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God Does Not Believe in Atheists

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Contrary to the attitude of benign resignation toward evil in many Eastern religions... Christianity speaks of human depravity as being so real and dreadful that it required the Son of God to enter human history in order to make atonement for humanity's sin.

The current virulent strain of evangelical atheism does a disservice to many of the arguments of traditional atheism. I am thinking here of the latest efforts by the new Apostles of Atheism, Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion), Sam Harris (Letter to a Christian Nation), and Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything). It certainly does not advance the atheist position to have a proponent like Dawkins rambling around the world arguing that if one raises a child to be "religious," then one is basically raising them to be an axe murderer and/or a terrorist. Dawkins' extremism alone has led renowned atheist Michael Ruse to confess that "The God Delusion makes me embarrassed to be an atheist." (1)

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1 [ Back ] Ruse is quoted on the cover of Alister McGrath's The Dawkins Delusion: Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine (Carol Stream, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2007).
2 [ Back ] For more detail, see Lewis's spiritual autobiography, Surprised by Joy (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1955).
3 [ Back ] R. C. Sproul, If there is a God, Why are there Atheists? (Minneapolis: Bethany Publishers, 1978).
4 [ Back ] The Great Australia Atheism Debate Tape Series (Edmonton: Canadian Institute for Law, Theology and Public Policy, 1986). See for tape catalog.
5 [ Back ] Alvin Schmidt, Under the Influence: How Christianity Transformed Civilization (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001), p. 156.
6 [ Back ] A. R. Hands, Charities and Social Aid in Greece and Rome (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1968), pp. 27-28.
7 [ Back ] Donald Tewksbury, The Founding of American Colleges and Universities Before the Civil War (New York: Colombia University Press, 1932), p. 82.
8 [ Back ] John Warwick Montgomery, "Luther, Libraries and Learning," reprinted in Montgomery's In Defense of Martin Luther (Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing Co., 1970), pp. 116-139.
9 [ Back ] W. E. H. Lecky, History of European Morals (New York: D. Appleton, 1927); see also Edward Ryan, The History of the Effects of Religion on Mankind: In Countries Ancient and Modern, Barbarous and Civilized (Dublin: T. M. Bates, 1802), p. 151. Alvin Schmidt devotes a chapter to the topic in Under the Influence, supra at ft. 5, pp. 272-291.
10 [ Back ] Alfred North Whitehead, Science and the Modern World (New York: Macmillan Press, 1926), p. 18.
11 [ Back ] Schmidt, Under the Influence, supra at ft. 5, pp. 240-241.
12 [ Back ] Dr. Francis Collins, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Free Press, 2006).
13 [ Back ] Michael J. Behe, Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996).
14 [ Back ] See Professor Gordon J. Van Wylen, Thermodynamics (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1959), pp. 119-174, see esp. p. 169.
15 [ Back ] John Warwick Montgomery, Christianity for the Tough Minded: Essays in Support of an Intellectually Defensible Religious Commitment (Edmonton: Canadian Institute for Law, Theology and Public Policy, 2001), p. 27.
16 [ Back ] Wittgenstein concluded in his magnum opus, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1971), that "[e]thics is transcendental." Proposition 6.421.
17 [ Back ] Dorothy Sayers, The Mind of the Maker (London: Methuen & Co., 1946), p. 13.
18 [ Back ] A partial list includes Hugo Grotius in the sixteenth century (the so-called "Father of International Law"), Sir Matthew Hale in the seventeenth century (Lord High Chancellor under Charles II), William Blackstone in the eighteenth century (codifier of the English common law), Simon Greenleaf in the nineteenth century (dean of Harvard Law School and greatest living authority at that time on common law evidence), Lord Hailsham in the twentieth century (former Lord High Chancellor and accomplished trial lawyer), Jacques Ellul in the twentieth century (professor of law at the University of Bordeaux), Sir Norman Anderson (authority on Muslim law), and John Warwick Montgomery (English barrister, American lawyer, chief trial counsel in some of the most important human rights cases of the day litigated before the International Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France). For further discussion on the issue of why trial lawyers in particular are so attracted to the Christian faith, see Parton, The Defense Never Rests (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2004).

Craig Parton is a trial lawyer and partner in Price, Postel & Parma LLP of Santa Barbara, California. He is also the United States director of the International Academy of Apologetics, Evangelism and Human Rights, which meets each summer in Strasbourg, France, to provide advanced training in apologetics (see He is also the author most recently of Religion on Trial (Wipf & Stock, 2008).

Issue: "The New Atheism" March/April 2008 Vol. 17 No. 2 Page number(s): 30-35

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