Recently Richard Dawkins, a self proclaimed “evangelical atheist” was recently interviewed by CNN. While I would totally disagree with Richard Dawkins world-view I think it is appropriate to learn from how Richard Dawkins argues (as a negative example). So here are two ways Christians can learn from Richard Dawkins.
1. Use Concrete Reasoning When Making a Claim.
In this interview Dawkins claims that, “evolution…is as certain as the fact that the Earth
and the other planets orbit the sun” but gives no evidence for his statement. Granted this interview is likely edited and shortened but it is telling that Dawkins’ claims are not defended with any evidence (scientific, philosophical, nor theological). As a believer it is important to not resort to logical fallacies. In D. A. Carson’s book Exegetical Fallacies he warns Christians to carefully and humbly consider their words and avoid “abuse of ‘obviously’ and similar expressions (like; ‘is a certain fact’).” Don’t throw these emotional phrases onto your argument if you haven’t clearly communicated your position and decisively refuted other arguments.
2. Treat Others Who Disagree with you With Grace and Kindness.
Dawkins also proclaims, “who cares about creationists, they don’t know anything.” This sounds slightly like an 8 year old arguing with his friends. Believers hold up the first half of I Peter 3:15 as a call to defend their faith (apologetics) “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” But too often believers disregard the second half, which states, “yet do it with gentleness and respect.” Tearing down those who disagree with us accomplishes only one goal: making yourself feel better. It does not glorify Christ.
Understand That There is a God.
Near the end of the video Dawkins is posed a hypothetical question. “What question would you ask God if you could?” Dawkins says he would ask these questions, “Which God are you?” and “Why did you take such pains to conceal yourself?” Dawkins questions are misguided because the God of the Bible has revealed Himself. Interestingly enough a passage that talks about God revealing Himself through creation also warns against those who would deny God’s existence. That passage is Romans 1:18-20, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”