The Unbelievable podcast had an interesting discussion between Christian Andrew Wilson (author of Deluded by Dawkins?) and atheist Gordon Livesey about Richard Dawkins’s book, The God Delusion. I thought it would be interesting to see how you would respond to Livesey, who is disturbed by the fact that “theology has been promoted as a topic worthy of study.”
One striking bit in the book, which I remember, is when [Dawkins] was asking—it could have been his physics lecturer or astronomy lecturer—about the origin of the big bang, and he said something to his lecturer like, “Well, why should there be a big bang?” And his lecturer said, “Ah, this is the point at which I hand you over to the chaplain.” And he then goes on to say, “Why? What does the chaplain know about it? Surely a lecturer in astronomy would know much more about it than a chaplain.”
And so [Dawkins] is trying to put the point that theology has been promoted into the realms of academia where it really has no place there. And when Andrew says that Richard Dawkins is operating outside his field of expertise [when discussing the Bible], the way I would respond to that is to say that theology is not really an expertise in itself, it’s a created topic of study. It has no basis in science. Its basis is ancient scripture and old-fashioned texts. There’s a bit in [Dawkins’s] book, as well, in which Richard Dawkins goes through the Old Testament and gives you some of the horrific behavior of God, and so on. And that’s what the subject of theology is based on. And Richard Dawkins quotes another student who went to his lecturer and said, “Is it all right to do my dissertation on the subject of theology?” And his lecturer says, “Well, I don’t consider that a subject.”
So you’re sitting in a radio station having this discussion with Livesey. What do you say? Let’s hear your ideas! We’ll hear what Brett would say on Thursday.