Richard Dawkins: 'Somebody as intelligent as Jesus would have been an atheist'

In the latest in John Harris's National Conversations series of interviews, Richard Dawkins is invited to defend his atheism. What about the comfort, communi...

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Comment by Trevor on October 28, 2011 at 10:19am

Someone as intelligent as Dawkins should be a theist ;-)

Comment by Dave Gibbs on October 28, 2011 at 4:58pm

Intelligent and educated are two different things, Richie. The authors of Mathew and the other synoptic gospels often misquoted, mistranslated, and miss-attributed Hebrew scriptures and middle east history. If they were not even familiar with their own religious and ethnic background, how can their version of Yeshua be expected to know the things which would drive him to atheism when he was born and raised among the Jews?

Comment by Dustin on October 28, 2011 at 10:58pm

Oh no, he said 'gift of life' ... I can imagine the absurdity of religious folks going ... 'But, but , but ... that means there is a GIFT GIVER!'

Comment by Cathy Cooper on October 29, 2011 at 11:06am

Dawkins--is not a theologian, and his writings etc. reflect on his lack of knowledge in this area, and this is why he should not be regarded as an "expert" in anything to do with religion.  I was quite disappointed with is "excuse" as to why he refused to debat WL Craig for instance.  He said it was because Craig supported the slaughter of the Canaanites.  But Dawkins has debated Archbishops who must also support the slaughter of the Canaanites--or they would be invalidating the authority of the bible--so this excuse does not wash.


Besides that, who is to say that Jesus even existed when there is no evidence of it except for what is written in the bible.  Even the Romans, who kept meticulous records, have no records of him, and if Jesus were all the bible claims him to be, I am sure the Romans would have noticed....

Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on October 29, 2011 at 3:03pm

@Trevor - why would you state that? Have you got some evidence to offer as to why he should believe or is that just your subjective opinion like your faith in Allah? BTW belief in gods without evidence is not really related to levels of intelligence.

Comment by John Kelly on October 29, 2011 at 3:53pm

I disagree with the Dawkins quote, because it presents and I don't know how to word this right, but it is an inductive line of reasoning presented as deductive.  Plus it is invalidated by the existence of Collins a Christian friend of Hitchens.

Cathy, the existence of Jesus is more likely than not.  One example is that Jesus is presented as being baptized by John the baptist.  That looks most like as if a Christian author is explaining away why Jesus had to play a subservient role to John the Baptist.  It is much like the royal apologia of David usurper to the throne of Saul, who has a lengthy text about how good of buddies he was with the heir apparent so he clearly could not have had him killed.  There are textual indicators like this baptism passage that lead scholars to question Christ mythers.  What most scholars do not believe, however is that any author of the gospels was an eyewitness.  Even Raymond Brown who was the president of the SBL and appointed by the Pope to a Church commission on biblical scholarship stated as much.

Comment by Trevor on October 29, 2011 at 5:13pm



Grow a sense of humor man! Obviously I believe there are intelligent theists and athiests.  We may be on other sides of the fence, but is a little fun out of the question now and then?!


As humor is wasted, then evidentially what Craig presents has gone unanswered by your best thinkers (kalum cosmological argument etc).  Which of course is why we all know Dawkins never turned up.  I went along though as I live fairly close and WLC would have definitely preferred Dawkins to have turned up as 3 Oxford academics took his place in opposing Craig, but of course the truth was self evident, and scientifically shown to be so.


I really am gaining a distaste for this silly caricature that theists lack any evidence or arguments and are just silly.  Its not intellectually honest.  You may not agree with or like the theist position, but atleast be honest about it.  Atleast the British press (like the Telegraph) see through it, and Dawkins silly excuses.  Come on guys, you do yourself a disservice to join Dawkins & co's silly rhetoric.  Your conversations where you imagine that you hold some special knowledge whether its litery criticism or anything else, that christians are unaware of and ignore because its deadly to their faith, is just a juvenile matrix complex.  Lets be adults hey.

Comment by John Kelly on October 29, 2011 at 5:43pm

The problem is Trevor is that Kalaam is not enough to hang your hat on.  Yeah, Kalaam does go to the root of the problem that in a finite world, everything has a cause.  However, everything else doesn't fit with Kalaam in showing that it is reasonable to believe in God.  You need something more, and the only thing out there is Kalaam.  Kalaam can give you hope, but not even that due to all the other inconsistencies in the world and the universe.

Comment by Trevor on October 29, 2011 at 6:12pm

Hi Joseph


I am genuinely hartened that humor is not completely lost here! ;-)


I guess the first thing I would say is that my goal is not to make or convince you to believe.  My goal, I guess is a lot more modest.  I would be happy with the cessation of caricatures, stereo types and replace them with some friendly engagement.  However, I am thinking about starting a thread on the US experience of christianity, as someone here said that athiests are persecuted in the US.  I live in the UK and have no idea what that means, but if it were true on some significant level then it would explain the hostility I see here.  That would be a genuine enquiry.


To your question.  I think God is demonstratably supernatural.  As time, space and matter (the natural world) all began at the big bang, then the cause of the universe must, by definition, be super - above nature, natural.  i.e outside of time and space and also immaterial - as things could not exist prior to themselves.


In terms of the bridge between the natural and supernatural realm, the answer, which you will not like or accept is the human soul.  We are made in the image of God, God is a spirit and there is a part of us that is spirit too, the part that lives on after death. 


Of course, you say thats what I would have to prove to you, which at this point of our scientific development I cannot do.  We do not yet have the aparatus for measuring or testing the logical first cause of the universe as its timeless, spaceless and immaterial - it has to be.  In the same way we cannot yet measure the soul.  May be it will be the next evolution in the scientific disciplines. 


Perhaps dark energy is illustrative.  We know its there because of its effects but we don't yet have the scientific concepts or language to engage with it.  Of course athiests will say, yes but we cannot see the effects of God, well at minimum the time, space, material universe we see is the effect, which again, by definition must have a non time - space, immaterial cause.  Thats boiling it down to minimums.


Christians, and there are rather a lot of us, would claim that we do experience God, which is the effect of having a soul.  Can't wait for science to catch up!





Comment by John Kelly on October 29, 2011 at 6:19pm

Trevor, in short what I believe what Joseph was saying was that God must be supernatural, and it follows that in order to believe in God, one must know that a supernatural exists in the first place, and he finds it impossible to get to that notion.  He could use Kalaam, but kalaam doesn't say "therefore there must be a supernatural." It says "it is possible there is a supernatural".  But then we go back to my earlier post about Kalaam.


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