“Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you’d have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, it takes religion.” So writes the Nobel Prize-winning American physicist Steven Weinberg.
His observation has become a standard mantra of the new atheism. So how should a Christian respond? We will leave the Muslims, Hindus, Mormons, and Jedi Knights to respond for themselves, although we note in passing that it is another fundamental belief of the atheist creed that all religions are essentially the same — hence the oft repeated statement or accusation that “atheists do not fly planes into skyscrapers.” It may have escaped the new atheists, but neither do Presbyterians, Catholics, or Southern Baptists!
In The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins repeats Weinberg’s claim that religion is a virus that infects the human race and causes otherwise “good” people to behave in a way which is dangerous and evil. Given Dawkins faith in empiricism, what is his evidence for this sweeping condemnation? His major evidence appears to be 9/11 and Fred Phelps of Godhatesfags.com infamy. The new atheists also declare that we are all implicated in the “extremist” forms of Christianity (and Islam) because we keep silent and because they are just being consistent with the Scriptures! Apart from the danger of taking our theology from atheists, let me point out unequivocally that Fred Phelps has nothing whatsoever to do with any form of biblical Christianity. His “gospel” is a self-serving rant from the pit of hell and is utterly repudiated by all biblical Christians.
We could have endless fun ridiculing the inconsistencies and ad hominem attacks of Dawkins and his friends…