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A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

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We want to know origins. We want to know why we are here even if there no real reason (we want to know that too). This is why we don’t see scientists just throwing up their arms and saying “there's no way to tell it's all here that's all.” They are still making theories because we want to know. We don’t find it satisfying to just leave it hanging. Perhaps there is no actual reason and saying that is not satisfying than sloughing off the question as though it's not important; that is most unsatisfying of all. Yet modern secular thought can't even ask the question much less answer it. It's not enough to merely talk about planetary formation and how the galaxy emerged. That's not an answer to the question “why are we here?” Even if the answer is “there is no way to know” we still want to know that definitively. Modern secular thought can't give a definitive answer because the question is out of bounds. That is a metaphysical question and modern though abhors metaphysics even though Heidegger would say it is metaphysics. When purpose and ends and goals have already been eliminated as impossible there's no point in asking.

Materialist philosophy denies the possibility of purpose and science understands anything explanatory beyond the mere physical pentameters as beyond its domain. Secular thinkers attribute the nature of all being to a cosmic accident and assert the possibility that it all just popped up out of nothing. That is irrational enough as it is, because it leaves reality as a dead end. What's worse is the game physicists and cosmologists play with asserting that the universe could emerge from actual nothing when they know quite well that's not where the evidence points. As in the chapter on eliminating alternative (five) none of the modern cosmological alternatives actually even hint at a why and they all have their problem in terms of how. We saw that they had to use fine tuning to to make certain forms of inflation work. Inflation was brought into avoid god arguments. But fine tuning might implies purpose, mind, or plan; so they have to turn to the evidence of mind (fine tuning) to avoid mind, that is rather irrational and incoherent.[1]


We are, therefore, left with reality as a brute fact. The brute fact is to be dreaded, thus the state of purpose being the antithesis of the brute fact is to be preferred. Sean Carroll says there is no reason why anything exists. He warns against not understanding reality all the way to the top. He says this because he wants us to know science.

More than two decades ago, the renowned astronomer Carl Sagan wrote that “We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology. This is a clear prescription for disaster.” Unfortunately, Sagan’s warning remains as true today as ever: American culture is deeply infused with an anti-intellectual distrust of scientific knowledge, a failure to understand the nature of peer-review, and an unwavering predilection for conspiracy theories and pseudoscience. [2]


Why is it important to know and understand the process that tells us there's no point to life? The ultimate reality we are going to get out of that is that nothing matters, but he wants us to know science we can understand climate change and vote accordingly. I share his concern about climate change but, what's the point of caring about future generations when life is just a big accident and there's no point to any of it?

It’s not true that every effect has a cause! That’s just a convenient way of talking about certain features of the macroscopic world of our everyday experience, one that is not applicable to how nature works at a deeper level. When you want to tackle questions about the fundamental nature of reality, it’s necessary to leave behind concepts of “cause and effect” and replace them with “the laws of physics.” Those laws take the form of patterns relating different parts of the universe to each other, not relationships of causality. So a better question is: what does our best understanding of the laws of physics tell us about the origin of the universe, and why it might exist at all? The answer is “not much.” This is a case where we have to be humble. The universe might have had a beginning, or it might have existed forever, we just don’t know. There’s certainly no reason to think that there was something that “caused” it; the universe can just be.[3]


As we showed in chapter five we do not know there is no cause of it all. The concept of reality springing into being for no reason no cause is idiotic and renders everything unimportant and meaningless. Look at his reasoning, he still replaces cause and effect with laws of physics. Does that mean description of what happens? Or does it mean OP's and TS? As we have seen it depends largely upon what they need it to be, But he;'s still replacing prescriptive process of causes with a top down process that describes a law like regularity? Where do the laws come from? That's not part of the field of study. You are not supposed to wonder that. I see this as the ultimate irrationality and incoherence. He admits the laws don't tell us much about the origin so we have to be humble. That's odd because he's already said there's no cause the universe has no origin no cause no creator, that's about as arrogant as you can get. In what sense are we being humble? If the patterns don't tell us about the ultimate origin how do we know there's no cause or no creative agent? I am also not sure that creator is a cause in the same sense that he means no cause, so his very understanding might not rule out a creator in a more modern God concept. He admits the possibility that the universe might have a beginning to it or might be eternal. In the Chapter on eliminating alternatives I already proved it can't be eternal. That was the Smith article.Apparently he must realize the hollowness of this denial of reason and meaning because he tries to address the meaning issue, replacing real meaning with a private one:

The trick here is “true” meaning. My life has meaning without any supernatural guidance, no matter what anyone else might say about it. The meanings that we finite human beings attribute to our lives are the only kinds of true meanings, because those are the only kinds of meanings there are. In my view, the fact that life is temporary is precisely what does give it value. Why should we care about a century-long existence if it was followed by an infinitely-long span of additional existence?
Life span has nothing to do with it. Its not a matter of longevity. Maritain Luther King Jr. was relatively young when he died but his life is a lot more meaningful than Mine will ever be, I've lived much longer than they did. Yet we have our private meaning but beyond our own lives it's meaningless. Carroll is trying to import meaning into a meaningless view point. He can’t make the reasons for existence make sense or have meaning merely because he says it does. Then he tries to import meaning through subjective means. He dogmatically asserts that supernatural meaning isn't true meaning. How he can say that is a mystery in itself since supernatural meaning would take precedence over and determine the natter of the physical world. His own private meaning dies with him. How is that more meaningful than eternal necessary will of the ground of being? How could a private meaning known only to one little mind that amounts to a flash in the pan be more meaningful than an eternal truth known always to the essence or the good? Moreover, this is empirically the case since supernatural is essentially mystical experience (the power of God to raise us to a higher level of consciousness). The modern secular world has come to accept a false notion of the SN, the true Christian notion is God's power to raise us to a higher level of God consciousness. [4] Empirically we can prove that there is an experience, usually understood as pertaining to God or to the transcendent or the divine and summing up the meaning of reality, those who have it receive a transformative experience. There is a huge body of scientific work that prove the transformative nature of this experience.[5]


He tries to impart the mystagogoue wonderment that he feels in science. He starts by tearing down my meaning: Aside from the existential importance existential of understanding science, there’s also a purely aesthetic issue. The scientific worldview offers, I would argue, a far richer and more elegant picture of the cosmos than any ancient myth or grand narrative conjured up by the human imagination during the Iron Age. As Charles Darwin would put it, there is grandeur in this view of the universe. And he’s right. Consider a few nuggets of mind-boggling truths, courtesy of science’s ongoing investigation into the arcana of reality: the cosmos has no center and no boundaries. The fastest moving organism travels more than half the speed of sound — and it’s a plant. 


He is turning to a subjective element to impart a meaning that can't be gotten by the brute fact of the universe. Since he has had no SN experience o the divine he is hardly in a position to tell those of us who have that his view is more meaningful. This is especially so for those of us wh o were atheists first, then had such experiences, I can compare the two he cannot. This is a crucial point, his “richer elegant picture of the cosmos” only pertains to the physical how of natural corporations it does not even address the why. That is important because it means he's stuck with what Tillich called the surface of being, He's not able to communicate the depth of being and that is what tells us there is God. Just knowing the fiddly bits of the cosmos and watching nebula from super cool though that may be does not compare to a personal relationship with the ground of being. While a modern scientific account of cosmic formations does outweigh the slap dash creation of ancient lore, that is not what religion is about, Religion is not about explaining the physical nature of things or how it works, and to stop with that surface level is to miss all the meaning there is.


Religious belief is about integration tin to one's place in they universe. It's more than just understanding the physical workings. The integration point is fielding depth of being. All religions deal with thism they all define the nature of the human problematic, they assess what is at the heart of the problem of being human, They medicate a solution usually in terms of ultimate transformation experience, that transformation opens up the point of integration where we understand our place in the universe. As Christians we understand that in terms of contingency. We are creatures of God. To be is to be a creature of God creature of God; we know our place in the universe and it all makes sense at least to some degree. We can't have any of this with just the physical level of understanding, WE can have scientific wonderment and God. Those are not mutually exclusive. But we can't have depth of being with kjust the surface level o existence. Moreover the scientific wonderment as he describes is not moving because it's science, The individual scientist may get a thrill from personal accomplishment but the real transformative aspects are pointing beyond themselves, The physical reality is pointing beyond itself to depth but the secular naturalist can't acknowledge that. We know they are pointing beyond human finifutde because they point to the infinite. The juxtaposition of our own finite mortality against the infinite of space produces the sense of the numinous, The wondrous nature of the cosmos is a trigger for foundations of mystical consciousness. This is probably what Carrroll is sensing but his ideology wont allow him to acknowledge it.



[1]Horgan, Op cit chapter 5 Fn3-5
[2]Sean Carroll, “The Evidence is pretty incontrovertible...” Salon. (May 8, 2016) online resource URL:
http://www.salon.com/2016/05/08/the_evi ... thout_god/ (accessed 9/20/16.)
[3]bid.
[4] Joseph Hinman,"The True Christian Concept of the Supernatural part 1" Metacrock's Blog (feb 22, 2016) http://metacrock.blogspot.com/2016/02/the-true-christian-concept-of-super.html (accessed 10/3/16)

[5] Joseph Hinman, The Trace of Go. Colorado Sproimgs: Grand Viaduct, 2014

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2 comments:

"Since he has had no SN experience o the divine he is hardly in a position to tell those of us who have that his view is more meaningful. This is especially so for those of us wh o were atheists first, then had such experiences, I can compare the two he cannot. This is a crucial point, his “richer elegant picture of the cosmos” only pertains to the physical how of natural corporations it does not even address the why. That is important because it means he's stuck with what Tillich called the surface of being, He's not able to communicate the depth of being and that is what tells us there is God. Just knowing the fiddly bits of the cosmos and watching nebula from super cool though that may be does not compare to a personal relationship with the ground of being."

This is so incredibly true. I read many skeptics who find some little niggling bit of data in the Bible that doesn't connect to them, and their immediate response is to believe that their dismissal of the entire Biblical accounts based upon their niggling bit of data will convince someone who has had a true experience of the Living God.

When I first started on the Internet chat rooms all those years ago (to quote a George Harrison song), I remember one atheist demanding Christians give some argument that would prove that God existed. I gave my multi-paragraph response, but my response was blown out of the water by a Christian who responded simply, "I've met him."

Yup, it is so easy to dismiss Christianity if you haven't met God. I think that's the main point to be learned from all of the so-called "former Christian atheists" who are all over the web. I have yet to meet one who really met God who could simply dismiss him over a question about genealogies or some inconsistency in the resurrection accounts. They do it because they never really met him. I don't know if they are lying about believing that they were Christians, or whether they were just such shallow Christians that they are the seed that fell in bad soil and choked to death. But whichever it is, their so-called "proofs" that God doesn't exist sound like so much discordant nonsense to those who have met Him. They can't see it, but that's the way it is.

Good job, Joe. Nice thoughts.

a the good old ays on CARM. Remember that jmain CARM Christian defender who used to help us named James?I ran into him on T web couple of months ago.
I have fond m memories of those days but ai wonder if they didn't my career in,or if they didn't stifle my intellectual growth, all that arguing with people who didn't want to hear it,

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