Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Seeds of Delusion

I recently browsed the NY Times bestsellers at a local Barnes & Noble and noticed The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. Dawkins is a scientist at Oxford University and a self-proclaimed atheist. Truly, since Dawkins had made the popularity list, I was optimistic that he would have some of the best arguments for the atheists, something perhaps challenging to me. I sat down at one of the little cafe tables with a hot beverage and then just wagged my head. He had nothing; worse than nothing. The book came across as a bitter hatchet job on a subject very scary to attack: God. He whined and complained and ridiculed and proved nothing. He states that he proves that God doesn't exist. No matter how extravagantly he rolls out the red carpet for himself with loud blasts of trumpet, he only rides his fast-moving treadmill to nowhere. He argues against the thinnest straw men and exultingly trounces them as if that really did something to buoy his position, posing and trash-talking as if he really accomplished something. He didn't argue against the best evidence for God and the Bible. I can understand why not. He would lose. He quoted other people who deny God and said, "See! They agree with me." He serves to provide a volume for the already deluded to lean upon and squeal like school girls, giving high fives to one another.

It's sad, the whole thing. I know why he's an atheist. 2 Peter 3 explains it very well in v. 3:

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts.

His position does not come from proof, but his proof comes from his position. His position is one of walking after his own lusts. He has his desires (as do we all) and those desires do not fit in with the Bible, so he rejects God and the Bible to make room for them. As a result, He denies God, so that he can pursue those desires without guilt or remorse.

2 Peter 3 explains the scoffer, the foolish atheist, who, instead of believing in God, explains God away with uniformitarianism. 2 Peter 3:4 reveals the way they think or what they say. They will say something like:

For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
He would deny the creation part, but he would say something close:

From eons into the past, since man evolved, natural processes have continued in this closed environment without any supernatural intervention.
None of that is true. None of it can be proven. None of the evidence points to his view of the world.

Let me get to my point from all this---seeds of this delusion. What allows for these puny atheists to beat their chests like intellectual Tarzans?
1) Theological or Biblical Compromise of Professing Christians---Dawkins writes:

The legend of the animals going into the ark two by two is charming, but the moral of the story of Noah is appalling. God took a dim view of humans, so he (with the exception of one family) drowned the lot of them including children and also, for good measure, the rest of the (presumably blameless) animals as well. Of course, irritated theologians will protest that we don't take the book of Genesis literally any more. But that is my whole point! We pick and choose which bits of Scripture to believe, which bits to write off as symbols or allegories. Such picking and choosing is a matter of personal decision, just as much, or as little, as the atheist's decision to follow this moral precept or that was [also] a personal decision, without an absolute
About the inconsistency, the picking and choosing, the compromise, ridicule and mockery. Since the standard for truth is perfection, then no Christian should support any amount of compromise in theology or practice. That doesn't mean that they will live sinlessly perfect, but that they will only support a position of perfection that is consistent with the God of the Bible.

2. Those Who Hold a Less Than Perfect Bible---Bart Ehrman of University of North Carolina, whom Dawkins uses favorably in his book, pushed the eject button when he could no longer believe that he was using an inerrant Bible. Now Ehrman is producing almost full time materials to cause people to at least question the Bible if not deny it outright like he himself. The slippery slope started for Ehrman when he went to Moody to find variants in the manuscripts of Scripture, to Wheaton to find "errors" in the copies of the Bible, and finally to Princeton to discover that the Bible was never inspired in the first place, just a collection of stories. Now we get this statistic from Barna: "In 2006 48% of all adults agreed strongly that the Bible is totally accurate in all of its teachings compared with 42% in 2002 and 35% in 1991." Those are just the "teachings." Just think if the question was about the actual Words of Scripture. People figure that if they can't trust the Bible, then why try to practice it? If God is real, then why couldn't He keep His Word pure? And if He can't keep that pure, then how could I trust Him to keep me that way either?

Yes, these are the seeds of delusion.


Nicholas Cardot said...

Your two points are excellent. There would be a lot different reaction of the world toward Christians if we all simply believed and practiced the Bible for what is says. Their are way to many preachers (so-called) who are watering down the Word of God to satisfy their lifestyles. No wonder we are a laughing stock to some people in the world.

It doesn't change the truth, however. Dawkins will face God some day and will have to try to explain to God that God doesn't exist.

Anonymous said...

"Nobody talks so constantly about God as those who insist that there is no God".
Heywood Broun

"The worst deluded are the self-deluded".
Christian Nestell Bovee

" I would rather live all my life as if there is a God, then one minute as if there is not a God".

Terry McGovern said...

"Professing themselves to be wise they became fools,"

I truly can not wait for the return of Christ to this earth. When every head shall bow and and every tongue confess Jesus Christ IS Lord!

This man will one day bow the knee and with utter fear proclaiming Jesus Christ is Lord!

The Prophets said...

Sadly, we hear the mockery from groups who call themselves fundamentalists, which only help to support those like Dawkins who clamor to excuse their lack of surrender to a perfect and Holy God.