Richard Dawkins thinks that Christian beliefs are ‘superstition’. Is he right?
We find only one reference to ‘superstition’ in Scripture – Acts 25:19:
“But, had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive”.
In this text, Festus was talking to king Agrippa about Paul. They were told of the ‘superstition’ of the Jewish accusers. The word deisidaimonia is used which, in this context, refers simply to the religion of the Jews. However, the word can also be used to refer to untenable beliefs, as in, say, Acts 17:22, where Paul says the philosophers he debated on Mars Hill were “too superstitious”.
The modern meaning of the word ‘superstition’ is about fear of the unknown, usually supernatural, and based on opinion. This is often linked to what is occult; divination, magic and omens.
So, are Christian beliefs ‘superstition’? (Obviously, Dawkins’ view is based on the modern definition of the word). No, they are not! I do not believe in Christ, God and what the Bible says, out of superstition. My beliefs are rooted firmly in concrete facts, as reported in God’s word. Of course, Dawkins would argue that in itself this is proof that I am believing in superstition. Again, he is wrong.
Dawkins would accept secular historical data found in only one or two documents. He will accept the hypotheses put out by secular archaeologists and historians. Yet, the number of documents in support of scriptural facts are in their thousands. In academic circles there may only be one, or maybe two, existing documents in support of a particular secular event, person, etc. So, WHY accept the veracity of an hypothesis with only one supporting document, and reject the veracity of scripture, with thousands of supportive documents? The answer is painfully obvious – prejudice and an unacademic approach!
Jesus was a real person in history. Many facts related in scripture are proven to be true… others have yet to be proven, but there is no reason to dismiss what is not yet proved, when all those that have been proved are multitudinous!
There is another reason, too… I have proved the veracity of the Bible’s spiritual data in my own life. Thus, God is real, as is Heaven, as is the Gospel, and so on. They are concrete facts, not mere scientific prejudice believed by atheistic scientists.
I have no undue fear of God, so the ‘fear’ aspect is also wrong. I do not believe in the ‘unknown’ but in a very real Person Who was born, lived and died, on this earth. I have no connection with the occult in any form, but am joined by adoption to Christ, by the merciful election of God. This gives me an actual relationship to God that is unavailable to an unbeliever. I receive divine benefits that are not known to the unsaved. So, people like Dawkins are ignorant of the facts and cannot have any idea about divine things. It is why arguments by atheists tend to be juvenile and very wrong. They cannot argue against something they have no idea about!
Divine activity is powerful proof against atheists and other unbelievers. This is because there are times when ONLY God can be the cause of something. True miracles come into this category, and I defined what these definitions are in my book, ‘Plagues, A Crossing, and Small White Things’. Miracles are superior to, and way-beyond, any scientific explanation. This is NOT the same as saying something ‘must’ be a ‘miracle’ if science cannot provide an answer. I am saying that a miracle is evidentially an intervention by God because of the way it occurs. I show this in particular with each of the ten plagues on Egypt.
I have, too, experienced divine interventions in my own life, that cannot be explained by any other means. I have also defined what true prayer is – and there is no way that true prayer can be explained-away by science, beliefs, or any other hypotheses.
True prayer is itself an intervention by God, and is separate from this earthliness, yet bringing God’s interventions whilst on this earth. (See articles on prayer and prayer meetings).
However, I must defer to people like Dawkins for one big reason, on one big point – most Christians are vague and badly reactive, showing themselves to be superstitious and not divinely experienced. They believe trends and vague ideas rather than concrete truths; their ‘worship’ is anything but; they follow idols and not true men of God who direct them to the Lord; they refuse to admit to error; they fear God in a bad way; they often adhere to occultism rather than divine power. In this, then, he is right – they ARE suspicious, and, in being that way, are harmful to the good name of Christ.
However, the errors of some are not the same as being the declared word of God! They carry no weight. The word of God, taken as it is written, CANNOT be wrong or superstitious. But, the ignorance and defiance of so many who call themselves ‘Christian’ are an open invitation for unbelievers to mock us all.
True faith is not superstition, but arises from real, historical, factual events, people and teachings. And the reality is mirrored in people who live righteously. Something that is not true will be mirrored in sinfulness! Are YOUR faith and beliefs solidly factual, or do your lifetime beliefs rest on superstition?
© September 2011
Published on www.christiandoctrine.com
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