Sunday, April 15, 2007

Is a person more important than a cartoon?

If you are an atheist, the answer must be "no".

Atheists are stuck with the proposition that we are uncreated. We exist by pure chance-plus-time in an unfeeling, unthinking, uncaring universe devoid of purpose or design.

A cartoon, on the other hand is the result of conscious choice, intent, and design. It is wanted. It has a purpose. Unlike humans, it has an author who cares about the characters he has brought into being.

So a cartoon is more valuable than a human being.

I used an argument along these lines recently in a G&M discussion about evolution. Inevitably in a discussion on this topic, one of the early posters mocks those who believe in creation. Somewhere during the course of the argument, I posted the following, in response to someone who argued,

"You can't use "creation" as proof of a creator.":

My answer:

No, but you can, for example, use a cartoon as evidence for a cartoonist, whom you may have never seen or met. We are much more complex than a two-dimensional cartoon character -- yet those who would never imagine a cartoon without a cartoonist are happy to contemplate complex living, breathing, thinking beings who hope and dream and love and contemplate eternity as ultimately meaningless and worthless products of mindless, purposeless chance-plus-time.

* * *

For me, it's easy, and a happy thing, to believe in a Creator. One who holds us morally accountable, and yet who has, through lavish grace, generously made a way for us where, left to our own devices, there would be no way.

And that's the way this created Ball bounces.


frappeur said...

Good argument.

It's a keeper. I will use it when the opportunity presents itself.

I hope it's not copyrighted.

Wonder Woman said...

"Atheists are stuck with the proposition that we are uncreated. We exist by pure chance-plus-time in an unfeeling, unthinking, uncaring universe devoid of purpose or design."

-- It is a hefty assumption, that atheists believe the universe is devoid of purpose or design. In my experience and discussions with other atheists, the consensus seems to be that rather than having no purpose and no design, that the universe does follow a design of fundamental laws of physics and actuality- rather than the desing of an omnipotent being with whims to which we can never apply any understanding.

It may be "easy" and "happy" to believe your universe was created by and revolves around a sentient being who plays with us like toy soldiers, but some of us are not content to settle for what is happy and easy. Some of us want better answers than that.

At best, you should rethink some of your assumptions about what atheism is.

Mike H. said...

The fact that humans are capable of creating with intelligence and intent is not proof that they were themselves created in a homologous manner.

Your logic is flawed and unconvincing.

RkBall said...

Thanks wonder woman and mike h. for weighing in.

Mike -- not proof - evidence, that makes belief in a Creator reasonable.

WW: of course the universe follows a design of fundamental laws of physics. But an atheist is stuck with the proposition that design came from non-design, that precise laws came from lawlessness, that consciousness came from consciouslessness, love, from an unfeeling, uncaring void, logic from non-logic, etc.

With materialistic atheism, you are stuck with the idea that morals are nothing more than convenient ways of organizing human life and pretending that right and wrong have objective existence and that humans somehow have value greater than, say, pond scum.

But militant darwinists insist that while it may appear that evolution is progressive, this progress is illusionary and it is just meaningless chance that we are more complex (but no better) than a frog.

Atheism may be an appealing choice for people who like freedom from imposed moral law, but it's impossible as a philosophy of life -- it causes us to negate the feelings we hold within us of value, worth, sense of right and wrong, love, etc. Under atheism, these must be viewed as cruel tricks of mindless evolution -- we are nothing more than the sum of our chemical reactions, and these mindless a product of time-plus-chance.

As for playing with us as toy soldiers, God has given us free will. It was us who played with him -- and nailed Him to a cross. You have posited a mean, false idea of God -- and then crucified it with your atheism. You hate something that you claim to believe doesn't exist.

It amazes me that atheists are repelled by the thought that there might be a blazing Love behind all of this, a Love calling us into reconciliation and fellowship.

I'm happy and secure in my belief in God.

Thanks again for weighing in.

Wonder Woman said...

I understand what you're saying, but I still KNOW that you're wrong about your interpretation of what atheism is.

This is an argument I have had before, and went into great detail on here...

Atheists are NOT haters of God because you're right - it is stupid to hate something you claim to not believe in. The God haters are something much worse - they are anti-humanists.

Wonder Woman said...

RkBall said...

WW - Thank you for providing me with a link to your writing. Here's a gentle critique:

"Most conservatives refuse to believe that it's possible to develop a strong set of moral principles, without the guidance provided in God's word."

What theists say is that without God, a strong set of morals make no sense. They are without logical foundation. They do not exist in any absolute sense; they are inventions and fictions that humans use to grease social interactions. If we are nothing more than complex bundles of undesigned chemical reactions, there can be no more wrong in killing a person than smashing a rock.

You say that "life has rules" -- a passive statement. Yet, as an atheist you are stuck with the half-way proposition that there are rules, but no Rule-giver. There are "laws", but no Law-giver. Is it not at least equally reasonable to assume that where laws exist, a Law-giver exists?

"The taking of a life, for the purpose of taking life, is wrong. It is wrong because I have to deny my own reason (in that all life is valuable, as it enriches my own life) in order to take it."

If there is no God who created life, then all life is without any objective, absolute value -- it is a happenstance of time-plus-chance, nothing more. If life has value only because it has value to you, a contingent and subjective position, then it may be just as true that it has no value to the person who sees another person as an obstacle in their way. Surely it cannot be wrong to erase what was never intended to be in the first place.

Secondly, for the sake of argument, let's agree that there are these absolute rules you talk about, undesigned, uncreated, but existing nonetheless. You process these rules via reason. But, since you are an atheist and therefore a materialist, you must view your reasoning as nothing more than chemical reactions occuring in your brain. Consciousness, reasoning, personality have no existence apart from the chemical reactions taking place within your brain.

But your brain was not designed. It is just a fluke, an accidental thing. What possible reliance can you put on such a mechanism? How can you suppose that your brain is a reliable processor of either the external world or the internal realm of logic, ideas, morals, etc?

You are a half-way deist. You like the idea of an ordered, rational universe, in which you are wondrously equipped to behold and process it, but you dislike the idea that this ordered, rule-based, law-driven universe was created.

It's one thing to say, well, God has created the universe but we are quite well equipped to get along in it without him, by observing the rules, but quite another to posit a finite, rule-based universe that has no intelligent thought or design behind it.

A Christian (or even theist's) worldview makes cohesive sense; it best fits the totality of facts that present themselves to us; an atheist's worldview inevitably involves fatal contradictions and inconsistencies of logic.

For more on the logical inconsistencies of atheism, I would suggest Ravi Zacharias' book on the subject.


Anonymous said...

WW @ 11:46 am...are you willing to rethink your assumptions re: a sentient being who plays with us like toy soldiers?

RkBall said...

Anonymous -- I'm glad you weighed in on this. In WW's referenced article, she includes the statement,

"I prefer the knowledge that I am solely responsible for the life I make, unbeholden to anyone and independant of a supreme whim."

"Independent of supreme whim", "playing with us like toy soldiers" -- the same sentiment.

The god that WW dislikes is the god of the Romans or Greeks, but not the God revealed in the pages of Christian Scripture.

Presumably WW bears the same animus towards parents and wishes that all children were independent of them. On the other hand, if she believes that parents and children can be in relationship, and that parents can be nurturing, helpful, acting in the best interests of their kids, why does she postulate that God, if there is one, cannot do/be likewise?

Jesus was the closest to the Father of any man, and He loved the Father like crazy.

Or is it just because when you are in relationship with God, you can't be top dog?

A final point, "I prefer". In my discussions with atheists, I often find at some point in their argument it comes down to this -- that atheism ceases to be the product of rational analysis and becomes that of personal disposition, inclination, preference and choice.

Sometimes it takes a burning desire to know the truth to get past one's innate preferences.

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"