Atheists for Jesus

ICHARD Dawkins once suggested a new clothing line of T-shirts with the slogan, “Atheists for Jesus.” Dawkins says Jesus only believed in God, because that’s what everyone believed back then. In his essay “Atheists for Jesus,” Dawkins sounds a lot like the second century heretic Marcion, who believed Jesus was nothing like the grumpy God of the Old Testament.

Dawkins’ recreation of Jesus as a coincidental theist, a radical thinker, a rejecter of the God of Israel, and an ideal candidate for a campaign about niceness, is interesting to say the least. First, Dawkins overlooks clear teachings regarding Jesus’ love for the Old Testament and his claim to be one with the Father. So much for basing one’s views on available evidence.
 
Second, Dawkins goes so far as to suggest it’s plausible Jesus never existed at all. The celebrity skeptic, Bart Ehrman, published an entire book to refute such a claim, arguing that every major religious scholar, from Muslim, to Christian, even including atheist scholars, not only accept as historical fact that Jesus existed, but also that he was crucified under Pontius Pilate and was thought to have been seen by his followers after his death. 
 
In the afterword to this essay, published in his book Science in the Soul, Dawkins doubles down on the possibility Jesus never existed. He knows better. There’s too much evidence, and even consensus among non-Christian scholars of religion. He’s intentionally being misleading. 
 
The purpose of Dawkins’ essay “Atheists for Jesus” is to encourage skeptics to find a way to promote niceness, even super-niceness as he describes it. He admits that being super nice is anti-Darwinian. It’s a perversion of the flow of natural selection. It’s dumb. It’s irrational. These are all ways Dawkins describes being too nice, yet he says “it’s the kind of perversion we need to encourage and spread” and “it is the kind of dumb that should be encouraged.” 
 
In typical Dawkins’ style he describes religious beliefs as “superdumb” and “self-harming stupidity.” Nonetheless, he looks to religion as a way to establish his super nice ideal. Though it’s irrational and a perversion of the natural order of things, Dawkins thinks it should go viral. 
 
No wonder G.K. Chesterton called human values like this, when promoted by atheists like Richard Dawkins, the “superstitions of the skeptic.” While such values flow naturally from a Christian view of the world, they have no foundation in an atheistic one. That’s why Francis Schaeffer said secular humanists have their feet firmly planted in midair. While they may not be standing on anything stable, thanks to Richard Dawkins, at least skeptics can sport Jesus on their T-shirts.