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E-mail To The Editor: Richard Dawkins
By : Don Smallbone (Austral CofC)
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Over the last two Sundays the ABC’s COMPASS program has featured Professor Richard Dawkins, the world renown Atheist who appears to be a modern day ‘evangelist’ advocating passionately against belief in God - author of the best selling book opposing religion of any form as The Root Of All Evil. Last Sunday, he set out to painstakingly denounce the virus of faith, arguing against the preconditioning of children’s minds so that their belief systems were constrained within the patterns of their parents and the cultural prejudices of their sometimes almost cult like communities. Sadly, his point is valid in many instances.

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Comments / Feedback
Harold Hayward
The book on which the Dawkin’s program was based has been on the top of the best selling lists for many months and I’m pleased that someone has at last attempted a critique. Thank you, Don.
Of course, I agree with Don but faith assertions will not convince unbelievers. Stressing the ignorance of Dawkins does not remove the accusations of apparent cruelty and vindictiveness that secularists will see in the Old Testament. We need a better apologetic.

In Churches of Christ we have generally lost sight of the hermeneutic that once lay at the centre of our movement i.e. the witness of the New Testament to the truth about God and his Son and the importance of using this revelation to understand ands interpret what preceded it. The New Testament is probably more reliable than other document that has come to us from the ancient world.

Having established the credibility of the New Testament, we are then in a position to mount an argument. We need to point out that all disciplines need categories and systems of interpretation.
Science has the scientific method without which our knowledge of the natural world would be limited. Art and literature have their canons of interpretation. Scientific method does not help us to appreciate good art or literature. Christianity as a discipline is no different, and one must follow its canons of interpretation if one is to understand it.

These canons of interpretation are summarised in a number of places in the New Testament but my favourite is Hebrews 11:6 Anyone who comes to him (God) must believe that he exists and rewards those who earnestly seek Him. Those who sincerely seek the truth will find it.

The great irony of Dawkins is that he is as fundamentalist is his own beliefs ( which is what they are) as the fundamentalism he attacks.
John Somerville
I confer with Howard and could suggest a number of excellent books including those by Stephen Rose.

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