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

 

Science and Religion

Science and Religion

Natural science is the study of nature and religion is the study of how to live.  Religion is the collective knowledge of humanity on what works in living one’s life in the world.  Natural science does not tell us how to live or what the world is or its purpose but rather how it works.  What the world is and it’s purposes are metaphysical questions and cannot be answered by the Scientific method.  They are questions for philosophy and religion.

The minute science begins to try to tell us what the world and its purpose is, it ceases to be science and becomes philosophy or even religion.  Science cannot tell us what the world is any better than it can tell us what gravity is and for that matter, what science is.  If you say science is the study of nature you have not told me what it is but rather what it does.  For example, for measurement, gravity could be labeled a force but that does not tell you what gravity is but rather what it is like.  But what is a force?  Science mainly tells us how things behave and attempt to measure their behavior, and it often does this by the use of metaphors.  A good example of this is light.  Sometimes light behaves like a wave and other times like a particle.  On the other hand, religion also uses metaphors to explain life and right living.  These metaphors come in the form of stories, myths and similes.

Humans attempt to label and define everything with words.  It is our way of bringing order out of the chaos of existence.  Science, Philosophy and religion are the tools we use to do this labeling.  These disciplines are often so intermingled that it’s impossible for the majority of people to even get close to separating them.  Science is based on facts that can be demonstrated and tested and Philosophy is based on things inferred from the facts.  The problem is that inferences that are inferred from the facts can be infinite.  These inferences could be called hypothesis, or a stronger word could be theory.  A hypothesis has little or no factual evidence of its truthfulness; a theory on the other hand has evidence, but many lack the means of testing it or falsifying it.  If these two things are absent, a theory will always remain a theory. e.g. String theory.

There are two predominant philosophies  that attempt to explain what the world is.  They are materialism and dualism.  Materialism is the belief that everything is made up of matter.  Dualism is the belief that a second ingredient exists which they may call, spirit, consciousness, life force or something, which is unseen. It is important to remember that the ancients did not concern themselves with the nature of the seen or unseen.  They simply accepted the fact; there were things that we see and there were things we could not see.

The philosophies of materialism and dualism are not the dominant philosophy because they have  been proven by science.  Both have been around a long time and  were embraced before modern science was created.  You could call them the philosophies of existence, but neither should be called science in a true sense of the word.  Both have an element of faith.  The materialist believes that only matter exists but makes a leap of faith when he adds the word ‘only’. The dualist has the problem of testing what they would call spirit.

However, when everything is said, the debate between materialism and dualism will not settle the question, does God exist?  The debate if ever won would rather, simply help determine the definition and nature of the deity, which is quite impossible to know to begin with, if we are talking about the God of the Bible, who some  theologians within the church referred to “as the nothingness” to ensure they did not insult him with a belittling description.

 

The Great Atheist Illusion

 The Great Atheist Illusion

The greatest illusion embraced by the atheist is not that there’s no God but rather that they are free from illusions.  The belief that you are free of all illusions is the most dangerous illusion of all for it opens the floodgates to the acceptance of unreality in a multitude of forms.

It is evident that atheists have not experienced God but how in the world can they deny that others have not experienced Him.  Seeing that experiencing God is a personal matter that cannot be judged empirically by outsiders, as no one can get into another man’s mind or body to know how or what he is, or has experienced.  However, this is the very thing that an atheist must claim.  This claim springs from an illusion of omniscience and an assumption that the only true knowledge must be objective knowledge.

We know that human beings experience pain to various degrees, and that it is impossible for one to experience another man’s pain exactly and to the same degree.  The same thing is true of our experience of God.  People experience God in different ways and to distinct degrees.  Therefore, the atheist claim that there is no God is totally unreasonable and contrary to the experiences of billions of people. Have they tested empirically everyone’s experience of God?  The only real claim that they can reasonably make is that they have not personally experienced God.  Even so, in their arrogance they go one step further and say that no one has, or can experience God and if they claim they have, they are delusional.

The most that atheists can honestly claim is that they have not experienced God. However, that might be saying too much for they could have encountered God and not recognized it as a God experience.  This could be a very likely theorem seeing that their preconceived biases could keep them from recognizing a God experience if they had one.  The most that an atheist can say is that they have not had an understandable experience of God.  Of course, many atheists will say, if they have not experienced God, that he cannot exist or that God in some way is obligated to reveal to them himself in such a way that he would be undeniable.  They seldom blame themselves for accepting an ideology or world view that will not allow them to experience God.  It could be that they’re like a blind man who denies the existence of color because he cannot see it or has not experienced it and then blames color for their inability to see it.

In the end, the old saying that a man with an argument will never convince the man with an experience is true.  The only person in whom the atheists experience will stick and will move to their unbelief are those who have never experienced God and are already in a sense in the atheist camp. The atheist will never be able to argue that God does not exist, with a man who has experienced Him.  That would be like telling a man who was rescued from the sea, by an other man in a lifeboat, that the other man did not exist.

Humans come to know things through many ways.  We learn through our mind, but we also learn through our other senses.  In actuality, our mind processes the information that we get through our other senses.  However, if some sense has been crippled or damaged, we may become dead to that sense and no longer be able to experience it or the things that it was created to sense.  It could be also that some knowledge requires more than one sense and channel.  I think this is the case with the knowledge of God.  The knowledge of God requires the whole man.  If any part of the man has been damaged or disabled it becomes increasingly hard for that man to experience God in any meaningful way.

Therefore, talking to a hardened atheist is like talking with a handicap man who doesn’t know that he’s handicapped.  I once talked to a young atheist who I knew growing up, who had grown  up in a very dysfunctional family where there was a great deal of brokenness.  His parents claimed to be Christians and for whatever reason they could not work through their dysfunction.  This environment caused him to be bitter towards his father and somewhat towards his mother.  The bitterness not only hardened him from having a relationship with his father but it also hardened him to having faith in God.  Being an intelligent person he had to come up with a rational explanation for his lack of faith.  His self-justifying mechanism is the source of his unbelief and not his intellect.

Does the Earth’s Size Matter?

Does the Earth’s Size Matter?

I often hear people say that people in Biblical time believed that the earth was the center of the universe. This is truly a miraculous statement seeing that people in biblical times in general did not even know there was a universe. The truth is, it was early scientist’s who believed that the earth was the center of the universe, not biblical writers.

Furthermore, it was not until the 20th century that the idea of an expanding universe was set forth by Hubble. The consequence of that discovery was that the earth became relegated by pseudoscience to an insignificant place within the universe. This dogma of insignificance was totally based on its size and place of the earth in the universe. This thinking could be akin to saying that a man’s importance is based on how big he is and where he lived at a particular time and place. I guess these folks believe that if God created the world that he would’ve created it as the biggest planet in the universe for man to inhabit. Of course, this thinking comes from the childish idea that big is better or that God is just a big man. Therefore, he must create a big place for the beings created in his likeness.

From a theological point of view and a rational point of view, the earth’s significance may have nothing to do with its size or place within the universe but rather with its function. Could it’s importance be found in the fact that God placed the creature created in his likeness on the earth to grow and mature into the sons of God? Could the whole thing be based on relationship and purpose and not on size? There are numerous schools throughout our nation, some big some small, some better than others. However, when my kids were in school, I was interested in their small school more than any other school in the land, you see sometime importance is based on relationships and not size. God has no little people and no little place He just has relationships. “God is love”.