At first I found myself angry with the man, boiling at the claims he was making. Not boiling at the obvious lies he was spewing, but the potential truths he appeared to be stating. His words pierced deep. Words which appeared to be indisputable logic. His words that pinched my very soul were the pinch I needed to rouse me from the drowsy slumber I was falling into.
Dawkins exploded onto the science scene with his book The Selfish Gene in the 70's in much the same way he has more recently entered the philosophical arena with his book The God Delusion. As you can imagine, he is a very prominent outspoken atheist who has been rallying support of fellow atheist to "come out of the closet" and proudly renounce the "illogical" existence of a God. His debates have been welcomed with open arms among the internet community. All the while fanning the flames of such websites (that physically make me sick to my stomach) as http://www.blasphemychallenge.com/.
All this being said, I have grown to have a new found appreciation for people like Dawkins. He is challenging peoples faith. Forcing people out of a casual faith that they were simply born or married to. Sadly, and it really does pain me to say this, he is more effective at this then many pastors.
One of my new favorite authors on Christian thought, N.T. Wright, explains God's gift of the Bible as being a way "of pointing out to each generation that we need to grow up, to become more fully human beings, in our thinking." The Bible is provided as a conduit through which we can continue to delve deeper in our faith, through "words which force us either to retreat into shallow, shoulder-shrugging denial or to think more deeply, to work out what he is up to and what he wants of us."
Dawkins, and his colleagues, force people out of a shallow faith.
I can only pray that individuals take the avenue of endless excitement, exploring the mysteries of God, when broadsided by people like Dawkins and are not driven down hopeless dead ends.
I pray people like Dawkins could be a stimulus to those who have casually taken on Christ's name, without truly embarking in pursuit to understand Christs will in their life and for this world, to delve into a deeper reality.
I pray people like Dawkins could be a wake up call to many Christians who have fallen into a slumber.
I pray God could use people like Dawkins to bring individuals closer to Him.
Here's a video of one of his (many) debates if you are interested. Richard Dawkins on the Late Late Show.