Richard Dawkins: Religion a Force “For Evil”

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In a recent interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), atheist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins talked about religion and his recent stroke. While we’re thankful to hear that he has recovered, we are saddened that he still refuses to consider that there is life beyond this world and that one day, sooner or later, he will indeed stand before his Creator.

What Lies Beyond?

The interviewer asked Dawkins if his stroke caused him to consider “what lies beyond.” He replied, “Nothing lies beyond.” And when the interviewer questioned, “That never changed?” he said, “Well of course not. Why ever should it? I consider mortality from time to time myself, I expect we all do, but certainly nothing lies beyond.”

Now, if nothing lies beyond this life, and Richard ceases to exist as he believes, then what’s the ultimate purpose of him preaching his atheistic religion to the masses? What’s the ultimate point? None!

Dawkins may be certain that nothing lies beyond the grave, but he’s certainly wrong!

Dawkins may be certain that nothing lies beyond the grave, but he’s certainly wrong! God’s Word says that we will all spend eternity somewhere, either separated from God in hell or rejoicing in His presence in Heaven (John 3:16; Romans 6:23; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; Hebrews 9:27). Someday Dawkins will know this reality. We continue to pray that he will repent and acknowledge Christ as his Lord before it is too late.

Religion—A Force “For Evil”?

During the interview Dawkins was asked, “Do you think religion now is a force for good or for evil?” He replied, “For evil.” He appealed to the violent actions of various religious groups around the world and said that “appalling things [are] going on in the name of religion.” Actually, the wrong religion (i.e., Dawkins’ religion of atheism) is a force for evil! His religion is not only one of ultimate hopelessness and meaninglessness, but it is also leading people against the truth of the saving gospel that people need to hear and respond to.

Now Dawkins is free to believe that religion is a force of evil. But by what standard does he call it “evil”? It certainly isn’t from a biblical standard. During the interview he unequivocally stated that Christianity doesn’t provide a moral code and said that “it’s a very good thing too” that it doesn’t. So by what standard does he think terrorism, oppression, and persecution are evil? It is ultimately nothing more than his personal opinion. Without a foundation for morality, he has no authority to say that any of these things are evil. His moral code is just opinion—it’s all subjective. Christianity, however, has a moral code based on the absolute authority of God’s Word!

He’s being inconsistent because he innately knows right from wrong.

He goes on to say, “It only takes a minority and a minority who are indoctrinated in childhood in a faith that does not require evidence, that does not require justification, is never questioned. That is evil. It is evil to children and it causes evil when they grow up.” But again, why is this evil in his worldview? If it is right for those cultures or peoples, who is Dawkins to say it is evil? Within his belief system, he really can’t say these things without being inconsistent. In one of his books, he claims that “DNA just is and we dance to its music.”1 Yet he seems to think that people can be held accountable for their actions. He’s being inconsistent because he innately knows right from wrong (Romans 2:12–16), proving that he has a conscience that comes from his Creator, whether he chooses to admit it or not.

God’s Word—The Standard for Good and Evil

As a Bible-believing Christian I can condemn terrorism, oppression, and persecution as evil. I have a standard—God’s Word—by which to do so. Now, it is true that some people have done horrible things supposedly justifying them on the basis of Christianity—but certainly not true Christianity in accord with a correct understanding of God’s Word. But religion is not the ultimate cause of these evils or any other evils. The problem isn’t religion—the problem is sin. We are all sinners in desperate need of the grace and new life offered by the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Everyone needs the mercy that the gospel of Jesus Christ offers—Richard Dawkins included.

Getting rid of religion won’t make the world a peaceful, harmonic place—that didn’t (and doesn’t) work so well in Communist countries that outlawed religion. All they did was replace religion with their religion of atheism, resulting in all kinds of horrible evils (e.g., Stalin’s Soviet Union). The problem isn’t religion. The problem of every single person living on this sin-cursed planet is the sin nature that condemns us before a Holy God. Everyone needs the mercy that the gospel of Jesus Christ offers—Richard Dawkins included.

You can learn more about secularists and morality in my article, coauthored with Avery Foley, “Do Secularists Have a Foundation for Morality?

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Ken

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

Footnotes

  1. Richard Dawkins, River out of Eden (New York, NY: Basic Books, 1995), 133.

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