Richard Dawkins, the high priest of atheism, has declared that he’s a “cultural Christian.” Of course he is. So is every atheist who doesn’t follow through with his atheistic assumptions. If I could set down with Mr. Dawkins, I would press him in being consistent with his materialistic, atheistic, and evolutionary assumptions. I would have him consider Canada’s Psycho Killer.
Luka Rocco Magnotta (born Eric Clinton Newman) is accused of killing and dismembering 33-year-old Lin Juna, a male Chinese student. Magnotta carved up Juna’s body, sexually abused the corpse, and filmed and posted the horror online.
“Days after the killing, Montreal police discovered the victim’s torso in a suitcase by the trash outside an apartment along a busy highway.
“His severed hands and feet were sent through the mail to federal political parties in Ottawa and to two schools in Vancouver. The head was found in a Montreal park months later.”
The ten-minute video shows Juna “being stabbed in a frenzy with an ICE-PICK, before being dismembered, sexually abused and his flesh EATEN with a knife and fork.”
In a letter to The Sun, Magnotta wrote that “Once you kill, and taste blood, it’s impossible to stop.” Is this a remnant of an evolutionary survival mechanism that has been repressed because of what Richard Dawkins calls “culture Christianity”? Kind of like domesticated pigs that escaped their pens, lived and bred in the wild, and went feral.
In an atheistic, materialistic, mud-to-man evolutionary process, did Magnotta do anything that could be considered morally wrong? If he did, what is the basis of the standard that Juna himself could have objected to as he was being “sliced and diced”? Who says that ice-picking someone to death and eating the carcass is fundamentally evil? Who gets to say that this or that behavior is good or bad? By what standard are such judgments made?
And the standard can’t be for something called the “social good” since defining what’s good for society doesn’t have an unimpeachable moral foundation given the origins of what we call life today. If the evolutionary theory of origins is true, there was no morality when the first sign of life emerged from the biotic soup. It was a molecule-eat-molecule beginning to the survival of the fittest.
If the first life form had the equivalent of an ice pick, it could have used it and there was no law in the cosmos that would have said, “Thou shalt not ice-pick your fellow life-form molecule.” An evolutionist might argue that it was good for more highly evolved life forms to develop a moral code for the good of society. Mutual cooperation is the necessary outgrowth of evolution. Says who? Maybe our arbitrary moral laws are holding back greater evolutionary development.
Let’s get back to Richard Dawkins who described himself as a “cultural Christian” in an interview that he gave before delivering a speech at Charleston College in South Carolina on March 9, 2013.
“I guess I’m a cultural Christian,” he said in an interview. He compared his cultural Christianity to people who “call themselves Jews, including Herb Silverman. He’s a Jewish atheist. He identifies with Jewish culture, believes he’s a part of the Jewish tradition, and that’s valuable.” This answers nothing. What about someone who identifies with a culture that at one time identified with cannibalism and human sacrifice?
The Aztecs had raided neighboring tribes for years, capturing thousands of victims for human sacrifice. Cortez and his men were horrified at what they saw. Aztec temples were stacked with human skulls. When Cortez spotted a sacrificial pyramid, he made his way up the hundred and fourteen steps with some of his best soldiers following close behind. Montezuma was at the top waiting for him. What Cortez and his battle-hardened men saw shocked them. Montezuma had just sacrificed some boys and blood was everywhere.
Bernal Diaz, an eyewitness, describes the scene: “All the walls . . . were so splashed and encrusted with blood that they were black, the floor was the same and the whole place stank vilely. . . . The walls were so clotted with blood and the soil so bathed with it that in the slaughterhouses of Spain there is not such another stench.”1
As the Spaniards climbed down the temple pyramid and made their way through the city, they saw more unspeakable horrors. They passed rooms where the bodies of sacrificial victims were being prepared for feasts. They saw racks that held more than a hundred thousand human skulls. Aztec society was built on blood, the blood of thousands of helpless victims.
It was their tradition and culture. Who was to say it was wrong?
Montezuma, following Dawkins’ “cultural Christian” and Silverman’s “cultural Jew” traditions, he should have said to Cortez. “I’m a cultural Aztec. You can’t rightly judge my cultural traditions and customs by these arbitrary foreign traditions. In fact, there is no such thing as a cosmic judge of anything.”
The same was true of the Inca. The following is a description of the traditions and customs of that equally bloodthirsty civilization:
Terrible as human sacrifice seems to us, we should remember that the Inca thought it necessary to their well-being. Sacrificial victims were not being punished for any crime; they were being rewarded for their beauty. The killing was done as painlessly as possible and without anger or hatred. Being sacrificed was, indeed, an honor that guaranteed eternal life with the gods and thus a “favor.”2
What could a consistent atheist say to the Aztecs and Incas? There were no “cultural Christians” among these two civilizations. It took an outside moral worldview to put an end to it.
There’s a modern component to the effect of arbitrary moral values. Consider the arguments that Nazi defenders used during the Nuremberg Trials:
“When the Charter of the Tribunal, which had been drawn up by the victors, was used by the prosecution, the defendants very logically complained that they were being tried by ex post facto laws; and some authorities in the field of international law have severely criticized the allied judges on the same ground. The most telling defense offered by the accused was that they had simply followed orders or made decisions within the framework of their own legal system, in complete consistency with it, and that they therefore could not rightly be condemned because they deviated from the alien value system of their conquerors.3
The last sentence is important. Who is Dawkins, Silverman, or any atheist to condemn the actions of anybody? Their “value system” is less than alien; it’s arbitrary, and they can’t live consistently with it. Atoms and molecules don’t know anything about morality.
It was just as true in the 1940s when an international court convened to try the survivors of the Nazi regime. By what standard could they use given that Darwinism had captured the law schools?
Faced with this dilemma, “Robert H. Jackson, Chief Counsel for the United States at the Trials, was compelled to appeal to permanent values, to moral standards transcending the life-styles of particular societies—in a word, to a ‘law beyond the law’ of individual nations, whether victor or vanquished.”4
Jackson, Dawkins, Silverman, and nearly every atheist who claims justification for a moral worldview, must borrow morality from Christianity because there is no way to account for morality in a materialistic world. Darwin wrote about a “moral sense” among animals, but he was living in a world that had been formed and shaped by a distinctly moral culture. He was projecting a Christian moral culture onto evolved biological units.
Robert Lewis Dabney (1820–1898), a Southern Presbyterian theologian of Darwin’s time, captured the atheist’s moral dilemma:
If mine is a pig’s destiny, why may I not hold this “pig philosophy”? Again, if I am but an animal refined by evolution, I am entitled to live an animal life. Why not? The leaders in this and the sensualistic philosophy may themselves be restrained by their habits of mental culture, social discretion and personal refinement (for which they are indebted to reflex Christian influences); but the herd of common mortals are not cultured and refined, and in them the doctrine will bear its deadly fruit.5
Because Christianity had so impacted nineteenth-century society, the ethical and cultural effects of Darwinism were at first minimal. In time, however, as consistency began to be demanded of the new naturalistic worldview, the evolutionary dogma impacted the world in ominous ways.
Dawkins needs to get consistent. If he’s going to be an atheist, then he needs to be the best and most consistent atheist he can be. This means he has to stop propping up his bankrupt worldview with claims of being a “cultural Christian.” It’s embarrassing.
- Quoted in Albert Marrin, Aztecs and Spaniards: Cortes and the Conquest of Mexico (New York: Atheneum, 1986), 111. [↩]
- Albert Marrin, Inca and Spaniard: Pizarro and the Conquest of Mexico (New York: Atheneum, 1989), 34–35. [↩]
- John Warwick Montgomery, The Law Above the Law (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany Fellowship, 1975), 24. [↩]
- Montgomery, The Law Above the Law, 24. [↩]
- Robert L. Dabney, “The Influences of False Philosophies upon Character and Conduct,” in Discourses (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Pub., 1979), 4:574. [↩]