Dawkins Converts Corner

Richard Dawkins has a place on his website called Converts Corner. He states:

Please write in to Converts’ Corner if you have lost your religion (or have been encouraged to come out of the closet) as a result of reading The God Delusion or other Dawkins books.

If you read through the stories it seems there is an underlying common theme. People aren’t actually looking for a reason to believe in God, but for reason not to. If someone is buying a book that seeks to establish and encourage atheism to help convince themselves further, I propose they are already there and are merely strengthening their reasons not to believe. I don’t know that I’ll ever understand the desire to convince someone to not believe in what they don’t believe exists.

If one is truly struggling with their faith as a Christian they should seek counsel ultimately from their pastor(s) not from anti-Christian literature. Now, it may help if that pastor would go over your doubts with you in light of the anti-Christian literature. This gets back to where people really are in their beliefs about God. It’s about loving God not just doing pious activities. If you are loving God then turn to Him.

Let me give an analogy using marriage. If I were struggling with my wife and my claim was that I truly want to be with her I would start with her. I would not seek the company of other women in order to evaluate my marriage. I cannot imagine going to my wife and saying, “Honey, I’ve been struggling with our marriage so I decided to have some private meetings with woman a, b & c. And they’ve convinced me that I should be with them.” This makes no sense in this marriage analogy nor in any relationship. How much less sense does it make in light of our standing with Jesus Christ?

Again, this points to seeking to validate not believing. No matter what answer given to the convinced unbeliever it may not be good enough. It’s not that Christians don’t have answers. It’s that we don’t have the answers they want.

A better starting point for the Christian is the father in Mark 9 who said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”

Mark

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in Church Issues,Culture,Evangelism,theology

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Andres April 24, 2008 at 12:32 pm

Great analogy!!!

2 Wat July 29, 2011 at 3:43 pm

“People aren’t actually looking for a reason to believe in God, but for reason not to.”

That’s not the impression I get at all. Most of them look like they were looking for truthful answers to important questions. Some of them expected their faith to be reinforced and others expected it to be challenged and others were simply curious. There’s a much, much wider variety than you suggest.

“If one is truly struggling with their faith as a Christian they should seek counsel ultimately from their pastor(s) not from anti-Christian literature.”

That’s an excellent way of maintaining your faith, but it’s not a good way of finding out whether or not your faith is based on assumptions that are true. To find out whether or not something is true, it makes the most sense to look at all the different perspectives on an issue. I’m an Atheist, but I make sure to routinely talk to and read literature by committed believers for exactly this reason. If I were to only ever read things by other Atheists, it would be an excellent way of reinforcing my positions on related issues, but it would be a terrible way of knowing whether or not my positions reflected reality.

3 Mark July 30, 2011 at 9:43 am

Wat,

Dawkins was asking people to share their loss or lack of faith. He was asking them for a celebration of such a lack. There is a reason I said folks there weren’t looking for reasons to believe.

As for the second quote you cited, my position for a professing Christian to seek pastoral counsel is no more an excellent way of one maintaining their faith than of atheists finding a place to maintain their unbelief.

4 Wat July 30, 2011 at 11:05 am

“If someone is buying a book that seeks to establish and encourage atheism to help convince themselves further, I propose they are already there and are merely strengthening their reasons not to believe.”

This seems quite clearly to be talking about reading books like The God Delusion, not visiting the Converts’ Corner.

“As for the second quote you cited, my position for a professing Christian to seek pastoral counsel is no more an excellent way of one maintaining their faith than of atheists finding a place to maintain their unbelief.”

Agreed. So in both cases, the most important thing to do if someone is having doubts about either is to talk to (or read things by) earnest people on both sides of the fence. I would not have much respect for the opinions of an atheist who never confronted themselves directly with theistic arguments. By the same token, I would not to have a lot of respect for the opinions a theist who didn’t confront themselves directly with Atheists’ account of why they don’t believe.

5 paul gaunt October 3, 2012 at 6:25 pm

“If one is truly struggling with their faith as a Christian they should seek counsel ultimately from their pastor(s) not from anti-Christian literature.”

And if a person is truly struggling with their faith as a Muslim, they should study the Koran harder, right? They shouldn’t look at the Bible, because that would be like flirting with a strange woman.

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