Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Alister McGrath on Richard Dawkins

On a site called Science, Religion and Society, Alister McGrath takes on Richard Dawkins. It is a transcript of a lecture given at Cambridge in November 2004. He writes what I and others have often thought:

If Darwinians choose to dogmatize on matters of religion, they stray beyond the straight and narrow way of the scientific method, and end up in the philosophical badlands. Either a conclusion cannot be reached at all on such matters, or it is to be reached on other grounds.

He argues that Dawkins has put up a straw man in the form of his definition of faith as "blind trust in the absence of evidence, even in the teeth of evidence." He then states that this definition is false and is one that no theologian would support. I am reminded of the opening verse of Hebrews 11, which reads:

1Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2This is what the ancients were commended for.

Christ also speaks of those who have not seen and yet believed as being blessed in John 20. In some sense, we do believe in things not seen and have no evidence that God exists. The evidence for Christ being who he is is circumstantial and we do have "faith." That is why they call it that. More tomorrow.

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