The End of Materialism?

The End of Materialism?

Materialism is a philosophy that teaches the only thing which exists is what science call matter or energy. For the materialist there is no spirit, soul or even consciousness.  As a philosophy, it represents the foundational world-view of atheism.  Materialism and its birth child of atheism will never be the preeminent  world view  because it leaves humanity empty and without meaning.  Any illusions of meaning it might offer are quickly drained by suffering, the brevity of life and him him death.  Of course, there are some who have the intellectual ability to build and maintain a huge bulwark of superficial and peripheral arguments to protect their illusions of meaning.  The most that can be said about these arguments is that they divert people’s attention away from reality onto their quibbles, which seems to work fairly well for those who have very little expectations of life. This is one of the biggest problems and dangers of atheism; it has the tendency to hollow out people and diminish their expectations or hopes for the future or life in general, which in turn precipitates an existential crisis that often leads to nihilism.

In his classic book “The Denial of Death”, Ernest Becker points out that humanity denies its death by creating illusions.  He claims that one of these delusions is religion, but he acknowledges that it’s just one among many.  The most typical method of delusion is simply to force the idea of death to the back of your mind.  Most humans are so well-practiced at this deception that they do it with very little effort or consciousness.

In fact, it has been my experience that people of faith think and talk about death more than the non-religious.  In this, they demonstrate more of a grasp on reality, at least in this one area, greater than the non-religious.  The secular man appears to avoid the issue of death altogether, which seems to be a far deeper form of denial, than trusting in an afterlife.

Of course, you must demonstrate that religion is false, not just flawed, before you can totally dismiss it as a delusion, which Becker doesn’t attempt.  However, in his conclusion Becker does demonstrate the utilitarianism of religion and affirms that religion does work well in dealing with the fear of death.  This dispels the shallow idea of the new atheist type that says religion poisons everything and intrinsically has no value.

The end of materialism can be seen throughout the west and especially in eastern Europe where we have a preview of its demise in Russia where materialism was forced on the population by an atheistic government for decades, at which point it left the populace hollowed out and empty.  The Russian model of materialism demonstrates the unworkable and the destructive nature of materialism and the atheism that follows.

I personally feel that the biggest problem with materialism is that no one can live as though they really believed it.  If consistent, the materialist must also be a determinist and deny the free will of man and I have yet to see a man live as though he is a slave to the mindless movement of matter.  One of my pragmatic friends put it this way; “I’ve never known a man that didn’t look both ways before crossing a street.” You cannot live a consistent life and be a materialist.

A Short letter to a Materialist

A Short letter to a Materialist

  I have often had materialists[1] tell me that” there is nothing in nature that requires a supernatural explanation per say. My reply to that is, I might as well say there is nothing in nature which requires a scientific explanation[2]. Nature has no requirement to understand her.  You can put any  interpretation on her; you wish and she will not protest a bit.  Moreover, who says that everyone must look at nature or anything else through the narrow lens of our present human knowledge and the way some atheistic scientists constructed reality?[3] Their whole narrative is based on the assumption that there is no God, which they cannot prove any more than the theist can prove the existence of God. Both start from an assumption and then build a whole world view around that assumption[4]. One big difference is that the believer can still be open-minded enough to do science in his world view while the atheistic scientists are total blind by their materialism to anything outside of their narrow way of looking at things.

Read very carefully the below quote. It is extremely telling about people assumptions and the power they have over a person and groups of people. You also see there a man who I would say is a true believer in science-ism, although a weak form of it, because he knows much of it is false. However, he does admit that his faith is based upon an assumption that materialism is true.

“Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural.  We take the side of science in  spite of the patent absurdity  of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, to materialism.  It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our   prior adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated.  Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a divine foot in the door.”[5] 

[1] A materialist is a person which believes that everything is made up of matter and denies the existence of spirit. Thus denying the supernatural.

[2] Read my article “Rocks on The Ground”  at

[3] I feel no intellectual compulsion to view all of life from a materialistic point of view. When you force reality into a closed ideological system as materialism you will surely distort reality. I also have chosen not to believe in Materialism for pragmatic reasons and my mind is closed to it. As William James would say “I am dead to it”. There is simply no life in that world view.

[4] If scientists that are believers and scientists that are atheist wish to argue and fight about the existence of God that’s fine but both sides must admit that they are debating as philosophers and not a scientist.

[5] Richard Leonine, “Billions and Billions of Demons”, New York Review of Books 44, no. 1 (January 9,1997) 28-32 . Lewontin teaches biology at Harvard.