Not a Hope!

Summer is here – well at least according to the calendar. The weather in Fife has been appalling over  the weekend. Regardless of the weather, however, the school summer holidays are approaching and for many that will mean an opportunity to reach out with the gospel to children and young people in their area.

Not to be outdone, it is being widely reported this morning that our old friend Richard Dawkins will be running a summer camp to, in the words of The Times newspaper, “groom atheists”. The plan is apparently to give children, “lessons to arm themselves in the ways of rational scepticism”. I’m sure they will find it riveting.

Leaving aside views on how stimulating the kids might find the summer camp, isn’t it remarkable how a man and a philosophy that volubly eschew religion in all its manifestations is so keen to copy Christian evangelistic practices? What more proof might be needed that Dawkins is seeking to establish his own religion? As one of the Times’ on-line correspondents has commented “Thank God, atheism is now a religion, a faith based on evolution, with Dawkins as its messiah.”

The most hard-hitting words of the Lord Jesus were reserved for those who set themselves up as teachers of false religion: “woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in … Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. Woe to you, blind guides … Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?” (Matthew 23 v13, 15, 16, 31). Dawkins has taken the decision to live without God, that is his right. That he should also wish to encourage others to take that position is a huge responsibility and one for which I fully believe he will one day be held accountable.

The article in The Times envisages the kids surrounding the dying embers of the campfire and heartily singing John Lennon’s hippie anthem, ‘Imagine’: “Imagine there’s no heaven, It’s easy if you try, No hell below us, Above us only sky, Imagine all the people, Living for today…“. I suppose that this was the philosophy of Stalin and Hitler. Why should it be that a life without any consequence or consequences would result in “a brotherhood of man … sharing all the world“? Is it not much more likely to result in a selfish, self-centred, winner-gets-all sort of society? In fact, something not dissimilar to what we see in much of western society?

A life without God is a life without hope. We are reduced to the level of plankton and bacteria. We might as well ‘live for today’ because there is no tomorrow to pay for the consequences of how we might treat one another. No wonder Paul can describe such a life as “having no hope, and [being] without God in the world”, Ephesians 2 v12.

That is all that Dawkins can offer – what a contrast to the gospel message! The Bible describes the hope that those who have trusted the Lord Jesus as their Saviour enjoy: “God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus”, Hebrews 6 v 17-20.

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