Richard Dawkins has made his name as the scourge of organised religion who branded the Roman Catholic Church “evil” and once called the Pope “a leering old villain in a frock”.
But he now stands accused of “cowardice” after refusing four invitations to debate the existence of God with a renowned Christian philosopher.
A war of words has broken out between the best selling author of The God Delusion, and his critics, who see his refusal to take on the American academic, William Lane Craig, as a “glaring” failure and a sign that he may be losing his nerve.
Prof Dawkins maintains that Prof Craig is not a figure worthy of his attention and has reportedly said that such a contest would “look good” on his opponent’s CV but not on his own.
An emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, Prof Dawkins last year supported a plan to charge Pope Benedict XVI with crimes against humanity for his alleged involvement in the cover-up of sex abuse by Catholic priests.
Prof Craig is a research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, in California, and the author of 30 books and hundreds of scholarly articles on Christianity. Read more