Dawkins has an ‘Oh God’ moment

Russell Powell

Britain is obsessed with religion and Christianity in particular, it just won't admit it.

Most of our top 5 stories in the week on review come from Britain, where a battle has been going on in the media about Christianity being squeezed out of public life. Tony Blair's press secretary once said 'We don't do God'. But there seems to be an awful lot of talking about it. Let me illustrate with some quotes from the British media this week.

"Judges say that the law has no obligation to the Christian faith, but I say 'rubbish’ to that. Historically there has been a great interlocking of Christianity with our laws in this country.” Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey in the Telegraph.

"You cannot and should not extract (the) Christian foundations from the evolution of our nations any more than you can or should erase the spires from our landscapes. My fear today is that a militant secularisation is taking hold of our societies.” Muslim MP Baroness Warsi in the Washington Post, urging Britain to embrace its Christian heritage.

"I got a phone call from my mother on Saturday. She opened with “Tim, they’re trying to outlaw Christianity in England.” I think she had slightly misread the effort to ban prayers at council meetings, but I understood what she meant." Historian, Dr Tim Stanley, in the Telegraph.

But the funniest war of words was between Richard Dawkins and Giles Fraser, former Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral. Dawkins had produced a poll (conducted by, as one commentator pointed out, the humbly named Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science). Dawkins was trying to point out that a lot of Brits are actually 'cultural Christians' who have not much idea about the Bible. Fraser pointed out that a lot of evolutionists could give the full title of the Origin of the Species, including, it seems Dawkins himself. You can hear the whole thing here, but this is the key quote (note his exclamation).

Giles Fraser: Richard, if I said to you what is the full title of ‘The Origin Of Species’, I’m sure you could tell me that.

Richard Dawkins: Yes, I could.

Giles Fraser: Go on then.

Richard Dawkins: On The Origin Of Species.. Uh. With, Oh God. On The Origin Of Species. There is a sub title with respect to the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life.

Giles Fraser: You’re the high pope of Darwinism… If you asked people who believed in evolution that question and you came back and said 2% got it right, it would be terribly easy for me to go ‘they don’t believe it after all.’ It’s just not fair to ask people these questions. They self-identify as Christians and I think you should respect that. 

BBC Radio 4, Tuesday 14th February.

Other stories that should be noted this week are the continuing Obama health care row and the extraordinary response from some evangelicals, archaeology shows the Bible was right about the Queen of Sheba, and Whitney kept her faith to the end, according to the National Post. Her funeral, ABC America says, will be private and faith-focused.