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Monday, April 6, 2015

Atheism Diagnosed (and Dissected)

By Christopher Ziegler

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened." —Winston Churchill

Imagine a school playground during recess.
Christopher Ziegler can be
found on Twitter @CZWriting
Happy young children are dashing about, playing hopscotch, jump rope, and kickball. One young boy, let’s call him Sebastian, is running along when suddenly…WHAM!…He does a face plant onto the blacktop. Stunned, he looks up and sees the leg of another boy, let’s call him Dale, stretched out by his feet. “You did that on purpose!” Sebastian yells. To which Dale calmly replies, “No. It was an accident.”

What does Sebastian mean when he accuses Dale of tripping him on purpose? He means that Dale intended the fall to happen. That is, he intentionally positioned his leg at that spot at that moment so as to bring about the result of Sebastian doing a face plant onto the pavement. 

What does Dale mean when he insists that it was an accident? He means that he did not intend the fall to happen. That is, he just happened to stick his leg out at the moment Sebastian happened to be running by.  

When we say that something happened on purpose we mean it was intended to happen. When we say that something happened by accident we mean that there was no intention. It just happened.

What occurs next is intriguing. Sebastian, having heard Dale’s excuse, picks himself up, dusts himself off, and hurries along in the direction he was originally headed as if nothing had occurred. Why does he do this? He does this because it is preferable for Sebastian to tell himself that his fall happened by accident than to accept that it happened on purpose. 

Just consider what horrible things will happen to Sebastian if he accepts that Dale tripped him intentionally. Immediately, a train of unsettling thoughts enters his brain. “Why would Dale do such a thing? Does this mean Dale doesn’t like me? Do the other kids not like me, too? Is it because of my glasses? Why does mom make me wear these stupid glasses? Does mom want the other kids to not like me?”

In short, accepting that Dale tripped him on purpose will force Sebastian to reckon with the meaning of Dale’s intentions. He will have to wrestle with another being who has a will contrary to his own. And that can be very messy business. It inevitably produces a series of “why?” questions which are difficult to answer and which tend to prompt a nauseating level of self-examination.

But now watch what happens if Sebastian chooses to believe that it was all an accident: POOF! All those nagging questions go away. There is no need for him to ponder the unsettling question of why Dale doesn’t like him, because there is no reason to conclude that Dale doesn’t like him. If it was an accident, then there is no intention that needs to be reckoned with.

Here is something I’ve learned in life: adults are really just grown-up children. There’s a little Sebastian in all of us. We do, sometimes, become more educated—this is true. But education too often expands our knack for artifice while leaving our capacity for honesty unchanged. And never is artifice more useful than in the field of calculated self-deception. 

We sometimes have strong psychological motives for believing an event happened by accident rather than on purpose. Intentional events force us to ponder the will of others. Accidental events, by comparison, are much cleaner affairs, because there is no will behind them that we need to accept or ponder. Accidents are easily understood, because there’s nothing about them that needs to be understood.

Consider the recent plane crash in Europe. At first we heard that a plane had crashed and everyone had perished. That was sad. Then a few days later we heard that the co-pilot had intentionally crashed the plane. This was horrific. Knowledge that the event was intentional made it more, not less, tragic. 

Why? Because machinery and gears we can understand. The will we cannot. Wills are inscrutable; accidents, dismissible. Discerning another person’s intentions provokes the dreaded “why?” question. It is a question for which there is no satisfactory answer.

I think this fact of human psychology—the appeal of accidental causation—explains a well-known phenomenon of the adult human. I call this phenomenon atheism. Atheism is the belief that the universe is an accident. The stars are an accident. The earth is an
Accidentally existing Kanye West,
wife Kim Kardashian and daughter North
accident. Life is an accident. Women are beautiful by accident. The moral law exists by accident. Black Rapper Kanye West exists by accident!

I don’t believe this because I don’t have enough faith. Not even a Dixie-Cup has been made by accident. In the case of the universe it would seem that, at the very least, a consultant must have been brought in. It takes mighty faith to believe that nothing accidentally turned itself into everything. If you can believe that then you can believe literally anything.

By parity of reason you must also believe that Mount Rushmore was carved out by wind and erosion, because that’s far more probable than the universe happening by accident. You must also be open to the possibility that the words on this page assembled themselves through random quantum fluctuations, because that, too, is far more probable than the universe happening by accident. I simply lack the imaginative power. Oh me of little faith.

But I envy this faith! I sympathize with it completely! Blessed is this faith! Because the plane crash we’re talking about now, is the plane crash of our existence. 


A Germanwings plane crashed in the French Alps
Tuesday, March 24, killing 150 people
Please do not object: but surely our existence is not at all like a plane crash! Oh, but it is! Our existence is so much worse than any plane crash! Anyone who doesn’t see this, just hasn’t spent long thinking about the matter. 

You see, if our existence is not an accident, then our existence is an insult. It’s an insult because we’ve been given no choice. It’s an insult because it means there’s a will greater than my own. It’s an insult because it means I don’t really own my own life, even though I must bear the consequences of living my life. And worst of all, at any moment something really awful might happen to me—a plane crash, for instance.

Imagine climbing down the chimney of a random home and trying to get along as best you can with the people you find inside. That’s what it’s like to be born. It’s undignified. We come into this world through the most humiliating circumstances. And the humiliations don’t end there, they pile up year after year. But as it was with little Sebastian, so it is with us. We’re the recipients of the ultimate insult. This plane has been crashed intentionally, and we’re left here to paw through the wreckage, looking for answers. Why, why?

And so the god of accidental causation arrives on the scene. He is a kind and decent god. “I am so sorry about all this,” he says. “None of it was meant to happen. Although I cannot reimburse you, I assure you your anger is justified.” The god of accidental causation has a theology which seems to provide the best way to move on with the wreck of our lives. It does not ask us to ponder menacing questions. It makes very few demands on our time. And the only sacrifice it requires is the occasional declaration of our cosmic insignificance.

I believe in religious tolerance. That is why when I see a man expounding with conviction the notion that he is a soulless speck, living on an unremarkable rock in a vast, indifferent cosmos, I do not interrupt him. I know he is praying to his god.

If things don’t happen for a reason, then there is no reason to think too much about them. If my life is an accident, then there is no need for any sustained period of self-examination. This frees me from the nausea of worrying about my purpose. If I have no purpose, no one can ever say I’ve failed in life. I’ve succeeded just by showing up. The exclusion of purpose from my worldview is empowering because it eliminates the need to consult a will that might contradict my own. 

But if life is not purposeless, if life has a goal and intended destination, if something is required of me and my life, then that means there is an objective standard against which my life, and my purpose, can be measured. The anxiety that I may be found wanting fills me with dread. And so I flee into the loving arms of the god of accidental causation.

There’s just one drawback to the god of accidental causation: mostly, that he does not exist. He is a necessary falsehood. The universe is not just one of those things. The universe is a really, really weird thing. As the Noble Prize winning astro-physicist Sir Fred Hoyle said, the universe looks like a put-up job. It’s actually quite frightening. The universe has all the hallmarks of being the work of an eccentric artistic genius, or perhaps a mad scientist. There are no ordinary things. There are only extraordinary things. 

If we could not doubt God’s existence, if God was just always assumed and we had no choice in the matter, then all of creation would just be assumed as well. If our minds were made in such a way that we could not conceive of any possibility beyond our known reality, then we would be stuck thinking that our known reality is the only possibility. This is why God gave us the capacity to doubt his existence, because only in this way could we really appreciate how crazy, how marvelous, and how unlikely the whole shebang really is. And that’s how crazy God is!

Not only is life not an accident, it is so soaked with purpose it is embarrassing. Everything that’s ever happened to you has had meaning. Every person you have ever met has been for a reason. It is downright scandalous how important you are. You know what’s even worse? Everything you do matters. It matters a lot. This is not a good thing. It puts an almost unbearable burden on the decision making process. Hence we have a deep need to become desensitized to our reality. The only way to carry on with any sense of respectability in the world is to forget these facts.

As my old companion G.K. Chesterton once wrote: “We are all under the same mental calamity. We have all forgotten what we really are. All that we call common sense and
English Writer G.K.Chesterton
rationality and practicality and positivism only 
means that for certain dead levels of our lives we forget that we have forgotten. All that we call spirit and art and ecstasy only means that for one awful instant we remember that we forget.”

The more one is committed to the atheist position, the less of an appetite one has for wisdom. These men become allergic to truth and terrified of poetry. They cannot stand metaphysics. Their only refuge is in dogmatic assertions about the ignorance of belief. This is because the atheist must convince himself that the believer is deceived. For if the believer is not deceived, then the authority of God is real. Hence, a great deal of effort is exerted by the atheist in convincing himself that he is a clever chap. He bowdlerizes reason to mean nothing more than the ability to spy the accidental cause in any matter in question. Reason thus degraded, he exalts it and claims exclusive ownership.

In following this course, the atheist is only fooling himself. We want atheism to be true because atheism gives us license to do what we want to do. Acknowledging God’s authority takes away that license. And when it comes to God, acknowledging his existence and acknowledging his absolute authority are one and the same. Hence his existence must be denied by any conceivable stratagem. 

Men are not inclined to do good. We’re inclined to do what we want. This is the essence of sin: doing what we want. Hence the accidental cause is appealing to us because it lets us off the hook completely. It eases conscience and relaxes consciousness. But it never completely relaxes. The atheist must still maintain his denial of the obvious intentionality of the universe, he must “keep it up,” so to speak. This prodigious effort produces that level of haughtiness which so often characterizes atheists.

Richard Dawkins is an especially rich example of this. Atheist literature abounds in supercilious assertions, but Dawkins’, who wrote a book called The God Delusion, has set an unusually high bar for chutzpah. 
Atheist Richard Dawkins 
“Religion’s power to console,” he once wrote, “doesn’t make it true.” In this Dawkins is correct. But notice how he neglects the logical corollary: that if religion is true, it does not matter if it has the power to console. Dawkins does not believe religion is true, and he makes it abundantly clear that he finds it discomforting. But he fails to notice that he finds it untrue because he finds it discomforting. 

There is nothing inherently comforting about the ideas of Christianity. On the contrary, there is much that an outside observer could justifiably find discomforting. People don’t flee Christianity like a pestilence because they possess some natural immunity to its alleged comforts. People stay away from Christianity because they perceive (correctly) that adherence to its ethics would spell nothing but trouble for their personal lives. In the battle of which belief system is best suited to man’s preferences, atheism wins hands down. Christianity is a belief system curiously designed to make it harder to do the things you want to do and easier to do the things you don’t want to do. The reality of this effect is not in question. People’s response to this effect is the ever-abiding question.

“Being a Christian isn’t for sissies,” Johnny Cash once said. “It takes a real man to live for God—a lot more man than to live for the
Country Music Icon
Johnny Cash
devil.” Christianity does not give you what you want. If it consoles at all, it does so in spite of this fact. Several times in the Gospel, Jesus warns us that if we believe in Him we will be made to suffer for it. He says we should expect betrayal by friends and family, and possibly persecution by society-at-large. These are not the words of a born salesman. These are not the terms and conditions people are generally inclined to accept. 


At another point Jesus advises a rich man that if he wants to follow Him he must go and give everything he has to the poor. The Gospel then says that the rich man walked
away very sad. Who wouldn’t be? Does anyone else find this comforting? Because I sure as heck don’t! It gets worse. At one point Jesus actually says that if we look at a woman with lust we’re automatically guilty of adultery. Again—not comfortable! Not comfortable at all!

If I was only in search of some vague metaphysical comfort, I wouldn’t pick Christianity to be my belief system. I would much rather be praying with chakras or dream crystals or some other nonsense. Christianity, out of all belief systems, gives the most uncompromising articulation of the moral law.

This is not comfortable. It’s not why I believe it. I believe it because it is true. The truth will, in fact, set you free, but freedom is no

The Truth Shall Set You Free
guarantee of comfort. In practice, it more closely resembles a quote by the Catholic writer Flannery O’Conner: “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd.” People seem to have a mixed up notion that being Christian is about being a good person. Actually, being Christian means realizing how impossible it is to be a good person. 

I have always thirsted after truth. After many years on that quest, I, like so many before me, have finally discovered the source. It is Christ.









I know that Christ is the Truth because I am being honest with myself about what truth is, and nothing besides. If I am mistaken, then that simply means that there is no such thing as truth. In that scenario, the Gospel would still be the best candidate on the ballot to fill the office of truth.


In other words, even if the Gospel were proven to be made up, then we would still have to worship whoever made it up. The reason men refuse to believe it is because they prefer death and darkness. We can’t hack it. 

For as it is written: “Everyone who does evil things hates the Light and does not come toward the Light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the Light, so that his works may be clearly seen." (John 3:20-21)

"For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:37)
Mr. Ziegler walking
Into the Woods 

This piece has developed a fascinating discussion in the comment section. If you don't see comments at the end look at the tiny words "X comments" at the bottom of the post. Right now it says "8 comments." Click on that and the comments will appear. Mr Ziegler has expounded further in answer to atheist objections. Thank you to everyone. We are always grateful for comments for or against anything we publish. 

Did you enjoy this piece? There's more by Christopher Ziegler The Battle for the Identity of Man: A House Divided

16 comments:

  1. This is excellent. Thank you so much.

    While it doesn't fully address those who are anti-theists because they can't reconcile a loving God with suffering and evil, it does diagnose even their hatred of God. Facing "why" is one of the hardest things we can do. Accepting that God's way is best demands we brutalize ourselves, our thoughts and feelings. It hurts as if we are being turned inside out. We are, and all the clutter and garbage is shaken out of us. That is what it means to follow Christ. And no, it really is not comfortable.

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    1. Drusilla Barron, there is an excellent post on this blog about the problem of evil and atheism. It's here: "The Fool Says in His Heart, There is no God." http://christsfaithfulwitness.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-fool-says-in-his-heart-there-is-no.html#.VSXVxlz0iIk Susan Fox

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  2. What a load of crap. Author uses half the article to ramble on about nothing to gain the reader's trust then out of nowhere makes bold unsubstantiated assertions about atheism and atheists. Just nonsense, an atheist is someone who doesn't believe the claims made in any religious texts prove the existence of a god. That is it. They see the bible as just another mythology created by man.

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    1. This idea that "an atheist is someone who doesn't believe" is a subtraction story, as if an atheist is nothing but someone who lacks (-) belief. But usually atheism is an addition story. Atheists, like all people, start out with an awareness of God and the moral law imprinted on their minds and hearts. Our awareness of the Good and our simultaneous disinclination to do the Good creates a tension. The atheist seeks to relieve this tension by denying God (thus depriving the Good of ultimate validity). He then goes about finding reasons (+) not to believe.

      There are some people who simply lack belief but this is a minority. Most atheism is the result of addition, not subtraction, and you can tell this by how they usually have a handful of ready arguments to justify their unbelief to others and also to try to convert others to their unbelief. It's obvious they spend a lot of time thinking about this, which shows that it's important to them (the zeal with which they expound these arguments also proves this). If they simply lacked (-) belief then they would have no compelling motive to seek out these arguments justifying their unbelief.

      The purpose of this article was not to refute these arguments but just to point out that there are psychological motives for why some people use them.

      Thanks for reading.

      -C. Ziegler

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  3. The assertion of certainty that the universe is here by accident has the same smack of arrogance as the assertion of
    certainty that its origin is Yahweh, Allah, or Yahweh via The Word.

    If I am allocated the title 'atheist' because I don't subscribe to the pre-packed explanations of religions, thought
    out by others, and enforced by threat over the centuries then so be it.

    I'm bold enough and humble enough! to say, 'I don't know'.


    @crimbo51 Chris Woodford.

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    1. On the morning of 9/11 at 8:46, a plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Everyone assumed it was an accident. Then, a mere 17 minutes later, another plane struck the South Tower of the World Trade Center. At that very instant, everyone watching knew that this was no accident. Why? Because even without having to do the math, everyone knows that it is probabilistically impossible for two planes to crash into the same place within such a short time. The more specified an event or thing is, the less likely it is the result of chance.

      It is true that at that moment no one knew with absolute certainty that this was a planned event. But if someone had been standing in the room with you insisting that we don't really know whether it was accidental or intentional, would you have described that person as "humble?" No. I think the humble thing is to admit that the common sense judgement calls of ordinary people are generally correct (if they weren't, people would not have made it this far). There are of course times, less often then not, when the collective common sense of people is not correct, but that's only in cases where this is additional information that they are not aware of.

      In the past 50 years scientists have uncovered abundant evidence that the parameters of the universe have been improbably finely tuned for life. This knowledge never existed until very recently. These finely tuned structures include the cosmological constant (which controls the expansion rate of the universe), the fine-structure constant, the ratio of neutrons to protons, the ratio of the electromagnetic force to the gravitational force, and the speed of light. If any of these values were even just slightly different, there couldn't be any life.

      Now if the odds of two planes hitting the same place are improbable, the odds of all these fundamental forces lining up correctly is a billion times more improbable. It was in consideration of these facts that Fred Hoyle, whom I quoted above, said the universe looks like a put up job (he was an atheist and took refuge in the idea that aliens did it). This is why scientists, who are often inclined to enjoy the accidental cause, have been forced to invent the multi-verse hypothesis, which desperately tries to explain away the fine-tuning by positing the (completely unsubstantiated) existence of an infinite number of other universes. It is the "anything-but-God" hypothesis.

      Instead of aliens or infinite universes, it would rather seem that the common sense judgement that people have always had is correct: that there is a Creator.

      Thanks for reading.

      -C. Ziegler

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    2. Well you say that the universe is finely tuned for life and I would disagree with that. It is true that life can exist because all constants are what they are, but it by no means says that life and the universe isn't possible with different constants. In fact to say that the universe is finely tuned for life is nonsense. We are the only know life in the universe and the universe is a very dangerous place. I think the universe is way more finely tuned for the creation of black holes then life. And who is to say how many universes came and went before ours began.

      No, your premise is flawed and has many holes. Then to somehow pull a creator out of thin air makes no sense. How do you explain this creator and how do you say that this is the creator that you personally grew to worshipping and call God? At least there is some mathematical evidence for the existence of multiple universes. No evidence at all for a God and certainly 0 evidence that it is your God.

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    3. The fact that the universe could have had different constants is exactly what makes those constants so puzzling. They don't have to be what they are by any necessity, they could very easily have been different. The odds of them all possessing values within a very slim life-permitting range purely by chance are astronomically high. That's why it's called fine-tuning. It is not a term borrowed from theology. This is based on data collected by physicists in just the last 50 years. There is no indication of life being possible under any other constraints. That's why atheists have no other choice but to invoke the multi-verse idea (which is purely theoretical and baseless) in order to avoid having to explain the improbabilities involved with fine-tuning.

      If the universe were full of extra-terrestrial life, atheists would use this as an argument that our existence is an accident. Because the universe seems to be mostly devoid of life, you use this as an argument for saying the universe is hostile to life and therefore our existence is an accident. You see the problem here? There's no convincing you if you don't want to be convinced. That's why my essay focused on why atheists do not want to be convinced and how they'll use "any conceivable stratagem."

      When you say the universe doesn't seem finely tuned for life what you really mean is that it doesn't look like how you would expect it to look if (your idea of) God existed. According to your preconceived notion, you think that if God existed he would have made a petite and tidy little universe with us at the center of it. But this does not show that God does not exist, it only shows that God, if he exists, does not think like you do. He doesn't conform to your expectations. That is not an argument against God, it's an argument against you.

      Just because we don't currently understand the use of a thing, doesn't mean that thing doesn't have a use. The vastness of the universe may indeed serve a purpose. The universe may even appear petite in God's eyes. God does not judge size or time by our limited criteria. Consult the Book of Job for more information.

      For thousands of years people worshipped a pantheon of different gods. Each tribe and nation had their own gods. One rag-tag, weak and unremarkable tribe among these mighty nations worshipped only one God who they said was the creator of everything. This tribe was the Jews. Their God promised them that all the nations of the world would know that there is a God in Israel. Today, all those pantheons of gods are only memories and artifacts. But people all over the world, from South America to the Philippines, pray to and worship the God of that one obscure little tribe. That's a very suspicious turn of events.

      In our own time we've seen a nation dominated by neo-pagan beliefs try to destroy God's chosen people (as the pagans of old were always trying to do). This nation had the world's best scientific minds, the hardest workers and a charismatic leader who promised their Reich would last 1000 years. The end result? The cities of that nation were destroyed by fire, the names of its leaders are now universally reviled, and its descendants are cursed with shame. Meanwhile, the Jews, instead of being wiped out, were restored to their ancestral homeland God promised them.

      So when you say there's "0 evidence" for my God all I can say is that it seems like you're looking in the wrong direction.

      -C. Ziegler

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  4. Susan, when comparing your Dale analogy to God, there is only an event and result and apparent cause. There is no 'leg' or feature or power of a god remaining after the fact, there is only natural causes apparent to us. There's no clear god force which could have made events intentional, therefore the atheist is still justified to not believe. Consequently there is no verified intention which justifies god beliefs. It is not our faith that concludes "accident", it is a lack of evidence that justifies atheists to not believe YOUR conclusion. We need not make a positive claim that all things are certainly an accident, we just need say we dont know the cause.

    Your conclusions are laced with fallacaies. Your inability to not fill in a god where you see beauty and nature's design, is your failing.

    So yes, your entire aregument fails because there is no 'leg' or force of a cause which are known to ever have intention behind them. Sorry. The fallacious gobs of faith are all yours.

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  5. The Dale anecdote wasn't meant to be an analogy for the creation of the universe. It was meant to illustrate how sometimes we might prefer to believe in an accidental rather than an intentional cause. That's all it meant.

    We can never verify intentions of any sort. You had an intention in writing this comment post, but I can't see your intention or mathematically prove to someone else that it exists. I can just infer its existence by the fact of the comment post. Wills are not measurable in that way, nevertheless they exist. Even though I can't see your will, I know it exists by a) the things that you do, and b) the things you communicate. It's no different with God. We know God by a) the things that are made and b) the things He communicates (through prayer and scripture).

    There are "natural causes," or some would say "mechanistic," causes apparent to us in nature but these causes or laws require explanations just as much as the things they explain. Why are the laws of nature true? The laws of nature are not logical necessities. Newton noted this a long time ago. The law of gravity is not a logical necessity like A=A or 2+2=4. It's just a peculiar formula which is inescapably true. Furthermore, these laws have not always been in operation because the universe had a beginning (Big Bang theory). So something caused these laws to exist. There's only two possible explanations: chance or design, i.e., the accidental or intentional cause.

    The universe began to exist. Everything that begins to exist has a cause. Nothing can cause itself. Therefore, the universe was caused to exist by something other than itself. There's no getting around this logic. Furthermore, we now have abundant empirical evidence that the universe is finely tuned to allow for life forms like us. Only two possible explanations for this: chance (multi-verse hypothesis) or design (God).

    I don't agree that thinking of God when I see beauty in nature is a "failing." (Whom am I failing exactly? Am I failing some objective moral standard I'm supposed to live up to? If so, explain the existence of that moral standard.) First of all, as I've explained, it's just an inference to the simplest explanation. There is no mechanistic or natural explanation for the origin of life (in case you haven't heard). Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of DNA, said the conditions that led to the origin of the first life must have been nothing short of "miraculous." So the burden of proof is on you to explain how accidental rather than intentional causation could be a simpler explanation.

    You can see all life as the result of chance, but that requires a greater imagination than to see it as the result of design. There is no limit to the imagination, so this dispute could go on forever. I think that's the way God wanted it. He wants us to choose to believe in him, not believe in him because we have no other choice. But the purpose of this essay was to show the psychological appeal of accidental causation, and why someone might prefer to believe in that rather than believe their existence is intentional. That's all it was meant to do.

    I'm not sure what you mean by "gobs of faith" so I'll leave that one alone.

    Thanks for reading.

    -C. Ziegler

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    1. Design is not even a factor. It is an inference theists apply to nature. Nothing in nature is "designed." Evolution proves this as we see that organisms developed based on their environment and ability to survive in them. Human beings have a tendency of "spotting" patterns in nature. This is called pareidolia. They then use heuristics to infer design or intelligent intent base on experience. Moreover, there is no such thing as a cause of the universe. Since gravity exists, the universe can create itself without any cause. The existence of virtual particles demonstrates this lack of causality. Theists lack understanding in science, particularly quantum physics which clearly demonstrates that the universe had no cause and is part of a cycle of entropy.

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    2. Hello, Mr. Skeptic,

      Quantum mechanics does not disprove God; quite the opposite, I’m afraid. Werner Heisenberg, who won the Nobel Prize in 1932 for the creation of quantum mechanics once said, “The first gulp from the glass of the natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.” Quantum mechanics shows that at the bottom of physical nature there is a seething anarchy of particles. This means that there is no necessary or logical reason for why things are as they are. Therefore, the facts as they are demand an explanation beyond what the purely natural can provide for us.

      Particles blip in and out of existence unpredictably at the quantum level, yet in the world we inhabit (above the quantum level) there is stability and continuity. We live our lives in a world of calm, where things are for the most part predictable and stable. The fact that at the quantum level things are far from predictable or stable makes our world more mysterious, not less mysterious.

      Joel Primack, a cosmologist at UCSC once posed the question, “What is it that makes electrons continue to follow the laws?” No, seriously: What? You cannot answer by saying: “because they cannot do anything else.” Quantum mechanics forever explodes that possibility because now we know that they very easily could do something else. There is no inner necessity for why electrons behave as they do. So the dreaded “Why?” question returns with avengence. There remains the answer theologians have always given: Because God is everywhere conserving the world. This would also imply the existence of one God with one divine will, and not multiple gods with competing wills.
      (continued....)

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    3. Design is not an inference “theists” apply to nature. It is an inference humans beings apply to nature. This has always and everywhere been true with the exception of a very small group of people who follow the doctrines of a Mr. Charles Darwin. These doctrines persist to this day in spite of, not because of, the facts. If natural selection were any other scientific theory it would have been discarded a long time ago. It’s kept alive because our contemporary culture is full of little Sebastians who NEED it to be true. It is a metaphysical idea, not an empirical one. That is why it is so emotionally and irrationality defended.

      Here is a quick summary (of just some!) of the problems with Darwinism: 1) no explanation for origin of first life 2) no explanation for abrupt appearance of species in fossil record (this fact completely destroys the theory, it is a travesty that this isn’t more widely known) 3) no explanation for origin of genetic code 4) random mutations cannot create irreducibly complex forms 5) natural selection fails to fix advantageous mutations in populations (i.e. no clear demonstration that natural selection even exists) 6) no explanation for what is called convergent evolution 7) molecular biology has failed to show a “tree of life” 8) Darwinism has a long history of failed predictions and embarrassments (Piltdown Man, vestigial organs, junk DNA etc.) 9) humans have many qualities that confer no survival advantage (like the ability to do quantum mechanics, did that evolve in the jungle, too?) 10) Oh, and lest we forget, there is not one documented instance of macro-evolution ever being observed. Not one! We’ve been breeding animals for thousands of years now. Horses stay horses. Dogs stay Dogs. Cats stay cats. Bacteria stay bacteria.

      You say that “theists lack understanding in science” apparently without understanding that most of the greatest scientists have been theists. You say that gravity can be the cause of the universe apparently without understanding that gravity is a feature of the universe and therefore cannot be its cause. Something cannot create itself, for that would mean it exists before it exists. You speak of a “cycle of entropy,” apparently not realizing that entropy is not a cycle. Entropy is a state. I can only conclude from this that you are the one who lacks understanding in science. You should read the actual scientific literature rather than the popular journalism which is deliberately misleading.

      Thanks for reading!

      -C. Ziegler

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  6. I wish I were as clear thinking as C. Ziegler. I can only base existence of God upon the behavior of people who believe in God. They become generous. Some to the point of giving up their lives for someone else. They can rise above discomfort, pain, and pride. They can give away anything and everything. They can trust even in the face of betrayal. They are not lonely even when deserted.

    I don't think atheists know these things about Christians and the Jews in Hebrew Scripture. There is so much cover up. The Bible reveals these behaviors so well.
    Also, for me, the mysterious human behavior that occurs when God is so good to the Israelites with the rewards of material things for believing yet they as a nation fell away. Then God sends the promised Messiah with a totally different message borne out by the Son's own example of living and dying. On paper this is tough going. So much of great literature reveals the struggle to do good and avoid evil and all that which is involved in taking the road less traveled and to understand what carrying one's cross means. Eternal life is open to all. Faith is a gift. Pray and you shall receive it. Then follow where your heart leads you with the infinite help of God and the assistance of those who have accepted eternal life as their goal in this life. The results as seen in the lives of the saints are beneficial to others.

    Using the Catholic Church as an example, what other groups can match what has been done to better the lives of the poor, the suffering, and the persecuted, especially without regard for the belief or lack thereof in the people through the ages who have been helped.

    Actions do speak louder than words.

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    1. Dear Anonymous, I thank God for your faith. You see clearly. This is a gift. God bless you. Susan Fox

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  7. Just now discovered this beautiful post. Wow! Thanks for writing it.

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