Skip to comments.Christopher Hitchens: Godlessness Is Not Great — How Atheism Poisons Everything
Posted on 12/20/2011 9:15:48 AM PST by Paladins Prayer
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mtg you claimed “all the laws of physics and constants were established merely by chance, within just a few seconds after the theorized ‘Big Bang’.” and this has been proven exactly how?!
Every -ology mas has ever studied is a study in logic or
Also I am pretty sure about the other popular gods - Jesus, Allah, Thor, Shiva .... And I am not even an atheist.
That, of course, depends on what we believe, or conceive of, Jesus, Allah, etc. as "God" to be. May I ask if you are agnostic, or is there a theos you believe exists?
All righty then,,,you just did it again.
You simply distort everything that offends you and cut and paste partial quotes from same.
I have plainly said that I do believe ‘geocentrism’ as God states plainly in the Bible that ‘the Earth is the center of it all’ all meaning the universe. There is plenty of scientific evidence for anyone to see this is becoming much more apparent. You on the other hand want to constantly go back to a centuries old definition to imply ‘all’ as merely our solar system.
Jealous? Yes, God says I am a jealous God. He is jealous for those whom He loves, that they would respond to His love. It is a perfect response to the lovelessness He is often greeted with as it does not go off and plot evil in response, but continues and continues and continues to...pursue the object(s) of His affection.
Moody? Dictatorial? Mercurial? These are the same conclusions as those of the unrepentant offender who, being sentenced by the judge, has not one moment of introspection whereby he examines himself under the full light of the law and finds the human failing, human weakness, and potential for human depravity that infects us all (his error being that he gave in to these.)
No. God is holy, righteous, glorious. I can find only one word that begins to define these in a way that the human mind can comprehend: Christ.
Then you believe that gravity makes the Earth move around the Sun?
I have no need to distort anything. Your own words are there for all to see.
And they are OH SO FUNNY!!!!
So he’s compassionate enough to forgive us for being exactly what he made us to be eh? Wow, he just sounds better all the time.
The irony. Do you not see the irony of your statement?
Don't know of any evidence for a naturalistic non-random universe since and yet claim that it was established *by chance*?
And you know this how? What are your proofs for the cause, or lack thereof, of the laws and constants of physics being established *by chance*?
It’s almost as if...
all the explosions mankind has witnessed each created some new kind of order...
No wait, an explosion suspends all natural law and creates order out of chaos [aka the main problem with the big bang theory].
Your comment is "People choose hell."
Perhaps the two of you could come to a consistent position, and then talk to me about it.
“So hes compassionate enough to forgive us for being exactly what he made us to be eh? Wow, he just sounds better all the time.”
He did not make us sinners. He made us in His image, but Adam, the first man, along with Eve, the first woman sinned, and by them “sin entered the world,” death following shortly thereafer. Since you and I and all of humanity are born of sinful parents, we are (now) sinners by our very nature. Then, when you add that we choose to sin regularly, choose to ignore His free gift of forgiveness/redemption/salvation through Christ’s work on the cross, choose to fail to even live up to the standards we set for ourselves, it is quite easy to see (should one choose to look) that we are flawed creatures. The fact that He STILL loves us (enough to send His Son) shows His compaggion and long-suffering nature.
“My post was in response to freeper “killermosquito”, who told us upthread that those who “he wants added to his kingdom will find him”. I can only conclude the corollary, that those who do not find him are those who he does not want.”
Your corollary is wrong, probably because it is relying on man’s logic, which, being limited, does not adequately take into account the character of God (and, come to think of it, too highly exalts the disposition of the human heart, as well).
The desire of God is “...that none should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” As it is written in God’s word, “If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me.”
Correctly stated, in keeping with the right understanding of God’s character (holy, righteous, unchangeable) and the deficiencies and inadequacies of the human heart (”deceitful above all else, who can know it!) your corollary should read: those who do not want Him are those that do not find Him.
Uh huh. I know the story. I just don’t believe it.
You also said, "But they were Christians heavily influenced by the Enlightenment." What am I to make of that remark, since I am both a Christian and a huge fan of "modern science" so much so that I take it seriously enough to critique it?
It almost seems as if you see the Enlightenment mainly as an "improvement" on the then-prevailing "religious barbarism." This attitude seems a tad anachronistic to me, a kind of "backloading" of currently-prevailing "fashionable" (i.e., politically correct) attitudes. (The people living back then probably wouldn't have had a clue what our current "fashions" or "festishes" could even mean.) This sort of practice, to me, is to commit intellectual malfeasance by citing (a very seriously misplaced) "history"....
There is no question in my mind that the Framers Christian to a man and mainly Calvinist in their spiritual leanings were enormously influenced by the Enlightenment. Some of the greatest thinkers who ever lived, lived in this era. And across many different fields of endeavor. The Framers were not only well-educated men; they were learned men "learned" because, as Christians, they had a common criterion of Truth and Justice; and a common concept of Man as an individual and social animal (so to speak).
But I digress. My main point is you seem to suggest that there really is some sort of "divide" between science and religion, or even more crudely put, between reason and faith. And one is "better" than the other.
But I wonder, how on earth can you separate them, really?
To illustrate what I mean, please let me compare and contrast two great "leading luminaries" of the Enlightenment: Sir Isaac Newton and Pierre-Simon, Marquis de Laplace.
IMHO, Newton was one of the greatest thinkers humanity ever produced. He, in his turn, produced an absolutely marvelous abstract system with an extraordinarily apt ability to model and predict the behavior of objects in the direct-observational realm; i.e., the space-time sense of reality that we humans normally experience. (A Darwinian theorist might argue on these self-same grounds that the human "sense" of space-time is an "evolutionary development" probably largely due to the evolution of better connections between "the brain" and the respective brain centers that collect and sort sense data related to natural objects as detected by means of the five senses .... Fun question to think about; but not now.)
Anyhoot, fairly or unfairly, people say that Newton's mechanical theory "revealed" the true state of affairs in our Universe: That is, the Universe [preferably an uncreated and eternal one, from this perspective] is an "entity" which is inherently, relentlessly, thorough-goingly material, mechanistic, and deterministic in its evolution. Newton's Laws "explain" everything; they are the foundation of modern physics; and the very idea of what we mean by "classical physics."
I think Laplace certainly took up his mécanique celéste i.e., the "clockwork universe" idea from Newton.
Napoleon: You have written this huge book on the system of the world without once mentioning the author of the universe.Some would interpret this exchange to mean Laplace thought so much of Newton's Laws, that the "need" for God was perfectly obviated for him:
Laplace: Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis.
Given for one instant an Intelligence which could comprehend all the forces by which Nature is animated and the respective positions of the beings which compose it, if moreover this intelligence were vast enough to submit these data to analysis ... to it nothing would be uncertain, and the future as the past would be present to its eyes.Well, NO KIDDING. Laplace is "definitely onto something there." But WHO does he imagine such an Intelligence could possibly "be" himself?
I do not want to "flog" Laplace, just to "flag" how his "attitude" has had historical resonance in our times....
Compare this "attitude" with that of Isaac Newton.
Newton was making an abstract, universal description attempting to account for the mechanics/dynamics of material bodies wherever they occur in the Universe. And thus, the so-called "Newtonian particle" is a total abstraction, and has to be such, if it presumes to account for the movements of all bodies everywhere in the universe at all scales that fall under direct human observation, from atoms to planets and suns and stars....
Certainly the "Newtonian particle" is not some hard little billiard-ball sort of thing, persisting homogeneously in time, subject to changes only by means of local causes, on a time-line moving inexorably, irreversibly from past to present to future.... Yet the existence of just such a "body" is critical to the functioning of any "clock mechanism."
Whatever the case, the notion of a thoroughly-determined, "clock-work universe" has been totally exploded by twentieth-century quantum physics....
But oh I'm digressing again....
To sum up: There are at least two important things to note about Newton's fundamental worldview, or cosmology, that people seem not to remember today. (1) Newton believed the Universe is a divine creation. (2) Newton believed that, because "random," mechanistic causes in Nature cannot but fail to produce "disorder" sooner or later, the "Lord of Life, with His creatures" had to step into the picture, every now and then, to set matter "aright" again.
All I'm saying is: Newton himself did not divide himself along the lines of "science versus religion" as if they were some sort of mutually-exclusive combatants in his own nature. He saw them as necessary, complementary parts of his one self-same nature, which he recognized as finally, somehow, "under God."
My suspicion is the Framers were pretty good "Newtonians," at least. Perhaps they would have found Laplace's divertissement a/k/a "parlor trick" a little underwhelming....
Just guessing, of course. Thanks so very much for writing Notary Sojac! I hope I haven't bored you to tears....
1.) Lumping Newton in with the ‘oddballs’ that were the ‘enlightenment’ imho they only included Newton to give some added weight to their deluded thinking.
2.) Although not of the ‘enlightenment’ group, the scientist most consider 2nd only to Newton, Albert Einstein, also had
a similar quote regarding science and religion.
Now let’s see how did that one go...
....America.....had a very different intellectual genealogy, having been much more influenced by the skeptical enlightenment of Britain and Scotland than the radical enlightenment of France."
".....Something unique and unprecedented in human history occurred with the American founding. Somehow, Americans stumbled upon the very means to unleash human potential through liberty, individual initiative, free markets and representative democracy, to become the unrivaled economic, scientific, and political leader of the world. How did they do it?
I just recently read What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848, and there is an instructive passage about the American intellectual consensus of the early 19th century, at the very time we began our ass-kicking world-historical ascent (and bear in mind that this is a secular scholar with no religious agenda whatsoever):
"As this chapter is written in the early twenty-first century, the hypothesis that the universe reflects intelligent design has provoked a bitter debate in the United States. How very different was the intellectual world of the early nineteenth century! Then, virtually everyone believed in intelligent design. Faith in the rational design of the universe underlay the worldview of the Enlightenment, shared by Isaac Newton, John Locke, and the American Founding Fathers....
What Newton and Einstein had in common "spiritually"/metaphysically speaking, if you can pardon me for using this language is that both recognized that at the very foundation of the Universe, there is Mind and Will....
That is, pace Heraclitus: The "most beautiful cosmos" is not "a garbage heap strewn at random."
Thanks so much for writing, BrantMichaels!
Thanks for the very thoughtful post. I don't have time to reply in depth right now, but....
It almost seems as if you see the Enlightenment mainly as an "improvement" on the then-prevailing "religious barbarism."
I wouldn't put it so crudely, but it's clear that between 1650 and 1750, it became (mostly) unacceptable in Western Europe to advocate the forced conversion or physical punishment of those who had a different faith.
That change is, in my opinion, crucial to the modern concept of individual liberty, since if the state can dictate how one may worship God, what can it not dictate?
And that brings to mind another question. If I am to accept the premise of some Christians that only Christianity can serve as the basis of a free society which respects liberty, why is it that during the total ascendancy of Christianity in the west from ca. 350 to ca. 1700 AD, there came into being so few "free republics"?
I assume from your posts to me and to perfect_lady that you are a believer in free will, that every human being is individually empowered to accept or reject Christ. Is that correct?
Yes. And it's certainly not much of a protection against oppression, as fascism arose in the heart of Christendom. But even if they were right, as you've pointed out before, this would be an argument of utility, not truth. That it's an advantageous religion. Well, sometimes it is. Occasionally. Okay, once!
I don’t really think or care about these things. Someone told me it means I am apatheist.
That change is, in my opinion, crucial to the modern concept of individual liberty, since if the state can dictate how one may worship God, what can it not dictate?”
Excellent point - but I think it is also key to the answer of where the concepts that give rise to a Free Republic come from.
I think within Christianity there is the seed of the thought of acceptance of Christ being an individual choice - but it was hard for that seed to break through the crust of the entrenched idea of the State/Church with an official religion and official religious functionaries and the resulting forced conversion and violent suppression of any contrary theological thought.
Once the concept of ‘freedom of conscience’ arises alongside the idea of ‘natural rights of mankind’ within a populace - a free republic will become a possibility.
I didn't claim this has been proven. If your read my post again, you'll see that I stated "according to science all the laws of physics and constants were established merely by chance, within just a few seconds after the theorized Big Bang. and this has been proven exactly how?!
No one has ever proven this. I am simply telling you what just about every cosmologist and astrophysicist tell us.
Please see my post #122.
I used to be a Militant Apathist, but I’ve mellowed quite a bit.
OK, fine that’s what science [as in some nebulous astrophysicists and cosmologists] taught you,
- why yes you did say that in post #96 in so many words,
but then you did also underline ‘merely by chance’ [or maybe science taught that underline thingy too]
- so yeah sorry for the mistake(s)...
oops post #94...
Sorry, looking back over your many posts I think what I missed or lost in a string of responses was your intended sarcasm...
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
That's a rather dim hope. You might do better by presenting an argument with fewer holes than a colander. Sadly atheism has become somewhat fashionable. Meanwhile society unravels. But one never know if a seed planted will bare fruit. Paul witnessed to many and the Bible records that some believed and some didn't.
What a shame, then, that he created so many billions that he didn't want added to his kingdom. Do you think that they get a break from the eternal hellfire? Say an hour or so every ten thousand years?? There will be no break from an eternity in hell. But God doesn't want anyone to perish. He has given us free will; He will respect our decision to choose or reject Him.
No problem. I probably worded it badly.
So... did God make Hell?
IF you are asking about the 'last' fiery furnace that destroys the 'soul/spirit' entities of all the unrepentant rebels? That 'fire' pit has yet to be 'created', only the devil and a few of his henchmen have to date been judged to be erased (destroyed from within) forever. Judgment Day for every one else won't take place until final exams are taken. Exams follow required mandatory classes of the A B C's of the Creator and HIS perfection without the ugly evil influence of the first rebel narcissist.
Yes, hell was prepared for the devil and his angels.
There are two opposing forces. Good and Evil. Did God create evil or is evil the absence of good?
God is described as the creator and the devil as the destroyer. Were we created on purpose or did we occur by accident? How often does something good occur by accident? How likely will the occurrence of many accidents accumulate into something that is good?
God is described as Love. Love creates. Hate destroys.
Not only do I believe in God, I believe we are alone in the universe of billions and billions of galaxies and that we are the pinnacle of His creation. That is how special I believe we are to Him and that is why He chose to become one of us.
He paid a debt He didn’t owe because we owe a debt we cannot pay.
Of course. And it follows that God is fully aware of those who will exercise their free in making a choice not to follow/believe in Him. There was a good portion of my life where I used my free will to reject the Gospel message. When I look back, I can see the times where He was trying to communicate His message to me (through events in my life, through others sharing the gospel with me, etc.) and I simply ignored it, turned away from it, scorned it. I can also now see how He was keeping me alive(through the “happenstances of my life”), gracing me with time and opportunity to exercise that same free will to respond, finally reaching the point where I realize that all that is important in my life, or anyone else’s has its center, how they respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
This idea of free will brings us back to something I mentioned earlier to (I think it was) perfect_lady that dealt with God being a jealous God and being saddened when people choose to exercise their free will in choosing a “not-God” position. He longs for all to accept Him, come to Him, receive Him freely choosing to do so, not by force or compunction. It brings Him glory, provides evidence of His power to transform lives (even how a person thinks). This is the only reason I speak with folks on these forums about Christ, because I know that God used people to do the same thing in overpowering my own finite understanding when it comes to things eternal (read 1Corinthians chap. 2 dealing with the “natural” man and the “spiritual” man). When a person uses his free will to turn to God, it is because they have been overpowered by the the love and the grace of God in Christ—a moment has occurred where this decision, to receive Him as your savior, has become the very focus of your existence.
People have little/nothing to do with Christ because they choose to have it that way. People live for Christ because they have chosen to realize that God has loved them with an everlasting love and have stopped trying to fight against it.
A couple of those 'oddballs' write the 'deluded thinking' of The Second Treatise of Civil Government and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Without those you don't have America, or indeed what we call "Western civilization"
When exactly did He make Hell?
I mean, the current, operational Hell. Unless you’re saying there isn’t any yet, which is directly opposed to the other poster’s assertion that it has already been made.
"I am opposed to anything that would make Christianity look like a foolish or inadequate philosophy. I consider that to be a kind of sin against the Holy Spirit. Anyone who has had to overcome a bad case of Jesus Willies will know exactly what I mean. My inability to embrace Christianity earlier in my life was not only a matter of pride, nor only a result of the ubiquitous distortions and intellectual dishonesty of the radical secularists.
"Rather, there was a considerable amount of stupidity -- and therefore spiritual darkness -- in the forms of Christianity to which I was exposed, and which would have required an absence of self-respect on my part in order to embrace."
"Now, metaphysics is all about first principles. .... my intention is to have a completely consistent metaphysic, so that, in order to answer any question, I need only "return to first principles" to answer it. In this sense, [Metaphysical] Darwinism is a lie, because it cannot furnish any consistent first principles. In fact, whenever a committed Darwinist tries, they end up making self-refuting statements right out of the box....
"But so too, in my opinion, do literal "creationists." Of course you are free to insist upon young earth creationism, but you must know that it is going to contradict so much evidence that you will essentially have to split your mind in two. You will live in a scientific world with all of its blessings, and yet, a part of you will have to reject it, or at least not be able to fully integrate it into your belief system. ....
"....For better or worse, the way my mind is built, it seeks unity or wholeness, which is a very different thing from "unicity." In other words, to simply accept an ideology -- whether scientific or religious -- and superimpose it on the world would be an example of unicity. Such a worldview will be "consistent" but it will not be complete, as it will necessarily have to omit a lot of details and anomalies.
"Or, I could accept both science and religion, and not worry about the lack of reconciliation. Such a world view will be more complete, but it will lack consistency.
"[We wish] to have a maximum of completeness and consistency -- at least as much as Gödel will allow. Which is a lot, once you accept the implications of his theorems, one of which is that truth is prior to our fragmentary logical "proofs" of it.
"....nothing can happen in the world of science that is inconsistent with the existence of God. To cite one prominent example that comes to us via quantum physics, if this were a Newtonian universe of logical atomism -- i.e., a cosmos of completely disconnected parts -- that ontology would be radically inconsistent with the existence of the immanent God. To put it another way, the infinite sea of quantum potential is a kind of exteriorized mirror image of God's interior. .....
"Creation is continual. If we are to be accurate when speaking of creation, we should use not the past tense but the continuous present. We should say, not 'God made the world, and me in it,' but 'God is making the world, and me in it, here and now, at this moment and always.' Creation is not an event in the past, but is a relationship to the present."
"Which is why you are called (i.e., it is your summa voc-ation) to live your life with love and creativity, or even "creative love," which is again to be a proper mirror and image of the Creator. Or, to quote Augustine, "Creation precisely affirms a principle of origin, but not necessarily a principle of duration.... God is before the world of duration, yet the word 'before' does not mean a priority of time, but of eternity...."
jwalsh07 replied: "So why not take your logic ball and go home?"
"....Intellectual intuition (nous) involves the direct perception of Truth.
"Logic (dianoia), on the other hand, is merely a mental operation that can lead to true or false conclusions, depending upon the data provided it.
"Logic is particularly useless -- even dangerous -- without the a priori intuition of Truth, without which logic alone eventually leads one over the abyss.
"The most important truths are indeed "self evident," that is, evident to the higher self.
"Clearly they are not necessarily evident to the lower self, which is why liberty and human dignity are a tough sell in the Islamic world, which awaits the day when its progress is not thwarted by the infrahuman majority in its midst.
"In America, the anti-progressive forces are represented by secular progressives, anti-religious Liztards, and other spiritual medullards.
"The application of mere logic would dismiss as silly superstition those transcendent truths that are known directly by the higher mind.
"This is why you cannot prove the existence of God to such a logic-bound individual, any more than you could prove it to a dog.
"Religious truths are conveyed through symbolism and analogy (with the assistance of grace), more like a great work of art than a mathematical equation.
"Although not merely logical, it would be a grave and simplistic error to suggest that the great revelations are illogical, any more than a Shakespearean sonnet or one of Beethovens symphonies are illogical.
About “orthodox Christianity” stating that your parents would be in Hell, this isn’t true. It is Catholicism that is orthodox Christianity, actually, and the Church teaches that we cannot know someone’s final destination — not while we’re in this world, anyway. Moreover, the Church teaches that God may very well give us one last chance to repent after death.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Don’t waste your time pinging me with a list of quotes from people whose opinion means nothing to me. They are all wrong, and I am right. It’s as simple as that.
... When people say “Logic fails,” what they mean is, “Logic fails to give me the answer I wanted.”
I understand your "simple" reference.
The rules on FR are that if you are quoting another FReeper, you should at least do them the curtesy of pinging them. I'll abide by your wishes from now on when I refer to your "it's as simple as that" posts.
Not that it really matters who you quote. They may be modern-day self-proclaimed experts, they may be sages of old. I don't care. I have no interest in the philosophers and sages of old. I don't think they were anything special. The only reason many of them were so revered is because they lived in a time and place where very few people were taught to read and write. You had to be male, and you had to be wealthy. If you were educated enough to read and write, you automatically impressed the rest of the population. Moreover, most sages of old were educated by the Church, so they are to be taken with the grain of salt they deserved.
If it's modern-day internet sages you're quoting, you can imagine they impress me even less. In fact, I can't think of anything more ridiculous than using other people's quotes as paperwads to throw at me. In the end, your argument boils down to this:
"I know there's a God because I intuit it with my higher mind. And look, lots of other people agree with me!" This is a childish stance. "I feel, therefore God is." Silly as a Scientologist.
You’re dealing with a child here. This is like the stereotypical woman who hen-pecks her husband and will never admit that she’s wrong. She’s not interested in history’s greatest philosophers, in profundity, in anything that doesn’t accord with her deified wittle feelings. Her mind isn’t just closed, it’s nailed shut.
She really ought to go off and bake some cookies. At least then she’d be doing something productive, as opposed to trying tto debate adult matters, something for which she’s ill-suited.
She is a child. Don’t waste your breath.
"..anyone but a [simple/silly] rationalist knows that logic cannot furnish its own materials on which to operate.
"It is a "sign of the times" -- i.e., the Age of Stupidity -- that it is even necessary to point out that not every problem can be solved by means of logic alone. Again, to even attempt to do this is both inhuman and anti-human.
"...when intellection is rejected, it doesn't just disappear, any more than an unconscious conflict disappears by denying it. Rather, it is simply replaced by all kinds of crazy things, from Marxism, to metaphysical Darwinism, to Scientology, you name it.
She doesn't want to go off and "bake cookies". Instead, A_Perfect_lady said she'd rather "wander around inside some weird, red-sky landscape thats like a permanent sunset. Black trees. Silver, glittery ponds. Mountains on the horizon. Caves to explore. Very silent, no wind. Just me and my cats.... I just want to be left alone. Most humans irritate me."
I profoundly agree with these statements.
On the other hand, Robert Godwin drives me a little bit nutz with his "immanent God." I'm not sure I understand his meaning. But maybe the problem boils down to semantics in the end. I can't tell for sure....
Speaking as a Christian, I have no problem with "immanent God" understood as the divine Logos operating in the world of its Creation in the Beginning from Alpha to Omega, from "first to last," affecting everything "in between." Or to put it into Aristotelian terms, from first to final cause, implicating immanent cause "in-between."
In short, I believe in evolution at all scales of the cosmos. I can even regard a "biological function" as an evolution from a first to final cause.
But it seems to me the immanence of God as understood by, say, Advaita-Vedanta philosophy, is "a horse of [quite] a different color." This "god" ultimately, Brahman is so "immanent" in an eternal, that is, uncreated universe that he is effectively indistinguishable from it. He or It is indivisible from and coextensive with the material flux of the world. Given this condition, it is difficult for me a Christian to see any difference between the divine and the mundane realm of finite existence in which human beings live. How can a god coextensive with, and seemingly inseparable from, such a concept of Cosmos be said to be, in any way shape or form. the ordering principle of it?
Well, this is the problem I have. I'm still working it. :^) I welcome comment/correction from the Advaita-Vedanta side....
Thanks so much for writing, dear Matchett-PI! Just some thoughts, dear Matchett-PI!