Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Problems with Militant Atheism

While I've been sick this past week, I've watched a lot of movies. One of them was Ben Stein's "Expelled," a documentary that looks at the scientific establishment's militant push to silence those in their field who believe the universe could have been designed by an intelligent force.

Between films, I read C.S. Lewis' book on miracles, aptly called "Miracles," a sprawling philosophical work that defends the Christian belief in God's ability and desire to interfere in nature's course. His ultimate goal is to prove the possibility of what he calls "The Grand Miracle," the Resurrection.

Though created some 50 years apart by authors with different objectives, both works get at the heart of the fallacy espoused by those who think the notion of a supreme being is utterly unreasonable.

Whether a naturalist (Lewis' foe) or an ardent evolutionist (Stein's target), the objections raised by religion's opponents always presuppose something about the universe and what's possible within its bounds.

I probably only understood about half of what Lewis was saying, but I did get this part, which he said infinitely more eloquently than I'll put it here: Miracles don't break the laws of nature. They validate them. The very fact that nature is expected to take a certain course is what makes unexplainable events exceptional. Miracles are exceptional by nature. They operate outside the observed patterns.

Lewis' point is that naturalists presuppose that Nature - that which we see and perceive with our senses - is all there is, or "the whole show," as he calls it in his oh-so-British prose. But this outlook is needlessly closed-minded, because we observe supernatural events each time an idea pops into our heads. Our thoughts, because they are controlled by a conscious force beyond mere molecular reactions in the brain, are miraculous. They are not part of "the whole show," Lewis argues.

Unlike Lewis, Ben Stein didn't have to make his own convincing argument. He just asked evolutionists simple questions, and the most brilliant minds in their camp started spinning in intellectual circles.

Darwin's theory of evolution speaks of how species changed into other species over millions of years of genetic mutation. When a mutation helped the organism survive, it lived longer and was able to propagate that advantageous trait to more offspring. Over time, these mutations multiplied and complex organisms are thought to have evolved from single cells.

Stein's movie proved that you don't even have to begin to dismantle the theory's problems to get under evolutionists' skin. You just have to talk about the uncertainty that evolution - even if true - leaves about the nature of the universe and its beginnings.

Stein posed the question: How did life originate? It was almost unbelievable to watch these "intellectual giants" squirm to find the answer. Even more remarkable were the lengths they reached to in order to keep from admitting even the possibility of an intelligent designer.

One guy who called religious people stupid earlier in the dialogue thought that life originated when natural forces blended together to create crystals. That was his explanation: Crystals, which are inorganic, created organic matter. And just when I thought they couldn't get more audacious, in stepped one of today's most celebrated - and militant - atheist thinkers, Richard Dawkins, author of "The God Delusion."

Stein gave him the chance to bestow his omniscience on the masses by telling us where life came from.

His answer? It's possible that higher life forms could have seeded life on earth. In other words, aliens could've put us here. And get this: the aliens could've been created by an intelligent force.

Seriously? This is a man who demands empirical proof from religion and calls believers in God ignorant? Why does he have to create three degrees of separation to admit the possibility that intelligence could have created the universe?

His presupposition is that God, by any name, is not possible. Better aliens than a personal being who demands something of him.

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