Jerry Johnston asks Richard Dawkins, “Do you have a degree in theology?”06 June 2017
I asked Richard Dawkins permission when we were filming in Oxford, England. He consented. Quoting his detractors, without the slightest bit of cynicism, I posed the question to @RichardDawkins, “Do you have a degree in theology?” “Are you proficient in Hebrew or Greek?” Dawkins’ answered, “Of course not.” How then do you write an accurate critique of the theology of the Bible as expressed in his bestseller, The God Delusion? I am not the only person with this query. Numerous Christian theologians, apologists, and philosophers, many who have spent years, even decades in the original biblical languages, backgrounds, cultures, eras, history, customs, etc., have told me that Richard Dawkins’ book is not intellectual and or remotely accurate. My third question to Dawkins, “So they would theoretically say how can Professor Dawkins who is not been theologically trained, technically trained in the original manuscripts, form conclusions about the biblical record?”
How would an evolutionary scientist, like Richard Dawkins, respond to a published book critiquing Darwin’s theory by a person with no scientific, academic credentials? That is a fair question.
Richard’s added response, in my opinion, avoided the specific question. Dawkins said, “Are they trained in the religions of Africa, the Pagan religions, in Buddhism, in Hinduism, in the religions of South America. There are thousands of religions; there have been thousands of religions. They’re not trained in those religions. I’m just not trained in them either.”
Cristie Jo Johnston and I are on a transcontinental journey to discover the accurate reasons why adults, by the multiplied millions, are religiously disaffiliating. I reminded Dawkins, “You know when we take a text out of context we get a pretext.” Atheists, alone, are not guilty of this as they critique the Bible. Pastors and religious leaders, even Jim Jones and David Koresh, have often improperly quoted Bible texts to errantly prove a point, and, regretfully, manipulate people. Context is crucial. Context requires cognition – sorely lacking in too many sermons and homilies. There are plenty of kooks within the Christian movement. But, that would also be true of the atheist movement. We have to move beyond eccentricities and drill down to the facts, objectively. We invite you to follow us on this interesting journey.