Posts Tagged With: meaning to the cosmos

If I were an Atheist

Believers

If I were an atheist, I would try to really believe it and live it. What do I mean? Well, first of all, most atheists would pull out their first debate card right here and retort “Atheism isn’t a thing to believe and live! It’s non-belief – it’s a non-identity!” This is their favorite first chess move, because they really do see themselves as neutral observers on a seemingly ungoverned universe. They believe they are making no positive claims about what is, only what is not, namely, a supernatural realm, gods, or a God.

This push of the pawn into the center of the chessboard seems strong at first glance, but with a little examination, it fails to deliver on its promise. First of all, no human being can escape a life of -beliefs-. We are all believers by nature, inescapably, because no person has all knowledge. If one does not have all knowledge, and if that one is going to make any, any claim about the universe that cannot be objectively known and proven, then that person is swimming in the realm of belief.

No atheist can avoid this life of belief without evidence. My atheist friend on Twitter confirmed this for me here:

Agnostics, not atheists. So what’s the reason to call oneself atheist (or as some do, anti-theists)? My guess is that for some, it’s the feeling of satisfaction, and for others, a lack of self awareness. To be “atheist” by self label is to be a bold unbeliever, to strike at the heart of the vast majority of one’s human family with a shocking “you’re all way off!” (which is a positive claim of belief, mind you)…

Yet this seemingly bold statement of unbelief is nothing more than a belief in a philosophical materialism – that is, a belief that all of reality is a physical phenomenon – and that everything can be explained in terms of purely natural origin and conclusion.

Among the many and fatal logical problems with this belief system is perhaps the most emotionally unsatisfying of them: the atheist is forced into the twin buzz saws of Nihilism and radical subjectivism.

And it was recently in an extended conversation with the same atheist as noted above that I pressed the problem of Nihilism. Here I will post a snatch of our conversation (with his permission) where I was pleading with him to see and embrace the implications of his atheism, hoping that to do so for any person would lead to the abandonment of said atheism. Have a look:

I’m in blue, our atheist in gray.

I remind you that in the cosmic scale of our existence, rape and murder are just things that happen given enough time and chance. Moral value cannot be assigned to these things beyond the subjective sensations of the individual primate, in this case, you.

You’re jumping WAY ahead

Let’s baby step through this.

I know how difficult it is to remain in the abstract, false world of philosophical materialism, but you’re the one who has the lock and key. Yet I keep finding you out here with me, arguing from the bases of true meaningfulness in the moral categories!

It’s like you’re a man arguing against the existence of numerical objectivity but can’t help wanting to discuss mathematics.

I disagree. I don’t see any reason why a moral framework cannot be reasoned out in the absence of a deity.

Just because there is no cosmic prohibition against certain actions does not mean we cannot figure out how the best way to treat others.

What that means, with respect and care for you, is that you cannot reason through your stated beliefs. You’re bound to borrow mine.

I can’t? That’s news to me.

“Best” implies a scale of “good” and “bad” – how do you get these categories from stellar explosions and future thermonuclear winter?

Because human beings have preferences. We can know what can be universally preferred and what cannot.

It doesn’t take an advanced degree to understand if someone steals from you, a negative outcome had accrued to you = bad

What if by some cosmic calculus you cannot fathom, stealing benefits the race? What if the death of certain groups is a feature of evolutionary progression?

What do you mean, “what if?”

Utilitarianism is not in the realm of morality.

It seems that when stars explode, several aeons later carbon-based bipedal protoplasmic organisms sometimes turn off each other’s biological functions in physical conflict. What does it matter to a blind, pitiless, indifferent universe?

It doesn’t matter to the universe. It’s not a sentient being.

I think this view helps make us more focused on morality than less.

And in your worldview, we are little eyeballs of the universe that appear for a fraction of a second, then disappear back into the abyss.

In a way, yes. Like I said yesterday, consciousness is a deep mystery and highly profound.

That we are actually the universe coming to perceive itself. It’s beautiful.

I’m trying with all my might to convince you of the implications of philosophical materialism. If it were me, I could see no problem embracing these things.

Which implications am I missing in your estimation?

Am I supposed to be dragged down into the dark pit of Nihilism?

You should be believing: Morality is *merely* a trait selected blindly by chance evolutionary progress.

Morality is an illusion that we pull over our eyes to stave off the true nature of our existence: unknowable, meaningless, extremely fleeting, and forgotten.

All sensations of meaning, love, and beauty are the desperate paroxysms of agonized, highly self-aware biomechanical robots, like us.

We’re dying. We’re about to disappear from all hope. All memory. We are atomic accidents.

What is a species’ benefit in a world that will be eaten by its own star?

What exactly is your problem with this fact?

I understand the desire to want to live forever. Man…you’re dark.[1]

These are the implications of philosophical materialism. Atheists & antitheists should be brave enough to embrace them, in my opinion.

Life is short. It’s precious. It’s special.

Precisely because of how fleeting it is.[2]

And it’s comforting to believe we’ll live forever, but it’s just not true.

I embrace those things.[3] I’m just not depressed by any of it. I’m energized by it. And I soak in every second of this amazing life.

[1] Note – he calls me dark for explaining the implications of his own worldview! [2] Really, this makes me very sad. He instinctively uses all the categories of a theist, because of course he is one by nature. He knows the value and beauty of life because he is not an animal, but rather a human being made in the image of his personal Creator. [3] The atheist “embraces” hopeless Nihilism in the same breath as he assigns meaning and value to life. The terminus of atheistic thought is pure contradiction.

So there you have an astonishing bit of honesty from our atheist friend. He sees my description of atheistic Nihilism, and “embraces” it (and the bold lettering is all my emphasis). Yet he tries with the other hand to force meaning, value, beauty, and a standard of goodness into the world.

Well sir, you can’t have it both ways.

If I were an atheist, I’d go for it. None of this “let’s make something nice out of a hopeless, meaningless situation.” No, if I were an atheist, I’d really live like there is no meaning, no external moral, no hope, no love. I’d pull off my best Jim Morrison impression (of course with far less success, ha). I’d be eating and drinking and filling myself with pleasures. I’d be the nothing I was born to be.

But you see, most atheists can’t be consistent within their claims. It’s too hard to do while living under the sovereign presence of our personal, unchanging Creator. We all have an awareness of His primacy and judgment. We know Him, and we fear Him.

Anyways, I’ll leave it off there. This is a really mediocre post with a need for wit or some unifying story that pulls you in, but if you got this far, I must’ve done something right.

Love to you all, including my atheist buds. Go easy in the comments, because I’m very reasonable to talk with.

  • Adam

 

Categories: Comparative Religions, Meaning Woven into Nature | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Folded into the Cosmic Blanket: Poem

Where you going? she chirps from the kitchen.

Out for a walk. Want to come? We strap on our sneaks…

The inside walls of our home have grown stale, set,

Like slightly lemon Jello with pieces of fruit stuck inside,

Mouthing horror in their paralyzed, lemony static… yet

The walls outside go for a few billion light years, and we haven’t seen them all yet.

Maybe the outside walls just curve around eternally back to the center, like a big

Little doughnut: packed with sugar, fat, jelly, quasars, nebulae – delicious

Outer-space loveliness overblanketing our broad, echo-less planet.

We’re looking up as we walk out of town, into the verdant chest of America’s farmland,

Seeing the way the mesmerizing moonlight strokes gently the navel of the valley below.

We catch, or are maybe caught by the edge of a cornfield:

The low, early ears listen with us to the diamond box, booming from above –

As some raccoon-wizard stops to wonder at the bi-ped monsters tromping through his territory.

The second book of Revelation, written first, lays open around us; we’re in it, we’re a chapter of it, we’re reading ourselves and reading you as you read us, and the cosmos burns brightly as a sun…

Melting the Jello in the fridge back home.

Credit: Eric Hines from Universe Today

Credit: Eric Hines from Universe Today

 

Thanks for reading (us),

-Justin

 

 

Categories: Artistic Creations, Meaning Woven into Nature | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Some Glimpses of Beauty from Spain

This is the type of thing which originally inspired Interpreting the Cosmos. There is such a fascinating variety of glory to be seen and enjoyed!

Look at the stunning array of birds from Spain in this video: diverse, colorful, intelligent, and just plain cool. They reflect the Source of their life, and He is awesome. Enjoy… (Just over 4 minute video and well worth the time).

Thanks for watching,

-Justin

Categories: Meaning Woven into Nature | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

One (Big) Breath to be Stunned by the Scope of the Cosmos

Between 100 and 400 billion stars in just our little galaxy… which is one galaxy among perhaps 500 billion or more galaxies, each containing hundreds of billions of stars.

It’s safe to say: God is showing off… and shouldn’t He?

And [Jesus] is the radiance of [God’s] glory and the exact representation of [God’s] nature, and upholds all things by the word of His (Jesus’) power. Hebrews 1:3a

Categories: Meaning Woven into Nature, One Breath | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

The Bible is the Best Telescope

It is the most important conclusion you will ever draw – is the Bible truly God’s Word – and is its testimony about Jesus true? I contend that one cannot know the purpose of the cosmos without it, and therefore one cannot enjoy the pleasures of the cosmos without looking through this unique, supernatural lens.

The Bible says that the reason people do not believe in its divine origin is because of our sin nature, inherited from Adam. If you think that is circular logic, I challenge you to read on with an open mind and be ready to think deeply and to allow the searchlight of God’s truth to pierce the innermost parts of your heart and mind. If I am wrong, you have lost nothing by being open-minded.

The Bible claims to be not just a cosmic lens, but the ultimate cosmic lens. The claim is that humanity is like a bunch of car accident victims with amnesia who walk around looking at the cosmos asking “who am I?”

“Where did I come from?”

“Who are my mommy and daddy?”

“Why do I do the things I do?”

To get the answers to our deepest questions, we need one who was there at the beginning to tell us the narrative of history, because we have forgotten ourselves, and we have forgotten our Maker. We need the direct story from the mouth of the One who spoke it all into existence. We need a supernatural, inspired word from the omniscient Creator.

The claim of the Bible is that when one humbly looks through its lens, the cosmos as a whole is translated and finds proper unity and purpose. Mighty mysteries are solved. Through the lens of the Bible the world of men which each day seems so chaotic and filled with random evil is seen as a perfectly governed realm which has been created to serve and magnify the Creator.

Most importantly, the Bible is all about one central figure, Jesus. The point of all of history and the Scriptures is to reveal Him as the axis upon which the cosmos turns, and the Originator of human history. What you believe about Him is more important than anything else you could ever ponder. This is why your conclusion about the Bible is all-important – it claims that your beliefs about Jesus will determine how you live, and how you are ultimately judged by God. Hebrews 1:3b says “[Jesus] upholds all things by the word of His power.” That means He is God. Believe it or not, that’s the claim.

We have to look at the transcendent glory of the Bible to understand its true nature. The interwoven meta-narrative of the Bible tells of its genius. I have seen the screeds of the critics as they pick apart individual passages and stand as judges over the Bible. Many naysayers gleefully find the culturally strange and macabre parts of the Bible and because of that declare it all to be a fairy-tale, all the while not seeming to consider that it is the story of humanity, which is strange and macabre. “Missing the woods for the trees” would be an understatement here.

When one begins to see by faith through the lens of the Scriptures, written over the course of 1,500+ years, penned by more than 40 different authors from across the spectrum of humanity, and to behold the unity, clarity, and literary masterpiece in our hands, then one begins to draw near to the Author behind the authors. Each passage from Genesis to Revelation is a signpost pointing us to Jesus Christ the glorious Master of the cosmos.

How do we begin to trace out the evidence for all of this? We look at internal consistency: Same God, same attributes from Old to New Testaments. Things written in the Old Testament are echoed in the New, and things revealed in the New were hinted at in the Old. Keep in mind, 40+ authors over 1,500+ years, all writing about the same God, all saying the same things about humanity… but most importantly, all testifying to Jesus either directly or indirectly. Items of seeming discrepancy remain on the surface, but with careful study are seen as the different shaped cogs and gears within the same machine, working together to produce a unified story.

Within the big-picture of consistency and uniformity concerning the message and object of the Bible, there are literally hundreds and thousands of explicit or implicit claims that it is God who is speaking. On its face this proves nothing, but again I exhort you to consider the astonishing fact of many different, dissonant authors claiming the exact same thing on numerous items of discussion. Try getting 40 – 50 people in the same room from even the same time period to all agree completely on anything, let alone the subject of religion and identity of God… good luck.

Democats over Republipups!

Next post I will discuss some of the stunning external evidences which support the historicity of the Bible.

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

Categories: Foundations of ItC blog, The Nature of the Bible | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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