While reading an article on the trends in book publishing over the past decade, I came across the following section on the popularity of the latest wave of outspoken Atheist literature. There certainly seemed to be enough of it over the last few years. Every time you turned on the TV or picked up a newspaper lately it seemed that Richard Dawkins was there with some new and witty argument for how God was stupid, useless, and/or dangerous (which is truly amazing for someone who is not supposed to be real!) Or how evolution has all the answers, even if we don’t know what they are just yet.
Yes over the past decade or so, a growing number of outspoken critics of God, have been having a good laugh at His expense. Laughing all the way to the bank, as the old saying goes.
For a time, I will admit, I was angered and frustrated by all the play these gentlemen were getting. This wasn’t funny at all, I thought. Call it a moment of doubt – fueled by angst and anxiety for the damage all their lashing out could cause. I should have known better. Follow me, through some of the key sections of the relevant articles and see why I’m smiling:
God was front and centre in a handful of books this decade. A clutch of atheist writers denied his existence: there was Sam Harris’s The End of Faith (2005), Christopher Hitchens’s God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (2007) and Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion (2006). (The latter sparked a mini-industry of angry rebuttals that included titles like The Deluded Atheist: A Response to Richard Dawkins and Dawkins’ Dilemmas: Deluded Or Not Deluded?) Two of the decade’s most rigorous, thoughtful books on spirituality came courtesy of noted theologian Karen Armstrong (The Case for God) and Giller Prize-winning author David Adams Richards (God Is). There is no clear winner in this religious debate, only an unshakable sense that everyone in the 2000s was having a crisis of faith. Even so, sales of the Bible skyrocketed. (emphasis added)
There is no clear winner in this debate claims the article (perhaps following the convention of journalism that tries to be fair and impartial to both sides). But look what I found when I followed the tantalizing little link “skyrocketed.” This is in part what I read:
Struggling authors should keep the faith – literally. Sales of books that explore religion or spirituality have grown by more than 50 per cent in the past three years, according to online retailer Amazon … But the statistics may not make uplifting reading for believers. The most popular ‘religious’ book, says Amazon, is The God Delusion, an anti-faith polemic by Richard Dawkins, the academic who has been dubbed ‘Darwin’s rottweiler’. Second is God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, another broadside at holy citadels, by the journalist Christopher Hitchens …
But it is The God Delusion that has driven the growth of the category. Between April and June it was the fourth-bestselling book of all, beaten only by the two editions (children and adult) of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s latest offering. However, the publication of The God Delusion last year also prompted a 120 per cent increase in sales of the Bible. (emphasis added).
Here, the author goes so far as to declare that the skeptics are beating God in the bestseller battle … but read that last sentence again. While Mr. Dawkins and his fellow atheists continue to debate God’s merits and sell their books, all they have done is to push up the sales of the Bible by 120%. Now THAT is funny!
And so once again we see who is really in control. Now we see who is truly great and who is deluded. For not with pomp and ridicule, but with humility and gentleness, God takes even the attacks of the outspoken, witty, and media-savvy atheists, and answers them all soundly. This is how He works. Turning even the assaults of those who stand against Him into a tool that serves His never ending compassion to reach the lost and the hurting, the fearful and the doubting, with His Word of Life, His Good News of Salvation in Christ Jesus. Yes, God may be mocked for a time, but it will be He who has the last laugh.
Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. – Psalm 2:1-4