One of the funniest things that I have found about the modern unbelieving movement is 1) their constant claim that we should have evidence before we believe anything, or 2) their often-heard pronouncement that sound arguments are needed to warrant holding a particular belief, or 3) their repeated sermons about following reason wherever it leads, or 4) their endless refrains about the fact that we have a duty to seek the truth no matter what the consequences of the truth may be, and so on and so forth, and yet the reason that I find all these claims and assertions humorous is not because I deny their value and worth as ideas–in fact, I wholeheartedly endorse them–but I find them humorous when coming from unbelievers and atheists precisely because they are coming from unbelievers and atheists themselves, and the reason that this fact is humorous is because in an ultimately purposeless and meaningless universe, as it would be on atheism, and at least when speaking objectively and in absolute terms, we have no “duty” or requirement to believe things on evidence, or on arguments, nor must we or “should” we, in some objective sense, endorse reason or seek the truth, for, on atheism, there is no purpose in this universe that makes us do so, and note that even if a consequentialist-type argument is made to try to convince us to endorse these things in a purposeless atheistic universe, that argument will only work if we care about the consequences in question, which is not always the case, and so, when the atheist and unbeliever is telling us that we should do all these things, he is, in essence, doing no more than subjectively emoting, and in a purposeless universe, his claim that we should believe true things rather than false things, or that we should follow the evidence rather than not, is about as convincing, and about as valuable, as him telling us that he likes chocolate ice cream over vanilla, and that we should like chocolate over vanilla too (and this, needless to say, is not a convincing argument); and perhaps the greatest irony of this whole issue is that it is only on something like the Christian worldview that believing truth, and following evidence, and using reason, ultimately and truly and objectively matters, for if God, who is Truth itself, exists and wants / requires all people to come to know of His existence and nature through the things that have been made, and also forbids us to lie–all of which is the case on Christian theism– then all these things mean that on something like Christian theism, we should follow the evidence of our senses, and we should believe true things over false things, and we should use our reason to discover God’s nature through the natural order, and so on, and thus it is the Christian who can objectively claim that we indeed have a duty and should follow the evidence where it leads, and seek and believe the truth, and have reasons for our beliefs, whereas all the atheist can do is advise us of his subjective preferences about these matters, and yet these subjective preferences can be as easily ignored as the atheist’s subjective preferences about ice cream, cars, and Barbie dolls.
Our Lord, the Second Person of the Most Blessed and Holy Trinity, tells us, in His scriptures, that the “meek shall inherit the Earth”, and though this idea many be wrongly perceived by many today as promoting human weakness and craven submissiveness, this is, in fact, completely wrong, for the Lord Himself, who inherits the Earth and all of creation from His Father, shows us what meekness means, and that meekness is not weakness, but rather it is serious strength wrapped in submissiveness to an appropriate and moral authority who is worthy of obedience, and indeed, we see this in Christ Himself who, though powerful enough to easily prevent His own death–in fact, powerful enough to utterly annihilate those wishing to destroy Him–nevertheless willing and freely withheld that strength from expression on Earth given that doing so was the desire of God the Father, and thus Christ was meek and submissive to the Father in order for the Father to be able to fulfill His will through Christ, but in no way was this meek Christ weak, and so it is for us, for we must be strong against the sins of men and yet meek, and thus submissive, to the will of God, and in doing so, we, the meek towards God, but not towards men, shall inherit the Earth; and note that if history is any guide, it certainly seems that Christ was correct, for the Christian faith has now touched all corners of the Earth and is the numerically strongest faith on this Earth, and furthermore today, in the parts of the world where Christians are meek towards God and faithful to Him–in places such as Africa and China–Christianity is growing and thus literally inheriting more and more of the Earth, but in places were Christian have been meek towards the rules of men and rebellious against the rules of God, they are arguable losing their Earthly inheritance, both demographically and culturally…which is what would be expected if the “meek are to inherit the Earth”.
Meek to God, not meek man
In this day and age, when we in the West entertain ourselves and our minds with the dreams and visions of children through plays and books about so-called “superheros” such as Superman and others (and superheros are, in point of fact, also a reminder to modern secular man of mankind’s need and desire for transcendent and almost spiritual heros) and also in this time when we men have dreams, in our games and our novels, of aliens who might span the width of a galaxy and control billions upon billions of planets, it is actually interesting to reflect upon the fact (for such reflection is appropriately humbling) of how pathetic our imagination is in this respect, and how awesome the true God is, for while we men think that certain of the superheros we imagine might be worthy of the label ‘god’ and while we contend that a potentially space-faring species of galactic proportions could be considered ‘god-like’ in power, these thoughts are, quite simply, small, for to think that some ‘superman’ or some aliens of great power deserve to be thought of as god-like simply shows the smallness of man’s reasoning, and it does, simultaneously, serve as a lesson and reminder of the sheer incomprehensible awesomeness of the true Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, to whom a superman or galaxy-wide alien race are powers of utter insignificance, and who, in fact, would only have the power that they would have because the God who is who He is would sustain and give them that power; and so, the point here is to simply note, with sadness, how small and unworthy modern man’s idea of god-hood is, and how it shows his sheer theological ignorance (a sad state of affairs indeed), while also helping to remind ourselves that even our imagination falls utterly short of the awesomeness of the true God, and this, in turn, gives us the confidence to know, that when the Lord God wills to do that which He wills to do–such as save us from damnation if we freely accept that salvation–there is not a sheer thing that any superman, or any man, or any created power in this universe, or even any other created power from outside this universe, could do to prevent that desire from coming about…and it is in this fact that we are rational to place our trust in the Lord.
It is at times contended by certain unbelievers that skepticism is the antithesis of “faith”–where faith is, presumably, meant to denote something like faith in God and/or faith in some religious doctrine–thus meaning that these unbelievers are essentially implying that the faithful, by virtue of their faith, cannot have skepticism, for skepticism would push them away from the type of faith articulated above, but the question thus becomes whether this is or is not the case, and the fact is that it is not the case, for not only can a theist and/or religious believer have skepticism, but skepticism can actually and easily lead a person to faith, such as faith in a divine being, for consider, for example, that a person might be entirely rational to think that either something like theism or atheistic-naturalism is true, but since the same person, via skepticism, could come to utterly doubt the causal power and explanatory viability of atheistic-naturalism to account for such undeniable things as life from non-life, the emergence of different life forms, the emergence of language, the coming about of sexual reproduction, the fine-tuning of the universe, consciousness, rationality, and so on and so forth, then, quite clearly, skepticism about the ability of the atheistic-naturalistic worldview to bring these things about might push one into the arms of theism; now, I am not, of course, saying that this will necessarily or absolutely be the case, but I am noting that it is entirely reasonable and legitimate not to see skepticism as the enemy of faith, but rather as a tool and way of thinking that could, quite rationally, push one to faith, and so those who claim that skepticism and faith are utterly opposed to each other are not only quite mistaken, but, apparently, they themselves were not skeptical enough of their own claim that skepticism and faith are polar opposites.
The issue of free-will–and here I mean free-will in the broadly libertarian sense–is fascinating, but as interesting as that issue, in and of itself, is, free-will is also interesting in that it is an issue which can give us a very simple and intuitive argument for the existence of god, for consider the following layman’s chain of reasoning:
1. All my experience tells me that I have free-will and all of society is build on that belief, and so I am rational to believe that I do have free-will until and unless given good reason to believe otherwise;
2. Something like free-will can only come from something that has and/or can create free-will;
3. The only thing that I know of that has free-will are persons (minds), and so the best explanation is that my free-will comes from a person (a mind), but the chain of persons cannot go on infinitely, and therefore there must be an uncaused and first free-willed person who is the cause of all the other free-will in other persons, and such a person deserves the label of a god…
…and when put into more philosophically rigorous terms, the argument might go like this:
a. I have a properly basic belief that I have libertarian free-will, and therefore, not only am I rational to believe that I have it, but, because it is a properly basic belief, the burden of proof is actually on the person denying this belief to demonstrate his case, not on me to prove it, and so I am rational to hold to my belief that I have free-will until and unless a sufficiently warranted defeater is brought against this belief;
b. There are no sufficient defeaters to my belief that I have libertarian free-will;
c. Given the Principle of Proportionate Causality (which states that an effect must, in some way, be entirely contained in its cause), I thus note that whatever caused me to have free-will must somehow have the causal resources / ability to create free-will to exist in something else.
d. Not only are there no known impersonal forces / mechanisms which could cause free-will to exist in something else, but the only things that I know that have free-will are personal (rational) entities like me (essentially, minds).
e. In light of the above, the only presently known causal explanation for my having free-will is that it was caused in me by some other personal (rational) entity which can create free-will, but such a chain of causality cannot go on to infinity, and thus, there must be a first and uncaused personal (rational) entity which exists (or existed) which has the ability to cause free-will and which gave free-will to all other personal (rational) entities that exist and have free-will, and any such uncaused personal and rational entity with free-will that exists (or existed) deserves the label ‘god’, and so, given all this, I am rational to be a theist, not an atheist;
f. Or, alternatively, for a “Inference to the Best Explanation” type approach to this issue, one might, after point (d), simply point out that between atheism (atheistic-naturalism) and theism, atheism simply does not have the ‘explanatory power’ to account for the existence of free-will in persons like theism has (an omni-God could give free-will to others by definition), nor is atheism ‘congruent with the background knowledge’ that only persons have free-will, nor is atheism simple given that it postulates an impersonal “thing or force” which is somehow (miraculously?) able to confer free-will to persons through some unknown mechanism, and so theism is therefore the better explanation of free-will, and thus theism is rational to believe in on the basis of free-will, at least provisionally.
One thing that a Christian must always remember–even though sometimes it is very hard to do so–is that hopelessness is a great sin, and thus the Christian must never despair, and the reason that he must never despair or become hopeless is because to do so is to literally admit–through one’s actions and one’s behavior–that Christianity is false, for true despair and genuine hopelessness could only arise in a situation in which we believed that God was not in control of creation or in a situation that negated Christ’s overcoming of the world and its foul sin, and yet, of course, CHRIST IS ALREADY VICTORIOUS, and so are all of us who stand with him, and so how could we ever genuinely despair if Christ is indeed victorious; so, as stated, the Christian cannot despair of this world, for to do so is to deny Christ himself, and thus the Christian who despairs literally cannot exist, for the Christian who despairs denies the foundation of Christianity, and thus the truly despairing Christian forfeits his Christianity the moment he genuinely despairs, and so remember, NEVER DESPAIR, FOR CHRIST IS KING (…and, of course, I do not mean that a Christian who has flashes of despair and hopelessness, or who is, say, clinically depressed, is not a true Christian, but rather that a Christian who begins to willingly and freely embrace despair and hopelessness has thus willingly and freely let go of his Christian faith, and he thus needs to repent of his despair in order to be able to genuinely retake the mantle of ‘Christian’ upon his shoulders).
There is a certain irony about the fact that it is so often claimed that Christianity is, at bottom, a worldview based on “faith”, when, in fact, Christianity (or something very much like Christianity) is actually the only worldview which does not leave man resting on faith, for whereas secular attempts to justify our knowledge and our beliefs ultimately fall directly in the fatal maw of Agrippa’s Trilemma, which makes any secular attempt to justify our beliefs ultimately end in either an 1) infinite and never-ultimately-justifying chain of justification, or 2) a fallacious circular justification, or 3) an ad hoc and faith-filled adoption of some “foundational” belief, it is only Christianity, with its view of “illuminationism”–the view that God, who is knowledge itself, pro-actively and positively illuminates that human mind with knowledge–which can overcome Agrippa’s Trilemma and thus provide a secure foundation for knowledge; indeed, whenever man himself reaches out to try to justify his beliefs on his own, he falls foul of Agrippa’s Trilemma, and thus can never justify his beliefs on a firm rock of knowledge but must ultimately rest those beliefs, in the end, on blind faith (some essentially arbitrary foundation), and thus it is only a worldview where a good omni-God who is knowledge itself reaches down to provide knowledge to man that can have the resources to overcome Agrippa’s Trilemma, and this is why I say that only a worldview like Christianity allows man to rest his beliefs on knowledge (essentially, God), not faith (his own efforts, which lead only to an infinite regress of justification, false circular justification, or arbitrary foundational justification)…and yet since we do believe that our beliefs rest on knowledge and not faith, then this fact, in light of the above, is thus a fact that points us to the existence of a knowledge-giving God, and so not only is this point a point which argues in favor of the existence of God, it is also a point which reverses the idea that Christianity is based on faith but other views are based on reason.