Anglican Samizdat

January 29, 2010

Dawkins for bishop

Filed under: Atheism — David Jenkins @ 1:02 pm

Richard Dawkins has written a characteristically emotional anti-Christian philippic in the Times:

Where was God in Noah’s flood? He was systematically drowning the entire world, animal as well as human, as punishment for “sin”. Where was God when Sodom and Gomorrah were consumed with fire and brimstone? He was deliberately barbecuing the citizenry, lock, stock and barrel, as punishment for “sin”.

“Oh but that’s the Old Testament. No one believes those stories literally any more. The New Testament is all about love.” Dear modern, enlightened, theologically sophisticated, gentle Christian, you cannot be serious. Your entire religion is founded on an obsession with “sin”, with punishment and with atonement. Where do you find the effrontery to condemn Pat Robertson, you who have signed up to the odious doctrine that the central purpose of Jesus’s incarnation was to have himself tortured as a scapegoat for the “sins” of all mankind, past, present and future, beginning with the “sin” of Adam, who (as any modern theologian well knows) never even existed?

George Pitcher reckons that Dawkins is not only an embarrassment to thinking atheists, but is an effective recruiting tool for Christianity. He has a point; ten minutes of Dawkins’ rodomontade in an Alpha course would drive out any doubts lingering in the mind of a potential believer.

Pitcher would prefer to make him a bishop:

As I’ve said before, Dawkers is a great recruiting officer for faith. He repels tolerant atheists and inspires uncommitted inquirers to look further into what he so ludicrously and entertainingly misrepresents. I think he should be made an honorary bishop.



  1. Well, there was an atheist bishop a while back somewhere in England if I recall, and didn’t lightning strike the church?

    As one of my seminary professors used to say, when he was in a debate: “Give your opponent enough rope and they’ll…”

    Comment by DimLamp — January 29, 2010 @ 7:02 pm

  2. That was the bishop of Durham at the time and he denied the resurrection; three days after his consecration as bishop, York Minster was struck by lightning. His name was David Jenkins, unfortunately.

    Comment by David — January 29, 2010 @ 7:07 pm

  3. Currently there’s Bp Richard Holloway (former Bishop of Edinburgh) who argues for the appropriateness of the Anglican Church having room within its tolerant bounds for atheists (such as himself). I imagine the leadership of the Anglican church will not exactly affirm his “right” to be within it – but certainly not require his removal – that would be going too far!

    Comment by John Thomas — February 1, 2010 @ 9:35 am

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