"… I believe; help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24)
Last year marked the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, published in 1611 as the king's attempt to create one Bible for everyone in a society simmering with divided doctrinal loyalties. Michael Gove, the British education secretary, intended to commemorate the anniversary by donating a new leather-bound copy to all government primary and secondary schools. After Prime Minister David Cameron nixed the plan to use taxpayers' money, Conservative Party members donated.
Famous atheist/agnostic Richard Dawkins penned an article about the plan for The Guardian last Saturday. He not only supports having Bibles in schools, but he wrote that his organization, the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, would have "given it serious consideration" if Gove had asked for a donation. He calls the Bible "a great work of literature" and wrote that a native English speaker who's never read the book is "verging on the barbarian."
Of course, Dawkins disdains Christians, and he called on his fellow unbelievers to "ridicule and show contempt" for the religious and their doctrines at the Reason Rally in Washington two months ago. So why would an atheist/agnostic want King James Bibles in every government school? Dawkins wrote:
"I have an ulterior motive for wishing to contribute to Gove's scheme. People who do not know the Bible well have been gulled into thinking it is a good guide to morality. This mistaken view may have motivated the 'millionaire Conservative Party donors.' I have even heard the cynically misanthropic opinion that, without the Bible as a moral compass, people would have no restraint against murder, theft, and mayhem. The surest way to disabuse yourself of this pernicious falsehood is to read the Bible itself."
Dawkins isn't resentful of only believers or doctrine or books. He's deeply resentful of a God he claims doesn't exist. Regarding his mention of stoning for violating God's law, such penalties illustrated the impossibility of following the law perfectly. They also were signs pointing to our need for a perfect Savior to bear the punishment for us. Dawkins knows such issues have been explained, yet he continues to misrepresent and mislead.
Dawkins also refers to one of the Bible's many difficult passages, namely that God commanded Israel to kill His enemies-men, women, and children-in vengeance for corrupting His people, but to save the virgins, the purpose of which was to exterminate the enemies to keep them from reproducing and corrupting Israel again. Every man, woman, and child is a sinner who deserves God's wrath, and God decrees the method and the means for carrying out His wrath sometimes in ways we can't fully grasp. In the same vein, God used His enemies as agents to punish His chosen people.
No person, place, or thing can thwart God's purpose, not even unbelievers like Dawkins. Perhaps a student or teacher will leaf through his school's copy of the fancy new book, motivated by Dawkins's ridicule, and become awed by its overarching themes of rebellion, wrath, faith, and redemption.