He seems to enjoy the limelight and controversy he creates through the media.
In The God Delusion, Dawkins contends that a supernatural creator almost certainly does not exist and that belief in a personal god qualifies as a delusion, which he defines as a persistent false belief held in the face of strong contradictory evidence. He is sympathetic to Robert Pirsig's statement in "Lila" that "when one person suffers from a delusion it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion."If this is true, then I suffer from a massive delusion. So does Desmond Tutu, the man who stood up to PW Botha in the dark days of Apartheid. He was also the man who led me to become a Christian. This would mean that my refusal to serve in the SADF was delusional, and therefore I must have been acting purely out of self-interest and cowardice. More irony: Desmond and I were wrong, and PW and Magnus Malan were right. Or deluded as well. Or something. But I digress.
In Dallas Willard's book, "Knowing Christ Today: Why We Can Trust Spiritual Knowledge" he states
.. is it possible to know the things you believe as a Chritian? To what extent? And does it really matter whether you do or not? Doesn't Christian faith automatically relegate you to an intellectual slum? Many - religious or not - deeply feel that it does. Some even think you should be proud if the slum. That is the status history has managed to hang upon faith.I think that Dawkins has become the public face of that attitude, and that challenge. Hence, he is a prophet of God, sent to challenge the church to wake up from its complacency and compromise, and speak of its knowledge of the truth.
Update: I think that bus slogan should be changed to read "Now stop worrying and enjoy your miserable existence on social welfare"
Update 7-Sep-2011: I have begun listening to Dawkins' audio book "The God Delusion" and I must say I am disappointed after the first chapter, which talks about Einstein, and tries to get his beliefs to promote Dawkins' atheism. But anyone who has read "Einstein: His Life and Universe" by Walter Isaacson will know that Einstein was not an atheist at all. Dawkins sidesteps this omission by stating (correctly) that Einstein did not believe in a personal God, and then (incorrectly) conflates this with Dawkins' own avowedly atheist viewpoint. It's a cheap trick and quite sad, especially after he accuses others of doing exactly the same thing. I guess I couldn't expect him to provide the full quote:
"Then there are the fanatical atheists whose intolerance is of the same kind as the intolerance of the religious fanatics and comes from the same source. They are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who -- in their grudge against the traditional "opium of the people" -- cannot bear the music of the spheres. The Wonder of nature does not become smaller because one cannot measure it by the standards of human moral and human aims."
Update 14 May 2012: I have learnt that Dallas Willard has weighed in on the subject with a review of "The Blind Watchmaker". His comments are very interesting.