Mr. Dawkins is well known for being a scientist, and one of the “four horsemen of the new atheism.” He has written a book with a typically controversial title, The God Delusion, and can be seen, via social media, ranting and beating his brow over issues that, quite frankly, he is ignorant on particularly the Christian faith.
This seems to be a characteristic of the so-called New Atheists: Ignorance of the subjects they adamantly debate. In fact, Dawkins is now even held in contempt by many of the “new” atheists for his cowardice. Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and the late Christopher HItchens had the courage to go toe-to-toe with Christianity’s most formidable debater, William Lane Craig, whom at one time Dawkins claimed he had “never heard of.” Though that is hard to believe given his three very good and well-known peers debated him and WLC has debated much in England, I will choose to let his cowardice simply be noted on the record, as many others on both theistic and atheistic camps have noted, and allow Dawkins to keep what little respectability he has left intact.
These “new” atheist types are just as fundamental and dogmatic as those they oppose. Here is an earlier article on the evangelistic efforts of the new atheists to convert the world to their view. And they are ignorant. Very ignorant.
Dawkins recently posted a picture to his twitter account that grossly misrepresented Christianity by calling Jesus a “Jewish zombie.” (*The pictures have been removed from his twitter account*) Clearly, Dawkins has no clue about the Christian doctrine of the trinity. His meme says that Jesus is “his own father,” which shows a serious ignorance of one of the most foundational doctrines of the faith. Jesus is not his own father, but share the same divine nature as His father. They are one in substance, distinct in person. The Greek word homoouisous (Col. 1:15) means “of the same substance.” But Dawkins, of course, knew that because I’m sure he has, as objectively as possible, studied the Christian faith to a depth where he can adequately articulate the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity and offer a profound refutation of much of the faith’s doctrine. However, it seems that he’ll just post a condescending caricature of what he thinks the faith is to get a laugh from his fan club.
Surely, the picture and the commentary that sums of his view of the Christian faith, wasn’t posted as a reflection of his serious and scholarly study of Christianity. Sadly, Dawkins seems to like the cheap laughs and can prod and scold from behind a computer. His commentary mentioned a “Jewish zombie,” referring to Jesus of course, but it seems that the one resembling a zombie is Dawkins himself. He simply repeats popular misunderstandings of the Christian faith and brings no new and scholarly defeaters for the faith. He just says “its stupid,” as if he was a child in elementary school who had the best comeback in a battle of wits with his classmates. He jeers, laps up the applause and attention, and scolds those who aren’t like him. Quite childish really. Perhaps the lack of integrity is a point to be brought up about Dawkins. Has he studied the Bible and the Christian faith? I’m unsure. (because anyone who has serious studied the Christianity would know that no Christian would affirm Jesus as a “Jewish zombie”). I would like to think so and think that he has made a serious evaluation in regards to it. That would be the only way he could be seen as having any sort of credibility. Though Hitchens grossly misquoted and misunderstood much of the Bible that he quoted in his public debates and written work, at least it seems, he has read through the Bible. Douglas Wilson, the pastor who had his 3 part debate with Hitchens recorded into a documentary called Collision, recalled that Hitchens was serious about learning new theological terms and doctrines; in that instance it was the noetic effects of sin. Instead, Dawkins makes grand assertions, using the wildest of descriptions, like his photo post on twitter, and offers no explanation.
Dawkins often calls for the end of Muslim violence, and refers often to the danger of Islamic “extremists,” and yet is an extremist himself. I know Dawkins is certainly no philosopher, as his comrade Daniel Dennett is, but Dawkins could use a bit of Dennett’s wisdom when it comes to conversing with the “other” side. Dennett wrote that if you are to debate against a position, it is most honest and credible to state your opponent’s position in such a way that he responds, “I couldn’t have said it better myself,” or “I wish I had put it that way.” That is what Mr. Dawkins doesn’t do. He likes extremism. He likes to manipulate the argument. He wants to make any person of faith to seem foolish and uneducated, bogged down by faith and unable to use reason and discernment. Of course, Dawkins couldn’t even provide justification for trusting in his own reasoning and mental faculties, a problem for all atheists seeing they tout enlightenment and reason, but have to simply trust that their reasoning abilities are working fine to even use reason as a basis for anything… And yet, Christians are commonly subjected to cries of “circular reasoning” by atheists. Be a skeptic of your own skepticism, atheists, if you dare. Nihilism is a poor cage to find oneself in.
Anyway, all of this ranting has led me to conclude that Dawkins is only a contrarian and polemicist, not a serious opponent to Christianity, and not a good polemicist at that. There are two kinds of polemicists:
One that is convincing, who can rile up an audience and have people ready to take action. They are confident persuaders. They have charisma and leverage it in their argumentation, so well even to the point that those on the other side are attracted to their position. Christopher Hitchens is an example of such. Though you may have disagreed with him, you appreciated that he stood his ground and didn’t retreat. He would go down with the ship, even if began to sink, as it did in debates with Craig and with Frank Turek. Hitch fearless stood his ground and won people over with his wit and polemic approach to religion. One must also appreciate how he went about speaking. He was the ultimate wordsmith. He crafted his words carefully. Though his debate with former Prime Minister Tony Blair was not his best performance, given the topic and his illness, there were people who professed to be believers vote that Hitchens was more persuasive in the post-debate poll.
The other kind of polemicist is the one who people tune out. They are annoying. They bark and parade around with an arrogance that puts people off. They yell from the ivory tower of academia to only remain in it unless they find it convenient to do otherwise. They talk a big game, and yet only choose to take on those would-be opponents who aren’t as proficient or as highly regarded. When that isn’t an option, they run. This is where Dawkins is. He says he “only debates clergy” or other types of ministers, which is why he won’t debate William Lane Craig, or so it is said, but yet Dawkins has debated a journalist on the existence of God. A journalist…. really…. Dawkins debates news reporters, and even mathematicians (John Lennox, who, for a change, does a good job in defending Christianity), in other words, he wants to debate only the people he believes he can trample and leave their ideological framework in pieces, but he won’t debate a Christian apologist. A laughable and disingenuous notion. This is why Hitchens is head and shoulders more respected that Dawkins by many atheists. Hitchens never backed down from any opponent at any given place.
By the way, there is nothing “new” about these men or the arrogant form of atheism they champion. Bertrand Russell. Friedrich Nietzsche. David Hume. Karl Marx. These are men, “old atheists,” who provided a more serious threat to religion, not the charlatans who are uneducated on the issues of basic Christian belief like Dawkins.
Thankfully, Dawkins just prods and plays on twitter. He doesn’t actually debate anyone of credibility i.e. Craig, Frank Turek, Alvin Plantinga, James White, N.T. Wright, Mike Licona, Richard Swinburne.
As time marches on, Dawkins begins to fade away in influence and popularity, and with him, hopefully, the uninformed and disingenuous commentary on Christianity. Still yet, I must pray for him. Christians must pray for him; pray that he would come to Christ as a lowly repentant sinner and be forgiven and therein truly free.
Here are Dawkins’ reasons, a pathetic and cowardly set, for refusing to debate with Craig. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/oct/20/richard-dawkins-william-lane-craig
A recent story on Dawkins’ fading into obsucrity: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/30/richard-dawkins-what-on-earth-happened-to-you?CMP=fb_gu