Michael Brown wrote an article for the Christian Post about Richard Dawkins, the world’s most famous atheist.  The article, titled ‘Muslim Bashing Is Different Than Christian Bashing’ describes Dawkin’s current dilemma.  He makes a lot of money bashing God, the Bible and all things Christian but recently he found himself in quicksand of his own making.  Apparently it is just fine for Richard Dawkins to bash Christians on a regular basis, but he should never cross the line and include the Muslim population with his diatribes.  Read what Dawkins said and see what you think.  

Dawkins tweeted this statement to his 777,000 followers: “All the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge.  They did great things in the Middle Ages, though.”  Apparently Dawkins received a flood of criticism from his followers for having slandered the Muslims.  JihadWatch.org made this comment: “Richard Dawkins can criticize Christianity all he wants, but when he dares simply to note an intriguing fact about Muslims and Islam, he incurs the wrath of the gods of political correctness.”

Compare that statement about the Muslim believers to this statement about God from Richard Dawkins’ book, “The God Delusion”:”The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”  When someone asked Dawkins if he would say the same thing about the God of the Koran he responded, “Well, um, the God of the Koran I don’t know so much about.”  That is obvious.  The Muslim population believes the God of the Old Testament is the God they worship.

Why is Richard Dawkins afraid to offend Muslims but not Christians?  Why, as I mentioned in a recent blog post, are people able to use the name of Jesus as a curse but not the name of Muhammed?  When did people stop thinking of God with reverent awe and respect?  My sad answer is this: probably about the same time I, and my fellow Christians, stopped teaching on the subject.  

Remember Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar?  They were very popular and very much a statement on the church of the 70’s.  Those two plays became popular during the same era that the church was being criticized for false piety and irrelevance.  I still remember the great debate over the King James version of the Bible -vs- The Living Bible during the 70’s.  Granted, the Living Bible is a paraphrase and not a translation so there were some valid concerns.  I wish concerns had been the only words offered – as opposed to criticism.  I was a high school student when I read the book of John from the Living Bible.  For the first time I understood what i was reading about the life of Christ.  The valid concerns about a paraphrase eventually led to the New International Version. That Bible was translated from the oldest original texts by some of the greatest theologians on each book, using language for contemporary readers.  Those theologians were careful to keep the translation free from denominational bias and closer to the direct meaning of the original texts.  Nevertheless, many still felt like the King James Bible was the only Bible they should use.  Our confusion and “emotions” have contributed to the world’s views of our faith.  

From the 70’s forward, the church has tried to become more relevant to the culture.  The music changed, the wardrobe changed, and then just about everything else changed too – including the number of people that were coming to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.  Christianity grew quieter, less dogmatic, more accepting and more tolerant – of everyone but each other.  And the American church grew smaller and smaller in its impact.  Could it be that our antagonism toward one another has encouraged others, like Richard Dawkins, to feel the freedom to be critical as well?

This is the verse that comes to mind: “We pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:9-10).  I believe that if we as Christians follow Paul’s admonition, we will see a lot less “bashing” in the future.  If we treat others well, if we treat each other well, people will grow in their knowledge of God.  And people who truly know God, will honor and revere him.  If Christians will live biblically it will be more difficult for Richard Dawkins to make a lot of money in the future.  I think God would be pleased with that as well.

A line from an old hymn says, “Stand up, stand up for Jesus ye soldiers of the cross.  Lift high his royal banner, it must not suffer loss.”  That’s not a bad “theme” song for all of us today!

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