Following the April 29 opening of their documentary The Unbelievers at Toronto’s Hot Docs Film Festival, outspoken atheists Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss discussed the merits of their approaches to “ridding the world of religion.” In a recent interview with Steve Paikin,1 they made it clear that, despite their sometimes different personas, they have the same agenda—getting people to get rid of their belief in God. Yet they both say that Christians should not feel “threatened” by their efforts to expunge religion from human history.
Outspoken atheists Lawrence Krauss and Richard Dawkins, costars of the documentary The Unbelievers, discuss their strategy for ridding the world of religion in general and Christianity in particular. They consider Christianity “demeaning” and wish to re-design society “the way we want it.” Image: screen shots from interview with Steve Paikin on http://ww3.tvo.org/video/190768/rise-new-atheists
The Goal of The Unbelievers Documentary
Evolutionary biologist Dawkins and theoretical physicist Krauss recounted that when they first met they had a heated debate about, as Dawkins said, “whether we should have a kind of full-on attack on religion or whether we should, as Lawrence preferred, seduce them.”2 Krauss explained that this is really “a strategic question.”3 They agree that both approaches have merit depending on the nature of the people being targeted. However, expressing general agreement with the more confrontational approach of the often-irascible Dawkins, Krauss said, “You’ve got to confront silly beliefs by telling them they are silly,” adding, “If you’re trying to convince people, pointing out that what they believe is nonsense is a better way to bring them around.”4
Despite their great hostility toward religious beliefs (other than their own) and avowal that they hope this film will help in their efforts to eradicate all religion worldwide, the atheist pair indicates that belief or non-belief in a deity is not what really matters to them. Krauss declares that what is actually important to them is that “everything should be open to question and that the universe is a remarkable place.”5 By contrast, he says, “This is more important to us than not believing in God—that’s not important at all.” Dawkins and Krauss both expressed grudging tolerance for evolutionists who want to keep their religious beliefs in order to keep the good things religion offers them—“spirituality,” “consolation,” and “community”—so long as they do not then reject evolution.6 They said that people are “hard-wired” to seek something spiritual, but by “spiritual” they refer to a sort of emotional high. And they declare that science offers a better kind of spirituality, “a sense of oneness with the universe.”7 Therefore science,8 they maintain, can meet the inmost needs of people better than religion of any sort.
“Spirituality is a sense of awe and wonder at something bigger than oneself,”9 Krauss explained, adding that being “insignificant is uplifting.”10 And while some people cling to their religion to satisfy some spiritual need,11 he says, “The spirituality of science is better than the spirituality of religion because it is real.”12 Both of course vigorously deny that their own atheistic position is one of “belief,” saying “we don’t define ourselves by what we don’t believe in.”
Dawkins and Krauss Want to Rid the World of All Religion Except Their Own
Like most atheists, Dawkins and Krauss fail to recognize the worldview-based nature of the interpretations they define as “real.” They repeatedly refer in the interview to accepting the “evidence of reality” concerning origins when they are actually equating their worldview-based interpretations with reality. Furthermore, the atheistic belief that there is no God is actually a “religion.”
There really is no such thing as a person without a religion—you either believe that there is or is not a god. You are either for Christ or against Him (Luke 11:23), and you base your interpretation of origins, morality, and the meaning of life on that belief. The belief that there is or is not a god is essential to how one explains existence, the nature of authority, and our place in the universe. Krauss’s belief that the atoms in his body originated billions of years ago in stardust, for instance, is the “religious” way he explains his existence without God and the way he experiences what passes for spirituality by knowing the “fantastic” truth that he is “intimately connected to the cosmos.”
Atheists do claim to be non-religious, but they use their set of beliefs as a way to explain life without God—they worship and serve the creation (e.g., the universe) rather than the Creator (Romans 1:25). Krauss extols the profound sense of wonder he gets studying the cosmos and Dawkins enjoys the “poetry of science,” but they tie their love for science to their belief in atheistic evolution and their sheer joy in shaking their fists at the possibility of a Creator’s existence.
The Reason Behind the Hostility Toward Religion
And frankly, the point here is not whether a person defines their worldview as a religion or not, or whether he believes in a “god.” Christianity is unique—it is the truth—and, perhaps for that reason as much as any other, is the especial target for Dawkins and most others. Those who love “darkness” (e.g., sin, rebellion against God, and rejection of Jesus Christ) will naturally attack the light (John 3:19–21). Based on Scripture, we know that God looks at the heart to see how each person stands in relation to Jesus Christ (Romans 10:9–10; cf. 1 Samuel 16:7). Again, Jesus made clear that a person is either for or against Him (Matthew 12:30; 25:46).
Dawkins and Krauss reserve their greatest hostility for young-earth creationists. They indicated that all debate about origins has been completely settled by “Darwin and his successors”13 and by big bang cosmology,14 which Krauss describes as “the last bastion of God—I mean there are some fundamentalists of course who say the earth is 6,000 years old and don’t believe in evolution—but rational ‘theologians’ have moved away from that debate.”15 more