Last week was spring break at Southwestern Seminary where I teach. The seminary is located in Ft. Worth, about 200 miles north of Austin. As it is, in the middle of the break (last Wednesday), Richard Dawkins was going to be speaking in Austin. I therefore challenged my class to go listen to him and provide proof that they had actually been there (the preferred proof was to have him sign a copy of THE GOD DELUSION). The incentive to go was extra credit for the course. Six of my students went. I told them that they should greet Richard from me should they speak to him. One student got Dawkins’s signature, shook hands, and then greeted him from me. Another made the mistake of first greeting him from me and then trying to shake his hand — Dawkins refused. Below is a blog entry from one of my students about the event:
On Wednesday, a friend from Seminary and I drove down to University of Texas in Austin to see renowned atheist Richard Dawson speak. If you’re not familiar with Dawkins, he is a scientist who has now moved into the realm of theology, and has recently written a book called “The God Delusion” that has sold 1.5 million copies in the United States. While our original motivation was to get extra credit for Apologetics class, we were both interested to see what Dawkins would have to say.
Dawkins was speaking at 7PM, so we showed up at the auditorium at about 5:45PM, thinking: “How many people really want to see Richard Dawkins?” Boy, were we surprised! Several thousand people had already showed up at that time, and the line to the auditorium snaked on for miles. We estimated that over 3,000 people showed up … and the auditorium would only hold 1,200 people. At about 6:45, some university staff showed up to tell folks in line that if they did not already have a free ticket, then they would not be able to get in. So we went to the front of the line and bought some free tickets for the lecture from some members of the Longhorn Atheist club. We ran into several of our fellow class members, and they ended up paying to get into as well. So, ironically, the Christians had to pay to see the head atheist.
My synopsis of what Dawkins had to say follows the old joke about atheism:
Q: “What are the two central beliefs of an atheist?”
A: “1. There is no God; and, 2. I really hate God.”
As Dawkins is more renowned for being a scientist than a philosopher, I kept waiting for him to have something scientifically profound to say … and I kept waiting. I was stunned that there was exactly ZERO scientific content to what Dawkins had to say. Opening up, he stated that there are two ways atheists can deal with Christianity: be conciliatory or be ridiculing. And ridicule he did. Dawkins essentially went on a 45 minute rant about why he hates Christianity. I won’t go over every point Dawkins made (because there weren’t many anyway), but here’s a couple bigger ones: