Famous atheist Richard Dawkins said in a recent interview that Jesus would’ve been an atheist if he knew what we knew today.
Wait. What? Yeah, it doesn’t make much sense.
Here’s the exact quote: “I wrote [an] article called ‘Atheists for Jesus,’ I think it was… Somebody gave me a t-shirt: ‘Atheists for Jesus.’ Well, the point was that Jesus was a great moral teacher and I was suggesting that somebody as intelligent as Jesus would have been an atheist if he had known what we know today.”
The key takeaway here is that the leader of the atheist movement pilfers his brilliant ideas from t-shirts.
The thing is that I really can’t stand the whole “Jesus was a great moral teacher” thing.
CS Lewis handled that nonsense pretty well when he wrote:
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.
Lewis is right. Dawkins is a fool whose thinking is as deep as a t-shirt slogan.
Isn’t Dawkins becoming a bit of an embarrassment, even to atheists?
October 27, 2011 at 3:38 am
I was prepared to comment on the post, but the first commenter distracted me. *snicker* *chortle* *snort* BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! 😉
October 27, 2011 at 3:42 am
Anyhow, C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors and big part of why I became a Catholic instead of an atheist when I was an agnostic searching for answers. However, I've always felt his trilemma had a fatal flaw. It assumes that what's written of Jesus in the Gospels is a reliable historical record of what He said and did. Obviously, those of us with faith believe the Gospels are trustworthy, but that can't be assumed for unbelievers. Before the liar/lunatic/lord trilemma can work, its hearers must trust the veridicality of the Gospels, and that's not trivial.
October 27, 2011 at 3:45 am
Eric makes a good point – I thought the usual tactic these days was "the Gospels are artificial hero stories instead of reliable evidence," which is a point that Lewis doesn't address.
October 27, 2011 at 4:05 am
I heard a new one from an atheist the other day. She said that we know Jesus was made up because Nazareth didn't exist.
October 27, 2011 at 4:06 am
It is amazing to me that folks are willing to presume that life is a happy accident that serves no purpose beyond the breaths taken as we think and communicate about life while residing on a rock that rotates around a star at the precise distance needed to support life.
However, those who fail to consider the Bible as true, and fail to accept the Lordship of Christ while breathing and thinking here on earth, will have an eternity to consider their errors. Pascal's Wager may be simplistic, but to me it's something those who practice and preach atheism cannot ignore. If the Gospel is not true, and I believe, I've lost little if anything. If the Gospel is true, and I don't believe, I've lost everything.
If, as I believe, the Gospel is true, I've won everything: eternal life with Christ, freedom from the law of sin and death, abundant life on Earth…couldn't we all use a little hope these days?
October 27, 2011 at 4:22 am
When dealing with the veracity of the Gospels, I personally fall back on the idea that different areas of life require different types of proof. No one would attempt to solve an abstract mathematical question by doing an experiment, and no one would try to answer a biological question with a mathematical proof. Clearly, the way to approach a question depends on the nature of the question.
The question of whether the Gospels are accurate is a historical question (Specifically, one that deals with the veracity of historical records). Such questions are not answered with mathematical proofs or laboratory experiments; they are answered with a combination of background knowledge, archaeological evidence, and textual criticism.
These are the tools we must use to analyze the veracity of the Gospels. It is possible, strictly speaking, that the Gospels are a fabrication or that they developed like myths over time. In mathematics, "possible" almost always means "is". But that's not true in biology or chemistry, nor is it true in historical study. Thus, I think it is more relevant to compare the Gospels to known hero stories and known myths and to make conclusions from there.
For example, records about Alexander the Great did eventually deify him and mythologize his story. However, this development did not happen until at least 200 or 300 years after his death; the earlier records did not show such development.
The Gospels also show relatively few signs of mythological development, especially as compared to other literature of that time. (In fact, mythological development did eventually occur, in the Gnostic gospels. They were quite a bit more fanciful, but they came later and were largely rejected by the early church.)
It would also be expected, I think, that if that sort of mythologizing were possible, it would have happened multiple times. In other words, if the time and place were right to produce such a myth, it seems like many would be floating around. There certainly was no shortage of Zealots and other Messiah-candidates at that time.
Anyway, this was the line of thought that led me to accept the Gospels during my years of questioning. I think the question of whether the Gospels are reliable is a good one we all have to answer. This is just how I answered it. Hope it can be of some help to someone!
October 27, 2011 at 4:37 am
@ Eric Williams: I'm guessing that irony isn't Anonymous' strong suit … especially since s/he signed in as "Anonymous".
October 27, 2011 at 5:42 am
If anyone here can prove to me that Australia exists maybe I'll believe in kangaroos.
Of course I'm being silly but think about it. How do you prove that Australia is actually there? If you came across someone who was determined to disbelieve in the existence of Australia, such a person, bestowed of a reasonable intelligence, could put forward objections about lack of real proof, fakery, misinformation, and outright falsehoods that were at the very least feasible. "How do you really know the pictures from space aren't faked in a studio?"
None of us would believe them for a second of course because we know that the balance of evidence is against a massive conspiracy to invent Australia and hide its lack of existence. In any case, what would be the point?
Well, what would be the point in Peter and Paul inventing a faith that would get them killed? Or were they fictional characters too? Okay, what would be the point in inventing a whole raft of "fictional characters" who did not gain wealth or power but who were, for the most part, put to death for peacefully proclaiming their beliefs?
Even Dawkins isn't naive enough to doubt Jesus existed and he shouldn't claim anything about Jesus as a moral teacher unless he believes the accounts of His life. Well then, liar, lunatic or Lord? Lewis is absolutely correct.
Anyone who can't get to the point of treating the Bible as recorded history should also doubt every other history text they've ever read. Why? Because they weren't there for those events either and most of the time nor were the authors.
Come to that, why should such a person even believe the morning traffic report?
October 27, 2011 at 7:28 am
Rosencrantz: I don't believe in it anyway.
Guildenstern: Just a conspiracy of cartographers, then?
October 27, 2011 at 1:24 pm
Makes me confused
October 27, 2011 at 2:42 pm
Jesus instituted His church, the Catholic Church and consecrated the Apostles as the first bishops of His church. The Apostles are the brothers of Christ. The Pope is the Vicar of Christ. When Jesus rose to heaven He sent His church the Holy Spirit. In obedience to the bishops, the brothers of Christ, all men are members of Jesus’ church.
If Dawkins does not believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar and the Holy Eucharist, Dawkins must ask Jesus in the tabernacle to bring him into the Faith, as Faith is a gift from God which is to be requested. Our whole mission on earth is to follow Christ.
Unless Dawkins has indeed and in fact asked Jesus for the gift of Faith, Dawkins needs to shut his pie hole.
October 27, 2011 at 2:46 pm
Some people do not know how to post under their name as I myself do not know, so "anonymous" is not a sign of cowardice, but of ignorance or computer incompetence. as long as the truth gets out there. opps Mary De Voe
October 27, 2011 at 4:07 pm
Atheists are, I believe, indulging in pure solipsism. It is particularly hard for me to understand an atheist who has deep training in mathematics, physics, similar sciences — the incredible interlinked systems, the factors which are pervasive, all seem to argue heavily against any sort of chance creation (whatever such a thing might be.)
October 27, 2011 at 7:03 pm
Eejit, as we say…….that is, as some of us say, in Ireland.
October 28, 2011 at 12:39 am
Unfortunately, most atheists are ready to pass of the Gospels as "hero stories" without really knowing what those are. Scholarship in the area of ancient literature shows that the Gospels are *bios*, or biographies. They are not hero stories, and most of the miracle stories that the Gospel writers supposedly "borrowed" from other mythologies were written after Jesus lived, not the way around. In any case, if the Pharisees can be eyewitnesses to the truth and still not believe, it is also true that even with rock solid (get it?) proof, the Dawkinses of the world will not believe.
Note to Mr. Dawkins: Jesus *does* know what we know today. FTFY.
October 28, 2011 at 12:41 am
I think if Jesus knew what we know today (in terms of physics, biology, chemistry, etc -> I'm assuming this is what Dawkins meant) he would say, :Um, yes. I know that. Why, I helped make it!" You know… him being God and all…
October 28, 2011 at 8:26 pm
Considering Dawkins doesn't actually know what they knew then—actually, in terms of physics, he doesn't know what we know now—nor what bearing, if any, it has on belief in God, his opinions are not valid.
The only actual research papers he's ever published were in, for all intents and purposes, beekeeping. Werner Heisenberg he ain't.
Remember, Brights are a movement named on the same basis as People's Democratic Republics.
October 30, 2011 at 5:00 am
"However, I've always felt his trilemma had a fatal flaw. It assumes that what's written of Jesus in the Gospels is a reliable historical record of what He said and did. Obviously, those of us with faith believe the Gospels are trustworthy, but that can't be assumed for unbelievers. Before the liar/lunatic/lord trilemma can work, its hearers must trust the veridicality of the Gospels, and that's not trivial."
My answer to such a person would be: "You believe accounts that Jesus was a great moral teacher – where do those accounts come from? From the canonical Gospels. They're the only source we've got for this claim" (I've never heard anyone seriously use the Gnostic Gospels for this). "And where do his claims to God come from? The exact same Gospels. Why do you believe one claim of these books and not the other?"
The only way out of this, is to make like the Jesus Seminar, and vote all assertions of Christ's divinity off the island, claiming they were put in by the later Church. But this is just totally arbitrary. The moral teachings could have been put in by the later Church.
Many atheists go this route because they are hopeless to judge on the basis of real literary criticism. Or like Dawkins, just plain unbelievably dumb.