Richard Dawkins is one of the world’s most famous atheists. He’s smart, a great writer, and sticks it to Christians whenever he can. His latest jab is seen in the following image:
If there’s a God, and God answers prayer, then why didn’t God stop the spread of the virus after Pres. Trump called for a National Day of Prayer?
Not all praying is about getting God to do things for us. In the early days of our nation’s history, there were a number of calls for National Days of Prayer. In most cases, they were about the people should do in relation to God.
For example, on May 17,1776, Congress called on the people to “confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and by a sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease [God’s] righteous displeasure, and through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness.”
December 18, 1777, was set aside as a day of thanksgiving on which the American people “may express the grateful feelings of their hearts and consecrate themselves to the service of their divine benefactor” and on which they might “join the penitent confession of their manifold sins . . . that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remembrance.”
These proclamations were directed toward God to mitigate His rightful displeasure because of the nation’s sins.
While state governments have shut down churches, few of them have closed abortuaries will the lawful killing of unborn babies take place on a daily basis. Why would God answer prayers about a killer virus when our elected officials and those who put them in office support the willful slaughter of the most innocent among us?
Let’s not forget the court’s redefinition of marriage and the normalization of gender dysphoria and sex change operations, all of which fly in the face of God’s design for men and women.
When Samaritan’s Purse set up temporary medical facilities in New York City (like what they have done in West and Central Africa over the past decade when Ebola ravaged the population) to help with the effects of the COVID-19 virus, Mayor Bill de Blasio and other NYC politicians objected because of the organization’s biblical views on homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
A pro-homosexual activist protested the presence of Samaritan’s Purse: “They have no business being in New York City,” he shouted according to NBC News, as six police officers removed him from the park. “They are the virus!”
And yet, Richard Dawkins and other atheists contend that God should answer our prayers when little or no effort has been made to repent of our personal and national sins as our founders did.
What atheists like Dawkins don’t want to talk about is how a consistent atheist would handle a pandemic because there is no overriding moral reality in a dark and impersonal universe where “nature, red in tooth and claw” operate.
Acclaimed mathematician and philosopher of science John Lennox, who has debated Dawkins, said the following in a Kharis Productions' video interview: “Atheism actually removes the very concept of good and evil. So there’s no point in calling this kind of thing natural evil … if there is no such thing as evil.”
Stuff happens. Evolution will run its course and there is nothing we could or should do about it. There is no moral compunction in the universe. Matter know nothing of good or evil.
Let’s begin with what Dawkins himself says about the nature of our ever-evolving condition:
In the universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, and other people are going to get lucky; and you won’t find any rhyme or reason to it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good. Nothing but blind pitiless indifference. DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is, and we dance to its music. ((Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (New York: HarperCollins/BasicBooks, 1995), 133.))
Atheistic evolution is all about the survival of the fittest. Animals live and die as a result of this reality. We are said to be highly evolved animals, but animals nevertheless. There are the weak and strong among us.
From a biblical perspective, human beings are a special creation by God. We are not animals. Humans shelter and care for the weak. Humans build hospitals. Animals don’t.
The other day I started reading Dealing With Darwin: Place, Politics, and Rhetoric in Religious Engagements with Evolution by David N. Livingstone. There’s a chapter on cattle breeding. William Warfield was a well known and well respected breeder of shorthorn cattle. He was well-studied and practiced on the subject. He wrote American Short-Horned Importations (1884) and The Theory and Practice of Cattle-Breeding (1889).
Warfield was also well acquainted with Darwin’s works. He was in agreement with Darwin’s views on natural selection:
Nature’s method seems to be a wide and general system of selection, in which the strong and vigorous are winners and the weaker crushed out…. Nature’s selection, while always in favor of the maintenance of the animals in the best manner, yet is impartial, and under ordinary circumstances would remain average….
By “natural selection” the strongest are made stronger, the weaker go to the wall. ((Quoted in Dealing With Darwin, 158.))
Within a Christian worldview, humans, created in the image of God, are different in kind. They are not animals. We are not bred like cattle. But for Dawkins and his fellow atheists, there is no difference. Any concern Dawkins has for those among us affected by a debilitating virus is borrowed from the Christian worldview.