A Devil's Chaplain, Reviewed by a Christian

on 3/15/2010

Several weeks ago I had a dream in which my wife showed me a brown book which I knew was by Richard Dawkins (the famous scientist/evolutionist/ atheist). She asked me to do a blog post about it. When I awoke I searched his website and purchased (from a reseller) a copy of his brown book, A Devil's Chaplain. Why God wanted me to read the book I'm not sure, but I could say much.

A Devil's Chaplain is a collection of Mr. Dawkins' essays, which range in topic from advanced evolution science/theory to his thoughts on education to his hatred of religion. As I read I kept hearing the voice of the wise Japanese warrior in the movie The Last Samurai saying, "to know my enemy." Now I know that we Christians war not against flesh and blood but against anything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God (2 Co 10:5, Eph 6:12). Therefore Mr. Dawkins' ideas and beliefs are my real enemy, not himself.

Nevertheless I found his writing gripping and entertaining. He is clearly a most learned scientist, well respected by many in his field. But let's not forget how we must approach Mr. Dawkins and his mind. Only a fool says there is no God (Psa 14:1). I would regard his mind (if I he were to offer me advice) as I would the mind of someone intoxicated, insane, and demon possessed. For that is how you must regard the minds of rabid antichrists, as he is (unless God tells you to do otherwise). Bearing in my mind my opinion of his mind, let us turn to his words. I won't even attempt to discuss the entire book, just those parts most interesting to this Christian.

I must confess that I had no idea evolutionary science had so many facets and such physical evidence. I am glad to have learned this. Evolution is far more than man came from monkeys. Evolution has far more evidence than a simple fossil record. In fact, my entire outlook on evolution has been reshaped regarding nearly everything it concerns except humans. Mr. Dawkins believes (no exaggeration here) that man is in every sense an animal. He denounces any ideas of human supremacy in the evolutionary hierarchy. Man is simply a different kind of animal, nothing more. He pays no regard to our ability to dominate all other animals, nor our ability to think in a much more sophisticated way than all other animals, nor any other way in which you might think humans exceed animals.

Mr. Dawkins’ book also influenced my thinking on medicine, and this may actually do me some good one day, for which I prospectively thank him. He utterly destroys practitioners of "alternative medicine," to which many Christians have become prey. Quite simply, he says that if "alternative" medicinal practices were able to pass scientific tests, then they would not be considered "alternative." Because they cannot pass such tests they are not actual science, and should therefore not be trusted in the slightest. I find his arguments (with humorous anecdotes) completely convincing, atheist or not. I will henceforth never partake of "alternative medicine" without a specific Word from God (which I doubt will ever come).

But Mr. Dawkins' same rationale concerning medicine informs his entire mind and world view. If something cannot stand up to the Scientific Method's analysis of observation and experimentation, then that something is not "true" or not "real." Mr. Dawkins is 100% bounded, and enslaved, by his physical senses and the physical/sense realm of this world. (I highly recommend your reading E.W. Kenyon's Basic Bible Course to understand this idea more fully.)

Mr. Dawkins cannot and does not believe in anything his senses cannot perceive. Therefore Mr. Dawkins is only open to part of reality. Mr. Dawkins would say the other part I refer to is not reality, for it can't pass muster under the Scientific Method, but we know him wrong. Spiritual reality is every bit as real as physical reality, only spiritual reality, until it impacts the physical realm, cannot be perceived by the physical senses.

And now I see why this particular sort of atheist can exist and thrive. It's easy to revel in the sense realm, to delight in its certainties and realities and physicalities. But I know there is more. And most of you do too. Mr. Dawkins absolutely loves nature and science and earth, but Mr. Dawkins will never understand the half of it unless he opens his mind to spiritual reality. It's actually hard not to like him, except when he’s bashing Christianity. I wish he would open himself to God. Then he could see how all creation fell because of Adam. He would then understand competition and survival and selection, much like the apostle Paul truly understood the entire Old Testament after he finally opened to the reality of Jesus Christ.

I would hate to believe that nothing beyond the physical exists. But I would also hate to believe that every single thing in the physical has no eternal significance or meaning. I would also hate to believe that everything in the physical realm is only randomn occurrence and accident. I find it hard to believe that everything comes from nothing. In fact, to my mind, all those beliefs are ludicrous.

So let's pray for Mr. Dawkins and all like him. Let's pray that God would so impact their senses with His spiritual reality that they can no longer deny Him. I found no hard evidence within the book that even slightly shakes my faith. In fact I found much to affirm it and many of the tangential subjects within Christianity that I have also learned about. I am glad I read this book, but, of course, I don't recommend it.


Allan Mills said...

Excellent and balanced review. Interesting. I read his book The God Delusion. Like you with this book, I found myself sympathetic to some of his contentions (but when I read it I was not doing well myself). What I agreed with was the idea that man-made religion has caused lots of suffering in the world. True. And lots in the name of Jesus. But of course, I also would say that religion does not represent the God of the Bible who is loving and always good in his intentions toward us. Anyway, enjoyed this very much as always. You bless me bro!

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