A Tale of Two Atheists
By ALBERT MOHLER - PRESIDENT OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY - CROSSWALK.COM
Added: Mon, 14 Sep 2009 23:00:00 UTC
The Wall Street Journal may be an unusual venue for theological debate, but this past weekend's edition featured just that -- a theological debate of sorts. The "of sorts" is a necessary qualifier in this instance, because The Wall Street Journal's debate was not, as advertised, a debate between an atheist and a believer. Instead, it was a debate between two different species of atheists.
The paper's "Weekend Journal" section front page for the September 12-13, 2009 edition featured articles by Richard Dawkins and Karen Armstrong set in opposing columns. The paper headlined the feature as "Man vs. God: Two Prominent Thinkers Debate Evolution, Science, and the Role of Religion." Well, the feature at least looked interesting.
Dawkins, after all, is probably the world's most famous atheist. At the same time (and not coincidentally, he would insist) he is also the world's foremost defender of Darwin and evolutionary theory. Karen Armstrong is a popularizer of works on world religion. She takes a basically benign view of religion, arguing that the different religions of the world are avenues toward the same quest for meaning. A former nun, she has written several books on themes and figures related to Islam, and she is a critic of what she terms "fundamentalist" religion. She is a critic of "fundamentalism" on whom the media can depend for comment.
The paper presented the articles by Dawkins and Armstrong in an interesting format. The article by Dawkins is headlined, "Evolution Leaves God with Nothing to Do." Armstrong's essay is headlined, "We Need to Grasp the Wonder of Our Existence."
Predictably, Dawkins begins his article with Charles Darwin and the theory of evolution. Evolution, Dawkins claims, has simply displaced God. "Evolution is the universe's greatest work. Evolution is the creator of life, and life is arguably the most surprising and most beautiful production that the laws of physics have ever generated," he asserts. Quoting a T-shirt, Dawkins insists that evolution "is the greatest show on earth, the only game in town."
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