Thursday, December 3, 2009

ABSURDITY IS IN THE EYES OF THE BEHOLDER

Here is part two of “Atlas Said,” a commentary on common objections to the faith:

ATLAS SAID:

Secondly, It matters not if I'm wrong, 'cause the "All-Loving" God will toss me to eternal wrath pain and suffering (which to me is a bit excessive, but hey, u gotta kill non-believers somehow I guess). The thing is what if YOU'RE wrong and you devoted your life to faith in that which is not their. I don't mean to be a (censored), but I mean, WHY do u irrationally believe their is a God and WHY do people not see that Evolution is a Fact?”

It is often the case that a person has some erroneous idea that if God is all loving then there will be absolutely no consequences for one’s actions. “God’s wrath and God’s mercy are two sides of the same coin,” one spiritual guide once said. At heart here are two questions: What is love and what does God want from us.

There are many definitions of love but in this case only one that matters and that is how God defines love. We have many commandments to love: Love the Lord your God, Love you neighbor, love your enemies. I do not have warm and fuzzy feeling about my enemies. But is that what God is calling us to? “I demand that you have warm fuzzy feelings about everybody!” If this is the case, then we have a mighty cruel God Who demands that we have feelings since we cannot summon them up at will. So God must be talking about something else.

While not denying that emotions play a role in our love life at its core God is talking about decisions; primarily the decision for the betterment of the other person – and that is first and foremost their salvation. That means if my enemy is standing in the middle of the road and a bus is bearing down on them and I grab them and pull them out of the street I have acted in love toward them. If my best friend is doing something that places his salvation in danger it might mean I must risk losing our friendship to help him or even allowing him to deal with the consequences of his behavior in order for him to find truth.

So why is not everything perfect on earth? Why does God allow us to suffer war and hunger and anger? Does He cause it? No. We do. We could end war and starvation easily enough. But we choose not to. And He allows us to live with consequences (or we would never do anything that does not suit us directly would we?) Hell is much the same thing. Hell is our doing, not God’s. And on His part it is actually an act of mercy. “Nothing unclean shall enter before God” Scripture tells us. God condemns nobody to Hell. By our lives we tell God where we want to be. Could you imagine choosing “not God” with your life and then be forced to sit before His thrown for all of eternity? Rather in His mercy He allows souls their own limited realm so that they can have that which they have chosen. “Better to reign in Hell than serve in heaven,” says the devil. Indeed. And so God allows it.

The next part is an interesting (and in my estimation more dangerous) twist on Paschal’s wager which offers the proposition that if one chooses to believe in God and there is a God one in a sense “wins.” If one chooses to believe in God and there is no God, one would never know – but they would have had a life full of hope and purpose. Atlas, I think, is worried about being duped. What if we are wrong? Paschal answered that for us. But what if one chooses not to believe and they are wrong? There is a place for that.

If He does exists (and I believe wholeheartedly that He does) what does God ultimately want from us? There is a reason He is named Father. He is looking for a relationship. That is why God’s connection to His Church in Scripture is most often referred to as a marriage. This marriage is calling all in the Church toward community and unity – toward charity – toward peace. This is completely irrational! Yes it is! It makes much more sense to go after pleasure when and where I want it – to look after me and mine! It is irrational but it is what we choose as given to us by our Creator.

Now I am going to say something that will disturb some people out there. Darwinism is not fact. Not even science says so. It is a theory and, unfortunately one that is suffering at the moment – at least the way Darwin put it forth – no matter what your eighth grade science book says. This is not my or the Church’s view – this is modern science’s view. So they are on the search for another way to explain life.

In his book, “The Case for a Creator” by Lee Strobel which I recommend just because it is interesting (it will give you a different perspective even if you do not completely buy it) it makes the following point: “If Darwinism is true,” he reports the prominent evolutionary biologist and historian William Provine of Cornell University as saying, “there are five inescapable conclusions:
1 there’s no evidence for God.
2 there’s no life after death.
3 there’s no absolute foundation for right and wrong.
4 there’s no ultimate meaning of life.
5 people don’t really have free will.

Given the choice then of being wrong about a having a Creator or not – I err on the side of having one for life is just too bleak and senseless without him.

Lastly, for Darwinism to be true, he further reports, we must also believe the following:

1 Nothing produces everything.
2 Non-life produces life.
3 Randomness produces fine tuning.
4 Chaos produces organized information.
5 Unconsciousness produces consciousness.
6 Non-reason produces reason.

In the end then I guess I believe because as irrational as faith is, I find accepting this as far more irrational.

2 comments:

Theocoid said...

Actually, many apologists have demonstrated that Provine's first claim is not true. There's plenty of evidence for the existence of God; it's just not empirical evidence (that is, material and measurable). The evidence is existence itself. From there, you can deduce a source that must originate outside of the material universe. (Provine's first implication points to what happens without a source for material existence.) However, these are rational arguments, which are not empirically verifiable since empiricism can only deal with what is material and measurable. The question is, is empiricism the only means by which human beings can "know" something. To make this claim (and this is the claim that atheist evolutionists make) is as much a matter of faith as belief in the Trinity.

Another thing is that evolution only describes how life changes from one stage to another. It cannot and does not explain the origin of life. Hence, the title of Darwin's text, Origin of the Species rather than Origin of Life.

If Atlas would like to really test his faith in science and evolution and his belief that faith in God is irrational, he could start by reading what Dinesh D'Souza has written here. He might also take a look at Peter Kreeft's writings here, particularly the group of articles on the various arguments for God's existence.

Finally, I would say that seeking all that is pleasurable or instinctual is just the opposite of rational. Animals do just as much. Even the ancient pagans recognized that reason is what enables us to seek more than just was appeals to our instincts.

ck said...

Nice summary of the suppositions of evolution. They are things I thought but could never articulate. For example, if I bang randomly on a piano I get noise, but mathematically structured sheet music produces beauty. How could all the mathematically organized beauty of the universe be random? If the piano required me on the micro level, isn’t God the pianist required on the macro level?

I’m guessing the commenter’s name is Atlas because he is a Libertarian and they view Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” as we would a book of the New Testament. Libertarianism seems to be the route to go if you want to be a conservative atheist. I have an awful lot of respect for Libertarians I have encountered because they at least admit the existence of truth and embrace facts even when they are uncomfortable. The Libertarian run “Reason TV” has many videos that a Catholic would emphatically agree with.