Most of the following video you can skip if you like because the interviewer, Howard Conder, quizzes Richard Dawkins on some rather absurd questions about evolution, irreducible complexity, etc., that he would already known the answer to if he had bothered to read any of Dawkin’s books.
Conder seems to not be able to comprehend the point that Dawkins makes, that is, if Yahweh is all powerful and essentially sets the rules on how mankind will be redeemed after the fall of Adam and Eve, why does God require a “perfect” sacrifice, or even a sacrifice at all.
Here is Dawkins:
The idea that God could only forgive our sins by having his son tortured to death as a scapegoat, is surely from an objective point of view, a deeply unpleasant idea. If God wanted to forgive us our sins, why didn’t he just forgive them? Why did he have to have his son tortured?
That’s a very good question.
Well, what’s your answer?
Conder then recounts the Genesis narrative in which Adam “lost that perfection for us all” when he sinned in the Garden. He then explains why Christ was necessary:
Another perfect being of the same degree of perfection could only be the proper ransom for our redemption.
Conder in response:
Being the god that he is, allowing for us to have freewill, it wasn’t just scrumping an apple. There was more to it than that. Adam was plainly disobedient, and I think he even admits it himself in the fact that he hid from God that particular evening because there was a fellowship between man and God every day.
So Adam was disobedient and that sin reverberated down the ages, is inherited by all humans. What kind of a doctrine is that? Inherited by all humans and had to be redeemed by the son of God being tortured to death. What kind of morality are you propagating there.
That’s a very good question (Are you noticing a theme? Dawkins raises very good questions to which there are no answers).
Conder then reiterated the point that Christ’s life had to be perfect. In apparent frustration with this exchange, Dawkins agreed that they should move on. Before going to a question and answer part of the interview, Conder said:
Please Richard, see my heart, not my intellect because my heart is for mankind as well.
And with a tinge of sarcasm, Dawkins replies:
Oh I can see that.
OK, so if you didn’t view the whole video, that’s enough to get a general feel for how it went in the last few minutes. As I said, Conder seems unable to wrap his mind around the question that Dawkins posed time and again, that is, if God is all-powerful and all-loving, why the need for a sacrifice at all, much less a perfect sacrifice. At one point, Dawkins hints at the problem when he asks: “Why did God have to have his son tortured.”
Conder didn’t pick up on the subtly, but implicit in the question is if God “had” to do anything, if he is operating under a set of rules outside of himself or if he is constrained in his actions in any way, then he is not God. Essentially, he makes the rules, and the sacrifice that would redeem mankind had to be perfect, then some being or entity other than God is in control. Christ didn’t have to be killed to redeem mankind. Indeed, mankind didn’t have to redeemed by any physical action whatsoever. God could have just done it. He could have said:
OK, the gig is up. It’s been thousands of years now. I think you have toiled and suffered birth pains long enough now. You guys are off the hook. Eat, drink and be merry and enjoy your lives.
But no, believers would continue to have us believe that their God is so obsessed with the notion of vicarious redemption that nothing but a perfect sacrifice for redemption would do. Well, if that’s the case, God’s might, whatever it may be, is not omnipotent, and his love, whatever it might be, is not all-encompassing.