Yes sometimes atheists will side with the truth:
It is hard to be wrong all the time. Some folks might get close, but because we live in God’s world and are made in his image, the closer we seek to be to reality, the closer we will be to God’s truth. If an atheist for example says we should treat people with dignity and respect, he is saying something that is quite true.
The trouble is, on his own worldview he really has no basis whatsoever for making such a claim. It is only because God exists and has made us in his image that we have a solid foundation for seeking to treat others as we want to be treated.
But an atheist can say other true things. He can tell us that 2+2=4. That is true and I can agree with him on it. Obviously on other matters we disagree fundamentally. On the God question we are poles apart. Those who do not humble themselves before their maker will soon enough face God as their judge. That is a scary place to be in.
Of course one clear case in point would be uber-atheist Richard Dawkins. His 2006 book The God Delusion may have been a best seller, but it was such a bad book that even some fellow atheists were embarrassed by it. But such was his irrational misotheism that he was happy to offer this long-winded rant to the public. I did a two-part review of it here:
So one would not expect folks like me to find much common ground with folks like him. But sometimes there is, and when he says stuff that is true and helpful, I am happy to run with it. In fact I am happy to quote it and give credit where it is due.
That was the case for example in my 2011 book Strained Relations: The Challenge of Homosexuality. I have a chapter in that book on whether homosexuality is genetically based. In it I quoted a number of experts, even homosexuals, to make the no case. And I quoted Dawkins as well. As I wrote on pages 65-66:
But homosexual activists continue to insist that homosexuality is genetically based, and nothing can be done about it. Science, again, begs to differ. One person who should know is Oxford’s Richard Dawkins, author of The Selfish Gene. Dawkins argues that “the body of genetic determinism needs to be laid to rest.” Says Dawkins, “Whether you hate homosexuals or whether you love them, whether you want to lock them up or ‘cure’ them, your reasons had better have nothing to do with genes. Rather admit to prejudiced emotion than speciously drag genes in where they do not belong.”
That was a telling quote and well worth running with. For those who are interested, the reference for that is as follows: Richard Dawkins, “It’s Not All in the Genes,” The Daily Telegraph, July 17, 1993, p. 14. When Dawkins gets things right I will gladly promote it.
He has been willing to buck the system in other areas as well, and I am happy to acknowledge him when he does this. Back in 2017 for example he was involved in calling out the double standards of the left in getting upset at posters referring to Allah as gay in a London pride march while routinely allowing ‘Jesus is gay’ signs to appear. Dawkins spoke some real sense back then about this hypocrisy: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2017/08/06/dawkins-left-religion-free-speech/
And in 2020 he was dis-invited from speaking at a historical society meeting at Trinity College in Dublin because not all of his views lined up with the reigning ideological orthodoxy. I discussed that episode here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2020/09/30/now-they-are-cancelling-dawkins/
A much more recent case of Dawkins standing up to those who need to be opposed involves the trans debate. While people like J. K. Rowling are being hammered for daring to tell us the basic truth that there are only two sexes, far too many others are not willing to side with her. But Dawkins has been willing to defend her, and I am glad he did.
A recent report on this is worth quoting in full:
British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins confirmed that, according to his decades of study on the subject, there were only two biological sexes — and decried activists who attacked author J.K. Rowling for saying so as “bullies.” Dawkins joined host Piers Morgan on his show “Uncensored,” and the conversation turned to concerted efforts by activists within the LGBTQ community to erase sex and gender from language.
“What is troubling to me is that they want to — what they call ‘de-gender’ and neutralize language,” Morgan prompted, adding, “But they’re doing it from a completely false pretense, that you can somehow pretend biology doesn’t exist.” Morgan went on to point out the fact that, despite being at odds with “incontrovertible” biological realities, those activists still appeared to be enjoying some measure of success — at least temporarily.
“We’ve seen the way J.K. Rowling has been bullied, the way Kathleen Stock has been bullied,” Dawkins agreed. “They’ve stood up to it. But it’s very upsetting, the way this tiny minority of people has managed to capture the discourse and to really talk errant nonsense.”
“What’s the answer to it?” Morgan asked. “Science,” was Dawkins’ matter-of-fact reply. “There are two sexes. You can talk about gender if you wish, and that’s … I’m not interested in that. As a biologist, there are two sexes and that’s all there is to it.”
Morgan then noted that Dawkins was stripped of a humanist award in 2021 for his comments on such issues — namely a tweet he shared on April 10, 2021: “In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a white chapter president of NAACP, was vilified for identifying as Black. Some men choose to identify as women, and some women choose to identify as men. You will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as. Discuss.”
Dawkins had previously responded to attempts to change language around the demands of activists, promising to defy the new rules and saying that the only reasonable response to such attempts was “ridicule.” “The only possible response is contemptuous ridicule. I shall continue to use every one of the prohibited words. I am a professional user of the English language. It is my native language,” he said. https://www.dailywire.com/news/thats-all-there-is-to-it-famed-biologist-confirms-there-are-two-sexes-defends-j-k-rowling
Way to go Richard. In my book you are dead wrong when it comes to the most important question of all: the God question. But I for one am thankful when you speak truth on some of the pressing culture war issues of our day. While I am very grateful when you do this, I will continue to pray for you that you come into all truth.
Join with me friends in praying for him. He really does need to come to know the one who said “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (Jesus in John 14:6).