by Nick Acker
I’m not looking for a debate here.
What I really want is a connection.
A connection with people who, unlike Cypher in the Matrix, esteem truth over pretense, and people who can discuss these things without spite.
I really believe that if one analyzes their beliefs deeply, they will discover that they are not an atheist or agnostic for purely intellectual reasons, but for relational reasons.
At some point in life an event, or a series of events, stirred up a distrust and/or a distaste for God and/or believers.
Below is a long discussion on why I don’t think one can be an atheist or agnostic for purely intellectual reasons. I hope it begins a connection between me and anyone who would enjoy a loving dialogue…
The proof of God’s existence is that without Him you cannot prove anything.
If you reject God’s existence you are rejecting the very thing that makes logic, value, and induction possible.
Without logic you cannot prove anything.
Without value you cannot place a value on truth.
Without induction you cannot be sure that what is true or valuable today will remain so tomorrow.
The fact of the matter is that we all know that logic exists.
We all know that value is real and that some things are immoral.
We all know that induction holds – the future will resemble the past.
So, when we reject God, we enter into a state where our practical beliefs – the beliefs that govern our daily actions – are in direct opposition with our metaphysical beliefs – our beliefs on the nature of reality.
It is intellectually irresponsible, and hypocritical, to say that reality works one way, and then to live one’s life totally contrary to those beliefs.
Here is why the rejection of God’s existence is the rejection of the very thing that makes logic, value, and induction possible.
To reject God’s existence in an atheistic manner is to accept a reality in which all that exists is matter and space – the stuff of the universe.
That means that in a reality void of God, the human mind, is nothing but universe stuff. It is the production of matter and matter’s unbiased, morally-void processes. And, everything the mind would produce, if God did not exist, would only itself be the output of matter’s processes.
Since matter’s processes, in the absence of God, are not good or bad, then no output of one brain could be deemed “better” than the output of a different brain.
For item A to be “better” than item B, item A needs to be closer to the actual thing than B is to that thing.
For instance, I may have an idea of what New York City is like, and you may have a different idea. Your idea can only be “better” than mine if there is a real New York City to compare our ideas to.
Without God, all that exists is matter and material processes, and there is no standard to measure which material process is “better.”
If the material production of one person’s brain is to be “better” than the material production of another person’s brain, then there must be some sort of authoritative standard to compare brain production to.
This authoritative standard is what we in the Western/Scientific culture would consider to be logic.
But logic is not physical – it is not material.
No one has ever seen a law of logic, tripped on a law of logic, or measured a law of logic.
The laws of logic are purely immaterial.
So, if one is to disbelieve in God – the immaterial mind behind reality – then one must either reject logic, since it is immaterial, or he or she must be a dualist – believing in both the material and immaterial – yet still disbelieving in God.
The problem with atheistic dualism is that the immaterial and material are opposite forms of reality. The material cannot produce what is immaterial, and the immaterial cannot produce what is material.
The atheistic dualist who believes in logic must believe that, unguided, except through the normal material processes of the self-attesting universe, the material world produced a material object – the human brain – that can tap into the immaterial world and somehow tune in to the immaterial laws of logic.
This is quite an illogical leap of faith.
However, if one begins with the assumption of God:
- The universe has an eternal mind behind it not bound by time, space, or matter accounting for the existence of immaterial mental laws that are authoritative over the material world.
- Thoughts can be “better” since they can be compared to the real, authoritative, ideal mind.
- God’s nature is truth, and He is against deceit. Therefore, one can say it matters to pursue truth and logic in submission to Him.
So, if someone says they believe in God and they then seek to be logical, their beliefs on the nature of reality line up with their beliefs that govern their daily lives.
However, if someone says they do not believe in God and they then seek to be logical, what they say they believe concerning the nature of reality is directly opposed to the beliefs that govern their daily lives.
This does not mean that they cannot be logical concerning daily life. It simply means they are walking in intellectual contradiction between what they say they believe about reality and how they live.
If they would be consistent with their beliefs concerning reality, then they would not attempt to make any authoritative logical claims – their beliefs concerning the nature of reality has made that impossible for them to do in any logically consistent manner.
The issue of value is much the same.
Again: To reject God’s existence in an atheistic manner is to accept a reality in which all that exists is matter and space – the stuff of the universe.
And in the same way that the rejection of God removes any authoritative standard of logic to which to compare our thoughts, the rejection of God also removes any authoritative standard of value to which to compare our beliefs of value and morality. The atheistic dualist is in an equally difficult position as they were in the discussion on logic – to believe that the human brain has not only tapped into the immaterial realm of logic, but also the immaterial realm of value and morality.
If one rejects God then one accepts that all that exists is simply stuff. And there is no warrant – no governing reason why any certain organization of stuff is any more or less valuable than another organization of stuff.
A rock is a clump of organized stuff and so is a person.
No one gets angry or sad when a rock is destroyed – it is merely a clump of organized stuff. A rock is simply the end result of material processes.
And yet, if all of the universe is nothing but stuff, then every human is also nothing but the end result of material processes.
There is no basis to say that one clump of stuff formed by material processes is more valuable than another clump of stuff formed by material processes.
To crush a rock… to crush a person… there is, if one rejects God, no reason to make a moral distinction between the two crushings.
However, we all agree that a person is more valuable than a rock.
We all agree that it is more valuable to believe the truth than to believe what is false.
We all agree that value exists.
When one begins with God:
- The universe was created as an act of love – a moral choice. So there is a standard of love and morality to compare our beliefs to.
- The universe was created on purpose. There is value in aligning with this purpose.
The atheist does believe in morality and is able to make moral choices. It’s just that his belief in morality is totally at odds with his beliefs concerning the nature of reality.
If he were to be intellectually honest with his beliefs, then he would make no authoritative moral claims.
But that is not the nature of humanity. God has created us in His image, and we long for truth and value. The problem is that we also war against submitting to God. We want to be the ruler of our own lives. So we try to reject God’s authority over our lives by denying that He exists so that we can live by our own logic and values instead of His. But, as we reject His existence and authority, we deny ourselves the very thing that makes truth and value possible.
Finally, without God we have no basis to believe in induction – that the future will resemble the past.
Of course, in rejecting God one has already foregone the foundation of logic – so no truth claims can be made concerning induction anyway. He has also foregone the foundation of value – so even if something is true he can place no value on accepting the truth.
But even still, the problem of induction is well attested from famous thinkers such as David Hume.
One simply cannot prove that the future will resemble the past. This specific belief concerning life must be assumed.
How would one begin to “prove” that the future will be like the past?
One could set up an experiment to show 1,000 times that any given action gives the same result every time. 1,000 times exactly the same.
Would that prove that how things work in the past is how they work in the future?
It would not.
It would only prove that for 1,000 times that is how it worked.
In order to draw the conclusion that this experiment proves the future resembles the past, one must operate under the assumption that since the future resembled the past these 1,000 times, the future will ALSO resemble the past in the future.
In other words, the scientist above is saying, “The future will resemble the past because in the past the future resembled the past. And since the future resembled the past then it will resemble the past tomorrow as well.”
Or in other words, “The future will resemble the past because the future resembles the past.”
Attempting to prove induction only begs the question.
And most atheists today are very praising of science, even though science is based on the principle of induction –
A principle that must be assumed.
A principle that is improvable.
The scientific atheist bases his life on assumption just like the believer in God.
He just won’t admit it.
If God exists:
- God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is a God of order. One can assume then, that His creation will resemble Him and operate in an orderly and consistent manner.
- God created the universe with purpose, and He is carrying the universe along toward that purpose.
In conclusion, if someone rejects God’s existence they reject the very thing that makes logic, value, and induction possible.
And yet, almost every person who rejects God’s existence lives their lives confident that some things are true and some things are false; that some things are right and some things are wrong; and that the future will resemble the past.
If someone does not believe in God’s existence, the above discussion shows that that disbelief does not stem only from an intellectual basis. There is some other reason why someone has lost their trust in God. They have either been hurt or outraged by an event, events, a person, or people, or they simply struggle against submitting their existence to a higher authority.
I would love to be available to discuss with anyone why they disbelieve in God. And I will do so openly, lovingly, speaking the truth in love as I best understand truth – not trying to convert anyone to a religion, but enjoying the shared pursuit of truth and love.
Feel free to email me – firstname.lastname@example.org
March 28, 2017
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August 29, 2016