Is Christianity a “Virus”?

by Ken Ham on May 27, 2013
Featured in Letter from Ken

Are Christians “infected” by a disease that they are passing on to their children? Well, read what well-known atheist Daniel Dennet said in an interview a few weeks ago.

Is Christianity a “virus”? Are Christians “infected” by a disease that they are passing on to their children? Well, read what well-known atheist Daniel Dennet said in an interview with the BBC a few weeks ago, with host Stephen Sackur.

STEPHEN SACKUR: It seems to me you posit the idea that religions are evolving. That, in essence, they’re evolving in a way which is going to leave them extinct. They are no longer necessary or useful for human beings. Am I right?

DANIEL DENNETT: Well, first of all, even if they’re no longer necessary or useful, they might not go extinct. The common cold is not necessary or useful; it’s not going extinct, is it?

SACKUR: Richard Dawkins talks of religion in a way—to think of it almost like a virus.

DENNETT: That’s why I used that example. There are lots of symbiotes, lots of parasites and viruses and bacteria that thrive on us and other species, and some of them are very useful to us. We couldn’t live without them. The flora in our guts, for instance. We couldn’t digest our food without it. Some are just along for the ride; they don’t hurt. And a few of them—a small minority—are really harmful. They’re bad for us.

SACKUR: And in that sense, in the intellectual sense, in the idea sense, religion is bad for us, and therefore we need a cure. Is that what you’re saying?

DENNETT: A cure . . . yes, yes indeed, I think a lot of people are really afflicted by their religion, and I would love to see them cured.1.

In recent times, we have observed many atheists who increasingly use the term “child abuse” to describe the efforts of Christians who train their children in the truth of God’s Word.

More Secularists Call Religion a Disease

Now we are seeing more secularists using terms like drug, disease, virus, and other similar words to describe Christianity. Atheist Lawrence Krauss (of Arizona State University) hinted that children who are taught from the Bible shouldn’t be allowed to be home-educated by their parents.

Atheist and well-known anti-creationist Richard Dawkins stated the following in 2006:

Let me explain why, when it comes to children, I think of religion as a dangerous virus. It’s a virus which is transmitted partly through teachers and clergy, but also down the generations from parent to child to grandchild. Children are especially vulnerable to infection by the virus of religion. (emphasis added)

Atheist Jillian Becker, an author and contributor to newspapers and periodicals such as the Wall Street Journal and the Telegraph (UK), wrote in 2012:

Has anything caused as much human suffering as religion? You might say disease, but religion itself is a disease, of the human race and of individual minds. Persecution, war, torture, terror, bodily pain, mental anguish, profound misery, wasted lives are the chief products of religion. (emphasis added)

Atheist Darrel Ray wrote something similar in 2009:

The best [defense against] god viruses, especially the fundamentalist variants, is science education. The more science is taught or discussed, the fewer tools a god virus has to infect populations.

And in a March 28 Time magazine article titled “Can Your Child Be Too Religious?” we read the following:

Religion can be a source of comfort that improves well-being. But some kinds of religiosity could be a sign of deeper mental health issues … So if your child is immersed in scripture after school and prays regularly throughout the day, you may breathe a sigh of relief. She’s such a good girl. My boy is okay.

Or maybe not. Your child’s devotion may be a great thing, but there are some kids whose religious observances require a deeper look. For these children, an overzealous practice of their family faith — or even another faith — may be a sign of an underlying mental health issue or a coping mechanism for dealing with unaddressed trauma or stress. (emphasis added)

The quotes above are examples of what is being stated over and over again in various ways in this secularized culture. I believe it’s all part of a propaganda war to marginalize Christians and make them appear to be the enemy.

Raising Godly Offspring in a Secularized Culture

This is a sobering reminder that we need to be more diligent than ever in preparing our children and grandchildren for the world they’ll be living in. I recently thought of this aggressive atheist campaign as our family gathered for dinner on Easter Sunday. I’ve included a photograph taken at our home that evening. My wife is pictured here with our 10 grandchildren. It’s not a professional photograph—just a picture taken with one of our point-and-shoot cameras.

My wife Mally with these 10 young ones the Lord has entrusted to the care of their parents (and grandparents!)


My wife and our married children have all commented lately how concerned they are by the state of the world in which they are raising their children. They have expressed their concern to me about what is going to happen as they see the Western world not only abandoning Christian morality but also experiencing an increasing anti-Christian sentiment.

At the same time they know that the Lord has never revoked His command to be “fruitful and multiply,” and that one of the primary purposes of marriage is to produce godly offspring. In Malachi 2:15, referring to the oneness in marriage (based on the “one flesh” teaching in Genesis 2), we read, “And why one? He seeks godly offspring” (Malachi 2:15).

We are in a tremendous spiritual battle today—a battle that has never let up since Genesis 3, when Adam succumbed to the temptation of the devil and rebelled against God. We see this battle all around us—and the Bible describes the struggle to capture coming generations away from the true God in this way: “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

God Raised Up AiG to Stand for Biblical Authority

I do believe God has raised up the unique apologetics ministry of Answers in Genesis, the Creation Museum, and the coming Ark Encounter to be shining lights in the increasing spiritual darkness all around us.

What a thrill it is to see so many families bringing their children and grandchildren to the Creation Museum. It’s a part of training them to stand boldly and uncompromisingly on God’s Word. What a blessing it is to know that thousands of families and churches are using AiG’s Answers Bible Curriculum and other apologetics resources to train children solidly in the truth of God’s Word—and prepare them to defend the Christian faith throughout their lives.

There are only a few Christian organizations like AiG that can discern the times and will not swerve from their bold stand on God’s Word beginning at Genesis. We want to make sure parents and grandparents are provided with the resources needed to help children overcome the real disease in the world: the sin nature of man. And we need to powerfully present the solution to this disease: the saving message of the gospel.

The Creation Museum recently opened our new, world-class (and evangelistic) insect exhibit, Dr. Crawey’s Insectorium. Also, we unveiled our striking Dragon Legends exhibit. And we are getting closer to beginning the actual construction of the Ark Encounter—a full-size, evangelistic Noah’s Ark. All of these creation-gospel outreaches are the much-needed salt and light in a culture that doesn’t want your kids and grandkids to hear the truth of God’s Word, especially the gospel.

We are continually grateful for the generous donations and prayer support that so many Christians provide for the vital ministry of AiG in this anti-Christian world. Without the generosity of our supporters and friends, this ministry would not even exist.


  1. Daniel Dennett, interview by Stephen Sackur, “Daniel Dennett: Religion is like the ‘common cold,’” BBC News, March 28, 2013,


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