by John Henson
Spending the holidays reading Richard Dawkins’ 2006 best-selling book, “The God Delusion” is an odious endeavor, but the book announces the rise of atheistic fundamentalism.
What is that, you say? Good question. I’ve never been happy with the title of “Christian fundamentalist,” when it means “militantly anti-modernist Protestant evangelicalism” as George Marsden defined it. I don’t consider myself a “protestant” because I am a New Testament Christian.
The word “militant,” however, does apply to me and, it seems, to Dawkins. The rise of atheistic fundamentalism means militantly atheistic. Dawkins leaves no doubt that that is the case from the beginning salvos in the first chapter, which include the sentence, “What is so special about religion that we grant it such uniquely privileged respect?”
However, Dawkins makes fundamental mistakes about his concept of biblical faith. He defines faith as “a persistently false belief held in the face of strong contradictory evidence.”/1
The Bible defines faith differently. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is evidence. It is conviction from the evidence.
It is evidence that produces faith. The Apostle Paul wrote, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ,” (Romans 10:17 ESV). The word of Christ is the evidence that produces faith and conviction in the heart of a believer.
Dawkins introduces us to atheistic fundamentalism through a pen dipped in anger and vitriol. He decries violence visited upon the world through “religion,” but is more than ready to insult and degrade anyone who believes in God. He even claims parents teaching children biblical truth is tantamount to child abuse./2
We should certainly hope that this academic know-it-all is a variant of atheistic thought, but since atheists have been losing ground to the truth for more than 50 years, we should prepare ourselves for continued examples of poor penmanship.
In Dr. Antony Flew’s review of Dawson’s book, the former atheist and current “believer in a Supreme Being” wrote, “This whole business makes all too clear that Dawkins is not interested in the truth as such, but is primarily concerned to discredit an ideological opponent by any available means.”/3 This may be the true definition of atheistic fundamentalism.
1/ Richard Dawkins, “The God Delusion” (New York: Mariner Books, 2006), 5.
2/ Ibid, Chapter 9.
3/ “Flew Speaks Out,” www.bethinking.org
by John Henson