The question immediately arises: is he right, or is he holding a responsibly justified belief even were it in error?
A glance at the Amazon page for the book gives the following summary:
>>What words come to mind when we think of God? Merciful? Just? Compassionate? In fact, the Bible lays out God’s primary qualities clearly: jealous, petty, unforgiving, bloodthirsty, vindictive—and worse! Originally conceived as a joint presentation between influential thinker and bestselling author Richard Dawkins and former evangelical preacher Dan Barker, this unique book provides an investigation into what may be the most unpleasant character in all fiction . . . [NB: here, here, here, here, here, here & here as well as here may be helpful for those struggling with questions and concerns, as a starter.]>>
It would seem here — simply on the strength of the blurb — that, even though this book (released Feb 2) is currently no 1 in Amazon’s Religious Philosophy listing, on its face as presented it fails the basics of both theology and philosophy.
Indeed, from the just quoted and the source reference in Dawkins’ the God Delusion:
. . . it seems to be attempting well-poisoning as dismissal on a poisoned strawman caricature set alight with incendiary rhetoric fuelled by obvious resentment of God as just judge and loving creator who redeems by the self sacrifice of the incarnate Son.
Not to mention, we need to ponder the worldview foundations issue — cf. here on, esp. here on as well as here at UD — that the ontology of a credibly contingent cosmos calls for necessary root being, and that the nature of our own experience of ourselves calls for a foundation of moral government which can only be found at the root level of reality.
Thence, we find the issue that the only serious candidate — after centuries of debates — is the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of respect, loyalty and the reasonable and responsible service of doing the good in accord with our nature and that of those who are of like nature as ourselves.
Where, of course, we see real primary characteristics here.
Not to more than mention that, as a primary, root characteristic of the God of ethical theism (and of Biblical theism . . . I AM THAT I AM) God is the necessary root being of reality and thus eternal. Once a serious candidate necessary being is on the table, it is either actual as foundational to a world existing, or else there is an impossibility of being similar to what blocks a square circle from existing.
One finds it hard not to conclude on the likes of the above remarks, that clever rhetorical quips about God as being a feature of fiction are leading the New Atheists to dodge a serious worldviews warrant issue.
Not a good sign.
As further food for thought, let us ponder the parable of Plato’s Cave and Jesus’ rejoinder in the Sermon on the Mount, in the onward context of what matches we may be playing with should evolutionary materialist atheism prevail in our civilisation and move the Overton Window in the interests of whatever agendas are lurking in the shadow shows:
By contrast with Barker and Dawkins, let me here present what Locke — in laying the ideas foundation for modern liberty and democratic self government — cited from “the judicious [Anglican Canon Richard] Hooker” in his 2nd Treatise on Civil Gov’t, Ch 2 Sec. 5:
>>. . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature [–> which in the relevant world of ideas ties back to our common creation in God’s image, by whatever means], as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [Eccl. Polity,preface, Bk I, “ch.” 8, p.80, cf. here. Emphasis added.]>>
Going beyond, are we in fact only seeing the working out of what the Apostle Paul pointed to in Eph 4:
>>Eph 4:17 So this I say, and solemnly affirm together with the Lord [as in His presence], that you must no longer live as the [unbelieving] Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds [and in the foolishness and emptiness of their souls], 18 for their [moral] understanding is darkened and their reasoning is clouded; [they are] alienated and self-banished from the life of God [with no share in it; this is] because of the [willful] ignorance and spiritual blindness that is [deep-seated] within them, because of the hardness and insensitivity of their heart.
19 And they, [the ungodly in their spiritual apathy], having become callous and unfeeling, have given themselves over [as prey] to unbridled sensuality, eagerly craving the practice of every kind of impurity [that their desires may demand].
20 But you did not learn Christ in this way! 21 If in fact you have [really] heard Him and have been taught by Him, just as truth is in Jesus [revealed in His life and personified in Him], 22 that, regarding your previous way of life, you put off your old self [completely discard your former nature], which is being corrupted through deceitful desires, 23 and be continually renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh, untarnished mental and spiritual attitude], 24 and put on the new self [the regenerated and renewed nature], created in God’s image, [godlike] in the righteousness and holiness of the truth [living in a way that expresses to God your gratitude for your salvation].
25 Therefore, rejecting all falsehood [whether lying, defrauding, telling half-truths, spreading rumors, any such as these], speak truth each one with his neighbor, for we are all parts of one another [and we are all parts of the body of Christ].
26 Be angry [at sin—at immorality, at injustice, at ungodly behavior], yet do not sin; do not let your anger [cause you shame, nor allow it to] last until the sun goes down.
27 And do not give the devil an opportunity [to lead you into sin by holding a grudge, or nurturing anger, or harboring resentment, or cultivating bitterness] . . . [AMP] >>
. . . and in Rom 1:
>Rom 1:18 For [God does not overlook sin and] the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who in their wickedness suppress and stifle the truth, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them [in their inner consciousness], for God made it evident to them.
20 For ever since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through His workmanship [all His creation, the wonderful things that He has made], so that they [who fail to believe and trust in Him] are without excuse and without defense.
21 For even though [d]they knew God [as the Creator], they did not [e]honor Him as God or give thanks [for His wondrous creation]. On the contrary, they became worthless in their thinking [godless, with pointless reasonings, and silly speculations], and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory and majesty and excellence of the immortal God for [f]an image [worthless idols] in the shape of mortal man and birds and four-footed animals and reptiles.
[–> Then, as idolatrous images in temples, now perhaps as claimed scientific reconstructions embedded in museums, texts, books, images on TV and in multimedia files etc and used to create the rhetorical impression of overwhelming scientific support for an evolutionary materialistic worldview. But in fact such a worldview is inevitably self-referentially incoherent, self-falsifying and collapses of its own weight.]
24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their own hearts to [sexual] impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them [abandoning them to the degrading power of sin], 25 because [by choice] they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! . . . .
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God or consider Him worth knowing [as their Creator], God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do things which are improper and repulsive, 29 until they were filled (permeated, saturated) with every kind of unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice and mean-spiritedness. They are gossips [spreading rumors], 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors [of new forms] of evil, disobedient and disrespectful to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful [without pity]. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree and His judgment, that those who do such things deserve death, yet they not only do them, but they even [enthusiastically] approve and tolerate others who practice them. [AMP] >>
I am inclined to think so and to warn on the implications of playing with the matches of amorality and resentful rage towards the justice of God.
But the pros and cons will have to be discussed, so let us proceed to ponder the balance of issues, as a part of the wider context of worldview and life/cultural agenda issues relevant to UD, its readers and its objectors. END
PS: John Lennox gives food for thought for New Atheists:
PPS: U/D Feb 14, I suggest that comment 16 be viewed as a response to some early comments.