A Letter to a Young atheist (2)

A Letter to a Young atheist

You asked if I had read any books written by atheists.  I’ve read a number of the books written by the four Horsemen and many other atheists.  After reading them, I still think atheism is a mental disorder that shows up at the end of any declining civilization.  Even if every religion throughout the world is wrong that doesn’t make atheism right.

You argument that the division in the religion world is a proof that there is no God demonstrates a shallow understand of the human condition. In fact, if there is an all powerful being you would expect finite creatures like humans to be divided concerning their belief about it.  So, what you point out to be an inconsistency is very much consistent with a belief in an all-knowing God.  Disunity of belief is the very thing you should expect to find when a finite creature believes in an all-powerful God.

Your quibbles about there being no proofs for the existence of God border on the hysterical.  First, there is an enormous difference between evidence and proof.  A huge percentage of human knowledge has little to no proof of its  own accuracy.  The majority of human knowledge believed is based on the authority of a teacher, and to have faith in that teacher.  Very few people ever see the evidence or proof for numerous beliefs.  These beliefs range from Darwinian evolution, to theories of the multi-verse.  If you believe these things, it’s because someone told you to believe it and you accepted it by faith and you accepted it as logical because they framed the evidence in a world view that you had already accepted. When talking about evidence we are using the language of science, when you start talking about proofs you are using the language of philosophy not science. Science cannot possibly prove or disapprove the idea of God[1].  Science recognizes its limitations.  Why can’t you atheists? The truth is that you don’t understand science any better than you do religion.

However, science can offer evidence that seems at least to support the idea of a supreme consciousness that created all things.  The apparent design that we see in the universe is one of these things and the other is the fact that the universe had a beginning. Both scientific theories support the idea of consciousness more than a belief that the world and the universe were just cobbled together by a mindless force. However, it does not proof it be on a shadow of a doubt.

If you’re looking for proofs in philosophy, you can forget it.  Philosophically, it would be hard to prove that you even exist, much more than proving the nonexistence of a god.  Human beings are small ignorant creatures whose existence is based pretty much on faith in many presuppositions, which cannot be proven. Our ambiguous position in the universe tends to cause insecurity so we gravitate towards seeking certitude (proofs) of our beliefs. In this religion is actually more honest than secular people when it says that we walk by faith and not by sight.

The new atheists are small-minded people who have an over-inflated view of themselves and their intelligence.  As a result they are fundamentalist in their thinking and they still live in a world of proofs.  This alone is an unbelievable paradox because of their belief system, or their lack of beliefs.  For in their belief system of materialism there couldn’t be such a thing as truth for truth[2] is a concept that belongs in a religious framework that believes in an Ultimate Authority as a foundation of human knowledge.  The atheist appeal to truth demonstrates that they are still thinking in a religious framework and in essence, for many their lack of belief has become a religion.

[1] The US National Academy of Sciences has gone on record with the following statement: ‘Science is a way of knowing about the natural world. It is limited to  explaining the natural world through natural causes. Science can say nothing about the supernatural. Whether God exists or not is a question about which science is neutral.” Taken from “Who made God?, a searching For a Theory Of Everything” by Fay Weldon.

[2] In a materialistic worldview there cannot be a traditional moralistic truth. Atheism will always lead to relativism where truth is what a person believes.

What is Atheism? A Metaphysical Answer.

What is Atheism? A Metaphysical Answer.

Is atheism simply the lack of faith in a deity, or is it more?  In reality it is both. For many atheists it is simply a lack of faith in a deity, but for many others it is the foundation of a worldview which shapes the way that they look at the whole of reality.  As a worldview it borrows from ideologies and philosophies to form a hodgepodge foundation of the ‘philosophy of non-belief.’

This philosophy of non-belief has as its center the denial and dislike of authority, which in the end can only lead to anarchy of the worst kind.  In fact, all anarchists are atheists however all atheists are not anarchists.  We could also say of atheism that it is the highest degree of human alienation and rebellion against authority and especially the ultimate authority which is God.  We could also say it is the worst distortion of the religious impulse in man, for in the end, it makes the image of God (man) into God, which is the highest form of idolatry.  It promotes man as God, or at the least it makes him think he is God; for only a god could know that there is no God in the universe or outside of it.

Some will retort that atheism has nothing to do with religion or God.  However, at a metaphysical level it is the anti-image of God whose image it needs for its very existence.  It is, therefore, nothing more than a distorted reflection of that which it denies.  This is what Nietzsche meant when he said “If you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss with gaze back into you”

It’s distorted reflection of religion is seen in that it possesses a number of the attributes of religion[i].  Most religion has as  its main attribute, a sin message and a salvation message.  And what do we find when we look at the new atheist’s movement, we find a sin message.  The sin is religion and your freedom and salvation will come when you accept the good news of the gospel of atheism.  Like most religion, the new atheist’s movement also has their evangelists; those who spew out a steady diet of doubt and hatred of religion as they preach to their true believers who are mesmerized by their leaders ability to turn words and flaunt their intellect.  You know, kind of like the TV evangelist who promotes their brand of religion every Sunday on the television[ii].

The true source of much, but not all atheism, comes from a hidden rift with authority[iii] which is then easily redirected by clever men towards God.  In other words it comes more from one’s disposition than from their intellect.  This is why we see atheism increasing when people feel oppressed by poverty, authority and social alienation.  I believe that an analysis of the French Revolution and also the Communist Revolution would clearly demonstrate this.  Atheism, for those with the right disposition is nothing more than a hidden rebellion against authority which they feel is oppressive[iv].  However, for it to be organized, as it was in the French Revolution and the Communist Revolution, you need a group of sophists and opportunists who can promote and direct its anger.  Of course, the new atheists have these opportunists in the three horsemen of their movement; Hutchinson, Harris and Dawkins.  All of which have become millionaires selling their books to the herd that follows them.

So we could say that the source of much atheism begins with the seeds of the things that form one’s disposition.  These things can range from genetics to early child development[v].  Of course, we cannot totally dismiss the intellect.  However, the intellect has much less to do with it than most atheists would like to admit to. In this I am not saying that disposition pre-determines one’s beliefs or behavior.  But it does predispose us towards certain behavior and beliefs

[i] In Russia the atheist communist even had a church that they called the church of scientific atheism.

[ii] It is important to notice that the old atheist type lacks these attributes of religion. Making it something different from the new atheist movement.

[iii] The mass man is angry about his place in life and holds the authority responsible.

[iv] This is why so many of them are angry and militant. They fundamentally believe that all authority is oppressive.

[v] Many of the new atheists seem to have a problem with their fathers, which they tend to project on a deity.  Though I freely admit that I personally have done no scientific study of this.

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.

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.