In an interview a few years back, atheist Richard Dawkins took a momentary break from attacking Christianity to make a candid statement.
His comments have gotten renewed attention with the rise of ISIS.
He contemplated whether the object of his criticism holds some value after all:
There are no Christians, as far as I know, blowing up buildings. I am not aware of any Christian suicide bombers. I am not aware of any major Christian denomination that believes the penalty for apostasy is death. —Richard Dawkins
He continued to wonder if Christianity may serve as a protective fence against the devastating affects of riding Islamic extremism and who knows what else: “I have mixed feelings about the decline of Christianity, in so far as Christianity might be a bulwark against something worse.”
It just might be at that.
Maybe we should think about what comes next in this brave new world where Christianity is cast aside in the name of progress.
The Funny Thing about Fences
G.K Chesterton addressed fences in his book The Thing. Chesterton challenged the wisdom of such thinking which automatically devalues the past as irrelevant:
In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road.
The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.”To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.
My first response to those who see no reason why we should not reimagine the structure, influence, and message of Christianity is to ask another, more basic question: before you tear down the moral and spiritual foundation on which much of civilization has built families, and even governments, for millennia, do you know why Christianity exists in the first place?
And if not, perhaps you should go away and find out—before you destroy it.
Social media and news outlets resound with comparisons of Muslims holding to the fundamentals of their faith (sharia law, jihad, etc) with Christians holding to the fundamentals of their faith. But it is not the Christians who are blowing people up.
Progressives quickly don the hard-hat of an anthropological construction worker to tear down the fences of Christian morality. Like Chesterton’s reformer they chirp, “I don’t see the use of this; let’s knock it down.”
But this chronological snobbery can be dangerous.
Even Richard Dawkins seems to agree.
Erick Erickson and I explore this worship of progress, explain why it is so important for the Left, and defend the value of Christianity to human flourishing in our new book You Will Be Made to Care.
It is available for pre-order now and the book launch team application process is open BUT only until January 26, 11:59 PM ET.