God? That’s Crazy!

I’ve been told multiple times that I’m crazy. I don’t act or appear crazy necessarily, though some may dispute that, but the real reason for bringing my sanity into question is that I actually believe in an intelligent, powerful being named “God.”

The saner folks have made some pretty impassioned arguments that this proves my mental-illness. The main argument seems to be that the insane lack reason, and there are no reasonable reasons for any reasoning person to believe in this God character (they use the word reason a lot). You see, science has explained to a pretty high degree this place in which we find ourselves. Therefore, since everything is/will be explained through science, it would be like continuing to believe in Santa Claus after it was pretty evident that it was dad who snuck the presents under the tree every Christmas Eve. We simply don’t need God to explain anything anymore. Atheists don’t claim to have all of life figured out, but just enough to make God a very unlikely explanation.

Science has come a long way; that’s true. We know a lot more about the cosmos and all the planets, galaxies, stars and black holes whirling around above. We also know a lot more about the micros and all the cells, bacteria, molecules, and all the other little things our eyes could never observe before. We’ve managed to melt sand into brilliant telescopes and microscopes to let us view these things, revealing to us a lot about the way things operate.

It is still a little unclear to me though, what exactly we’ve seen looking through these instruments that would make God any less likely. When it was realized, way back when, that the world was round and that it orbited rather than being orbited, we made some adjustments to the way we saw things, but God remained. If biology is leading us to move away from fundamentalist point-and-boom visions of creation, so be it. Many never thought those very convincing in the first-place. But why does anything in modern science force God’s exit more than a round earth whirling around the sun?

As a former, long-time non-theist (of varying sorts), I actually slowly began to think it was the atheists that needed to provide better explanations. Some plausible thought other than “not-God” for the overwhelming mystery, misery, and majesty of this existence. Young-earth creationists aside, both thinking theists and atheists accept the laws of science. Atheists often forget that before the more recent batches of less religious scientists, Christendom actually was the best incubator for scientific discovery in history.

The reason for this was Christians believed they could discover the mysteries behind an ordered universe created by a rational God. It was a form of worship and divine revelation to certain religious orders, such as the Jesuits. Contrast that with the pagan civilizations who inhabited Europe prior to them. They believed that the sun was a god that decided to rise on a whim every morning, that the trees had nymphs in them, and that each natural entity was inhabited by a spirit of one kind or another. This made the pagan world a chaos of personified unpredictability that couldn’t be measured. So science didn’t really start to progress at a clip until Europe became Christendom.

Both atheists and Christians believe in a universe of rules, Christians because of monotheism, and atheists because of their five-senses. We can both agree that based on these rules, that one thing was caused by another, and so on all the way back. But what makes the Christian insane is that once you trace everything back to the first cause, Christians imply purpose, intelligence, goodness, and objective standards of truth and morality, by saying, “God”, while atheists say, “I don’t know, but definitely not God!”

Here Richard Dawkins admits to the possibility of an intelligent creator of humanity … aliens!

Really, as far as I can see it, they put a lot of stock in chance. Like the off-chance that pre-existing laws of physics, matter, space, time, and energy were up to nothing else and decided to chip in to do all this. It would be like looking at one of those giant domino trains and saying, “No, no, no, you don’t understand. You see that domino knocked down that one, and the law of gravity forced it to strike the other one, and then because of the Domino Collision Theory, this process was repeated.” The other person might chime in, “But you’re just describing how things happened, with cause and effect and theory. What I want to know is how did all of these dominoes get set-up in the first-place. Why are there dominoes anyway?” For the moment, atheists seem to be responding, “I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure nerds don’t exist.” The video below shows without a doubt though, they do indeed exist!

Since I’m a big fan of metaphors, here’s another. Imagine some extra-terrestrials snuck into a basketball game and studied it in depth. Karl Malone (sorry, the 90’s were the last time I paid much attention to the NBA) scored and two points went up on the board and all those wearing purple clothing stood up and made loud noises. Then Michael Jordan hit one from behind a certain line and three points went up and all those wearing red jumped up. After studying the game for awhile these aliens observed some patterns and came up with theories.

The atheist aliens would probably assume that these rules explained the game. They understood it now. Every time one of the humans took more than two steps while holding the ball, a man with a striped shirt blew his whistle and the other team got the ball (well that particular call isn’t made very often in the NBA but you get the point). After taking note of all these rules, they believed all causal relationships had been fully explained, and called it a day.

I would be the crazy alien with a few more questions though. Where did these rules come from that they are playing by? Is there a purpose to this game? Why are the people sometimes so happy while at other times seem so miserable?

I feel the same about the laws of physics, biology, astronomy, or chemistry. We can observe how chemicals, atoms, planets, and living things interact and create hypotheses that get gradually closer to summing up how the universe operates, but that doesn’t really tell us much about how it came about, or why.

The more reasonable will say, “Well, supernatural explanations are illogical because we can’t prove them with natural science.” So, methods that are meant to prove the natural haven’t found any proof of the supernatural? I would think not! That’s why they’re called supernatural. They’re being just as unreasonable as someone saying their speedometer can’t measure the temperature of their living-room. The supernatural can’t be proven by looking into their microscopes or pouring different beakers of chemicals together, but only in the same way as reviewing game tape from the Jazz/Bulls match-up won’t prove the existence of James Naismith (the creator of basketball).

If the sanest alien actually turns out to be the one who considers that James Naismith might have created the rather simple rules of basketball, why is it so crazy to consider an intelligent initiator when the rules of the universe are so much more complex? It is an atheist dogma that the explanation for the universe would have to be very simple because simple is always better and an eternal God is too complex. I’ve never understood this point though. I can’t think of an example where the source of a law was simpler than the law itself. Even the incredibly complex US tax-code was created by infinitely more complex tax lawyers.

I will admit, for many people, including myself, God is an absolutely crazy thought. There is a spiritual being who decided to put this whole deal together and he has certain expectations of us? The thought brings up an enormous amount of questions, though I do think it answers more. One feeling of people going through an existential crisis seems to be abandonment by this figure. Many a doubter has looked at me earnestly and said, “But if there’s a God, why wouldn’t he just come down here and tell us straight to our face that he exists, and that we should stop killing each other, and you know, everything we need to know!?”

As it turns out, that’s exactly what we Christians think he did. That’s what the whole Jesus incident was, not that that was any less crazy.  We believe not only that he came down here, and that he provided those answers, but that the answers are still relevant and that he is still personally accessible to that existentially-crisised doubter.

There is plenty of opportunity not to believe these answers, with globalization bringing a smorgasbord of other options, and the growing movement to just reject all of them as crazy. But if you don’t search for a worldview that provides you purpose and stability, you will be waiting quite awhile for the scientists to provide it. In the video below, it shows that quantum physics is actually at a impasse. Black holes have turned every theory on its head with “non-sense” numbers that are infinite when they should be non-insane quantifiable numbers. Science, despite what some bio-ethicists and materialist philosophers may say, is silent on the most important questions in life.

Scientists may see their visions of a multiverse or of an eternal universe as somehow less crazy, but when contemplated, these theories too are insane. The rationalists are going to have to accept some crazy though. Any grand theory that will encompass everything from black holes, to uni-brows, to duck-billed platapi is going to be fully-insane. There is no avoiding that. The theory that this universe has always just sat there, mostly lifeless, and will briefly and apathetically accommodate our murderous species, is just as insane to me, but in a much less interesting way. That is the crazy of the desperate and hopeless. I prefer the crazy of Martin Luther King Jr or Father Greg Boyle, who despite being surrounded by reasons to despair, insanely chose hope. Ultimately, if reason is leading you to see the hopeful as naive and the faithful as insane, it might be that you’re the one being unreasonable.


Posted on April 26, 2012, in Religion. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Wiil have to come back when I can read at my leisure.

    Agreed and well reasoned, sir (there’s that word again…). I’ve been having the same discussions with my younger sibling for years, and have told him repeatedly “your viewpoint takes waaaaay more faith than mine does”.

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