Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Blogtext: What the atheist should consider before it is too late.



As the atheists are becoming more and more vociferous, more and more dominant and more and more in command of the public mindset, and also seem to be "king of the hill" in most media, it seems necessary to ponder what they are ignorant of and what the consequences could and will  be if they are wrong about their basic assumptions.

"A-theist" from greek a=without and theos=god, is taken to mean that they do not believe in the existence of any god. It also nearly always includes the belief that since there is no evidence for God in the naturalistic sense of what can be proven by the normal scientific methods of proof for the existence of things within our observable universe, therefore God cannot "be". If a god exists, they argue, it is simply a construction by mankind. It is  a matter to be relegated to the realm of ideas, fantasy, wishful thinking or some such category of human thought. Science has proven long ago, they say, that God as such does not and cannot exist, there is simply no evidence for 'god'.

They know of course that their own position could only be possible in a world where the majority actually do believe in one or other God. They are also fully aware that they cannot prove the non-existence either. But they rest on their assumption that if they don't believe it, then what they do not believe must also not exist. Admittedly that is a great leap of faith.

One seldom addressed starting point in every debate about this issue is the absence of agreed starting point. The atheist adheres to a world view that says that nothing exists outside the scientifically observable universe. And that all explanations must be in accord with that limitation. The believer on the other hand knows that origins are never reproduced within the product created. In other words, the bread is never found  to contain the baker and therefore it is useless to find the evidence for a baker in the bread. The world view of the believer starts by the recognition that the things that are in existence have a non material starting point. Hence the material that can be studied is not very good at explaining how it came into being.

So the debates between the two parties about "god" have very different assumptions to start with, no wonder that most such debates are won only on rhetoric and who got most applause from the more or less informed audience.

One observable strain are the increasing bouts of very emotional responses, not seldom venomous and hateful, certainly none of those reactions  show forth a scientific mind. Many other elements beyond rational proof rear their heads when this matter is up for discussion. The faults causing them rest in attitudes on both side of the fence. Sometimes it looks as ugly as two pitbulls fighting for the same bone. Neither side fully understand the bone of contention but both think it to be theirs by right or might.

Atheism starts on the assumption that God must be part of creation. And as studies of creation do not seem to show God then God must be excluded. The apparent folly of that assumption is so obvious that it seems totally irrational. And the more rational they claim to be in their search for God where god is not, the more irrational they become. What are trade marks for? To show producer, to validate quality claims, to prove provenance and origins. Why is the world clamouring for products with status names such as Breitling, Dolce Gabbana, Karl Lagerfeld, Christian Dior, Vuitton and Rolex and a million others? Because origins matter and because unless the label is affixed and shown then the origin cannot be readily proven. But not one of the items in themselves prove their producers. Cotton is cotton, silk is silk, precision clockwork is just that and all makers put their marks on it. Because that is indeed important. And no atheist goes shopping believing that anything he wants has made itself. Nobody picks up a little black dress from Coco Chanel and expects to find Coco in it.

But they are fools enough to pick the world apart looking for God. And unable to do so they then deny the existence of what they could not find.

The starting point for the believer is totally different. It is totally rational, logical and self evident that as nothing on the shop-shelves is made by itself so nothing that is in existence of all the things that make up the known universe has made itself either. Thus the believer believes in a maker on the most sensible understanding that the maker of anything is outside of the thing. Just as the baker, thank goodness, is not a part of the bread. But the atheist position is cemented on the firm belief that the maker must be visible in the product.

"Quod erat demonstrandum". Latin for "What is to be proved". And not "quod erant demonstrandum"  "Which has been proved"  It has not ever been proved that the maker of something is part of and completely contained in the produced object. A thing that is made has purpose, has defined limitations and is based on a mass of information that is not in the product as such but remains with the maker. The recipe that I use for baking the bread is never found in the loaf. It stays in my head. But here the atheists have painted themselves into the corner and cannot get out. The one factor that would let them out is the realisation that there is a rational, intelligent, immensely sagacious owner and maker of everything, including themselves, outside of their observable realm.

The christian view is simple: "It is in God that we breathe, move, think, live and have our entire being." We are part of what God has made. and to step out of that domain in order to study it from the outside would mean first of all that we must leave behind the realm in which we already 'breathe,move, live, think'. By doing so we would no longer have either thought breath or mind to study anything and neither could we after the research is done climb back and tell of what we found.

As we cannot even exist outside of what God is the quest for finding God is seemingly a lost cause, is it not? No, for there is another issue here at stake. The christian also believes that "..That which may be known of God is manifest in them, for God as shown it to them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, and so they are without excuse."
God has made himself known in his creation. But God is not a part of it. God is not in it as if it was God.

Creation carries the evidence of the power and mind behind it. And as long as that evidence is taken in, then creation-studies will lead to God. But this is where things go so wrong: "Because that, although they knew God, they did not glorify God as God but became vain in their thoughts and began to worship creation, then they were on a track into the folly of exchanging the invisible and eternal for the natural and the temporal. Thinking themselves wise they became fools."

That is the  divine verdict on atheism. Looking for the wrong thing in the wrong place is excused by wrong thinking and leads to lots of wrong doing.

What should the atheist ponder?

1 What is the scientific evidence for the existence of his own rational thought capacity?  By what empirical methods has he proven the existence of his own rationality? Is it not more likely that he takes his ability to be rational by faith?

And by what stretch of imagination does he discount a rational reason for his existence by that same rational faculty? The ability to think rationally is not accidental. But that he must believe if there is no Rationality behind his own existence.
Can it not be shown that the atheist is very irrational on any number of other issues? What is the scientific basis for believing in concepts like "truth, honesty, democracy, love and solidarity, human rights and international agreements"? Those are softwares whose existence is unprovable by the very terms used to demand proof of God. They still believe some or all of them unless their intellectual despair has already put them in the hands of the psychopharmacologists. 

2 The atheist, as in deed any other person should  also consider this: any search done on any issue is not objective in itself but always is contaminated as it were by the presuppositions that the student brings to his studies. That means that whatever is found has to fight against both the intellectual and the presuppositional reluctance on the student's part to relinquish the previous position. 

The evidence is that people believe what they want, not necessarily the facts. If mankind was "innocent" and not morally preconditioned against God, things would be different. But such moral innocence is a myth. We may not start out weighted against God, (let the children come to me, to such belongs the kingdom of God) and only acquire a sceptical position from our learning from the world around us, but all society is nowadays only to eager to help in that wrong direction. I believe that children ask about God in one way or other, not because they don't know about God on a deep inner level, but because they want to know what is accepted among those older.  Whatever is the real truth in that, one thing is sure: nobody is a pure student accepting only what he finds. Even the choices where to look and how to search are loaded with presuppositions and often man-made prejudices.

The likelihood of a moral prejudice is at least equally as great as the desire to find out the truth. 

3 Few people would actually claim to be intelligent enough and intellectually capable of understanding a higher, more complex, purer and more complex mind than their own. So the need to first 'find fault' with God and reduce the matter to a caricature of their own making which they then turn away from often precludes them from seeing what is in view. When I am told what or which God they do not believe in I often find myself agreeing absolutely, because the effigy they reject has nothing to do with the God who has made himself known through Jesus Christ. Before the statement "I don't believe in God" has any practical meaning, you need to define what you mean by "God".

The major reason for avoiding the issue of a morally and intellectually superior being is that if it exists then my own morals are at stake. If you accept that God is maker, maintainer and owner of the world in which you are but a minion then your on the hard road if you then do not consider that this same God also has the right to tell us how to live in his world. Aye, there is the rub. More people reject "God" for moral reasons than for intellectual ones.

4 The issues of the knowable world in the scientific sense is what physics is all about. The issues of that which is the cause of this world and how it is structured are then metaphysics, and it is  quite unlikely that physics will say much about metaphysical things. The bread in my image is the physics, the brain behind the bread is metaphysics.  If the mindset denies the existence of a metaphysical world beyond the physical, then of course no amount of metaphysical data can be acceptable to the "physical" naturalist person. If you do not believe (note you do not know this, but believe it) that there is a metaphysical reality then no amount if information coming from that world will impress you. But don't call it scientific understanding. You may be very honest in not believing in anything but physics. But then you have no reason to expect anything but physical things. So you may have sex but cant know love beyond your usefulness to someone else. Why should anyone love you on the bare facts of your existence? 

Every claim that the christian faith makes is based on the metaphysical fact of a God who comes into the physical realm and demonstrates Himself to mankind.  That is what is meant by the incarnation. 

5 If God is indeed the very foundation of our existence then ignoring God and living as if God does not exist is a dangerous occupation. It is a most serious  denial of God as God is and substitutes the one and only true God for some other god. The atheist is not really atheist at all. But very likely is someone who has made him or herself their own ultimate judge of right and wrong, of good and bad and is also the very center of his or her own word. The passing from atheism to "egotheism", making the self god in God's place, was the first and most awesome temptation that mankind fell for.  And it is still so."I don't believe in God because I trust in myself to be good enough not to need any other god." That is the understanding behind egotheism. And it is not very different from the claim to atheism. Just a matter of spelling.

There is one final thought to ponder: "It is measured out to all men to once die and thereafter be judged". We shall all appear before God and be weighed in the scales and be found wanting. At that judgment we shall all receive according to our deeds. What will the egotheist and the atheist and the agnostic do when they stand before the throne of the Almighty and His Son? It ought to be a most serious question to answer before the end of life's journey.  It is only while the journey is still in progress that anyone can change it's direction. One day, for all of us, it will be too late to rewrite our itinery. When you stand before the Owner, Maker and  Giver and Sustainer of your life, what will you say?

"Sorry sir, we didn't believe in you, so you cant judge us!"

Our search for God is really commendable but there is another search going on that is even more important. God has been and is looking for us. The entire effort of God through history has been to seek and save that which was lost. The search has not finished.  But there is one prerequisite for the search to come to an end: "He that wants to come to God must believe that God exists and that those who turn to Him will be rewarded. Without faith it is impossible to please God." So a mere intellectual search for God on our own terms is a dead end for ever.

The only God that can be found is the God who is there. And we know Him because He has made H
imself known by his Son. That is what the Bible was written to testify to. I believe this  testimony.



Teddy Donobauer, Doncaster 7th February 2018

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