Summary: Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist and writer, has become the most well-known voice and public figure of the New Atheists. most publicly associated with this New Atheism, a kind of full frontal assault on religion and the supernatural in general.....
Out of the carnage of 9/11 arose a phenomenon known as the New Atheists. Enraged by the mass murder of the terror attack—all done in the name of God—these New Atheists declared intellectual war on all theistic faith and assumptions. For them, religion itself was “the great scourge” of human life, an irrational and dangerous force, and the sooner humanity shed it the better.
Of course, many, if not most, religious people around the world were as appalled by the 9/11 attacks as the atheists and condemned them just as severely. Most people who believe in God would never have done such a thing, especially in God’s name. Thus, attacking all religious faith because of 9/11 is equivalent to condemning all atheists because of the crimes done in Joseph Stalin’s atheistic Soviet Union.
Nevertheless, this hasn’t stopped the New Atheists. Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, the late Christopher Hitchens, and Richard Dawkins have been the names most publicly associated with this New Atheism, a kind of full frontal assault on religion and the supernatural in general. “I am not attacking any particular version of God,” wrote Richard Dawkins, “I am attacking God, all gods, anything and everything supernatural, whenever or wherever they have been or will be invented.”
Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist and writer, has become the most well-known voice and public figure of the New Atheists. He’s the author of numerous books including The God Delusion, from which the above quote was taken, and which has become an international bestseller. It’s a must-read for atheists today.
Nothing is really new or innovative about Richard Dawkins’s book. It reiterates the same arguments that have been used for centuries. Dawkins simply puts them in a contemporary setting. For instance, things that religious people have sometimes said or done can make faith an easy target for critics. Dawkins used one example from the attempt to kill Pope John Paul II in 1981. The pope credited the intervention of Our Lady of Fatima for saving his life from an assassin, saying that a “maternal hand” had guided the bullet. “One cannot help wondering,” Richard Dawkins mused, “why she didn’t guide it to miss him altogether.” Though this account does raise fair questions about belief in saints, it adds nothing relevant to the debate over God’s existence.
The design argument
Dawkins spends part of his book on the various arguments for the existence of God and why, in his estimation, none work. One of the most powerful arguments in favor of God’s existence is the design that’s evident in nature. As we look around at the world, we see both stunning beauty and incredible complexity in even the simplest forms of life, and it’s certainly logical to conclude that they were designed. Everything, from the dazzling complexity of a fish cell to the amazing function of the human heart and brain, cries out, Design!
And design, of course, implies a Designer. The ancient sage said as much: “But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; and the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you; and the fish of the sea will explain to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this, in whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind?” (Job 12:7–10, NKJV).
A fervent evolutionist, Dawkins argues that the question of design has been rendered moot, because Darwin’s theory of evolution explains it all without the need of God. Things that look designed, Dawkins assures us, really aren’t. “We can now safely say,” he wrote, “that the illusion of design in living creatures really is just that—an illusion.” The problem is that Dawkins presents us with that conclusion simply as his opinion, his belief.
Who made God?
Though many scientists are not as dogmatic as Dawkins about just how well the Darwinian theory actually explains design and the beauty behind it, Dawkins finally gets to one of his chief arguments behind the notion that God is a delusion. “A designer God,” he asserts, “cannot be used to explain organized complexity, because any God capable of designing anything would have to be complex enough to demand the same kind of explanation in his own right.”
In other words, if something is so complicated that only a conscious designer could explain it, then obviously God—who theists believe created the world and all that’s in it—must be very complicated as well. Thus, for the argument from design to be consistent, something as complicated as God Himself also needed a designer.
In short, Dawkins’s argument can be boiled down to one question: Who made God?
But that argument misses the whole point. An eternal God, by definition, doesn’t have a Creator. He is the Creator. Nothing created Him because He has always existed. Thus the question, “Who created the eternally existing Creator?” is like asking what’s north of the North Pole. An eternally existing Creator was never created; He always was.