I have a few comments about the letter from Reverend John Burkhart regarding Richard Dawkins. The idea that our universe is too complicated unless created by God is most fallacious. Our universe evolved over billions of years, and science has solid factual evidence to explain almost every aspect of this slow, gradual evolution—evolution, not creation. If this universe is too complicated to come into existence by itself, then how is it possible for a Creator, even more complicated than his creation, to come into existence by himself or herself or itself?
Also, given that the life on our planet, animal and human, is full of sorrow and cruelty, undeserved suffering by humans and animals, explain how a kind, compassionate, loving, personal Deity made such a mess?
The idea of sin, that human beings are responsible for the so-called “evil” in our universe, is nonsense. When you study the gradual, evolutionary development of human nature, it is obvious that we are creatures determined by DNA, by genes, by chemicals of the brain, in short by heredity and environment. The idea of sin, the Christian way to explain how a good God could create such cruelty and suffering, and blaming the evil on human beings—call it moral choice—consign humans to eternity in hell, such a concept is also nonsense. No reasonable person can make a good defense of the sadistic idea of sin. What bad things exist in our planet are simply the result of evolutionary development, where survival of the fittest is the law of nature, with no evidence of the involvement of any god.
Dr. Burkhart exclaims over the marvelous perfection of our world, but what about the baffling imperfection? Even if a so-called creator is involved in the scheme of things, we can know the creator only by his works, and such a being has to take blame for all the bad as well as the good. The picture we get of the creator from his creation is just as often a sadistic monster as a compassionate deity.
And to say that nonbelievers deny the historical existence of Jesus is not true. What we deny is the miracles ascribed to him. Dr. Burkhart needs to read David Hume on
Last, if you read carefully what Jesus himself says about sin, the doctrine used to justify God’s sadistic treatment of human beings, you will see that the only so-called sinners that Jesus confronts are a few misbehaving women and some old men with strict rules about the Sabbath. Jesus even says to forgive seventy times seven times, an almost infinite number.
The Christian concept of sin was invented by Paul, not Jesus. So that it is difficult to accept a Savior who died for the sins of the world who did not himself really believe in sin. Dr. Burkhart piously and prayfully ends hoping that Richard Dawkins will “see the light”—truth is, he already has. Would that pious Christians would do likewise.
Retired professor of English