Fundamentalist Atheism’s Dualism.


Atheists often try to portray science and faith as enemies, although many have shown that science requires faith to even operate, as I have here. For example, Richard Dawkins sees the whole world divided into opposing camps of reason (science) and superstition (religious faith). Dawkins routinely suggests that real scientists must be atheists, however priest and practicing scientist Alister McGrath would disagree; in fact, he sees this as yet another example of Dawkins’s fundamentalism:

“Dawkins is clearly entrenched in his own peculiar version of a fundamentalist dualism. Yet many will feel that a reality check is appropriate, if not long overdue, here. Dawkins seems to view things from within a highly polarized worldview that is no less apocalyptic and warped than that of the religious fundamentalisms he wishes to eradicate. Is the solution to religious fundamentalism really for atheists to replicate its vices?” (1)

However, Allen Orr rightly notes that when it comes to the history of science, Dawkins doesn’t prove to be very convincing as in the God Delusion “you will find no serious examination of Christian or Jewish theology, no effort to appreciate the complex history of interaction between the Church and science, and no attempt to understand even the simplest of religious attitudes” (2). The church historian Stephen Tomkins is of the same mind, penning that Dawkins “is only willing to see the dark side, and writes off the whole thing, dismissing evidence that makes a monochrome worldview uncomfortable” (3). It would seem that Dawkins is either ignorant about the rich (both good and bad) history of religion, specifically Christianity, and science or he is intellectually dishonest. I’d say that it would be a mixture of the two, as what Dawkins does know about the subject (at least the content that does not sit well with his atheism) he sweeps under the carpet. Alternatively, he skews the data. In fact, McGrath even says that Dawkins is part of the problem of fundamentalism:

“We are offered an atheist fundamentalism that is as deeply flawed and skewed as its religious counterparts. There are better ways to deal with religious fundamentalism. Dawkins is part of the problem here, not its solution” (4).

It’s problematic that Richard Dawkins makes this argument as a world-recognized scientist because it only serves to confuse the public at large. But for those who know or who are at least informed about the religious-atheism debate won’t so easily fall for such dogmatism. At least John Lennox doesn’t: “Nonsense remains nonsense, even when talked by world-famous scientists” (4).


1. McGrath, A. 2007. The Dawkins Delusion. p. 48.

2. Orr, H. 2007. A Mission to Convert. Available.

3. Tomkins, S. 1 ½ Cheers for Richard Dawkins. Available.

4. John Lennox quoted by Evolution News & Views in “Nonsense Remains Nonsense”: Oxford’s John Lennox to Confront Hawking’s Atheism in Seattle This Friday. Available.


6 responses to “Fundamentalist Atheism’s Dualism.

  1. There’s an enormous flaw in this whole article. It condemns the conclusions of Dawkins because “you will find no serious examination of Christian or Jewish theology, no effort to appreciate the complex history of interaction between the Church and science, and no attempt to understand even the simplest of religious attitudes”.

    If and when, Christianity (or any theistic religion) EVER provides convincing objective evidence for the existence of their god, science will embrace that evidence. One doesn’t need to understand the theology to reject Christianity, any more than the Christian must understand the theology of every one of the thousands of worldwide religions (to reject them). Show us a compelling body of objective evidence. Once you provide that, THEN we can talk about your theology. Until then, your “theology” is nothing more than mythology.

    Interestingly, the last paragraph notes that “Nonsense remains nonsense…”. Adherents of every religion (correctly) view all or nearly all other religions as nonsense. They are all correct in that assessment.

    • Belief in a religion is entirely unnecessary in order to believe in God, in fact for most people it merely clouds the issue. Modern science, along with a helping of common sense, proves that God exists – at least for those who are prepared to accept it.

      • Curious, if not completely untenable to somehow use the word science (as indifferent to common sense) as the basis of evidence for the existence of god. Perhaps it’s unclear just what science is. Perhaps it’s forgotten that without religion you simply have unexplained curiosities with no consensus. It takes religion to drive the political and social policies of a society (a violation of Universal Rights). To that, it’s likely most forget that religion — by definition — is a social construct, and all that implies.

  2. Pingback: Fundamentalist Atheism’s Dualism. — James Bishop’s Theology & Apologetics. – Pickering Post·

  3. Very true. I can understand an atheist, but an atheist has a limitation preventing him from attainting a complete understanding religious theology and its people. Theres more to religion than a book, yet Dawkins thinks that quoting verses debunks its practice completely.

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