According to an article in Wired the New Atheism differs from the old atheism in mode and mood. New atheism is more aggressive in attacking Christianity. The leaders of New Atheism are Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett and with evangelistic fervor, the new atheists not only reject theism but have gone on the assault. Fox News reported that The American Humanist Association ran a Washington, D. C. $40,000 holiday ad campaign on buses saying, “Why believe in a God? Just be good for goodness’ sake” (Fox News.com Wednesday, November 12, 2008). In reference to his book The God Delusion, Dawkins said: “If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down” (Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, New York; Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008, pg. 28). Here is another sample of Dawkins’ venom:
“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, blookthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully” (p. 51).
With all its rhetoric, however, the New Atheism does not address the origin of life.
The origin of life is the issue we are wrestling with this in this post. Psalm 33:6 and 9 make a very clear statement about the origin of life for those of us who believe the Bible to be the Word of God: “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. For he spoke, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.”
When I was pastoring Swan Creek Baptist Church, I borrowed a high school biology book from one of the teenagers in our church just to see what they were being taught in our local public school. Her biology textbook clearly pitted evolution against God’s Word:
For thousands of years, most people believed that each separate species of organism had been specially created. This view was set forth in the Bible’s Book of Genesis. From time to time philosophers proposed that the living world changed over centuries, but by the mid-seventeenth century most of the Western World took the word of Genesis literally and believed that animals and plants were created during the six days of the Creation. From about 1750 on, however, many people became convinced that species changed over the ages (Camp, Karen Arms. Biology-A Journey into Life. Saunders College Publishing, page 249).
The biology textbook went on to discuss Charles Darwin, father of the modern theory of evolution, who studied theology and as a young man believed in special creation.
Years of observation and reading, however, presented Darwin with evidence that seem incompatible with the notion of God as the Designer and Creator of living things, and a more logical explanation for the origin of species took shape. Darwin then was appointed naturalists on the Beagle, a British naval ship embarking on five year mapping and collecting expedition. In 1859, Darwin wrote The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. In it he marshaled an impressive array of evidence to support his theory. Not until the 20th Century, however, did most biologists fully accept the idea that
evolution was by means of natural selection (Camp, page 250, 251).
What did Charles Darwin believe was the origin of each species? Let’s hear him on the question.
As many more individuals of each species are born that can possibly survive; and as, consequently, there is a frequently reoccurring struggle for existence, it follows that any being, if it vary however slightly in a manner profitable to itself, under the complex and sometimes varying conditions of life, will have a better chance of surviving and thus be naturally selected. From the strong principles of inheritance, any selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form (Darwin, Charles, Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. Chicago: Thompson & Thomas, n.d., page 457).
More and more 21st century scientists and scholars are rejecting evolution. Paul Le Moine, a French scholar clearly represents this growing group: “Evolution is a fairy tale for adults” (Lutzer, Erwin W. Twelve Myths Americans Believe Chicago: Moody Press, 1993, page 31).
In Part two, I will discuss the tenets of evolution.