Can You Be good Without God? 

Can You Be Good Without God?

Can you be good without God? Of the various questions raised in the theist/atheist debate, this question has, I believe, occasioned more witless commentary than any other. That witlessness is again on display in an essay for the Daily Beast, “Can you be good without God?” by Brandon Withrow of the University of Findlay. Withrow interviews a bunch of ticked-off atheists, who get the answer wrong.

He discusses a study titled, “Global evidence of extreme intuitive moral prejudice against atheists”:

“If God did not exist, then we would have to invent him,” said the French philosopher Voltaire. His point: that without a divine being to check right and wrong, any number of atrocities are possible and could go unpunished.

A recent study (of more than 3,000 people in 13 countries) published in the journal Nature Human Behavior echoes Voltaire’s maxim. Looking at intuitive thinking — presumptions drawn by individuals through unconscious biases — researchers led by Will M. Gervais, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky, discovered that most individuals intuitively conclude that a serial killer is more likely to be an atheist (approximately 60 percent) than religious (approximately 30 percent).

From the study’s Abstract:

Preliminary work in the United States suggests that anti-atheist prejudice stems, in part, from deeply rooted intuitions about religion’s putatively necessary role in morality. However, the cross-cultural prevalence and magnitude — as well as intracultural demographic stability — of such intuitions, as manifested in intuitive associations of immorality with atheists, remain unclear. Here, we quantify moral distrust of atheists by applying well-tested measures in a large global sample (N = 3,256; 13 diverse countries). Consistent with cultural evolutionary theories of religion and morality, people in most — but not all — of these countries viewed extreme moral violations as representative of atheists. Notably, anti-atheist prejudice was even evident among atheist participants around the world. [Emphasis added.]

The issue is simple, though. The answer to the question we started with hinges on what you mean by “without God.” Let’s take a look.

  1. If God does not exist, you cannot be good. You cannot be evil. You can’t conform or fail to conform to anytranscendental standard, because if there is no God, there are no transcendental standards. There is no Moral Law if there is no Moral Lawgiver. If there is no God, there are merely opinions and consequences of acting on opinions. We may label certain opinions “good,” but that’s just our opinion. What we really mean by calling something “good” is that we like it. Which is fine, as long as we understand that “good without God” is just a metaphor for “something I (or we) like.” If there is no God, all of our “moral” decisions are just opinions — perhaps opinions we like, or opinions we don’t like — but neither good nor bad.
  2. If God does exist, but you don’t believe in Him, then of course you can be “good without God”, in the sense that you can be good without believingin God. It is central to the moral theology of all the great faiths that non-believers may act in accordance with Moral Law without belief in God and even without knowing Moral Law in any formal sense. The Moral Law is written in our hearts, theists universally agree, and we feel the weight of morality whether we believe in God or not.

Now of course an additional question can be asked: Do theists actually behave better than atheists? I think this is the question that ticked off the atheists in the essay. If theists do, on the average, behave better than atheists, there are certainly many exceptions on both sides, and arguments can be made that particular groups of theists/atheists behave better/worse than other groups of atheists/theists. Mankind is a confusing mess.

Atheists, however, are on quicksand when they argue about “goodness” and “evil,” given that their metaphysics, if taken seriously, utterly rules out the existence of either. Also, it would seem to me that atheists could be a bit more contrite in light of the fact that whenever they have assumed state power — from the Reign of Terror to the gang currently launching missiles from North Korea — atheism has brought hell to earth.

The godless would garner more respect if they took their own metaphysics seriously, and if they showed at bit of contrition for what real atheists have done when in power. Author unknown.

The Darwinian Evolution Narrative

The Darwinian Evolution Narrative

The more I read on evolution the more I have come to realize that the theory of Darwinian Evolution is based more on narrative than facts.  By this I mean that it is based on a well thought out story without a lot of real facts to back it up.  Most often it is based on conjecture or outright fiction.  I also have noticed that the facts are often made to fit the story instead of the story fitting the facts.

How could this happen?  How could so many intelligent people embrace such a theory as fact?  There are three answers to this question.  The first one is that they have accepted the scientific maxim or dogma that everything must be explained naturalistically, leaving no other possible explanation, except maybe for the seeding of the earth by alien life forces.  This dogma also hinders any real attempt by those inside the system to attempt to disprove the theory.  The second is the failure to see that the theory is not the facts.  Some confuse the map for the territory.  The third is that many in the educated class had accept science as a new faith. Some have gone so far as to give it a name, it’s called scientism; the belief that only true knowledge must come through science.  Well this may make Johnny a real brilliant boy but it also makes him a very narrow-minded boy.

Evolution in its most basic form is a fact.  Life changes and adapts to its environment.  We can see this happening in the barnyard and sometimes it is aided and directed by man (consciousness)[1].  However, Darwin’s theory of evolution is not a fact, it is an interpretation of the facts, with the interpretation of the facts being dependent on the narrative and there is no narrative without a secular or atheist world view.  Historical fact verifies that the materialistic worldview came first, then the narrative and then the theory.  It is a well-known fact that Darwin and others in his time believed in the theory of evolution before there were any scientific facts to support it[2].  This simply means that it would be very easy for this theory to have a social origin.

Evolutionist’s are constantly asking the question what narrative best fits the facts?  By this they’re usually talking about a theological narrative that they suppose existed.  However the truth is there is no theological narrative as to how God made the world.  The Bible simply states that God did it and any good theologian would never suppose or assert that they were capable of explaining how God created the world.  They clearly understand that such an event could only be spoken about metaphorically in story, poetry and myth.  Theologians understand the difference between truth, and the truth.  Theology leaves room for mystery and science leaves none. For that reason, science has the tendency to fill the gap’s with narrative and speculation, which it then attempts to falsify.  At least that is what it claims to do and should do.

In this, the Darwinian theory of evolution is a theory of necessity for those accepting a materialistic or atheistic worldview.  The only alternatives would be for them to just simply say they don’t know. Unfortunately, the majority are not willing to do that or even try to base their study and research on an attempt to figure out how consciousness created all things. In most cases this is because they have a prior commitment to materialism, like Johnny, they have become small-minded. It should also be noted that because of their prior commitment to materialism it would be very difficult to attempt to falsify a theory which you have already committed to as the only one possible.

However, this insight has not led me to any expectation on my part that the theory will be overthrown sometime in the near future. The Theory itself has evolved into a secular myth that supports a secular world view. The science has ended, religious faith has taken its place.

[1] I find it strange that people can accept that man can direct evolution and at the same time hold to the belief that a God could not do it.

[2]  “The Road of Science and The Ways to God” By Stanley L. Jaki Page 282

 

The Darwinian Evolution Narrative or Myth

 The Darwinian Evolution Narrative

The more I read on evolution the more I have come to realize that the theory of Darwinian Evolution is based more on narrative than facts.  By this I mean that it is based on a well thought out story without a lot of real facts to back it up.  Most often it is based on conjecture or outright fiction.  I also have noticed that the facts are often made to fit the story instead of the story fitting the facts.

How could this happen?  How could so many intelligent people embrace such a theory as fact?  There are three answers to this question.  The first one is that they have accepted the scientific maxim or dogma that everything must be explained naturalistically, leaving no other possible explanation, except maybe for the seeding of the earth by alien life forces.  This dogma also hinders any real attempt by those inside the system to attempt to disprove the theory.  The second is the failure to see that the theory is not the facts.  Some confuse the map for the territory.  The third is that many in the educated class had accept science as a new faith. Some have gone so far as to give it a name, it’s called scientism; the belief that only true knowledge must come through science.  Well this may make Johnny a real brilliant boy but it also makes him a very narrow-minded boy.

Evolution in its most basic form is a fact.  Life changes and adapts to its environment.  We can see this happening in the barnyard and sometimes it is aided and directed by man (consciousness)[1].  However, Darwin’s theory of evolution is not a fact, it is an interpretation of the facts, with the interpretation of the facts being dependent on the narrative and there is no narrative without a secular or atheist world view.  Historical fact verifies that the materialistic worldview came first, then the narrative and then the theory.  It is a well-known fact that Darwin and others in his time believed in the theory of evolution before there were any scientific facts to support it[2].  This simply means that it would be very easy for this theory to have a social origin.

Evolutionist’s are constantly asking the question what narrative best fits the facts?  By this they’re usually talking about a theological narrative that they suppose existed.  However the truth is there is no theological narrative as to how God made the world.  The Bible simply states that God did it and any good theologian would never suppose or assert that they were capable of explaining how God created the world.  They clearly understand that such an event could only be spoken about metaphorically in story, poetry and myth.  Theologians understand the difference between truth, and the truth.  Theology leaves room for mystery and science leaves none. For that reason, science has the tendency to fill the gap’s with narrative and speculation, which it then attempts to falsify.  At least that is what it claims to do and should do.

In this, the Darwinian theory of evolution is a theory of necessity for those accepting a materialistic or atheistic worldview.  The only alternatives would be for them to just simply say they don’t know. Unfortunately, the majority are not willing to do that or even try to base their study and research on an attempt to figure out how consciousness created all things. In most cases this is because they have a prior commitment to materialism, like Johnny, they have become small-minded. It should also be noted that because of their prior commitment to materialism it would be very difficult to attempt to falsify a theory which you have already committed to as the only one possible.

However, this insight has not led me to any expectation on my part that the theory will be overthrown sometime in the near future. The Theory itself has evolved into a secular myth that supports a secular world view. The science has ended, religious faith has taken its place.

[1] I find it strange that people can accept that man can direct evolution and at the same time hold to the belief that a God could not do it.

[2]  “The Road of Science and The Ways to God” By Stanley L. Jaki Page 282

 

When Waking Up Is A Nightmare

When Waking Up Is A Nightmare

Do you remember the movie The Matrix  where Morpheus told Neo that he had a choice between taking a blue pill or a red pill?  If  Neo chose the blue pill he would remain asleep living in a world of illusions.  However if he chose the red pill he would wake up and see the world the way it really is, not so pretty but real.  Jesus said something similar when he told Nicodemus that a man had to be born again to see the kingdom of God (Jn. 3:1-5).

However, beware, for someone has been tampering with the pills and some blue pills have been colored red.  If you take one of these faux blue pills you will wake up in a world with no good or evil, no purpose  and no meaning.  One of the illusions in that world is; if you try hard enough you can manufacture some personal meaning and even a personal morality.  In this nightmarish world people spend a great deal of time convincing themselves that they are good and justify themselves.  In that world people spend enormous amounts of time trying to find meaning and purpose.  However, in that world try as they may, no one can find ultimate purpose or meaning inside of themselves and above their own  opinion.  In fact, in that world all you have is your opinion.  The reason is that only an Ultimate can give ultimate meaning and truth.  You cannot give something that you don’t have.  You cannot give ultimate meaning to anything because you do not possess it within yourself.  All you can give others and yourself is the ultimate illusion that your life has some meaning in itself, and of itself.  The first thing that a person should realize when they are really awake, is that there must be an Ultimate and they are not it.

When a person attempts to find meaning in himself it is  evident that he is still asleep.  He’s accepted the ultimate illusion that he can have meaning apart from an Ultimate.  The truly awake atheist (if there is such a person) will live a meaningless life of despair (nihilist)  knowing his life is as meaningless as a spec of dust, which he ultimately knows he is.  Some in that world seem to get some comfort out of the fact that they can call it star-dust, hinting at its complexity but in the end it is still dust.

Jesus talked about taking a pill that will wake you up so you can see the world and yourself, the way  you truly are and the way God see’s you and the world.  It also will allow you to see the way it will be when God has put everything right, which allows one to live in faith, hope and love.

Jesus once offered a red pill to a young wealthy man who thought he was okay because he obeyed all the rules.  Jesus told him that if he would take the red pill he would have to give up his wealth and follow Him.  The story says that when the young wealthy man heard this he went away sorrowfully because he loved his possessions more than he did the truth or God.  What is it in your life that is keeping you from taking the real red pill?

The Religious Impulse

The Religious Impulse

Hi – I’m reading “Heresies: Against Progress And Other Illusions” by John Gray and wanted to share this quote with you and a few thoughts I have on it.  Gray is an English public intellectual and is an unbeliever.  I say this up front to simply refute the claim of bias by the atheistic community.

Here is Gray’s quote “For many, the promises of religion lack credibility; but the fear that inspires them has not gone away, and secular thinkers have turned to a belief in progress that is further removed from the basic facts of human life than any religious myth”.

“Traditional religion is in retreat but it has not been replaced by rationality.  Modern societies are full of occult and millenarian cults.  They abound in new, short-lived religions, ‘flickering and fading’, as J.G. Ballard has put it, ‘like off-peak commercials’.”

The first thing that I would like to point out is the fact that man seems to be Homo religious in his very nature, i.e., he is not taught to be religious, he is hardwired to be religious.  To say that he is taught religion is to use the word religion in its most narrow sense.  If we use it in a broad sense of the word religion, let’s say the concept of ultimate concern, it becomes easy to see that man is by his very nature religious.  It is easy to see how ones ultimate concern can slip in to being an idol and become ones religion.

Many questions could be raised when Gray speaks about rationality taking the place of religion.  Could we not talk about the myth that humanity is rational?  Could anyone make the claim that humans on the whole are rational?  Could you not say that in some groups, that rationality is their ultimate concern and therefore their religion?  Could it be that religion is necessary for one to be rational?  It seems to me that as a culture loses its religious, it also loses its ability to reason.  The decay and the downfall of many cultures seem to follow their loss of faith in their gods, which results in them being plunged into the dark ages.  In the west this has held true, we first lost faith in God and it was not long before we began to question reason.  (note the positivists and idealist movement of the past, and now the post modern movement of today).

Another question that Gray’s remarks resurrect, is the question of the fears that he mentioned as the cause, or sources of religion.  Here we need to ask a number of questions.  The most basic is, are the fears real?  What about the fear of death?  First of all death is real.  All men must die.  The next question that arises would be, is the fear of death rational?  My answer is absolutely yes.  We are an organism that from the very beginning of our existence has been programmed to resist death and strive to stay alive and to live.  Therefore the fear of death is natural to the species.  Fear is part of the evolution programming and is implanted in the human psyche.  To tell people that the fear of death is irrational is counter intuitive.  We are programmed to fear anything that threatens our life.  You could say that it is natural to fear death and anything that threatens our organic existence.  Still, another huge question.  Is there something for the masses of men better than traditional religion, especially Christianity to deal with these fears?  Could it be that the Creator programmed humans to seek life and fear death?  Seeing that God is the living God or the God of life, it would seem right for him to plant the survival impulse into every creature.  In this, the survival impulse is an impulse from God and towards God.

I say all this to point out that faith with reason is the only practical way to approach reality.  Faith in Christ gives people the authority and courage to face the big questions of life.  Questions like, who am I, what is my purpose and where am I going?  Faith in Christ also destroys the idol of reason, taking it off its throne and restores it to its rightful place as a gift from God, a tool to help us structure our lives and to help us find truth.