(photo courtesy Wikipedia)
By Spencer D Gear
Could you imagine such a militant atheist as Richard Dawkins ever making a positive comment about Christianity? I was shocked, stunned, surprised and encouraged by a quote in the UK newspaper, The Times (2 April 2010), by Dawkins:
‘Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, said in The Times: “There are no Christians, as far as I know, blowing up buildings. I am not aware of any Christian suicide bombers. I am not aware of any major Christian denomination that believes the penalty for apostasy is death. I have mixed feelings about the decline of Christianity, in so far as Christianity might be a bulwark against something worse”’.
Imagine that! Christianity is a fortification and protection against something worse – Islam. And that from a leading opponent of Christianity – Richard Dawkins.
The day of miracles is not over!!
I wonder if other atheists are being critical of him and his nostalgia for European Christendom. After doing all he could to promote the demise of that Christendom he now seems rather wimpy in looking back on Christendom with almost a longing. Britain is not like it was a generation ago when he made a name for himself writing ‘The Selfish Gene’. It is now a nation where more Muslims worship on Friday than members of the state religion bother to show up on Sunday. His regret is somewhat natural, but I’m thinking it’s a late realization that the Christian faith he rails against is the best protector of civilization he could ever have hoped for.
This is the same Dawkins that wanted to arrest ‘that leering old villain in a frock‘, the pope, just weeks ago. Pope Benedict said that a nation that turns away from God entirely has nothing preventing it from treating people as disposable means to an end. The Dawkins was offended by that, seeing it as a reference to atheism. But now it looks like the Dawkins is coming to understand that comment in actuality as he contemplates Britain without a major Christian influence falling into jihad and terrorism and death for unbelievers in Islam. He’s finally seeing that Christendom actually gave him the space to dissent, and that space will disappear in a few years. Dawkins needs Christendom. No Christendom means no Dawkins, at least not a public dissenting Dawkins.
He can plot and rail against the pope and there is no fatwa against him for doing so. Why? Because Christians don’t do fatwas. No police will bring him to jail for blasphemy. He can burn Bibles all day long as long as the environmentalists don’t complain. He will not be beaten. His house will not be burned. He can sleep in on Sunday morning. But he knows he dare not burn a Koran or criticize an Imam though. He knows his children, or his students if he has no children, will be forced into Islam or dhimmitude (sic) if they don’t escape Europe entirely first. He is an insulting boor that is just beginning to see his fate. May he continue to shake the sleep from his eyes. Or maybe we should just pray that the scales fall from his eyes.
I was never convinced by ‘The Selfish Gene’ and he has never appeared to me to be anything but a pseudoscientist with a penchant for getting himself recognised as someone important.
A Christian leader to whom I sent some of the above information responded:
For some time I have been thinking about many politicians and other society leaders in the West who are looking down on Christianity and trying to belittle the Christian Church. I was asking myself questions: “Don’t they see the value and the difference between what Christian faith is and does for people and the society and what Islam is about?”, “How can’t they see that Islam, which some of them give credence to, cannot be compared in value and benefit as Christianity?” So finally, it needs someone like Richard Dawkins, a militant atheist, to point this out to those who refuse to see.
Let us hope that many will wake up and face the truth. Richard Dawkins himself is not beyond the reach of God’s grace. Let us hope he will come to know Christ as his Lord and Saviour.
Thank you, brother, for your perceptive analysis of God’s ability to reach even the most depraved and resistant.
Vishal Magalwadi: What good is Christianity?
Magalwadi visited my home country of Australia in 2013 on the theme, ‘What good is Christianity?’ sponsored by Family Voice Australia. I heard Magalwadi when he visited Rothwell Qld. Steve Austin of 612 ABC Brisbane (radio) interviewed Magalwadi on the theme, ‘Is the Bible responsible for the success of some nations?’ (the audio interview is available at that link).
Vishal Magalwadi (from his official website: Revelation Movement).
Vishal Mangalwadi was born and raised in India, studied philosophy in secular universities and Hindu ashrams. Then after studying at the Christian community, Swiss L’Abri, ‘he returned to India to serve the rural poor through several creative projects. This frontline engagement with oppression and corruption sent him to jail, helped prevent the revival of widow-burning, and led to politically organizing peasants and lower-caste “untouchables”’ (Mangalwadi 2001:back cover).
That was it that changed his worldview to want to do something about the corruption in his Hindu society? That change did not come from his Hindu worldview. From where did it come? Here is his statement about ‘a vision of national resurrection’ in any country, but his application comes from the USA:
The Bible prepared colonial Americans for liberty because it taught the truth of God’s redemptive intervention in history. God liberated a bunch of Hebrew slaves and transformed them into a mighty nation. The Old Testament describes the struggle of twelve tribes to become one nation. Glorious reigns of David and Solomon were followed by political tyranny that inflamed latent tribalism and split the nation.
The Israelites’ rejection of God led to their apparent rejection by God. He punished their intellectual, moral, religious, and political corruption by destroying both nations – Israel and Judah. On August 14, 586 VC, God destroyed his own temple and Jerusalem, sending his chosen people into exile in Babylon. Many Jews thought that their sun had finally set. They saw no hope for their nation’s resurrection. The prophet Jeremiah lamented:
‘How lonely sits the city that was full of people! How like a widow has she become, she who was great among the nations! She who was a princess among the provinces has become a slave’ (Lamentations 1:1 ESV).
The tribes that lost their faith in their Scriptures also lost their hope and disappeared from the canvas of history. Those that kept their faith alive became the model for the present state of Israel. After destroying Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar took the prophet Ezekiel to Babylon as a captive. Ezekiel’s people were like the fish in our opening parable. They believed that their nation was dead and they were like dry bones with no future. Ezekiel, however, sought God and internalized the divine scroll [Ezekiel 2:9 – 3:3]. In a dramatic vision, God then asked Ezekiel:
‘“Son of man, can these bones live?”… Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. 14 And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord”’ [Ezek 27:3, 11-14].
The fulfilment of Ezekiel’s prophecy and Israel’s great awakening and began when the Persian emperor Cyrus conquered Babylon and came face to face with Daniel’s knowledge of God, nationalism, and obedience of faith…. Against the king’s own feelings Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den. His miraculous deliverance resulted in the king issuing his revolutionary proclamation in 538 BC:
‘Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may the Lord his God be with him. Let him go up’ [2 Chron 36:23].
This began the fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy:
‘Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end. Then all your people will be righteous and they will possess the land for ever (Isaiah 60:20-21 NIV) (Magalwadi 2011:387-389).
What is the application to any culture? Magalwadi’s asks and then answers:
What happens to a culture that is clueless about what is true, good, and just? Pilate answered that question when he declared: ‘I have the power to crucify you or set you free.’ When we believe truth is unknowable, we rob it of any authority. What is left is brute power wielding arbitrary force. Whether a person or an ethnic minority is guilty or innocent becomes irrelevant. His or her right to life depends exclusively on the whims or whoever has power. Any nation that refuses to live under truth contemns itself to live under sinful man….
Rome’s collapse meant Europe lost its soul – the source of its civilizational authority – and descended into the ‘Dark Ages.’ The Bible was the power that revived Europe. Europeans became so enthralled with God’s Word that they rejected their sacred myths to hear God’s Word, study it, internalize it, speak it, and promote it to build the modern world. Will it relapse into a new dark age or humble itself before the Word of the Almighty God? (Magalwadi 2011:392, 401).
For an interview with Magalwadi, see: ‘Truth and Transformation’ (interview by Warwick Marsh).
I’d recommend a read of Vishal Mangalwadi 2011, The book that made your world: How the Bible created the soul of Western civilization (Nashville: Thomas Nelson). Why? Here is a man who was born and bred in the East, brought up under Hinduism, and then converted to Christ. He knows the story from both sides of the fence. And he comes down in support of Christianity.
‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path’ (Psalm 119:105 ESV).
 This quote by Dawkins is also in Ruth Gledhill, London, ‘Christians losing faith amid abuse scandal’, The Australian, April 03, 2010. Available at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/christians-losing-faith-amid-abuse-scandal/story-e6frg6so-1225849033470 (Accessed 19 December 2013).
 This is discussed in the Appendix, ‘The Bible: Is it a fax from heaven?’ (Mangalwadi 2011:390-403.
Copyright © 2013 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 14 August 2016.