superior to Christians and other believers. Their scientific atheism leads them to rank humans in quality (and perhaps even intelligence) on a scale of value. That cannot lead to healthy ethical considerations.
One wonders if Dawkins ever met his fellow Englishman John Stott, a strong, gentle, Evangelical gentleman with a mind at least the equal to that of Dawkins. Or if he has studied the life and work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer or Karl Barth. These were men of the highest character and certainly no less intelligent than Dawkins.
The truth is that Dawkins and others like him gain great mileage from criticizing the worst examples of Christians. Compare a Dawkins to a Jerry Falwell and you too will want to say they are no where near equal in intelligence. Dawkins is smart enough to pick easy targets in his criticisms but not honest enough to address the Stott’s and the Bonhoeffer’s and the Barth’s.
If Richard Dawkins is the best example of an enlightened atheist, we must all hope atheism gains no more foothold in our day. One John Stott, who ministered for justice and grace throughout the globe, has done far, far more to better humanity than a thousand of Dawkin’s kind. Stott, of course, sought no publicity. He was simply a quiet servant who touched the lives of thousands of people around the planet.
It’s not that I don’t like Richard Dawkins. Unlike fellow atheist, the late Christopher Hitchens, I think Dawkins would be a very pleasnat fellow to know. It’s just that he uses his good mind for such small goals. . .