Look Around You: Exploring how Atheism and Christianity account for what really matters
CVM Demolition Squad
Is faith really just ‘belief without evidence’?
Richard Dawkins famously said that faith is belief without evidence. That’s not how the Oxford English Dictionary would describe faith, but the phrase has stuck and so the idea that there is no evidence for God has memed its way through our culture. We’ve talked before about the difference between evidence and proof. Evidence is about looking at what’s in front of you, and deciding where it points, no matter how uncomfortable.
Today I want us to think about the things that really matter in life: love, hope, beauty, purpose. No matter who you are or what you believe, these are the things that count. Nobody lies on their deathbed and thinks, I wish I’d understood cosmology better or had a firmer grasp of Schroedinger’s Cat. What matters is this: was I loved? Did I experience beauty? Did I have hope? At the end, did my life contain some purpose – was it worth something? There are 2 major worldviews in the West – Atheism and Christianity – so let’s see how those 2 worldviews make sense of the above.
First up, the atheist. He’s a good guy, loves his friends and family, tries to live a moral life.
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Love is one of those things that is as notable by its absence as by its presence. Now the atheist will of course believe in love, even though he has no basis for understanding it. Because Science has nothing to say about love; you can’t prove love scientifically and it isn’t necessary for evolution. The atheist might try and say that it’s just instinct, but ‘Survival of the Fittest’ is based on self-preservation, not self-sacrifice. So the Atheist will just have to acknowledge that the thing central to all relationships, the major subject of all artistic endeavour, is just a queer disinterested product of unguided evolution. How romantic!
And the Atheist won’t be able to explain hope, because if we are just molecules bumping chaotically into one another – if we are simply that – then there is no hope in the way we would like to understand it. The only hope we can really have is that those molecules will bump into one another in a randomly fortunate way…until they stop bumping into one another and we die…