Dear Classmate –
I have found the discussions about religion in our assigned reading to be very interesting. It’s not my goal to create a debate, but since it feels as if I may the only one who has a different perspective on the matter, I guess I should attempt to articulate “the other” perspective. Hopefully I do it justice in a kind way.
What I think is interesting, in not only your post, but several others I have read, is this easily accepted idea that only science is logical and fact-based (which is why it makes sense to the main character) and religion or belief in God is completely illogical and only for those looking for emotional comfort (which is why the main character rejects it).
Here is why I cannot agree this:
Much of science, and especially the science seeking to ascertain understanding about the origins of the universe is still very much theory, and debated even among non-religious scientists. This is especially true considering that many, if not the majority of secular scientists, deny an eternal universe model (meaning that the scientific information we do have points to the reality that the universe had a beginning, and is not eternally existent). The demand then, is still very much upon scientists and scientific discovery to explain how the singularity (or the beginning of the universe) came to be. Whether the popular multi-verse theory or other, the very first origin of space, time and matter still has to be accounted for. Much scientific theory surrounding these issues has been popularized and is spoken about as “fact,” but that doesn’t make it so. In fact, the gaps in the science behind these theories often require a certain amount of “faith” on the part of the theorists, who believe that in time they will find the answers they are looking for to justify their thinking.
Additionally, there are other questions that science must answer if we are to award it the sole field of factuality. Logically speaking, how are the governing laws of nature explained, if that nature originated from random chance? Doesn’t it make just as much sense, if not more, that if there are laws to the universe, there is a law giver for those laws?
Furthermore, naturalism, the belief or theory that only physical properties exist, cannot logically account for non-physical or immaterial realities like ideas and moral principles? How does science explain morality or the intentionality of thought process? And yet we know these immaterial realities exist. Mark Haddon had thoughts that he expressed in his book, but those thoughts aren’t physical. So how does his materialistic version of atheism account for them logically? If those thoughts are merely the product caused by his brain (because he cannot possess a mind for that is a non-physical entity), then he did no more to control his thoughts, than I am controlling my own thoughts while writing this reply. If this is true, than none of us are responsible for how we behave or what we think. But doesn’t this seem contrary to our human experience? In terms of morality (again another non-physical reality), what culture has ever celebrated cowardice or condoned torturing innocent children? None. So, where do these sorts of objective, universal principles about right and wrong come from? How do these popular theories of scientific naturalism and materialism logically account for these non-physical realities?
Perhaps the assertion and belief that science is only fact and logic is too often and too easily glossed over. Perhaps there is much more left to be discussed?
Turek & Geisler. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2004.
Turek, Frank. Stealing from God: Why Atheists Need God to Make Their Case. Colorado Springs, CO: Navpress, 2014.
Turek, Frank. Cross-Examined podcasts, last accessed May 2015.
Stratton, Tim. http://freakengministries.com/freethinking-atheists-are-oxymorons/), last accessed July 18, 2015.