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Thursday, 2 January 2014

God Is a Not a Delusion but a Sensible, Rational Hypothesis

There seems to be a lot of confusion about what atheism is or entails. The fact that many - albeit not all - atheists declare that they have no faith or believe in nothing, in itself shows that they have not really taken the time and effort to understand the implications of the position they hold.

The question of God is the question of the origin of things. It is a typical philosophical, and more specifically metaphysical, question.

When Richard Dawkins or people like him compare the idea of God to that of fairies, they are hopefully disingenuous - the alternative being downright stupid.

The concept of God is a necessity in one of the two fundamental explanations of the origin of everything. The other explanation is chance. Fairies do not appear in either.

The question of God is also related to the question of what is the ultimate reality: mind or matter.

Philosophers have debated this issue since the beginning of their profession, answering that it is the former in the case of idealists, or the latter if they are materialists.

The vast majority of classical philosophers throughout the ages, including our time, have rejected materialism and think that mind is the ultimate reality. That doesn't mean that all idealists believe in God - although a great proportion does -, but that a simple materialism as the one espoused by Dawkins (I am referring to him because he is, by his own behaviour, the most vocal and visible of contemporary atheists) is generally found deeply unsatisfactory by those whose profession is to critically analyse common ideas and question what is often accepted unthinkingly.

Dawkins is not a philosopher himself. By training and trade he is a zoologist. But when he talks about religion he steps ouside his scientist's boots and puts on a philosopher's hat. Nothing wrong with that, provided he knows what he's talking about.

The first thing to notice here is how much many people, probably taking their cue from public figures like non-philosophers Peter Atkins, Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, have trivialised the issue of belief in God as if it were simply the battle of the old versus the new, the forces of obscurantism v enlightenment, ancient v modern, irrationality v reason, superstition v logic, backwardness v progress, and obviously religion versus science.

The reality is that the battle of ideas surrounding the existence of God has always been present in the history of philosophy, and thinkers have predominantly tended to side with the belief in God.

That Christianity has a solid rational foundation in centuries of philosophical thought is something that - I suspect from the comments they leave in public forums - would surprise many atheists.

That among the greatest philosophers of all time are saints and founders of the Church like St Augustine, St Anselm and St Thomas Aquinas might shock them even more.

But let's get back to the question at the beginning of this article. Numerous - I presume the most naive - atheists appear to be convinced that not believing in God does not entail anything, and that it is just the default non-choice - in the same way as their guide and model Dawkins would consider not believing in fairies the default position.

The reality is different.

There are only three possible answers to the question "Does God exist?".

One, the easiest and probably preferred by lazy minds, is to sit on the fence and declare neutrality explicitly or, simply by not engaging with it, implicitly.

The second is to say that the universe (or universes) have an intelligent designer, God.

The third answer, atheism, in denying the second one is by mere logic taking the opposite view. If there is no design, we are left only with chance. If there is no mind, we are left only with matter.

I'll explore these ideas in more detail in other articles. For now, I'm anticipating that the theoretical, non-observational assumptions are necessary and very strong on both sides of the controversy.

There is no default opinion, no path of less resistance. Both stances require faith, and a belief that has many holes in the evidence for it.

The commonly-held opinion that atheism is not a faith - like a religion of its own kind - is totally unfounded.

Rational arguments live on both sides of the fence, not only one. And so do emotional stances or intuitive statements.

And, if anything, the most logically cogent reasons and scientifically powerful evidence seem to be increasingly supporting the belief of a mind creating all that exists. The progress of science, with theoretical constructs in physics that are necessary for explanation but escape observation, on one side, and the practical impossibility of matter, life and consciousness all originating by chance, on the other, far from supporting the atheist belief seems more and more to confirm the theist one.


2 comments:

  1. Great article. Atheism has been in ascent in Europe for some time, since the founding of Marxism. The Marxists were 100% dedicated to consolidating as much power in the state as possible with promises of some government-less utopia afterwards. Part of this evolution involved making the state your god, and this is why Marxism has always been an atheistic endeavor, and has lived on in the 'Social Democrats' of Europe.
    They have also promoted other Marxist tropes, such as feminism, infanticide, dependence, dislike for parental authority, and of course victimhood.

    If Europe is to be saved, this entire Marxist paradigm must be collapsed. We should assume God exists because this is where the philosophical and mathematic evidence leads. That's not to say it proves God, but it makes the likelihood of the universe we observe practically nil, so always best to air on the side of caution. Besides, society becomes much more rationally organized and functional that way.
    After examining extensively the truth claims of major world religions, Christianity has the best case because the God of Christianity (and by extension Judaism) is rationally understandable and makes sense in terms of logic. His motives appear reasonable.It also has the Bible, and there's a reason this has been on the bestseller list since its integration. It strikes a cord with our humanity, and its historical chops have been proven time and again from Pontius Pilate to the Hittites.

    The government is NOT God, and the true Lord of all that has been and ever will be does not take kindly to idolatry.

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  2. Thank you for your article. I have battled internally with this question during my lifetime, and have finally figured out that yes, there is a God. When people try to replace our Christian God with other beings eg. government, Allah etc. the world quickly descends into anarchy, poverty and death. To not believe in a superior being than himself, man makes himself to be his own god, with no one to answer, account or atone to. Never a good thing.

    At the end of the day, Christianity has done more to civilise man than anything else. We have been given a few simple rules to follow, which is meant to keep mans nature at bay. Unfortunately, we are already seeing the effects of our increasingly atheist societies. No more morals, no more caring, no more good. Instead we have rampant uncontrolled youth, looking for their next drug fix or porn "selfie" and instant gratification.

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