Internationally-renowned Australian playwright David Williamson1 is angry. At God.2 Actually, Williamson probably wouldn’t put it that way, seeing he doesn’t actually believe in a Creator. Instead, he has directed his anger at those who believe ‘in a god of any kind’.
Writing in The Australian, Williamson says that belief in God is ‘a delusion that has wreaked untold damage on the world since the dawn of recorded time.’3
God is ‘a delusion’? From Williamson’s atheistic perspective, yes—we were not created, but are the result of chance processes over billions of years. ‘Evolution has built into our psyches a strong tendency to obey authority,’ writes Williamson. His stated desire for 2007 is that ‘religious extremists of the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths in particular’ will read Richard Dawkins’s book The God Delusion and be won over by its ‘rational’ argument and ‘evidence’.4 In essence, Dawkins’s ‘evidence’ is evolution, which, as he logically points out in his book, automatically consigns ‘the God Hypothesis’ as he calls it—that there exists ‘a super-human, supernatural intelligence who deliberately designed and created the universe and everything in it, including us’—to being a mere figment of human imagination, which itself is a product of evolution. ‘Any creative intelligence of sufficient complexity to design anything, comes into existence only as the end product of an extended process of gradual evolution,’ says Dawkins. ‘Creative intelligences being evolved necessarily arrive late in the universe, and therefore cannot be responsible for designing it. God is a delusion, … a pernicious delusion.’5
However, everything was in fact created, by a Creator Who is a God of Love—and the eternal One who created time itself, so had no beginning, so doesn’t need a creator, despite Dawkins’ faulty philosophy. So it is understandable that from time to time even unbelievers like Williamson—descended as we all are from Adam and Eve created in the image of God—can recognize evil behaviour in the world and feel a stirring in their hearts (Romans 2:15) to speak out against it.
So, Williamson is right to highlight the tragedy of human violence in the world, but wrong in his suggested solution. What a shame that Williamson is not a Christian—with his obvious communication skills and high public profile he would be well-placed to proclaim the Good News of Christ to many. In fact, Williamson admits to not always having been of an atheistic mindset. He recounts what happened:
‘I went to church in suburban Melbourne and had an intensely religious phase until I was 12, but then I heard the theory of evolution and it cured me of any idea we were God’s children. We’re just a life form that’s evolved reasonably successfully. There’s no grand plan for the universe or our lives, we’re the lucky recipients of random chance.’7