Friday, December 12, 2014

Awesomeness proves God?

Bruce Tallman wrote an opinion piece for www.lfpress.com where he opines that 'awesomeness' keeps him from being an atheist...
Suffering is the rock atheists stand on. If there is a God, why is there so much suffering? Good question. Theologians have been coming up with answers to that for centuries.
Not good answers though. And there's already a problem here. Most atheists are non-believers because of the lack of evidence that there is a God, not because of suffering.
But let’s for once turn the tables and ask atheists a question. If there is no God, why is there so much awesomeness? I have never heard a satisfying answer to the rock on which awe believers stand.
In my experience, believers not finding these answers satisfying has always been due to a refusal to even consider them. But why is there so much awesomeness? Well, that's a complex question with many different answers for the varying aspects of 'awesomeness'. But for everything that is awesome, there is something not awesome... What about that?
The breathtaking beauty of so many things makes it easy to believe: mountains, valleys, waterfalls; the many shades of colour in fall leaves, deserts, or sunsets; strange and beautiful creatures like giraffes, jaguars, kangaroos, peacocks, dolphins and manta rays.
What about the product of plate tectonics, erosion, biology, the scattering of light or evolution make it seem like it must have been a God that created these? These are all things that we've been able to explain with science. The fact that we can also appreciate them doesn't change that.
And then there are the heavens “telling of the glory of God” as Psalm 19 says. God filled the skies full of wonders to invoke worship: the Milky Way, lightning and thunder, rainbows, auroras, comets, waxing and waning of the moon, the glorious sun bringing light and warmth. All this led humans to believe in gods.
So he created the heavens and then got their creation completely wrong in the Bible? Not exactly impressive... Sure people saw things they didn't understand and tried to explain them as best they could. These early peoples didn't have the scientific knowledge we have now, nor the means to run the needed tests. So they believed in gods, for they had invented gods as their explanation for these things. Just the same as we once thought rotting meat made maggots, and latter found that flies laid eggs in the meat that latter hatched. Today we are replacing those false godly explanations with actual ones.
Science has revealed even greater wonders: the universe being all one from the big bang onward, galaxies floating in space, evolution transcending one level after another from atoms to molecules to cells to organisms and then, through natural selection, creating more and more excellent and conscious beings from plants to animals to humans.
Um... All of this discredits portions of the Bible, so how is this supposed to help Bruce's cause? Unless he's talking about a less literal interpretation or a more generic god...
Then there are the polarities and balances of life: being and becoming; night and day, body and spirit, work and play, birth and death, and the four basic elements — water balanced by fire, earth balanced by air. Yin and yang are everywhere.
Really? Day and night are an inevitable product of our planet's rotation. We know we have a body, but what does he mean by 'spirit'? Because if he's talking 'immortal soul'  there's no evidence that they exist. There are so many states of being between work and play... Birth and death... Inevitable. And the 'four basic elements' mention is horribly outdated and a far cry from how many elements there actually are.
There is the sacredness of love and sexuality: the polarities of males and females falling in love, making love, and feeling cosmic oneness in orgasm. And out of their love a new life is created that is a genetic combination of both of them.
What about creatures that don't need the opposite sex to reproduce, or those that don't need to orgasm? Are those creatures not God's work? And congratulations! Bruce found out how reproduction (usually) works!
There is the wonder of human development from fertilized egg to old age. And the further wonder of humans having four brains: brain-stem, pre-frontal brain, left brain, and right brain.
Just human development? Because in the early stages we are almost visually identical to other animals in their early stages. As for the different brain regions... Thank evolution, not God.
Plus we are composed of body, emotions, mind, and also spirit, as evidenced by the many religions we have created. Even some atheists admit needing spirituality. There is thus a never-ending longing for a transcendent dimension, which God created in us — a deep desire for God.
Again, what does he mean by 'spirit'? As for atheists being 'spiritual'... 'Spiritual' is one of those words that means something different to everyone you ask, so it's mention here is pretty much meaningless since I've heard it used without any religious connotations. And if there really is a engrained deep desire for God, why don't we all believe in a god or the same god?
And there are physical laws such as gravity, causing water to flow down to oceans, which evaporate and form clouds that water the earth causing plants to grow and humans to survive. There are also spiritual laws such as karma — as you give you receive — and the golden rule, found in all major religions. All these laws, physical and spiritual, point to a lawmaker.
You mean the laws of nature? The laws that we evolved under... They weren't set to us, we are set by them. As for gravity and water... It depends on the gravity and other conditions. There are worlds where water can not exist as a liquid, yet there are seas of liquid methane instead! The laws don't do us any good there, now do they. As for karma... Anyone paying any attention should notice that it doesn't actually exist, or at the very least is wildly inconsistent. Oh, and the golden rule can be found in many religions because it predates religion! So no, none of this points to a lawmaker.
To those who say 'God doesn't do ugly'... What about this?
Then there are all the arts, which also testify to our spirit. A river is a flow of hydrogen-oxygen molecules to science, but it is also the stuff of poetry. It helps to think of God as a great artist, not just a creator. Every painter knows there has to be light and dark. Any playwright will tell you there has to be drama created by conflict and suffering, as well as peace and ecstasy.
Does he not realize that atheists enjoy the arts and are artists as well? And a river is so much more to science than Bruce claims it is. I'm a pretty scientific person, but I can still see the beauty in a river. 
If there were no God, there would be nothing to see. You certainly would not expect things to be this fabulous, far too fabulous to be an accident or the product of mindless physical laws.
Actually, what we see is exactly what we'd expect to see if it were the product of the physical laws that we've come to understand. Yes, there is much that is fabulous, but there is also much that isn't.
Suffering is always due to a corruption of original goodness. Illness is a corruption of original health. Atheists therefore base their argument on something secondary, that is, suffering. But they have not explained the primary thing, the original beauty, goodness, and awesomeness of life.
This is simply incorrect. First, we don't base non-belief on suffering. But there is also much that isn't 'awesome' that is not 'corruption'. There are cute creatures, and there are some very ugly creatures. Maggots eating a dead body are not pleasant, but very necessary. Volcanoes can be both visually 'awesome' but also terribly destructive. One could go on and on. But the point must be reiterated that atheists aren't making their case on something secondary. We are making our case on the fact that there is no proof that a God exists.
The atheist’s explanation “things just happen to be this way” is a non-argument. Why are things this way? To me it takes far less gullibility, given the awesomeness of things, to believe there is a God than to think there is no supreme intelligence behind all this.
Personally I feel one has to be much more gullible to believe the statement 'an all powerful God created everything just for me'. Things are this way due to the laws of nature and march of evolution. To say that 'things just happen to be this way' is a non-argument betrays that the person doesn't understand how the laws of nature form a world. And in all likelihood, they are guilty of the common religious apologist mistake of putting the cart before the horse.
Scientists always search for the most elegant, simplest solution.
Which is why the explanation 'God did it!' fails spectacularly.


-Brain Hulk

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