World’s Leading Atheist Richard Dawkins Claims ‘I’m a Cultural Christian’

5 April 2024


Dawkins praises the Christian values that make his UK lifestyle the envy of much of the world. But rejecting Christian belief while holding onto its values is illogical, contradictory and has consequences – and he knows it.

This week, Richard Dawkins made an appearance on the UK radio station Leading Britain’s Conversation (LBC).

The topic of conversation? The role of Christianity in British life. It began by acknowledging the fact that it was Easter. Yet Ramadan decorations were hung in central London streets.

A fact that makes Dawkins “slightly horrified”.

“I do think we are culturally a Christian country”, he responds. “And I call myself a cultural Christian.”

“I love hymns and Christmas carols. I feel at home in the Christian ethos. I feel that we are a Christian country in that sense.”

Dawkins Dislikes Biblical Christianity, But Disdains Islam More

Some comments posted on YouTube clearly did not understand what Dawkins meant.

He has not toned down his disdain for biblical Christianity, as some claimed.

He states point blank, “It’s true that statistically, the number of people who actually believe in Christianity is going down – and I’m happy with that.”

“But I would not be happy if, for example, we lost all our cathedrals and beautiful parish churches.”

Dawkins is perceptive and honest enough to know that much that is good in public life in the UK is due to Christianity.

And on this point, he is dead right.

Christianity has been the greatest force for good the world has ever known. The ideas of equality of all people, the value of the individual, medicine, science, education, literacy and democracy – to name but a few – all have deeply Christian roots.

It is in this vein he states, “So I count myself a cultural Christian. I think it would matter if we substituted any alternative religion – that would be truly dreadful.”

When interview host Rachel Johnson asked Richard about the erection of mosques around Europe – with 6000 currently under construction – the answer was clear and provocative.

“If I had to choose between Christianity and Islam, I’d choose Christianity every single time. It seems to me to be a fundamentally decent religion in a way that I think Islam is not.”

Dawkins’ Cultural Christian Contradiction

Dawkins knows his ‘good life’ is due to the historic role of Christianity. And so he reveals, “I find that I like to live in a culturally Christian country, although I do not believe a single word of the Christian faith.”

“I must emphasise that the things Christians believe are actually nonsense.”

However, it is Dawkins’ wishful thinking that you can have cultural Christianity without Christianity that is nonsense.

The reason is that our beliefs drive and dictate our behaviour. If I believe that all humans are made in the image of God (Gen 1:26) and therefore intrinsically valuable, I will tend to treat people well. Behaviour will be modelled around “loving my neighbour as myself” (Mark 12:31).

Dawkins wants Christian values but rejects the beliefs. That is illogical, inconsistent and contradictory.

The Babylon Bee brilliantly pointed this out when it satirically reported Dawkins had donned a WWJD bracelet. In the Bee’s imagined interview, Richard made the following feeble attempt to deny he was contradicting his atheist views by wearing his WWJD bracelet.

“While this bracelet asks what Jesus would do, I am only prompting mankind to ask itself, ‘What would this fictional character named Jesus do in a metaphorical sense to promote decent behaviour for the betterment of humanity?’ Unfortunately, WWTFCNJDIAMSTPDBFTBOH is too cumbersome for a bracelet.”

Morality and Atheism’s Moral Void

The average secular punter naïvely believes that there are such things as right and wrong that objectively exist – but belief in God be damned.

Dawkins is under no such delusion. He knows full well what atheism means.

If the atheist worldview was true, then there is no absolute moral authority (i.e. God). Right and wrong is whatever humans claim and declare it to be.

Morality itself is an objective fiction. The human consciousness is simply an evolved biological tool to aid survival. Nothing more.

In this atheistic worldview, humans are mere animals. And their brains operate by the fixed laws of nature. There is no free will. How can there be? There is no soul/spirit independent of the body that ‘acts’.

‘Bad’ behaviour is explained that humans are defective. In the same way that a car might be defective – and we don’t hold it morally accountable – the same is true with humans.

“Instead of beating the car, we would investigate the problem”, states Dawkins. “Why do we not react in the same way to a defective man: a murderer, say, or a rapist?”, he asks.

To put it another, but horrendously graphic way, the ‘good’ feeling a person receives from serving at a soup kitchen is no different from the ‘good’ feeling the rapist receives during his heinous ‘crime’. Both examples are simply biological reactions inside a person’s animalistically wired brain.

There’s no right or wrong in the atheist universe.

Dawkins knows it. He proclaims it.

But he doesn’t like it.

Welcome to atheism’s moral void.

Dawkins and the ‘Terrible’ Decline in Christianity

Dawkins’ consistency in proclaiming an atheistically morally void world is inexplicably matched by his inconsistency in proclaiming that some things are, after all, ‘terrible’.

In response to the question, “Would it be a good thing or a bad thing if we became a less Christian country?”, Dawkins is crystal clear.

“No, I think it would be a terrible thing. In so far as Christianity can be seen as a bulwark against Islam, I think it’s a very good thing. In Africa, for example, where you have missionaries of both faiths operating, I’m on team Christian as far as that’s concerned.”

Does moral ‘good’ actually exist, Richard? Which universe do we actually live in? Because it sounds very much, now, that we live in the Christian moral one.

The Real Interview Shocker?

At the end of the interview, the host referenced a time when she went to church. Her son (who was with her) asked the priest, “Do you know Jesus to be true, or do you believe Jesus to be true?”

The priest couldn’t answer the question.

Biblically, the answer is both. The word ‘belief’ in the New Testament means ‘trust’ – and proper trust is built upon a trustworthy source. It requires and demands evidence.

A good illustration of ‘faith’ is sitting on a wooden stool. We see the chair. We can feel it. We can measure it and size it up. From there, we either trust (believe) that it will hold our weight – or we don’t. And we make our decision accordingly.

In 1 John, the apostle John writes that his teaching was based on “what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have observed and have touched with our hands” (1 John 1:1).

Christianity is true because the accounts in the Bible really happened. The events of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, for example, were witnessed by hundreds of people (1 Cor 15:6). And many of them paid the price of their faith in a hostile world with their lives.

Christians both know and believe that Jesus is the true Messiah of Israel and Saviour of the world. We know it as fact and trust in its trustworthy claims.

The fact that the priest couldn’t answer such a basic question reveals why the Church is in such decline in parts of Europe – and Australia.

Such priests and their supporters are closer to the cultural Christianity of Dawkins than the true, biblical Christianity of Jesus and his first followers.

And that is the real, hard truth that Christians must take from the interview if biblical, missional Christianity is going to survive in the West.


Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

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  1. Teri Kempe 5 April 2024 at 8:51 am - Reply

    Amen and Amen! It is astonishing that a person of Dawkin’s supposed intellect can have such warped and illogical reasoning! Thank you for the excellent exposure of this deception. The sad thing is how Dawkins has led so many others astray, for which he will ultimately be held accountable, unless he repents and seeks forgiveness from his Saviour, Jesus.

  2. Pauline Tondl 5 April 2024 at 11:02 am - Reply

    Your observation that Dawkins is “dead right” is both amusing and sad.

    From all accounts, Dawkins is spiritually DEAD – he has not yet repented of his sin, nor believed the Gospel, nor been born again.

    Unless one is “born again (= born from above)” he cannot see (nor enter) the kingdom of God. John 3:3-8

    While Dawkins may well be astute and even RIGHT in his understanding of many things, he is not “righteous”. Romans 3:10-20
    His ‘being right’ may position him to receive much adulation from fellow humans.
    But that cuts no ice with the living God, who is righteous.
    Consider Romans 1:16-17
    … the righteous will live by faith.

    May the living God draw Dawkins to Jesus Christ (John 6:44), unto saving faith and the birth from above, via the Holy Spirit’s great work of convicting him in regard to sin and righteousness and judgement. John 16:8-11

    When we hear Dawkins speaking less of his own feelings and likes, and more of God’s mercy and grace, we will KNOW that life and righteousness have been born in him.
    May this happen sooner rather than later.
    To the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  3. Warwick Marsh 5 April 2024 at 5:13 pm - Reply

    Really fantastic article!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Joshua M 6 April 2024 at 11:04 am - Reply

    I recently heard of Sam Harris’ question to Jordan Peterson

    “Do you really believe Jesus was resurrected from the dead?”

    “I behave as if I do” — JBP without hesitation

    JBP’s God is biology , the science of evolutionary biology (which at times is incompatible with the truth and thus science)

    He has framed the Christian worldview under his “god” and speaks great virtue of this “cultural”, or “false Christianity”

    Like Dawkins he recognises that evangelistic atheism is fraught and creates a much more disturbing world. But it is pride that makes them put knowledge of man above that of the true God

  5. Claire Kaltenrieder 6 April 2024 at 4:04 pm - Reply

    All very pertinent comments.
    Hopefully, some of R Dawkins’ followers will start to question his strange logic, or lack of. … Then the Holy Spirit may have a foot in the door!

  6. Countess Antonia Maria Violetta Scrivanich 7 April 2024 at 11:19 pm - Reply

    Albanese claims to be a “Cultural Christian “,too ,which is why he wants Faith schools to be subject to Discrimination Law, ie to the State just like in China, etc . He and his government and some Independents are the enemies of Christianity just as are priests who do not believe in Jesus and the Bible. These priests have no right to be ” Christian ” priests, they are the devils who work to undermine Christianity. The modern mantra that all religions are “equal ” is deliberately misleading, another ploy to debase Christianity. No other religion can “hold a candle “to the good things which Christianity preaches as Richard Dawkins acknowledges. WHY in English-speaking countries is there such a push to promote Islam with all its religious defects , and, to eliminate Christmas and Easter ? Answer , I suggest, is to destroy Christianity in order to CONTROL people because Christianity teaches that we have Free Will and that the only real authority that we should acknowledge is God. Why do we put up with such evil politicians and Laws ? Why are so many people sheep who do not realise that by actively or passively attacking Christianity they are allowing their freedoms to be attacked ? Christianity = Freedoms!

  7. John Leonard Kenyon 14 April 2024 at 1:49 am - Reply

    Well of course the Priest wasn’t much cop or perhaps had a bad day! ‘I know whom I have believed and ….’ But this has to be a subjective knowing of course – it is not the type of knowing we have in some science. But more than that there is a necessary uncertainty – if not, where would be the need for faith? The faith of some will be stronger than for others – we are different. As mentioned, we are called to believe and trust not to just accept some ‘historical fact’!

    We also need to remember 1 John 4.16 as well as John 3.16! Wasn’t it the love and faith Christians had that drove/transformed the early church and changed the world?

    So agree nearly all the above – that Dawkin’s position irrational (as before all this) but looks like progress…

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