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Even Christian Haters Prefer Christian Values

Even Christian Haters Prefer Christian Values

Here’s one that might make you scratch your head.

Perhaps you are familiar with Richard Dawkins. He is one of the most famous, and outspoken, Atheists in the world. There is no shortage of comments from him disparaging Christians and Christianity. In fact, he wrote an entire book, called The God Delusion, for the very purpose of discrediting the Christian faith.

But recently, he made a remarkable comment. He said he identifies as a “cultural Christian.” Now don’t get the wrong idea. He still doesn’t believe in God, and hates Christianity as much as he ever did. So, what is the story behind his comment?

It seems that the Muslim mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, had 30,000 lights hung on Oxford Street just before Easter to commemorate the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. After he found out about it, Dawkins was interviewed by Rachel Johnson of the London Broadcasting Company. He told her, “I must say I'm slightly horrified to hear that Ramadan is being promoted instead (of Easter). I feel that we are a Christian country.” He went on to say, “It's true that statistically, the number of people who actually believe in Christianity is going down and I'm happy with that, but I would not be happy if, for example, we lost all our cathedrals and our beautiful parish churches. So, I count myself a cultural Christian. I think it would matter if we ... substituted any alternative religion. That would be truly dreadful.”

Dawkins continued by saying that if he had to choose between Christianity and Islam, he would choose Christianity every single time. He considers Christianity to at least be a fundamentally decent religion, while Islam is not. In the interview, he made it clear that he was not talking about individual Muslims, but about the doctrines of the faith – which he sees as hostile to women and gays.

Personally, I find Dawkins’ point of view quite fascinating. Here he is expressing a very specific understanding of what is moral and immoral, and has essentially said that Christian morality is good. So where does he get that?

There is actually a serious problem with Dawkins’ complaint. As a committed Atheist (Naturalist), he has no means of making any kind of moral determination beyond his own personal preferences. In his interview, he complained about the way Muslims think about women and gays, yet he gave no reason why he dislikes their point of view. As his personal opinion, he just thinks they are wrong.

The question then becomes, who makes him the arbiter of what is morally right and wrong? Well, essentially he decided for himself that his beliefs should be the moral standard to be accepted by everyone.

But the question remains, why does he prefer Christian over Islamic values? The answer is really not that hard to figure out.

Dawkins mentions a couple things specifically he doesn’t like about Islam – the way they think about women and homosexuals. Of course, the Bible also has things to say about homosexual behavior and the role of women, but at least it there is grace in the mix that mitigates their treatment.

While those two issues are all that he mentioned in the interview, it is clear that there are other Christian values Dawkins also likes. He likes the Christian understanding about the laws of the natural universe. He also likes the idea of freedom of speech, personal liberty, rule of law, and freedom of conscience. All of these are natural expressions of a biblical worldview. Interestingly, none of them are natural expressions of his own naturalistic worldview. He likes the Christian concepts not because they are, to him, true and right, but because these values allow him the personal autonomy to believe and do what he wants. He wants the freedom without having to be accountable to anyone for how he uses his freedom.

There is, though, a deeper reason he likes Christian values. He would never admit this, but he likes Christian values because they correspond to reality the way God created reality to exist. God created us in His image, which makes us creatures who have an internal longing for liberty and a capacity for freedom of conscience.

And that’s pretty much the way all Atheists think. They want to be autonomous regarding their moral actions and have the freedom to say and do what they want. At the same time, they don’t want to be held accountable for their moral beliefs and actions – to God or government. So, they pick and choose particular values of biblical Christianity to accept, and reject those that get in the way of their personal moral proclivities.

So, Dawkins is a self-proclaimed cultural Christian. That’s just too funny.

Freddy Davis is the president of MarketFaith Ministries. He is the author of numerous books entitled The Truth MirageRules for Christians RadicalsLiberalism vs. Conservatism, and his latest book Shattering the Truth Mirage and has a background as an international missionary, pastor, radio host, worldview trainer, and entrepreneur. Freddy is a graduate of Florida State University with a BS in Communication, and holds MDiv and DMin degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a popular speaker, particularly on the topic of worldview and its practical implications for the Christian life. He lives in Tallahassee, FL, with his wife Deborah.

You may also contact Freddy at Leadership Speakers Bureau to schedule him for speaking or leadership engagements.

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