Dawkins' Criticisms

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Evangelistic atheist Richard Dawkins charges in his book The God Delusion that:

Following is a point by point examination of Dawkins' absurd accusations:

Jealous[edit | hide | hide all]

Dawkins argues for some reason that jealousy is wrong. God does describe Himself as jealous. (Exodus 34:14) Where does jealousy stem from but anger against that which is wrong, and seeing what is good misused? Only those with no conscience will not be jealous. One could just as easily argue that the lack of jealousy is evil, since it indicates no concern for the ways of righteousness. However, the most liberal Democrat will exhibit jealousy when seeing the Democratic Party or principles like environmentalism criticized, and quickly argue for what they believe. Why? They are jealous of their beliefs, and defend them accordingly. As Proverbs 6:34 points out, "jealousy is the rage of a man." However, jealousy is not inherently wrong, just like anger is not inherently wrong, though the actions proceeding from them can be. There is such a thing as righteous jealousy just as there is such a thing as righteous anger.

Infanticidal, Ethnic Cleansing[edit | hide]

Dawkins unknowingly makes two contradictory claims, that God supported infanticide and ethnic cleansing. To the contrary, the reason God did destroy nations was that THEY were committing infanticide. God took steps to destroy whole nations to purge the world of the evil of child sacrifice that Canaanite nations engaged in, which arguably is at least as justifiable as America's bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII to stop the genocide by Hitler and world domination by the Axis forces. For more on this, see Destruction of Canaanites. Other buzz words used by Dawkins like bloodthirsty, genocidal, and capriciously malevolent likewise apply here.

Unforgiving[edit | hide]

This seems a particularly ridiculous claim by Dawkins since forgiveness of the kind available through Jesus was not even known to the world until Jesus. There were no teachings about grace prior to Jesus. God gives mercy as with anything else based on conditions. Namely that we turn from our wicked ways and seek after righteousness. This is a necessity however for maintaining justice.

Evil people cannot simply be forgiven unconditionally for all the horrible things they do if they insist on continuing to do evil. They will keep perpetuating wickedness and harming others. Evil people are the source of evil in this world (see Problem of Evil) so when the atheist asks why evil exists in the world if God is all-powerful, they are unwittingly asking why God doesn't destroy them along with other evildoers. Through Jesus even the most evil people can be changed and made new inside, but they must consciously choose that salvation, that righteousness, completely rejecting sin and their own desires.

As Paul points out, God is not unjust for rendering harsh sentences to evildoers in the Old Testament, for how else could He judge the world to create justice and a safe environment for the righteous? (Romans 3:5-6) God is not destroying evildoers right now like was done in the Old Testament because He is giving time for evil people to repent, change, follow the Gospel, and do what is right. (Matthew 13:29-30) However, God is not mocked, those who do evil will reap the consequences of their actions, and this fleeting time of repentance nears an end. (Galatians 6:7-8)

Misogynistic[edit | hide]

Without a specific accusation it's hard to tell why Dawkins thinks this, although today's feminist movement arguably engages in misandry and the idolization of women. Because of the Garden of Eden, God did set an order of authority for the marriage relationship where the husband was to have the authority (Genesis 3:16; 1 Corinthians 11:3,8-12), but the husband was also punished with difficulty in his labors. (Genesis 3:17)

Only since the 1970s has this been claimed a wrong view, and the perspective has yet to stand the test of time. Both husband and wife have responsibilities to one another; wives to respect their husbands and husbands to love, nourish, and cherish their wives as Jesus loved the church and as their own bodies. (Ephesians 5:22-33) Both husband and wife are called to submit to one another. (Ephesians 5:21) The Bible likewise tells us to respect the authority of parents (Ephesians 6:1) and government authorities (1 Peter 2:13-17) even when we disagree with them so long as to do so does not mean disobeying God. (Acts 4:19, 5:29)

The same feminist pro-choice movement that claims to support women has resulted in the deaths of 200 million missing women in Asia through forced abortion and caused the global sex trafficking of women in that region. (See Abortion) In comparing the two perspectives it is only fair to evaluate the destruction of female life that the feminist movement has caused. The movement may claim to support women but the fruits of it have resulted in some of the most widespread harm to women imaginable. It is a far cry from the original Women's Suffrage movement which included pro-life suffragists like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

The Bible nonetheless does have cases of women leading such as Deborah (Judges 4:4-9) or the Queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10:1) and teaching such as Priscilla (Acts 18:26) though these are rare. Many cases are recorded of prophetesses (Exodus 15:20; Judges 4:4; 2 Kings 22:14; Nehemiah 6:14; Isaiah 8:3), including those said to be widows. (Luke 2:36-37; Acts 21:9) Widows were a special honored group in the early church like deacons and elders. (1 Timothy 5:3-16) At any rate, there is no basis for Dawkins' claim of misogyny.

Homophobic[edit | hide]

See also Homosexuality

God clearly and repeatedly says homosexuality is a wrong, sinful behavior. (Lev. 18:22, 20:13; Deuteronomy 23:17; Romans 1:26-28; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10) However, the Bible also says divorce (Matthew 5:32, 1 Corinthians 7:10-11), adultery (Exodus 20:14), bestiality (Exodus 22:19), incest (Leviticus 18:6), promiscuity (Hebrews 13:4), and lusting after the wives of others in one's heart (Matthew 5:28) are all sinful behaviors as well. Rather than singling out homosexuality, the Bible says the entire world is guilty of death before God, and that all need to repent and turn from their wicked ways to the salvation available through Jesus Christ:

Homosexuality until 1973 was considered by the American Psychological Association to be a mental disorder.[2] Biblically, effeminacy is the result of soft living.

Jesus had no problem eating with those society considered sinful including tax collectors and prostitutes. (Luke 5:30) As He put it, "They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Luke 5:31-32) Jesus showed that we cannot put others to death for crimes because we ourselves are sinful, yet at the same time did not excuse sin, telling the adulteress "go and sin no more."

Rather than singling homosexuals out as sinful, the Bible says "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." We cannot righteously punish others as sinful because we are guilty before God of similar things. (Romans 2:1-4) The Bible certainly calls homosexuality wrong, which it is, but says everyone is guilty before God and in need of repentance for such wrong actions. Rather than an excuse for hate, it is simply one of many wrong behaviors that humans are guilty of.

Racist[edit | hide]

See also Slavery

Skin Color?[edit | hide]

Solomon's love, as seen in the Song of Solomon, describes herself as "black... as the tents of Kedar" and states such dark skin occurs because of the sun, and is no excuse for discrimination.

I would challenge those claiming the Bible is racist to show any other ancient document dating before the time of Christ which states discrimination based on dark skin color is wrong and dark skin is caused by sun exposure. Furthermore, when Moses' siblings Aaron and Miriam displayed racist behavior towards his Ethiopian wife, God very fittingly punished Miriam with leprosy making her "white as snow."

On the contrary, the God of the Bible did not tolerate racist behavior because of skin color, and displayed a sense of humor in punishing those who engaged in it. Such verses provided one of the earliest recorded condemnations of racism to be found in history.

Anti-Semitic?[edit | hide]

Much confusion occurs about whether the New Testament is anti-semitic because the books of John and Acts often refer to the Jewish leaders as simply "the Jews" when elsewhere they are referred to as scribes or Pharisees.

Whereas the Greek word Ioudaios translated Jews appears 66 times in the book of John it appears only 16 times in the other 3 Gospels combined. It appears 79 times in the book of Acts. All in all, the word translated 'Jews' is found 145 times in the books of John and Acts out of 187 occurrences in all for the entire New Testament.[3]

While the New Testament strongly criticizes the Jewish leaders, the scribes and Pharisees, it actually speaks quite well of the Jewish people as a whole, saying they revered Jesus and John the Baptist as prophets. It even says this love of the people for Jesus and John the Baptist was the reason the Pharisees and Herod feared to move against them publicly, and ultimately resorted to a capture of Jesus by night. Likewise the Roman leaders feared the people's support of the apostles.

For more examples see Matthew 21:26, 26:3-5; Mark 11:18,32, 12:12; Luke 19:47-48, 20:19,26, 22:2,6; Acts 4:21.

The Apostle Paul clearly stated God had not cast away His people, the Jews, and that a remnant would be saved according to God's mercy, that these were the "natural branches." Jesus Himself said "salvation is of the Jews." (John 4:22, Matthew 15:24-27) God allowed Israel to reject His Son so that He might extend mercy to the Gentiles, but now intends the Gentiles to preach to the Jews that He might have mercy upon all. (Romans 11)

Furthermore, the early church did not even believe non-Jews, Gentiles, even could become Christians, until God showed them otherwise. (Acts 10-11)

Filicidal[edit | hide]

God is nowhere seen killing His children so Dawkins' claim makes no sense. To the contrary, according to Jesus' parable, the Father is seen as a parent who sends His Son only as a last resort after His other servants have been murdered, and the wicked people refuse to reverence His Son.

Regardless, for it to be filicide, there must be a dead child, and the only Son involved is living. God the Father journeyed straight into Hell to save His Son as told in the book of Psalms. (16:8-11, 18:4-24, 55:9-23, 86:12-14, 88:4-18, 116:1-9, 144:5-7)

Sources[edit | hide]

  1. Dawkins, Richard (2006). The God Delusion. pg. 51. Houghton Mifflin Company. http://books.google.com/books?id=yq1xDpicghkC&pg=PA51&lpg=PA51.
  2. Herek, G.M. Homosexuality and Mental Health. University of California Davis. Retrieved from http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_mental_health.html.
  3. Thayer and Smith. Greek Lexicon entry for Ioudaios. The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon. Retrieved from http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/kjv/ioudaios.html.