home Religion Richard Dawkins, and the failure of the faith and atheism debate

Richard Dawkins, and the failure of the faith and atheism debate

I was motivated to write this article by two conversations I over-heard in a cafe. The first one took place between a group of Christian students who were busily ‘denouncing’ evolution – it was the word of Man, meaning that it must be flawed; the Bible, they all agreed, had the right answers about how life came to be.

The second took place between two stern middle-aged men, who both agreed that the various kinds of head-gear that Muslim women wear ‘ought to banned’ because they were ‘barbaric’.

For me, the two opinions shown by these two groups of people sum up a general trend for over-simplicity, aggression and other failings in our (by which I mean at least the English-speaking world’s) current discourse on religion – a trend found on both ‘sides’, at least outside of the academy and among the popular press. This bothers me as an atheist but more over as a human being:

I have always had friendships with people from the whole spectrum of religious belief, and I have a firm conviction that much of what is said against religion today misrepresents the values which these people hold, at least as much as the claim that atheists are all like Hitler (or Stalin, or take your pick) misrepresents me.

I myself won’t attempt to say what the religious really do believe, but I will use this opportunity to point out some common platitudes and slurs employed – disappointingly, given their own history of persecution – by some of those with whom I share the quality of atheism.

So who am I talking about?

The obvious big-name atheist is Richard Dawkins, and indeed it is from this author’s pen that much of today’s over-simple analyses flow. Now before I tackle what this author says in his famous book The God Delusion, I want to point out the things he gets right.

In his earlier books, such as Unweaving the Rainbow and The Ancestor’s Tale, one finds a scientist at the top of his field explaining, in an endlessly enthusiastic and easily understood manner, the principles of evolutionary biology; we also find this same scientist’s frustration with attempts, in certain American states, to interfere with the teaching of evolution in school science lessons.

This frustration is entirely legitimate. The job of a science lesson is to teach students what, according to the scientific analysis of the world, appears to be the truth about it, and it is no devaluation to say that the Christian Bible is not a work of science – to be this it would have to conform to certain very specific rules about the conduct of experiments and peer-review, to name just two of the many tests scientists have to pass.

Of course, Gulliver’s Travels is also not a science book, and it also cannot be taught as science (or gymnastics, or music); in neither case are we claiming that the book has no potential value apart from that, or that it is wrong for those who value it to do so. And we are not claiming that the Bible is the same kind of book as Gulliver’s Travels.

The trouble starts with The God Delusion, for it is here that Dawkins goes on to assert that religion consists of the same literal belief exhibited by the Creationists. Both Dawkins and the Creationists seem unwilling to accept that this literal belief is a misreading of Biblical texts which were understood, in their own historical time, to consist predominantly of myths and stories – to be, like all myths and stories, valuable but separate from logic and history. Further, both Dawkins and the Creationists seem unwilling to accept that even someone who is a Christian is under no compunction to treat them as anything other than this.

That there are legions of humane, intelligent and perceptive theologians and philosophers who have worked in (or from) the frame-works of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, and that Dawkins seemed to have ignored these authors in his book, was pointed out by commentators such as Alistair McGrath and Terry Eagleton. To this Dawkins responded by saying that one did need to have a degree in Leprecology to disbelieve in Leprechauns.

This is true as far as one’s own belief and one’s duty to truth are concerned, but were one to go on to write a book about those-who-believe-in-Leprechauns it would surely be important to know first what it was that they actually believed in. Indeed, the entity that religious persons believe to exist is usually conceived of as rather different from a Leprechaun (the Dawkinisan slang of ‘Sky Fairy’ also fails to account for this entity or entities).

This major motif – the accusation that all the religious hold a kind of belief (Biblical literalism, scripture as scientific fact) which they in fact do not, and the correlative attempt to claim that the non-Creationists are not Christians at all – is echoed in Christopher Hitchens’ claim in God is not Great. Hitchens says that Martin Luther King Jr., the famous Civil Rights campaigner, was ‘not a Christian’, because the behaviour of Martin Luther King does not fall within the parameters that Hitchens has decided are equivalent to Christianity.

This stance – all Christians are bad, Old-Testament style, and if you show me a good Christian I will show you that they aren’t a Christian – is dogged and unhelpful. It ignores the fact that human beings, being complex, are capable of criticising things like segregation, and at the same time as this, being motivated by mythical stories or belief in some kind of entity.

This only helps the Westboro Baptist Church and other such groups. If such people are told that they are the only true Christians, and that the intelligent, progressive Christians are not true believers – it only confirms their own sense of self.

This creates a dangerous system of priorities where the secular or atheist person is always seen as better, or where the religious person must lose their religious side before being taken seriously. Yet one can be a perfect atheist, and still be racist; one can be strongly religious, and committed to women’s rights.

The Hamas Charter may be full of mystico-religious language about ‘the Jew’, but this does not strike the objective observer as any worse than the perfectly secular language of ‘collateral damage’ and ‘acceptable risk’ and ‘neutralisation of threats’ used by the IDF and the Coalition forces in Iraq to excuse their attacks on civilians.

This brings me on to my principle complaint: that among today’s big-name atheists – those atheists with a message simple enough to be palatable to the media – there seems to be a dogmatic belief in ‘Religion’ as something which causes conflicts, rather than being also or instead a symptom of conflicts; ‘Religion’ as a causus belli, which is everyone’s enemy and must be eliminated.

Here I must make the obvious caveat that there are of course millions of instances where religion had a role to play in a war, a massacre, an invasion, a purge, or in preserving a generally poor quality of life for a population. Be this as it may, there is a huge difference between seeing the true role that religion had to play in any given historical event, and positing it as the root cause of that event. To do so is to commit a falsehood as unhelpful as claiming that devils pretending to be intellectuals are the cause of all wars (and if we only ousted them, there could be peace).

Why? Because the true base which determines human behaviour is always economic.

It is my contention that wars are fought primarily over things like land, money, food, and power; religion provides a group identity, but any other ideology – such as nationalism – would do the same thing in the same situation. Any serious study of ‘religious conflict’ past and present, be it in Palestine, Kashmir, the Americas or anywhere else, will bear this out.

I will not go to the extreme of claiming that religion is basically benign, but I will put forward the proposition that, all else being equal, different groups of people can find ways to live peaceably together regardless of their religious identities. Where there is plenty, differences matter less.

Because the problem is economic, the solution is not to wipe out religion but to sort out the political problems on the ground. And that doesn’t mean large, powerful countries ‘sorting out’ other people’s problems for their own gain.

For example, the wars in Europe during the Reformation, while involving schismatic differences between Protestants and Catholics, were also caused by political divisions, new technologies and other developments at the time; the development of the modern nation state, double-ledger book-keeping and the discovery of the New World all had a major role to play.

We should not be so quick to believe, as some of the combatants did, that they were fighting over the soul. The religious argument as to whether the Bible was to be printed in Latin or the vulgate was not enough of a controversy, on its own, to start a continent-wide crisis; that happened only because such things changed the power balance in the collapsing Holy Roman Empire.

I am not arguing for a slip into complacency. It is always good to be vigilant, but being over-vigilant about religion can involve complacency about other factors.

Further problems arise when we consider the correlatives that must come along with a belief that religion really is the causus belli of wars. For, if one really believed that religion was the root cause of all war, one might argue that war on religion was somehow equivalent to peacemaking; likewise, unfair discrimination against the religious might be excused as an attempt to eradicate the source of unfair discrimination.

In our era we can see this sort of mistake being made every day. To believe, as we are encouraged to do by the press and the simplistic arguments made by the aforementioned authors, that the 9/11 hijackers were motivated solely by theories about the correct way to enter paradise and what one might find there, or by a frothing irrational hatred of ‘America the Great Satan’, is to conveniently ignore Mohammed Atta’s true motivation for the project: revenge against the Americans who were propping up his political enemy, Egypt’s corrupt president Mubarak. Of course, killing several thousand people going about their daily business was wrong; it was a colossal mistake ethically and politically.

The point is that the American government really was and really is propping up Hosni Mubarak, as well as hundreds of other bad politicians who happen to be American-friendly.

This behaviour, coupled with the American Cold War policy of knocking out left-wing figures in the middle east and central asia and shoring up conservative groups like the Taliban, is why there are ‘so many Islamic terrorists today’, and as long as we ignore this and refuse to deal with it, believing as Hitchens, Harris and Dawkins would have it that the current wave of terrorist activity to be simply an expression of irrational hatred to be expected from ‘the religious’, or to believe with Martin Amis that we are ‘hearing from Islam’, we will keep the economic and political conditions that lead to terrorism firmly in place.

I am an atheist, and stand against defamation and oppression of atheists – but there is no reason why such principles should only apply to those who share my innocuous philosophic preference. The enemies of truth are always on the look-out for a scapegoat.

3 thoughts on “Richard Dawkins, and the failure of the faith and atheism debate

  1. Some quick points in response to C. Riesco’s article:

    First, some nitpicking about the Latin phrase “causus belli.” The correct Latin phrase is actually “casus belli,” meaning “an event [casus] that serves as a pretext for or leads to war.” C. Riesco’s phrase “causus belli” might derive from a misspelling of “causa belli,” meaning “the cause of a war,” but, as Roman historians who coined the Latin phrase knew full well, an “event” (casus) that leads to war is not necessarily the same as the “cause” (causa) of the war. Apparently, English-speaking historians, who might not be fluent in Latin, conflate “casus” with “causa” and miss the different implications of the two different words. To repeat, the most widely-used phrase is “casus belli,” meaning “an event that leads to war or serves as a pretext for war.” If C. Riesco means the actual cause of a war, the correct phrase is “causa belli.” Offhand, I’m not sure that “causus” is even attested in the history of Latin, but I haven’t looked it up. Sorry to nitpick, but two Latin words “casus” and “causa” do have different implications, especially with regard to war.

    Second, in response to C. Riesco’s point that “…the true base which DETERMINES human behavior is ALWAYS economic” (capitalization added).

    I would caution C. Riesco against reducing all or most historical human behavior to primarily one cause, especially when that reduction has the effect of ignoring the role of the irrational in motivating human behavior.

    For myself, as a former student of classical Greek and Roman history (ca. 800 B.C.E. to ca. 700 C.E.), I can readily attest that economic factors did play a role in political and military conflict, as Thucydides reported. But historians need to resist the impulse to project onto ancient communities and elites, modern policymakers’ fixation on economics, to the point that such projection ignores the role of the irrational in both ancient and modern political decisionmaking.

    To take an example of the projection of modern attitudes onto ancient decisionmaking, in the 1930s, historians tried to explain the military aggrandizement of the Roman Republic into the eastern Mediterranean betwee 200 B.C.E. and 30 B.C.E. as purely economically motivated, and even tried to equate or analogize the Roman political class of “Knights” (Equites), who were primarily landed gentry who invested agricultural profits into tax farming and private commerce, with the modern class of the bourgeoisie.

    But to mistake the Roman Knights for an ancient forerunner of the modern bourgeoisie is to ignore the role that calculated risk assessment (i.e., the calculated acceptance of varying degrees of uncertainty) plays in bourgeois decisionmaking. This is because the Roman culture that influenced the decisionmaking of the Roman Knights was risk-averse (i.e, averse to uncertainty) to a point that sixth-century B.C.E. Athenians would likely have called irrational.

    In other words, the classical elite culture that influenced decisionmaking became, from the time of Solon to the time, say, of Marcus Aurelius, became increasingly intolerant of uncertainty, to a point that was simply not rational.

    The classical obsession with astrology which began with Hellenistic Greek culture after the fourth century B.C.E. is an example of the fear of uncertainty (risk aversion) that we now know to be irrational. The peculiarly Roman obsession with “Safety First!” and increasingly irrational need for certainty led Roman politicians and businessmen to consult astrologers before every important decision. By the fourth century C.E., Roman emperors and generals routinely consulted astrologers for nearly every decision, or so it is reported by ancient historians. Astrology, of course, was believed to be a science in antiquity, even though the Christian theologian St. Augustine around 400 C.E., in his “Confessions,” tried to explain, through anecdotal evidence, that the stars did not actually influence human events.

    In an way that now seems counterintuitive, it was at least partly the influence of Christianity that enabled elites and later the larger culture to accept greater degrees of uncertainty in decisionmaking. I will not go into details here, but an introductory account is given in the book “Before the Industrial Revolution,” third edition, by the late historian Carlo Cipolla.

    Sorry for this long post. I hope this has been useful.

  2. “current discourse on religion – a trend found on both ’sides’,”

    Truth is not a compromise- one side is wrong and one side is right. Of course, sides can be partially right… except the positions are “A exists” and “A doesn’t” so there isn’t really middle ground.

    “which these people hold, at least as much as the claim that atheists are all like Hitler (or Stalin, or take your pick) misrepresents me.”

    Hitler was a theist. Stalin was an atheist as much as I am. He represents atheism as much as I do. He can’t be used against atheism anymore than I can, because unlike theism atheism is NOT a belief system.

    It would be like equivocating racism and egalitarianism.

    “t is no devaluation to say that the Christian Bible is not a work of science – to be this it would have to conform to certain very specific rules about the conduct of experiments and peer-review, to name just two of the many tests scientists have to pass.”

    False. Science does NOT require peer review- modern science does. However, anceint scientists did without this- although they got a higher rate of junk theories.

    The bible however, claims to be history, which IS a science.

    “Of course, Gulliver’s Travels is also not a science book, and it also cannot be taught as science (or gymnastics, or music); in neither case are we claiming that the book has no potential value apart from that, or that it is wrong for those who value it to do so. And we are not claiming that the Bible is the same kind of book as Gulliver’s Travels.”

    Gullivers travels doesn’t claim to be TRUE- it is a satire, and rather poor in parts (the horses).

    “The trouble starts with The God Delusion, for it is here that Dawkins goes on to assert that religion consists of the same literal belief exhibited by the Creationists. Both Dawkins and the Creationists seem unwilling to accept that this literal belief is a misreading of Biblical texts which were understood, in their own historical time, to consist predominantly of myths and stories – to be, like all myths and stories, valuable but separate from logic and history. Further, both Dawkins and the Creationists seem unwilling to accept that even someone who is a Christian is under no compunction to treat them as anything other than this.”

    That was so stupid it defies comprehension. You do realize that the people who wrote it DID take it literally? In fact, throughout history, people have taken their myths EXTREMELY seriously- the Crusades are a good example- not the killing, but why were they undertaken? To reclaim the holy land where tens of thousands of pilgrims went to see the land where Christ had walked the Earth! Hunter gather tribes believe their myths and mythology is deemed so important that it is amoung the first written records (tax records may be before them). The Iliad, the Odessy, the Ramanya, the Epic of Gilgamesh- all of these were myths that were written down a preserved for milenia, while ALL other stories have been lost to the sands of time.

    “This is true as far as one’s own belief and one’s duty to truth are concerned, but were one to go on to write a book about those-who-believe-in-Leprechauns it would surely be important to know first what it was that they actually believed in. Indeed, the entity that religious persons believe to exist is usually conceived of as rather different from a Leprechaun (the Dawkinisan slang of ‘Sky Fairy’ also fails to account for this entity or entities).”

    He was responding to their cortiers reply. As it is there more sophisticated Gods lack evidence- they have no more reason to exist than any other.

    “Hitchens says that Martin Luther King Jr., the famous Civil Rights campaigner, was ‘not a Christian’, because the behaviour of Martin Luther King does not fall within the parameters that Hitchens has decided are equivalent to Christianity.”

    Than Hitchens is wrong. If you believe that Christ is a prophet than you are a Christian… unless you are a Muslim. It is best not to think about it too hard.

    “This stance – all Christians are bad, Old-Testament style, and if you show me a good Christian I will show you that they aren’t a Christian – is dogged and unhelpful. It ignores the fact that human beings, being complex, are capable of criticising things like segregation, and at the same time as this, being motivated by mythical stories or belief in some kind of entity.”

    Given that the Bible condones genocide, rape, torture and slavery I think it would be fair to say no one who is held up as a Christian today actuallt follows it. You might say that is just the “literal” interpretation, but need I remind you there are an infinite number of subjective interpretations? In fact, atheists subjectively interpret the bible, just like everyone else- we hold it not to be true. Why is one subjective interpretation better than another?

    “This creates a dangerous system of priorities where the secular or atheist person is always seen as better, or where the religious person must lose their religious side before being taken seriously. Yet one can be a perfect atheist, and still be racist; one can be strongly religious, and committed to women’s rights.”

    Thank you, because we all love strawmen! Seriously atheists are more rational, but rational doesn’t equal good.

    “The Hamas Charter may be full of mystico-religious language about ‘the Jew’, but this does not strike the objective observer as any worse than the perfectly secular language of ‘collateral damage’ and ‘acceptable risk’ and ‘neutralisation of threats’ used by the IDF and the Coalition forces in Iraq to excuse their attacks on civilians.”

    You love to say stupid stuff, don’t you? Despite the severly illegal nature of the US invasion, we didn’t intend to commit genocide against the population of Iraq and we haven’t exterminated them all. Meanwhile, that is Hamas’s avowed goal.

    Or are you saying they could be secular genocidal? That is great, but it is a religious war and without religious backing their goal would be way differant.

    “Here I must make the obvious caveat that there are of course millions of instances where religion had a role to play in a war, a massacre, an invasion, a purge, or in preserving a generally poor quality of life for a population. Be this as it may, there is a huge difference between seeing the true role that religion had to play in any given historical event, and positing it as the root cause of that event. To do so is to commit a falsehood as unhelpful as claiming that devils pretending to be intellectuals are the cause of all wars (and if we only ousted them, there could be peace).”

    30 years war. The great Jihad. The Cathar Crusade. The Lithuanian Crusade. French civil war. Ireland. Seriously, study history. There are always “other factors”, but to claim that religion is innocent is to claim it had no role whatsoever… even though everyone involved in said wars agreed that it was all about religion. The Cathar Crusade is a particularly egregregious case- it was ENTIRELY religious motives.

    “Why? Because the true base which determines human behaviour is always economic.”

    False. See the pyramids.

    “It is my contention that wars are fought primarily over things like land, money, food, and power; religion provides a group identity, but any other ideology – such as nationalism – would do the same thing in the same situation. Any serious study of ‘religious conflict’ past and present, be it in Palestine, Kashmir, the Americas or anywhere else, will bear this out.”

    The third punic war was not about land, power, food or money- it was about brutal vengence.

    As for nationalism, it doesn’t require the infidels to die, something that major religions do.

    “I will not go to the extreme of claiming that religion is basically benign, but I will put forward the proposition that, all else being equal, different groups of people can find ways to live peaceably together regardless of their religious identities. Where there is plenty, differences matter less.”

    Except in the US, the Middle East and Europe. Or have you not been paying attention to the terror attacks in Europe, despite their massive social support so that they have noone in absolute poverty? Or the US with its huge wealth and growing religious tensions? Or the Middle East with it vast oil wealth and huge conflicts?

    “Because the problem is economic, the solution is not to wipe out religion but to sort out the political problems on the ground. And that doesn’t mean large, powerful countries ’sorting out’ other people’s problems for their own gain.”

    Just sub in racism and you’ll realize how stupid your position is.

    “For example, the wars in Europe during the Reformation, while involving schismatic differences between Protestants and Catholics, were also caused by political divisions, new technologies and other developments at the time; the development of the modern nation state, double-ledger book-keeping and the discovery of the New World all had a major role to play.

    We should not be so quick to believe, as some of the combatants did, that they were fighting over the soul. The religious argument as to whether the Bible was to be printed in Latin or the vulgate was not enough of a controversy, on its own, to start a continent-wide crisis; that happened only because such things changed the power balance in the collapsing Holy Roman Empire.”

    So we shouldn’t believe that the combatants knew what they were fighting for, but we do? You do realize that previously there was a massive heresy known as the Arian heresy the church stamped out due to it deviating from doctrine. No other motivations there.

    As for your list of other reasons- they suck. Really, they do. The printing press didn’t cause this war, nor did the America’s, nor did the dissentigrating Empire, nor did any of your other reasons. This was a religious war (with a large amount of power grabbing thrown in for good measure) between the Catholics, the Lutherans and the Calvanists. Or have you neglected the treaties that deal almost entirely with religious matters?

    Sure, the Catholic church had alot to lose temporally, but the church wasn’t the one who declared war.

    “I am not arguing for a slip into complacency. It is always good to be vigilant, but being over-vigilant about religion can involve complacency about other factors.”

    I am not arguing for a slip into complacency. It is always good to be vigilant, but being over-vigilant about racism can involve complacency about communism.

    Seriously- when I can do that and it makes sense, you have screwed up.

    “Further problems arise when we consider the correlatives that must come along with a belief that religion really is the causus belli of wars. For, if one really believed that religion was the root cause of all war, one might argue that war on religion was somehow equivalent to peacemaking; likewise, unfair discrimination against the religious might be excused as an attempt to eradicate the source of unfair discrimination.”

    Strawman- of course, religion doesn’t cause ALL wars. Of course fighting for peace is STILL fighting.

    “In our era we can see this sort of mistake being made every day. To believe, as we are encouraged to do by the press and the simplistic arguments made by the aforementioned authors, that the 9/11 hijackers were motivated solely by theories about the correct way to enter paradise and what one might find there, or by a frothing irrational hatred of ‘America the Great Satan’, is to conveniently ignore Mohammed Atta’s true motivation for the project: revenge against the Americans who were propping up his political enemy, Egypt’s corrupt president Mubarak. Of course, killing several thousand people going about their daily business was wrong; it was a colossal mistake ethically and politically.”

    You do realize that the US has the blood of millions of Latin Americans on our hands. So far we haven’t had any terror attacks from them. Saying it is just that we propped up a dictator ignores the fact that said actions normally lead to attempts to kill the dictator.

    “This behaviour, coupled with the American Cold War policy of knocking out left-wing figures in the middle east and central asia and shoring up conservative groups like the Taliban, is why there are ’so many Islamic terrorists today’, and as long as we ignore this and refuse to deal with it, believing as Hitchens, Harris and Dawkins would have it that the current wave of terrorist activity to be simply an expression of irrational hatred to be expected from ‘the religious’, or to believe with Martin Amis that we are ‘hearing from Islam’, we will keep the economic and political conditions that lead to terrorism firmly in place.”

    You do realize Europe has recieved a spate of terror attacks? And “instances” like Paris being seized by riots, people being knifed in the street, etc? I know- you’ll say it is due to poverty… except that alot of the cases in Europe AREN’T due to poverty.

    It was a religious crime through and through.

    Basically you don’t believe people “really believe” what they say they believe” and you think that people can believe in objective truth and subjective truth similtaneously.

    Let me give you some examples… don’t worry, they are recent… evil never sleeps.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/dec/09/tracymcveigh.theobserver
    http://pageoneq.com/news/2008/Florida_town_backs_antigay_witchhunt_pr_0820.html
    http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=52004
    http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?NewsID=1065456
    http://www.domini.org/openbook/pal20030729.htm
    http://brianleesblog.blogspot.com/2008/08/rania-saudi-convert-killed-by-father.html

    Need I say more?

  3. quote:”“This stance – all Christians are bad, Old-Testament style, and if you show me a good Christian I will show you that they aren’t a Christian – is dogged and unhelpful. It ignores the fact that human beings, being complex, are capable of criticising things like segregation, and at the same time as this, being motivated by mythical stories or belief in some kind of entity.”unquote

    quote:” Given that the Bible condones genocide, rape, torture and slavery I think it would be fair to say no one who is held up as a Christian today actuallt follows it. You might say that is just the “literal” interpretation, but need I remind you there are an infinite number of subjective interpretations? In fact, atheists subjectively interpret the bible, just like everyone else- we hold it not to be true. Why is one subjective interpretation better than another?” unquote.

    It never ceases to amaze me how atheists always seem to accuse Christians of supporting genocide and murder and many other atrocities just because they seem to find them in the Bible. Yet they refuse themselves to be compared to other atheists like Hitler and Stalin. They excuse they use is that atheism is not a belief system. (Even though Communism “is” a belief system based on Atheism.)

    What kind of excuse is that? Christians are just as variant as atheists yet they all believe the same things basically. Even so having said that both Hitler and Stalin were very much influenced by the fact that they did not believe in God. For that meant they “believed” they had no one to answer to. No one to give account to in the day of judgement. That is a belief system whether you admit it or not.

    Why are atheists always all to ready to attach monstrous crimes to Christians, yet always leave out the good done by most Christians? Did you know that most of the early charities were all started by Christians? Did you know that if it were not for Christians there would not be any organised system for nursing in hospitals? Did you know that Dr. Barnardo was a Christian? Did you know that George Muller was a Christian? Did you know just how many orphans were saved by these two people alone?

    Did you know that before the Great Christian Awakening in the 1740’s that over 100 crimes carried the death penalty as the Government tried to stem the rising crime rate? Did you know that every 6th house in London had a gin still and drunkeness and the crimes attached to that was rife? Did you know that immorality and the consequent steep rise in VD’s of many sorts was at epidemic proportions?

    Then came the preaching of men like Whitefield and Wesley and the transformation of society was miraculous as men and women changed their ways as a result of their believing in Jesus Christ. The whole tone of society was lifted up.

    This happens wherever the gospel is preached. I personally cannot think of one positive thing atheism has contributed to society. For much of their thinking rather than being “logical” is in fact “illogical”.

    For if we follow that belief that their is no God to its logical conclusion, then there would be no law at all. In fact there would be no purpose in living. And where do the atheists get their standard for judging what is moral or was is not moral and indeed the standard they so freely use to judge Christians? They can only trace it to the Bible itself.

    For it is there that this moral code is set out. Not only that, but the Bible itself says that God has put this sense of right and wrong in the heart of ever man and woman, the conscience.

    But if you follow atheism through to its logical conclusion, then there is no reason to live. For that means we all came into existence by accident. Not only that, but by logical reasoning you can have no moral code, neither can you impose that moral code onto anyone else because it is evolution that decides that moral code and if evolution decides that moral code, then none of us has the right to judge the other on their morals.

    And if this is so then we cannot decide what is genocide and what is not. It is only the Bible that decides what is moral and what is not. And it is that, that the atheists do not like. Although it is that very Bible they use to make judgements on Christians.

    But it is also that very Bible that condemns their unbelief. There have been myriads of witnesses as to the truth of this Bible over many centuries uncluding the Lord Jesus himself. For he said, “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.”

    But these men do not hear his voice and that will be their condemnation. For the Bible also informs us that we shall all stand before God and give account of those things done in the body. Are you ready to give account of your lives?

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