Dawkins challenge to theistic evolutionists. In his book The Greatest Show on Earth , (Bantam Press, 2009, pp7-8) Richard Dawkins issues this rebuke to church leaders and theologians who claim to believe in both evolution and the Scriptures:
“To return to the enlightened bishops and theologians, it would be nice if they’d put a bit more effort into combating the anti-scientific nonsense that they deplore. All too many preachers, while agreeing that evolution is true and Adam and Eve never existed, will then blithely go into the pulpit and make some moral or theological point about Adam and Eve in their sermons without once mentioning that, of course, Adam and Eve never actually existed! If challenged, they will protest that they intended a purely ‘symbolic’ meaning, perhaps something to do with ‘original sin’, or the virtues of innocence. They may add witheringly that, obviously, nobody would be so foolish as to take their words literally. But do their congregations know that? How is the person in the pew, or on the prayer-mat, supposed to know which bits of scripture to take literally, which symbolically? Is it really so easy for an uneducated churchgoer to guess? In all too many cases the answer is clearly no, and anybody could be forgiven for feeling confused. If you don’t believe me, look at the Appendix.
Think about it, Bishop. Be careful, Vicar. You are playing with dynamite, fooling around with a misunderstanding that’s waiting to happen – one might even say almost bound to happen if not forestalled. Shouldn’t you take greater care, when speaking in public, to let your yea be yea and your nay be nay? Lest ye fall into condemnation, shouldn’t you be going out of your way to counter that already extremely widespread popular misunderstanding and lend active and enthusiastic support to scientists and science teachers?”
Editorial Comment: Richard Dawkins is far more consistent in his beliefs than church leaders who claim to believe the Bible and evolution, especially those who claim to be evangelicals. Dawkins knows that anyone who claims the story of Adam and Eve is just symbolic you have to ask the question: symbolic of what? It can’t be evolution, because in the evolutionary story there is no original good world, no original disobedience, and no curse of physical death as judgement. According to evolution death is part of the process that produced man. Dawkins, like his idol Darwin, knows that if evolution is true then Genesis is not symbolic – it is false! Church leaders who teach evolution is true yet want to cling to the moral points of Adam and Eve, are at best fools, and at worst deceivers.
Dawkins’ idol Charles Darwin, who was trained in Theology, made this same point in his autobiography, when he wrote: “Whilst on board the Beagle I was quite orthodox, and I remember being heartily laughed at by several of the officers (though themselves orthodox) for quoting the Bible as an unanswerable authority on some point of morality. I suppose it was the novelty of the argument that amused them. But I had gradually come, by this time, to see that the Old Testament from its manifestly false history of the world, with the Tower of Babel, the rainbow as a sign, etc., etc., and from its attributing to God the feelings of a revengeful tyrant, was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos, (sic) or the beliefs of any barbarian.”
Nora Barlow, ed. The autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809-1882: with original omissions restored . New York, W.W. Norton, 1969, p85)
(Ref. theistic evolution, atheism, Darwinism)
Evidence News, 28 April 2010