Are you barking mad?
If you’ve ever been to the United Kingdom or watched British movies or television, you are aware of the many unique words they use that aren’t always familiar to those of us in the US, where we speak English! 🤣 I actually think their version of our language is much more colorful and fun.
The first time I was doing a speaking tour in the UK, it took a while to get used to the numerous phrases that I wasn’t familiar with. I found out the “boot” was the trunk of the car, and the “screen” was the windshield. “Fancy a cuppa” meant, “Would you like some tea?” After dinner, when they would ask, “What would you like for pudding?” it meant, “What would you like for dessert?” My wife and I visited the UK last summer for another speaking tour (3rd trip), and now we’re much better at fitting in. So, “Bob’s your uncle!” (i.e., “There you go!”)
Another phrase relating to our Question of the Month is, “barking mad,” which simply means “crazy.” it’s not too hard to figure that one out.
The question, “Are you barking mad?” was asked rhetorically by someone you may be familiar with. His name is Richard Dawkins. Yes, arguably the world’s leading atheist. The context is quite interesting. As most of you know, he is also one of the world’s leading evolutionists. He’s very outspoken and doesn’t usually mince words. I appreciate that about him. He doesn’t beat around the bush.
In this case, he was responding to those in the larger Christian community who merge two ideas: Darwinian evolution and biblical creation. This “compromise view” is held by a many religious people, including many who truly are born-again Christians. The initial tension between these views is apparent. The Bible certainly seems to give a very straightforward account of God’s miraculous creation, creating animals and other life forms to produce only after their same kind. It also states that God created Adam from the dust of the Earth and Eve from his side. Darwinian evolution clearly states all life forms developed slowly, through natural processes, over hundreds of millions of years from a common ancestor, with life originally having come from non-living chemicals allegedly 3.8 billion years ago.
A popular view among some Christians today is that God used Darwinian evolution as His method of creation. You can believe in both without doing a disservice to either side! On the surface, it sounds like a very plausible solution, doesn’t it? Everyone’s happy! Not really. You end up taking the very poorly supported idea of evolution and inserting it into God’s inspired Word, and now you really do have problems. Big problems! And, neither side is truly happy. At least not anyone from either side who has studied their view (i.e., Darwinian evolution or biblical creation).
Certainly, this compromise view would appease Richard Dawkins, right? He is an ardent believer in Darwinian evolution, so he should be happy with anyone who accepts this compromise. Not even close. Let’s look at Dawkins’ response to those who attempt to put the two disparate views together.
“Oh, but of course, the story of Adam and Eve was only ever symbolic, wasn’t it? Symbolic? So, in order to impress himself, Jesus had himself tortured and executed, in vicarious punishment for a symbolic sin committed by a non-existent individual? As I said, barking mad, as well as viciously unpleasant. It seems to me an odd proposition that we should adhere to some parts of the Bible story but not to others. After all, when it comes to important moral questions, by what standards do we cherry-pick the Bible? Why bother with the Bible at all if we have the ability to pick and choose from it, what is right and what is wrong?” [Dawkins, R., The God Delusion, p. 253, 2006.]
I always say I would pay good money to go on a speaking tour with Richard and have him share that with my audiences! He (a devout atheist) seems to understand that better than many Christians! The two views do not fit together. You may “feel” they can fit together. You may even “want them” to. However, that doesn’t mean they do! Two major points: (a) Scripture does not allow for Darwinian evolution and contains many passages that completely rule it out, and (b) the science alleged to support evolution is woefully inadequate and incredibly flawed, so there should be no outside pressure for Christians to even make such a compromise attempt.
We do not want to be accused of “picking and choosing” what we are willing to believe and what we are not when it comes to Scripture. It’s Divinely inspired and completely inerrant from cover to cover.
Here’s a very interesting quote from another leading evolutionist (Dr. Jerry Coyne) from the University of Chicago:
“Why reject the story of creation and Noah’s Ark because we know that animals evolved, but nevertheless accept the reality of the virgin birth and resurrection of Christ, which are equally at odds with science? After all, biological research suggests the impossibility of human females reproducing asexually, or of anyone reawakening three days after death… At least the young-earth creationists are consistent, for they embrace supernatural causation across the board.”
I would encourage all our readers to commit to trusting God’s Word in everything it conveys, whether you completely understand it or not, and even whether you like all of it or not! Admittedly, some parts are not my favorites! Maybe they’re a bit too convicting! 😊
Let’s not be accused of being “barking mad!” There are plenty of illegitimate reasons for skeptics to think we are “barking mad.” Let’s not give them a legitimate reason!