Dear Friends

I’ve often told the story of the lady from the Temperance Alliance (warning on the dangers of drink) who visits a tough school.

She pours out a glass of orange juice (to show one class) – then a glass of beer. Into the two drinks she drops a live worm and the worm in the orange juice swims happily and the worm in the beer has a stroke and dies.

Very confidently she says to the class “so what’s the lesson?” and a big boy up the back calls out “Miss, if you don’t want to get worms I’d drink a lot of beer”.

I was reminded of this ability to see only what you want to see as I read Richard Dawkins’ new book for children – published this month. It’s an amazing spray of distortions and claims from someone who is determined not to believe (and wants young and old to do the same).

1. In the first place he must set out evolution as the compass for life. So “all I need say at present is that evolution is a definite fact” (p14). And “Darwin’s evolution…explains…everything about life perfectly well” (p.169).

Later in the book he rightly describes adaptations within species that are perfectly observable and are beyond contradiction. But it’s his philosophy of evolution that rules God out, puts us on par with the animals and goes on to suggest that mankind and science can and will solve everything. This goes beyond evidence and reason into crazy speculation. [In his biography of Darwin, A.N. Wilson has shown that genetics and the fossil record have successfully ambushed Darwin’s stronghold on ‘life’ and suggests that many today have gone beyond Darwin and science to advance their own aggressive agendas.]

2. Then Dawkins has the bizarre technique of dismissing ten thousand faithful theologians by saying things like:

– “no senior scholar today thinks the gospels were written by eyewitnesses”. (p.22)

– “biblical scholars don’t take (the Old Testament) seriously as history”. (p.48)

– “no senior scholar” thinks Moses wrote the first five books of the bible. (p.50)

– “no educated theologian” thinks Noah was a historical person. (p.56)

– “theologians are embarrassed” by the Old Testament stipulations and explain them as  “myths” (p.84)

– “a minority of scholars” think Jesus didn’t exist (p. 85)

– “we know that Adam never existed” (p.86)

– “educated” worshippers of God today “have given up on the living world as evidence of creation” (p.270)

It’s hard to know whether to list the scholars who know more than Dawkins and disagree with him or just throw his book away as dishonest. But you can imagine some young people who read this (sadly) falling for the lie. This is the worst type of prejudicial writing.

As David Robertson has said in his own fine critique [see his “weeflea” website] Dawkins has elevated science to a position it does not claim to hold and has denigrated truth in his “dumbed down” book for children.

3. Then Dawkins trots out things that are just basically wrong – as he attacks the Christian faith

– people will be raptured to heaven for their “goodness” (p.24)

– Matthew “invented” stories to make prophesies come true (p.29)

– God put blood on the doorposts (Ex 12:22) to add a splash of colour” (p.51)

– going to war “breaks” the sixth commandment (p.110)

– the ten commandments are “out of date” (p.114)

– Jesus took “revenge” on a fig tree (p.118)

He finishes the book with the urgency of an anti evangelist to “grow up and give up on all gods” (p.278).

I tell you all this because we need to realise again – if we didn’t know – that the case for unbelief put here in its simplest form by the most famous exponent today…is woeful.

I’m happy to read his book to find out if my faith is unfounded. But is he happy to read to find out if his unbelief is unfounded? I suspect he is marked (at this stage – we should pray for him) by a preference for the dark (John 3:19)