atheism

TruthTalks Sermons

TruthTalks: Sermon on Atheism

Atheists claim to have no belief in the existence of any gods. Christians claim to believe in God, but what should we call those who believe in God yet live as if He doesn’t exist?

Here is a sermon I preached a few weeks ago, based on Hebrews 11:6 and developing this very theme.

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Next week I will be resuming the series on ‘The Church Jesus Would Attend’ and the subject will be ‘An Attitude of Faith’. The TruthTalks (Podcasts) will restart the week after next.

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The Dawkins Delusion

 

The word ‘new’ is being attached to many philosophies and movements nowadays. One of the newest News is a militant form of atheism promoted by people such as Richard Dawkins.

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I have written this short article to provide some background reading into one of the better known books coming out of the New Atheist camp; ‘The God Delusion’ by Richard Dawkins.

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I am not an apologist; and I make no apology for this. An apologist is a person who offers an argument in defence of something, and in theological circles that ‘something’ is the Christian Faith. I do not believe that God needs defending: the very idea is as absurd as an ant attempting to justify to another insect that Richard Dawkins exists (comparison intended). And that brings me to the subject of this post.

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A short while ago I chanced upon a televised interview of Professor Dawkins. I knew of him but hadn’t taken time to read his books, so I stayed tuned and listened for a while. A number of things struck me but I have already mentioned these in a sermon I preached that same week, so I will only cite two here – his very narrow world-view and his obvious contempt for those who include a spiritual dimension to their concept of reality.

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The Dawkins world-view has no room for anything beyond what can be scientifically observed and quantified. I, on the other hand, believe in a spiritual realm on a number of grounds. I have experienced it, it makes sense to me, the bible describes it, and Jesus spoke much about it. Of course folk like Dawkins regard the bible as a collection of ancient myths and theologians as benighted souls who peddle these myths. This is what he says; ‘I have listened to theologians, read them, debated against them. I have never heard any of them ever say anything of the smallest use, anything that was not either platitudinously obvious or downright false’. He has indeed debated with some church men but seems to carefully avoid those who could easily refute his views. Dr William Lane Craig is a highly trained and articulate theologian who has repeatedly, but unsuccessfully, attempted to engage Dawkins. In his justification, ‘Why I refuse to debate with William Lane Craig’ Dawkins writes; ‘Don’t feel embarrassed if you’ve never heard of William Lane Craig. He parades himself as a philosopher, but none of the professors of philosophy whom I consulted had heard his name either. Perhaps he is a “theologian”’. Note particularly the dismissive use of inverted commas.

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For interest I looked up the Wikipedia entries for both Dawkins and Lane Craig. The article on Dawkins contains a mere 6 lines describing his education. Lane Craig on the other hand… well see for yourself – I know whose CV impresses me the most: No wonder Dawkins does not want to debate him!

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Here is Lane Craig’s evaluation of Dawkins’ logical argument – as they say in my part of the world, “Ag shame”. By the way, I borrowed the title of this post from this particular article although I doubt if Lane Craig is the only one to use the catchy description of Dawkins Think.

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As one of the despised theologian class I of course heartily agree with Lane Craig, but I chose rather to consult some non-Christian critics in order to get a non-spiritual view of the Dawkins Delusion. Robert Stewart, writing in the Journal of Evolutionary Philosophy, produced a detailed summary and review of Dawkins’ book ‘The God Delusion’. In this paper Stewart points out that Dawkins claims that he can prove that the probability of God’s existence is almost zero. He goes on to mention that Dawkins based the entire credibility of his book on his ‘proof’ of God’s non-existence, but that the only proof that he delivered was a rhetorical hypothesis… Again, “Ag shame”.

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I went one step further and downloaded a Kindle book titled ‘Illogical Atheism’ by a doctor of Laws writing under the name of Bo Jinn. The book’s title speaks for itself but just to clarify one reviewer wrote; ‘In his book Illogical Atheism, Bo Jinn incisively lays down the failure of atheism to provide a grounding for reason’.

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I can’t do better to end this short article than by quoting Lane Craig’s conclusion to one of his articles on the same subject ‘Several years ago my atheist colleague Quentin Smith unceremoniously crowned Stephen Hawking’s argument against God in A Brief History of Time as “the worst atheistic argument in the history of Western thought.” With the advent of The God Delusion the time has come, I think, to relieve Hawking of this weighty crown and to recognize Richard Dawkins’ accession to the throne’.

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About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.