A great many arguments about God—God’s existence, God’s nature, God’s actions in the world—run the risk of being like pointing a flashlight toward the sky to see if the sun is shining. Is all too easy to make the mistake of speaking and thinking as though God (if there is a God) might be a being, an entity, within our world, accessible to our interested study in the same sort of way we might studying music or mathematics, open to our investigation by the same sort of techniques will use for objects and entities within our world.
When Yuri Gagari, the first Soviet cosmonaut, landed after orbiting the Earth a few times, he declared that he had disproved the existence of God. He had been up there, he said, and had seen no sign of him. Some Christians pointed out that Gagarin had seen plenty of signs of God, if only the cosmonaut known how to interpret them. The difficulty is that speaking of God in anything like the Christian sense is like staring into the sun it’s dazzling. It’s easier, actually, to look away from the sun itself and to enjoy the fact that once it’s well and truly risen, you can see everything else clearly.
The statement, “God does not exist,” has never been, is not now, and never will be a scientific assertion. (See what I did there, Sagan?) This means that science, by its very definition, cannot be the epistemic justification for atheism. Yet how often do we see popular atheist writers (Dawkins, Harris, Dennett, et. al.) base entire books on the claim: “God doesn’t exist! Let me show you the science!”
Really? Science investigates the matter (including the physical bodies of living organisms), energy, and relationships/dynamics of matter and energy in the material universe. But if God exists, He is immaterial and transcends the material universe. Science, no matter how far it ever advances, cannot rule Him out because it can never reach beyond the physical.
…To say that there is no transcendent mind orchestrating what we are able to observe in the material realm is to make a purely metaphysical statement. Unfortunately, very few scientists are trained philosophers. Perhaps this is why they don’t notice the fallacy or the enormous amount of faith required by their paradigm.
…Essentially, anyone who makes the claim that science has destroyed or undermined theism is trying to piggyback their materialist philosophy onto scientific theories that cannot support the weight of such a piggy.
I see myself immersed in the depths of human existence and standing in the face of the ineffable mystery of the world and of all that is. And in that situation, I am made poignantly and burningly aware that the world cannot be self-sufficient, that there is hidden in some still greater depth a mysterious, transcendent meaning. This meaning is called God. Men have not been able to find a loftier name, although they have abused it to the extent of making it almost unutterable. God can be denied only on the surface; but he cannot be denied where human experience reaches down beneath the surface of flat, vapid, commonplace existence.
–Nikolai Berdyaev, Russian religious and political philosopher
The unmasking and the potentiation of evil naturally belong close together, for the more concentrated and demonstrative the negation of God becomes, the more powerfully it emerges and the more difficult it is to fail to see it. And yet one will fail to see it even in its most patent form as long as one closes ones eyes to the light and the glory of God.
New atheists are opposed to faith in God. In place of God what do they offer? Well, there’s a lot they don’t offer. No rules, no truth, no purpose, no morals, no absolutes, no purpose, no meaning, no afterlife, no ultimate justice, no basis for human dignity, no real reason for being here.
Is there anything left?
When you stop believing in truth, everything turns mush and grey. You can no longer discern between good and bad, knowledge and ignorance, sacred and sleazy. It’s all up for grabs—and you don’t have to worry if you got it right.
When you stop worshipping God, pseudo deities rush in to fill vacuum. You end up bowing before the gods such as sex, pleasure, consumerism, and success. When you resist serving God you infallibly fall into the servitude of self-gratification. You end up serving a pitiful deity—yourself.
When you stop believing in the sacred, you end up undermining the ideas of beauty, and goodness, and wonder, and dignity, and virtue. If there’s no Higher Power everything goes flat.
Not believing in a Supreme Lawgiver leaves you with no boundaries, no guidelines. It is like playing soccer with no rules—the game self-destructs.
When you refuse to believe that the universe has a Maker, you end up believing in the ultimate magic trick that the universe popped out of nowhere, on it’s own, from nothing. Frankly I can’t muster up that much faith. It’s remarkable what you end up believing when you don’t want to believe in God.
When you reject the idea of a Creator, you have to create yourself. You are the master of your fate, the captain of your soul. Lots of luck.
There’s no one to pray to and no one to thank. You’re on your own.
Welcome to the wonderful world of the New Atheists.