Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Muddled, Meandering, Musings of the Mad

A recent piece in the New York Times by George Johnson entitled, "A Free-for-All on Science and Religion," (free registration required to read) details how the deep animosity certain secular scientists have developed toward all religious belief boiled to the surface at the Beyond Belief: Science, Religion, Reason and Survival forum this month at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. Richard Dawkin's comment summed up the prevalent attitude,
"I am utterly fed up with the respect that we - all of us, including the secular among us - are brainwashed into bestowing on religion ... Children are systematically taught that there is a higher kind of knowledge which comes from faith, which comes from revelation, which comes from scripture, which comes from tradition, and that it is the equal if not the superior of knowledge that comes from real evidence..."

What never ceases to amaze me is how anyone so brilliant could have such blind, absolute faith in the power of individual or collective reason. After all, since man is a finite creature, by definition, all individual or collective human knowledge and experience is also limited. That being true, atheism (the outright denial of the existence of God) is clearly a form of intellectual dishonesty, since an atheist must therefore admit that God may exist somewhere outside the realm of their personal (or humanity's collective) knowledge or experience. The moment a person acknowledges that God might exist, they have ceased being an atheist and have become a mere skeptic (one who is simply unsure about the existence of God). Any skeptic who is really seeking truth must make a personal search for God their highest priority, since, philosophically speaking, God's existence profoundly affects every other realm of knowledge, including meaning, ethics, and so forth.

The real issue with every atheist I have ever dialogued with has always turned out to be either emotional or moral and not intellectual. They are either angry and bitter at God over the reality of some form of evil (often something very painful that has happened to them personally), or they are simply unwilling to live their personal lives according to His standards of right conduct. In my experience, the issue has never been purely rational. As the New Living Translation renders the Apostle Paul's words to the Roman believers, "Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness ... (Romans 1:28)"

Here's the great news - if we seek God with a heart that is willing to serve Him if we find Him, then He will reveal Himself to our hearts. As the Old Testament prophet, Jeremiah, articulated it, "For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you," says the LORD. (Jeremiah 29:11-14 NLT)"

What a powerful, precious promise!

1 comment:

  1. I agree, Mark.
    I don't think I'll ever understand how people (especially seemingly intelligent ones) can rationalize athiesm.

    The only way you can have this belief (logically) is if you have absolute knowledge (which only God has).

    That is, to conclude there is no God, you would have to have total knowledge of every inch of time and space.

    But to know (or at least fathom) His presence, you need to only experience a small corner of creation.

    So, it's pretty hard to imagine how athiesm stems from rational thought. (Although, many try.) It's always seemed more of an emotional issue to me as well.

    I would therefore propose to someone like Dawkins that "real evidence" leads to belief in God, rather than belief in athiesm. Which, to me, takes a far greater leap in faith and rational thinking than to believe there is a God - who reveals Himself everyday.

    Get this man a copy of "Mere Christianity"! And pray that we will soon start reading the Bible! :-)

    God Bless!