Richard Dawkins at Dublin Writers’ Festival


There’s a Writers Festival going on in Dublin, Ireland that’s nothing more than a slobbering love affair with Richard Dawkins. As a former skeptic, I can identify with some of the sentiments being expressed and I think it no harm for secularists to challenge the state of the church and our beliefs. As long as we respond rationally and with God’s grace, we will become better and stronger – thank you, Richard Dawkins!

Here are a few tweets from the organizers, quoting Dawkins. My comments on how believers can respond follows.

@dubwritersfest: “I am confident in my rationality to admit that I am irrational, says Dawkins” My response? Dawkins is right!

@dubwritersfest: “The onus is on someone who believes to prove, not someone who doesn’t believe to disprove, says Dawkins” Dawkins is wrong!

This is nothing more than giving atheists a reason to be lazy. This is the very kind of ‘cherry-picking’ Dawkins says he hates, yet he’s guilty of it. The ONUS is on ANYONE who makes a Truth Claim – whether Atheist or Christian – each has the job of proving their viewpoint.

The problem Dawkins knows is this: the onus is FAR heavier on an atheist who makes a NEGATIVE claim such as “There is NO God” than on a Christian who makes a positive claim such as “There IS a Creator”. Think of it this way. It’s FAR easier to prove a positive claim “There is GOLD in China” than to prove a negative claim “There is NO GOLD in all of China.” In order to prove the negative claim, you would have to know what’s sold at every shop, worn on every neck, filled in every tooth and hidden under every rock in China. In other words, you would have to be omniscient to know there is NO GOLD in China. But to say, “I believe there is gold in China” does not take omniscience. It only takes one experience to confirm it!

Dawkins uses a logical fallacy to skirt the unbearable onus of proving the atheists’ position, because it is an impossible position to defend. The Christians’ claim is easy to prove – all you need is ONE experience with God to know God is real, and hundreds of millions of ‘born again’ humans have had exactly that experience w Christ.

@dubwritersfest: “The number of priests in this country is going down beautifully Dawkins says, to applause

Dawkins is wrong! We could just as well say the number of atheists around the world is going down beautifully! Absolutely true in the most populous nations of the world like China and Indonesia.

Dawkins is right! Unfortunately some people should not have gone into ministry in the first place or else should vastly improve their ministry by seeking God more. Let the corrupt and indifferent representatives of the church diminish in influence and let the new generation of Christian leaders arise! Criticism noted.

@dubwritersfest: “Aren’t prayers at funerals boring? asks Dawkins, but aren’t people’s personal tributes or memories far more touching and important?

Dawkins is wrong!
1) It depends who conducted the funeral, doesn’t it? Many pastors know the deceased personally and can give a touching eulogy… and knowing God too, pastors can pray powerfully for the family! God’s comfort is a very real thing.

2) Who hasn’t attended a boring secular seminar or lecture? I attended one recently. Atheists can be just as guilty of putting their audience to sleep as old priests. Wouldn’t it be better to get an anointed teacher like TD Jakes or a qualified Creation Scientist to come and awaken the yawning atheists?

COMMENT PLEASE: Have you found strengths and weaknesses in Richard Dawkins’ writings?
What’s your experience with atheists? Are they emotional and irrational?
What’s your answer to them? Do they listen?

  • Pastor Richard Kerridge

    I agree that as Christians we should be willing and hopefully able to listen to our critics without fear or prejudice. We have nothing to be ashamed or defensive about. There are times when we really do need to listen to the world’s concepts about the church and check to see if they actually are correct.
    If we listen carefully will will discover that some of the comments made by atheists are emotional and irrational; however we also have to admit that some of the comments made by some Chrsitians are also emotional and irrational.
    A man who is unwilling to have his faith tested doesn’t have much of a faith.

  • Steve Cioccolanti

    So true Ps Richard, thanks for dropping by to read and comment on my article about Richard Dawkins! 

  • Don Batten

    I agree that this prove/disprove argument is a cop-out. Science is actually about disproving hypotheses anyway. You can’t actually ‘prove’ something because science always works from the particular to the general (your comment about omniscience is relevant here). But you can disprove things. So Richard Dawkins is being quite unscientific in his approach to God.
    Atheists like Professor Dawkins like to proclaim how intelligent they are; he even tried to promote the idea of atheists calling themselves ‘brights’! However, atheism is illogical and unscientific. To believe that the universe and life ‘just happened’ contradicts a basic principle of science, even rationality; the principle of causation, that everything that has a beginning must have a sufficient cause. There was a beginning (Genesis 1), which science confirms, and the beginning of the universe and life demands a sufficient cause. Dawkins admits he has no idea how either came to be, but refuses to accept that God was responsible.
    It is not the evidence that is the problem, but the sinfulness of the human heart; our ‘bent’ to run away from God, to want to do our own thing independently of God. There, but for the grace of God, go I!

    • Steve Cioccolanti

      Atheism has no answer.

      Thanks for your valuable thoughts, Don!

  • Don Batten

    Of course knowing God is not a matter of science, any more that loving your wife is a matter of science. But Richard Dawkins likes to be thought of as ‘scientific’ and ‘rational’ and his atheism and his approach to God is anything but.