“Words are our servants, not our masters. For different purposes we find it convenient to use words in different senses.“- Richard Dawkins
This quote often crosses my computer screen, generally unattributed, and it irritates me almost every time. Dawkins dedicated his life to battling a deity that he doesn’t believe exists, and made remarkable headway in reinventing and redefining truth. Much of it at his servants’ (his own words’) expense. You can, in fact, create exciting delusions by using the wrong word the wrong way. The game of Mad Libs is great fun, but it’s a poor way to develop theology or engineer structures.
Dawkins is not the first guilty one, of course. Satan asked Eve in the Garden, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” in order to conveniently tempt the first woman. Satan said the same essential thing several thousand years before Dawkins thought of it. Bill Clinton sought to excuse himself by conveniently challenging the meaning of the verb to be: “it depends what your definition of ‘is‘ is,” might last longer than Dawkins effort, as the quintessential abuse of language.
The biggest problem is, you cannot reinvent something by redefining it, no matter how hard you believe it. For a few brief instants, Dawkins will say perceptive things about God that exceed Dawkins’ understanding. “A God capable of continuously monitoring and controlling the individual status of every particle in the universe cannot be simple. His existence is going to need a mammoth explanation in its own right.”
Absolutely! And I can assure you, Mr. Dawkins, that your failings and inabilities prevent you from becoming a god. Your inadequacies (and mine) never prevent God from being God, or God becoming man.
Perhaps the finest professor in my own education was Dr. David Goldsmith at the humble Northern Michigan University. He said, “Remember, the more precise your language and definitions, you closer you must be to reality. So, if you want to make your own world, stick entirely with reality and only focus on just one convincing lie. Once the audience is hooked — only then can you add another. By the end of the book — if you’re J.R.R. Tolkien — they’ll believe anything.”
Precision words. Honest detail. Small lies. Words are only masters when they represent the truth.
Summarizing Dawkins larger effort reduced to its most honest language: “God is an excuse,” he says, and “We can and will understand it all because it is rational and we can figure it out.” From a Christian perspective, you are inexcusable, and if you think you can understand here and now you’re a fool. The Bible declares wisdom and knowledge incredible powers, tools, and things to be actively sought “day and night.” God is never an excuse.
The book of proverbs is full of exciting quotes about learning and wisdom. I would suggest starting right at the beginning of Proverbs (1:7): “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
In my life, “I don’t need help. I can figure this out for myself,” is selfish, self-centered, self-serving, and often leads to another unpublished book. Dawkins wrote 18 (and published) that I know of.
Finally, Who first said, “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High’?” If you guessed “Dawkins,” you’re wrong. It was Satan. Again, Dawkins is just following and plagiarizing the leader . . .
Whom he also doesn’t believe in, but quotes.
Dawkins knows virtually for certain that random chance and any amount of time would never produce life, so his reductio ad absurdum is that some really advanced alien species may have planted life here. Not God, mind you. Aliens? Where’d they come from?
ET, phone home. Quick.