Leading atheists never seem to tire of making outrageous and offensive claims. Professor Richard Dawkins of England makes his contempt for Christianity—and every other religion (except for his own religion of atheism)—no secret.
Not long ago, Dawkins made an incredibly controversial statement in an interview, claiming that teaching children about hell is worse than child sexual abuse. He tells the interviewer, “It seems to me that telling children such that they really, really believe that people who sin are going to go to hell and roast forever . . . It seems to me to be intuitively entirely reasonable that that is a worse form of child abuse that will give more nightmares, that will give more genuine distress” than being sexually abused. (You can view the whole video clip on YouTube.)
He said later, “Horrible as sexual abuse no doubt was, the damage was arguably less than the long-term psychological damage inflicted by bringing the child up Catholic in the first place.” (You can read my original blog post about this interview.) Though Dawkins had written about this anecdotal account to justify his opinions in his 2006 book The God Delusion, the interview disseminated his statements to a much wider audience. His outrageous statements even upset some fellow secularists.
As a recent article in the Daily Mail reports, Dawkins continues to push the fallacious view that teaching children about religion is “child abuse,” this time during a speech at the Chipping Norton Literary Festival:
Professor Richard Dawkins has claimed that forcing a religion on children without questioning its merits is as bad as 'child abuse'. In typically incendiary style, the leading atheist said he was against the 'indoctrination of religion' and teaching it as fact. . . . Professor Dawkins said at the festival that children should be taught religion but scorn should be poured on its claims. 'What a child should be taught is that religion exists; that some people believe this and some people believe that,' the Daily Telegraph reported he had said. 'What a child should never be taught is that you are a Catholic or Muslim child, therefore that is what you believe. That's child abuse.'Now, these claims that Christians are committing child abuse by teaching their children about the Bible, hell, biblical creation, and so on are nothing new. In fact, I outlined many of them in a prior blog post.
I’ve pointed out many times before that Dawkins is truly trying to convince himself that there is no God. He does exactly what the Apostle Paul describes in Romans 1: he “suppresses the truth in unrighteousness.”
The irony is that Dawkins recognizes that religion, specifically Christianity, has had a strong influence on art and literature. He said the following:
'There is a value in teaching children about religion. You cannot really appreciate a lot of literature without knowing about religion. But we must not indoctrinate our children,' he said.Sadly, that appears to be the only value Dawkins sees in Christianity. Well, here at Answers in Genesis, our theme for the next two years is “Standing Our Ground, Rescuing Our Kids,” based on Galatians 1:3–4:
Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.As Christian parents, we have a responsibility to rescue our children from the evil of the world and teach them about the Bible—for more than just developing an appreciation for biblically related literature. The Bible proclaims the gospel of Jesus Christ, which “is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).
There will come a time when Dawkins will die—like everyone—and will stand before the Creator. He’ll have to answer for his willful ignorance of the truth and for the way he has urged people to lead children astray. I sincerely urge you to pray for Richard Dawkins, that he might repent and believe the gospel.
Don’t allow the secularists to win the hearts and minds of your children!
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” (Deuteronomy 6:6–7)Because atheists like Richard Dawkins have become more aggressive in their attacks on Christianity, AiG’s Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell has written a detailed article about Dawkins and his outrageous accusations. Dawkins is really a “high priest” of the religion of atheism, trying to force his atheist worldview on the world. It is obvious he is intent on trying to destroy Christianity, and over the years, we have observed that he is an extremely intolerant person. But what does God do in regard to Dawkins?
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord. (Psalms 127:3)
Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
“The wicked plots against the just, And gnashes at him with his teeth. The Lord laughs at him, For He sees that his day is coming” (Psalms 37:12–13).
I really encourage you to read Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell’s more in-depth article on Dawkins’s ideas.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Steve Golden assisted in the writing of this blog post.
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.