The Biblical Exegesis of a Renowned Atheist

“Christians seldom realize that much of the moral consideration for others which is apparently promoted by both the Old and New Testaments, was originally intended to apply only to a narrow defined in-group. ‘Love thy neighbor’ didn’t mean what we now think it means. It meant only ‘Love another Jew.'” -Richard Dawkins

You see friends, what you have here is one of the world’s foremost anti-theists, what Becky Garrison describes in her book as “the new atheists.” Richard Dawkins not only believes there is no God, he thinks religious faith is dangerous and a threat to our society. In this quote he is explaining the meaning behind a Biblical text he doesn’t believe in in the first place. In critical thinking, we call this a straw man argument. Tell an audience what your opponent is saying, then argue against what you say he said, not against the actual saying or teaching. Dawkins may be a genius in his field, but he isn’t qualified to teach beginners’ into to Bible. If you don’t mind, let me take a crack at it.

In Luke 10:25-37 we find the story of the good Samaritan. One person in Jesus’ audience asks the question “Who is my neighbor,” perhaps hoping to get off easy on the “Love your neighbor” command. The whole purpose of the Good Samaritan story is to show that it’s not about Jew, or Samaritan, religious leader or regular guy, it doesn’t matter. Any person we meet that needs something we can possibly offer is our neighbor. Dawkins has heard the command, maybe even heard the Good Samaritan story, or at least the gist of it, but has never read those verses. Or perhaps the meaning eluded him. At any rate, he is not a reliable source to be teaching others the meaning of scripture. There is of course another possibility.

We are warned in the scriptures to beware of wolves coming in sheep’s clothing (Matt 7:15). Richard Dawkins appears to be concerned for the welfare of humanity, and makes a genuine plea to consider the logic and reason of science before following God in a blind faith. He has the appearance of helping us to understand the meaning of scripture that we may have innocently misunderstood all this time. The reality could be (I’m just throwing out possibilities here) that he is purposefully being deceptive, knowing the actual verses and meaning of this story, or that he is deceived by the father of all lies, and is just a pawn in his hand.

Don’t ever take anyone’s word on what the Bible says. Read it yourself. Listen to sermons and good Bible teaching, read your books, read your favorite blogger, but never just take someone’s word at face value about the meaning of scripture without using the Bible to bear out what has been taught as the truth. You’ve read Dawkins interpretation of this command and mine. Now look at Luke 10 and be your own judge of which has rightly divided (handled) the word of truth. If John Piper wanders away from the teaching of the Bible, quit listening to him. If the Internet Monk takes one more step and falls off the deep end, we should be able to tell by reading the scripture if there is Biblical basis for his teaching. We should all spend enough time in the word that we know hooey when we smell it.

One thought on “The Biblical Exegesis of a Renowned Atheist

  1. You say:

    “Richard Dawkins not only believes there is no God, he thinks religious faith is dangerous and a threat to our society.”

    This is followed by another attack on the person of Richard Dawkins from a nasty, privileged bunch of non-rationalists pretending to be altruists for their own twisted purposes.

    What you have not yet grasped is that the honourable Mr Dawkins speaks for millions of atheists (though sometimes, not all) who are fed up with faith groups gaining special access to government, thereby circumventing the democratic process and attempting (successfully, in the case of the UK) to take over secular institutions. Atheists are becoming what you call “militant” because we are constantly under attack from the religious.

    Of course, our world-view will prevail because it is based on ever growing mountains of evidence which is constant and engages with our real, not imaginary, experiences.

    Moderator’s response: John is absolutely right, their worldview will prevail. As time goes by, fewer and fewer people “will endure sound doctrine, and having itching ears heap unto themselves false teachers,” as predicted by the Bible. These scientific minds are too smart to believe in God, and are described as “ever learning, but never coming to the knowledge of the truth.” I believe John is right in his prediction, because it has already been prophesied in the New Testament.

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