I am convinced that atheists -- at least the ones I have read and the ones I know -- are working largely with conceptual idols when it comes to their rejection of God. They are not rejecting God; they are rejecting ideas. What is more, they are rejecting idols of Christians' making: a God who deals in rewards and punishments, a God who created the world in six days about 6,000 years ago, a God who shames their sexual desire and shuts down their intellect, imagination, and curiosity. It is easy for Christians to lament the fact that that atheists never seem to go after real theology, but we can hardly criticize them for not looking beyond our own idols.
It's a good thing for atheists to clear out our conceptual idols. We surely don't need them. Such idols are precisely what Christians also must reject. This does not mean a loss of the divine. On the contrary, without a little deconstruction the divine remains gray, flat, and thoroughly boring.
Atheists, rightly understood, are doing nothing less than prying the husk of our misunderstanding from the brilliant, living actuality of the divine. They're helping us recover God. It's hard work and we've been putting it off for a long time. We should just let them do it.So, lots of you often say "I don't believe in the God Dawkins doesn't believe in, either." But what do you think of the idea that the Christianity specifically, and religion generally, that the new atheists are going after, consists of false idols made by Christians themselves?
So this is another way in which, as we discussed before, nonbelievers can be important to a community of faith.
(I should point out for those who are new that I don't particularly care for Dawkins and his war on religion, which is why I prefer the term "non believer" or "gratheist" for myself).