Amen, Richard Dawkins!

I have better things to do than blog about this, but I can't resist a comment or two about Richard Dawkins' lecture the other night, "The Purpose of Purpose". Speaking to a not quite full house at the Holland, Dawkins began his presentation with a generous helping of ridicule for Ben Stein and stirring applause for the recent reversal of the ban on stem-cell research.

As a non-believer in Dawkins and his gospel, I couldn't help but feel I was in attendance at a worship service. Dawkins himself, the great high-priest of his own brand of atheistic naturalism. The crowd, an eager choir of God-denying naturalists. I had actually feared worse. Some intricate argument demonstrating an evolutionary explanation of purpose... or perhaps a well crafted refutation of the existence of God. But I found myself ... "in church" instead. With Dawkins working his audience like a pastor preaching to his choir.

As an outreach coordinator of an evangelical church, I couldn't help but empathize with non-believers who attend churches and find themselves in an uncomfortable minority. "If this is all the better we are at actually engaging people's minds and bringing change, we'd better hang it up."

Dawkins scored his cheap laughter from people eager to mimic his views. His best response to Ben Stein's embarrassing Expelled, was a tacky sexual joke that had nothing to do with academic freedom. In essence, Dawkins told the choir that since naturalism has won the power struggle in the academy, no sound reply needs to be given those who question evolution. The boast that "evidence is everywhere proving evolution a fact" was followed by absolutely no argument showing that the very same evidence shouldn't point equally well to a Creator. As a preacher of naturalism, Dawkins is at the top of the charts - not needing to answer to anyone. So why try...as long as your audience is nothing more than a choir who's paid you to preach what they want to hear.

I felt sorry for Richard Dawkins. In awe of his incredible gifts - yes. Grateful for his positive contributions to science - yes. But sadly sorry for his inability to tell his audience anything new. Like a preacher who never feels the need to explain things to non-believers, Dawkins occupied our time with eloquently circular verbiage and power-point slides. The choir seemed happy to do little more than have him comfort them with their familiar doctrines and ridicule their shared enemies! Probably exactly what Mr. Holland paid him to do.

Christians... let's do better at opening and changing minds and stop preaching to our choirs! Churches, pay your pastors to lead you into engagement with the world. Win people with the love and truth of Jesus. That's our mission!