If reductionism is like trying to stuff all of reality into a box, we could say the problem is that the box is always too small. Idols deify some part of the created order. But no matter which part they choose, a part is always too limited to explain the whole. The universe is too complex and multi-dimensional to fit into a box composed of just one part. Invariably something will stick out. Something will not fit into its restricted conceptual categories.
Give me priests. Give me men with feathers in their hair, or tall domed hats, female oracles in caves, servants of the python, smoking weed and reading palms. A gypsy fortuneteller with a foot-peddle ouija board and a gold fish bowl for a crystal ball knows more about the world than many of the great thinkers of the West. Mumbling priests swinging stink cans on their chains and even witch doctors conjuring up curses with a well-buried elephant tooth have a better sense of their places in the world. They know this universe is brimming with magic, with life and riddles and ironies. They know that the world might eat them, and no encyclopedia could stop it.
If any country in the world should be known for its cynicism and contempt for religion, it should be Russia. For over seven decades the Russian populace was exposed to a tireless barrage that mocked Christianity and sought to liberate the masses from all such “ridiculous superstitions.” The soviet state ruthlessly pursued its goal to obliterate religious belief through propaganda, imprisonment, torture, and mass murder.
One would expect that this region of the world would now be a hotbed of atheism, the Mecca of materialism.
The relentless onslaught backfired. Communism collapsed, but faith in God didn’t. It flourished.
According to Wikipedia approximately 50% of Russians now identify with some branch of Christianity. They have tasted and seen firsthand what a Christless state is all about. It wasn’t good. They have been there and have come back. Russia tried secularism and discovered it is morally bankrupt.
The Christian admits that the universe is manifold and even miscellaneous, just as a sane man knows that he is complex. The sane man knows that he has a touch of the beast, a touch of the devil, a touch of the saint, a touch of the citizen. Nay, the really sane man knows that he has a touch of the madman. But the materialist’s world is quite simple and solid, just as the mad-man is quite sure he is sane. The materialist is sure that history has been simply and solely a chain of causation . . . Materialists and madmen never have doubts.
In the Pensées, at the very moment of the birth of science as we know it today, Pascal prophesied its downfall–which we are witnessing. As men came to grasp the vast extent and complexity of creation, ranging between the minuteness of the atom and the immensity of the universe, they would become, as he predicted, terrified by the “eternal silence of these infinite spaces.” A choice would confront them between seeing the whole future of man locked up immutably in his physical being, in his genes, or accepting with humility and contrition a role in the mysterious purposes of a loving God.