A few days ago, I picked up and scanned through a book I first read 8 years ago — Alister McGrath’s The Dawkins Delusion. Obviously, it is a response to the 2006 book by Richard Dawkins called The God Delusion.
McGrath, with degrees in both science and theology, shows his competence in both arenas by demonstrating that Dawkins’ book is bad science and bad theology.
Dawkins surrenders his competence in science in two ways. First, he makes the unrealistic claim that science somehow proves the non-existence of God. By its very nature, science can do no such thing. Science cannot touch upon spiritual realities, though it may convince someone those realities are not needed. Second, he neglects science itself, using innumerable value judgments in place of reasoned, evidence-based scientific observations.
Dawkins’ theology is as bad as his pseudo-science. He clearly is unacquainted with the Bible and knows only how to point out troublesome verses without noticing their historical or literary context. He paints all religion with the same brush, shaped apparently by a certain kind of fundamentalism which no thoughtful Christian could ever live with. Nor does he admit to knowing the very many beautiful, insightful parts of Scripture. A selective cherry picking is as irresponsible in Dawkins’ book as it is in the most biased of religious views.
And maybe that’s the nutshell we need to understand Dawkins’ odd, irrational book — He lowers himself to thinking in exactly the same way as do those in religion whom he so deeply dislikes. As McGrath points out, Dawkins is a fundamentalist about science and as such is no better than a religious fundamentalist.
Ultimately, atheism is as irrational as blind religion. And Dawkins is living proof.