Richard Dawkins is stirring things up again. (Surely not! – sorry, I’d better not be sarcastic). In an article on The Guardian ‘Comment is Free’ section, he explains why he isn’t going to debate William Lane Craig. In case you don’t want to read the article, what Prof. Dawkins’ comments come down to is that William Lane Craig defends the God who commanded horrific genocide in the Old Testament. So, in the article, Dawkins quotes Deuteronomy 20 and says: “You might say that such a call to genocide could never have come from a good and loving God. Any decent bishop, priest, vicar or rabbi would agree.”
Now, I will leave aside Richard’s ‘arguments’ in the article itself (he doesn’t really make any, but still.) The whole thrust of the argument is basically: genocide is bad, I cannot debate with anyone who defends it. (I’d be interested to see what other people Dawkins has debated think about the Old Testament… William Lane Craig is by no means on his own with the view he holds).
However, in the quote I mentioned above, Dawkins does touch on one thing which I feel hasn’t really been explored, namely: “such a call to genocide could never have come from a good and loving God.” Now, this is an interesting one. How does Dawkins know that genocide is good or bad? Is he drawing on Biblical evidence? If so, what he has ‘proved’ is that the Bible is internally inconsistent.
However, I don’t think that’s what he’s saying. What he seems to think is that the God of the Bible is actually immoral. What I’d love to find out is, on what basis does Dawkins say that God is immoral? Or, to put it more specifically, on what basis does he say that genocide is immoral? Now, don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying anything about the morality of genocide – I’m not questioning whether it’s OK! I’m just saying, how can Dawkins, as an atheist, claim that something is immoral? Or at least objectively immoral?
As William Lane Craig often says, 1. Without God, objective morals do not exist; 2. Objective morals do exist; 3. Therefore, God exists. What Dawkins seems to be doing in the article is making an appeal to objective morals. If he is, then I believe he is undermining his own position.
I’d love to hear him actually answer this issue properly, or at least be more precise in his language, but I fear that is simply a pipe dream.