What is the meaning of life? A colleague recently asked. In her ontology were things of a theistic worldview. I said I thought relationship is an intricate part of our being. By now the conversation had attracted a group, agnostics, atheist, sceptics… So there I was trying to explain what I meant by relationship. I talk about all types of relationships and then I get to God.
‘You really believe we are created? By God?’
But you do know there is no God, right? I mean it’s like believing in the tooth fairy. God is a social construct. Science has disproved God. Ok, how do you know there is God?
I said I had many arguments, but it would take forever. But please, one question. What is energy? I asked (atheist believe we are a product of matter, energy and random chance). He smirked. Energy is everything he said. Energy is what makes everything exist.
I told him that was a description not a definition. Perhaps that is too complex let’s break it down. Do you love your kids?
Yes. He said.
How do you know?
I can feel it. He said.
I can feel God. I said.
Statements like ‘Science has buried God’ or ‘There is no God’ or ‘Science and God are incompatible’ are statements often propagated by Richard Dawkins a biologist, naturalist, and acclaimed leader of the New Atheist. These are not scientific statements. They are statements from an Atheist who does science. In a Guardian interview – with a journalist who spoke of his ability to offend and inflame – Dawkins declared: “I’ve never had dreams, never had nightmares.” There is no experience or encounter in his life to indicate or point to the supernatural, but the fact that Dawkins has never experienced the transcendence does not mean that people don’t dream and people don’t have nightmares (please, let’s not spiritualise dreams or nightmares).
John Lennox, Prof of mathematics and Emeritus fellow at Oxford said that offering God and Science as one explanation – as famous British Scientist Stephen Hawkins surmised in his book said we have to choose between Gravity and God – is far too simplistic an analysis. He goes on to mention leading scientists in Oxford who believe in God as well as American Physicist and Nobel prize winner William D Phillips.
In fact, fathers of modern science, Galileo and Isaac Newton were both believers in God. They saw no contradiction between doing science and believing in God. These two great minds did not believe, as New Atheist and Dawkins do, that belief in God is an insult to the intellect. Isaac Newton after describing the Laws of Gravity did not abandon God, but rather gave credence to the law giver.
Jurgen Habermas a leading atheist thinker (not new atheist), warns Europe that its educational system, it’s legal and human rights system comes from the Judea-Christian source. He says and I quote ‘to this day we have no other source, everything else is post modern chatter.’ We live in a world of ‘chatter,’ where everyone finds ways to make a point no matter how ridiculous the point is. People just want to be controversial and extreme just for the sake of it.
Yes. It is true that religion is a tired and in many cases a dead word. New Atheist have scuffed at the word faith. They define and restrict faith to being a religious concept. But a short excerpt on a debate between two intellectuals will hopefully put the word ‘faith’ in the right perspective.
Peter Singer, an Atheist, during a debate with John Lennox reasoned that many Atheists believe that people born into religious homes feel obliged to remain in the faith in which they were brought up. To which John Lennox asked what disposition his parents were.
Atheist, he said.
So you remained in the faith in which you were brought up then? Lennox asked
No. Singer said, atheism isn’t a faith you see…
O! Lennox exclaimed, I thought you believed it!
- Science can be done by Atheists and Theists.
- Science is NOT in conflict with God.
The conflict is not between Science and God as Dawkins and the New Atheists would like us all to believe. The conflict is between two worldviews that have underpinned and informed our belief systems throughout history.
One, the naturalist/Atheistic worldview which believes that the universe, or as they have more recently postulated, the multi – verse is the ultimate reality. Democritus and Leucippus were fathers of naturalism/Atheism. Whereas Socrates, Plato, Aristotle opposed this worldview. They believed in a transcendence, in the supernatural. They believed that there is something more than just mass energy.
So to Dawkins and his band of New Atheist who say that you are stupid, irrational, ignorant because you believe in a transcendence. I say rest easy, you are in good company.