Is God Poison?
Is God Dead?
In 1966 a cover of Time Magazine asked in bold print, “Is God Dead?” The article inside suggested that it was a tantalizing question for believers who secretly feared He might be and for atheists who also secretly feared He might not be. In fact, there emerged a new and ludicrous reality known as the atheist Christian. The atheist Christian suggests that God does not exist but it was good to keep God alive and to create God in man’s own image so that theology could continue and be good for mankind.
When one considers the damage done by liberal theology and secularization in the earlier part of the century, it comes as no surprise that many people were very confused about the existence and significance of God. The question concerning the possible death of God became so provocative in the 1960s that church buildings were easily filled by announcements that Sunday’s sermon would address the question, “Is God dead?”
Is God Poison?
The attack on the existence of God has taken a new twist. In April of this year, Maclean’s published on its cover the question, “Is God Poison?” The article describes a new atheistic attack against God that does not suggest He is dead. On the contrary, atheists insist He is very much alive. However, the fact that God is alive is not a good thing: He is dangerous; He is a poison who is responsible for all social problems.
Since 9/11 woke up the world to the horrors of militant Islam, polemically-minded atheists have become very vocal about condemning all religions, mainly Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Our concern is particularly on the attacks against the God of Scripture. In a recently published book, God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, Christopher Hitchens opines that religion is “violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism and tribalism and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry.” The evolutionary theorist, Richard Dawkins, who is described by some as the world’s most prominent atheist, wrote in The God Delusion:
The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all of fiction. Jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic-cleanser; a misogynistic homophobic racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal...
Dawkins asserts that God is irrational and has inflicted grievous harm on society. In fact he believes that God instils in man a desire to go to war, to act prejudicially toward people who are different, and to abuse women and children. One of his great concerns is the possibility of a rogue state in the form of a nuclear-armed American Christian fundamentalism. For people like Hitchens and Dawkins, there is no question that God is poison.
All Social Ills
The polemic examples used by contemporary atheists like Dawkins are startling. The God of the Old Testament is described as a homicidal maniac. God loves war and killings. He is the source of homicidal urges in society (that would include Stalin and Hitler) and such genocidal slaughters as the ones witnessed in Rwanda. Dawkins points out the involvement of Roman Catholic clergy in the Rwandan slaughter. Also the story of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac is cited as the background to child abuse.
Another example of how God wreaks havoc with our world is the Bible’s alleged preoccupation with the Day of Judgment. Because Christians believe the world will end soon, they really do not care about the problems of the world. Environmental woes and the possibility of nuclear war are not relevant to Christians because the world is going to end anyway. In other words, religion creates people who just don’t care about society.
Why the Fuss?
One wonders about the fuss over religion by such people as Dawkins and Hitchens. It would seem that atheism is winning the day. Our society is in love with money and material things; good health and beautiful bodies are the popular themes of many books and magazines; sexual immorality and family disintegration are rampant; abortion, euthanasia, and divorce are accepted norms; the teachings of evolution are squeezing out the teaching of a six-day creation; church buildings either stand empty or have only a handful of grey-haired parishioners in them.
It would seem the war against God is being won in our society. Why so much fuss then? Could it be that in all the finger-pointing against God it is the atheist himself who wants to be god? That’s frightening. An atheist without any kind of divine ethical mooring and world view is not going to lead the world into a better and brighter future. We are reminded of Psalm 14: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’”
The Second Beast
We are warned in Revelation 13 that Satan has an accomplice in the second beast who rises from the earth. He looks like a lamb but speaks like the devil. He is the false prophet who seduces and deludes the world into turning away from God to the devil. We should not be surprised that society is being bombarded with suggestions that God is poison. We were warned that this is coming. What we are seeing is pure blasphemy. It is a pathetic treatment of the Bible and of God Himself. It misrepresents the good that Christians have done and are doing in marriages, families, raising of children, relief causes around the world, and so on. It leaves us scratching our heads but not entirely surprised as we consider just how abusive people like Dawkins and Hitchens are toward God and how willing many are to believe them.
Stay the Course
The attacks against God and Christianity should not unnerve us. When we read Scripture, we come to know the God of justice, truth, love, grace, and mercies which are new every morning. We know what He has given to us in his Son Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit. We know that in spite of all our weaknesses and shortcomings, a close walk with God leads to good marriages and families, a decent work ethic, a care for our fellowman that leads us to lift up the downtrodden and to help the weak. In spite of the ridicule of God and persecution of Christians, we need to stay the course of a living faith that gladly and openly witnesses to others of the hope that is in us. How else can our world that is being led down a wide and dangerous path by bold atheists come to know the true gospel of salvation, peace, and hope?