Apologetics for the Masses #258

Bible Christian Society

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General Comments

Well, I hope you guys had a chance to see one or more episodes of "Blue Collar Apologetics" on EWTN television this week.  And, if you did, let me know if you enjoyed it or not and if you would like to see more.


Continuing my conversation with Jules, who is an atheist.  I've kind of been out-of-pocket the last two weeks with work, family activities (baseball, theater, volleyball), travel, and my online course I'm taking (which has been eating up any of what I would call "spare" time), so I haven't been able to engage with Jules but once.  So, this is a relatively short newsletter.  I will be turning in my final paper for the online course this week, so I should be able to get into it with him a bit more after I do that, assuming he sticks around.  Anyway, the first part of the newsletter is the last part of the last issue, then Jules' brief response, and then my reply to him. 


(From Issue #257)

I appreciate the kind remark about my explanation, and no worry, no offense taken.  Excellent question: "What is the non-material?"  That is along the lines of one of THE questions: What is God?"  

The non-material can basically fall into two categories: 1) non-material things; and 2) non-material beings.  Non-material things would be, for example, something like an idea.  Do ideas have physical boundaries - height, weight, depth, etc.?  No.  Can you see an idea?  You can see the fruit of an idea - an invention, a poem, etc. - but can you see the idea itself?  No.  Now, a materialist would say that an idea is merely an electrical impulse firing through the neurons of your brain.  Maybe so, but what about concepts such as freedom, love, rights, hope, truth, and so on?  Are these merely electrical impulses traveling through the mind - well, no such thing as a "mind" in a materialist-only universe - traveling through the brain?  Is freedom not an objective reality?  Would a materialist who was locked in a jail cell, and who demanded to be set free, be satisfied with the jailer's response of, "Freedom is all in your head, there's no such thing!"?

Still, though, the materialist might say, “Yep, all those things are simply in one’s brain as electrical impulses.”  Which would mean that they essentially have no argument for the existence of such a thing as human “rights”.  Rights are non-material.  If they only exist as impulses in a person’s brain, if they are not objective realities in and of themselves, then no one has any rights.  There is no right to life.  To happiness.  To freedom of speech.  To freedom of religion.  To freedom...of any kind, period.  Pretty grim world we would be living in.  

But, what about truth?  Here is where the materialist has all sorts of problems that they just can’t claim can be solved by an appeal to electrical impulses firing through neurons in the brain.  What is the material universe governed by?  Non-material laws of physics.  These laws are true.  The law of gravity is true.  The laws of thermodynamics are true.  The laws of chemistry are true.  The laws of mathematics are true.  Has anyone ever seen gravity?  Does gravity have height, weight, length, width, or depth?  What about time?  Is time real?  Is it material?  What about truth?  Does it have spatial dimensions?  Is it a material item?  What about the mathematical concept of pi?  You can’t slice it because it isn’t material.  But it’s true!  It exists!

So, I contend the existence of non-material things - concepts, laws, truth, and such - that every single human being is aware of and affected by, whether they will admit that they objectively exist or not.  

And, if there are non-material things, then why not non-material beings?  Angels...demons (fallen angels)...God?  Let’s not focus yet on what (or rather Who) I, and billions of others throughout time, have called God.  Let’s start with what you and I have already discussed.  Matter cannot create itself, which means the material universe cannot create itself.  It had to be created by...“something”.  Furthermore that “something” had to be non-material.  Why?  Because matter cannot create itself and there cannot be an infinite regression back through time of matter coming into existence.  So, something other than the material had to bring matter into existence.  The only thing other than the material, is the non-material.  

So far so good.  What else do we know about the “something” that brought the universe into existence?  Well, it cannot have a cause.  If it had a cause, then we are stuck with the same problem already discussed - you cannot have an infinite regression of causes and effects because, being infinite, it would never have arrived at where we are, and thus we would not exist.  So, the cause of the universe was itself, uncaused.  The uncaused cause of which Aquinas, and Aristotle before him, spoke of.  

Also, judging from the order we find everywhere in the universe, one can rightly speculate that this “something” is something which has an ordered nature.  I would also claim that this “something” seems to possess an intelligence by which it ordered the material universe.  Can one explain such precision in the laws of physics, chemistry, math, and so on as just blind chance?  I guess you could, but from a statistical standpoint, what are the odds of that?  I mean think about it - a million monkeys sitting in front of a million keyboards, typing away for a million years would never reproduce a Shakespearean play; nor even a Shakespearean sonnet; and  probably not even a single line of a Shakespearean play or sonnet.  Yet, the tiniest cell of any plant or animal is more complex, more amazing, more glorious, and more incredible than the greatest of Shakespeare’s works - and folks want me to believe it came into being because of the blind laws of the blind universe that came into being by blind chance?  Sorry, not buying it.  Logic points to an intelligence behind the ordering of the universe.  

What else?  This “something” that created the universe is not subject to time.  How so?  Well, time is a function of the material universe.  Therefore, this “something,” not being material, is not subject to time and, therefore, is infinite in time.  This “something” also has to be very powerful - after all, it created the entire universe.  

So, let’s put it all together: there is “something” that is non-material, and which existed before the material universe, that caused the material universe to be brought into being, and which itself does not have a cause.  This “something” is not subject to time - it is infinite.  It is most likely ordered, and most likely intelligent.  And, one other thing then, if it is intelligent, it undoubtedly has a will as it would have made the conscious decision to bring the universe into existence.  

The uncaused, non-material, exceedingly powerful, probably ordered and intelligent, infinite, cause that caused the universe to come into being - you call it what you want, I call it God.  

I’ll leave you with one last thought for now, as I have to run, but it is something you said earlier: You are absolutely 100% correct that if there is no God, then there is no purpose to life.  We are all just bits of cosmic dust that exist only by blind, unthinking, completely random, chance.  We can fool ourselves into thinking we have purpose, but if every thought we have is merely the result of chemical and electrical processes over which we have absolutely no control, and which were brought into being by blind unthinking chance, then by definition, there can be no purpose to life.  Love is not real.  Freedom is not real.  Rights are not real.  We are nothing more than biological robots.  We have no more purpose or value than an ant, or a worm, or even a rock.  That is indeed exceedingly sad.  

I always like to tell the atheists that I get into conversations with on various blog sites, that I believe them to be infinitely loved by an all-powerful God Who has created them for some particular purpose and Who gives them infinite value as human beings; while they believe themselves to be accidental specks of cosmic dust with no inherent value and no inherent purpose.  That is exceedingly ironic.  


(New this Issue)


I think you make a purpose in life for yourself.  For instance, I want to become a lawyer.  And the monkeys on the typewriters would actually write the complete works of Shakespeare.  I also believe that in the millions of trillions of galaxies, one of the random assortments is bound to have an arrangement which supports life.


It seems to me there is a lot of “faith” involved in your belief about how the universe came into existence.  I thought atheists didn’t buy into the whole faith thing?  You said that you “believe” that in the “millions of trillions of galaxies” (and I think you meant to say “universes” here), “one of the “random assortments is bound to have an arrangement which supports life.”  That is not a very scientific statement, is it?  It is a statement of faith.  

First of all, there is no proof, absolutely none, for the existence of “millions of trillions” of universes, or the multiverse, as it is commonly called.  The multiverse is purely hypothetical.  So to believe it exists requires something that atheists claim not to have...faith.  In fact, to believe in a multiverse requires more faith than to believe in God, because there is at least evidence that God exists. But, even if the multiverse exists, then you still have the same problem of where all these universes ultimately came from?  You haven’t answered the question, you’ve merely pushed it back one step.

Also, it seems rather coincidental that this multiverse hypothesis has appeared at about the same time that science was showing that the odds of life developing purely by blind random chance are astronomically small.  So small, in fact, as to be statistically insignificant.  In other words, all but impossible.  So, when the possibility of life developing randomly in the universe is shown statistically to be all but impossible, all of a sudden folks start saying, “But, if there were billions and billions of universes, then the statistical chances of life developing in at least one of those universes increases greatly.” I don’t know, it just seems kind of “convenient” to me.  And, the problem is, even with billions and billions of universes, the statistical probability of life developing purely by chance, is still really, really low.

And, speaking of statistics, you stated that the monkeys on the typewriters “would actually write the complete works of Shakespeare.”  Do you have scientific evidence to back that up?  I don’t believe you do, which means, once again, you are displaying a great deal of faith for an atheist.  In fact, the monkeys would never write a single work of Shakespeare.  Statistics bear this out (I highly recommend the science of statistics - it is fascinating).  

I won’t get too much into the statistics, but I want to just give you a taste of them.  A monkey typing letters at random has a chance of one in 26 of correctly typing the first letter of Hamlet.  It has a one in 676 (26 × 26) chance of typing the first two letters. Because the probability shrinks exponentially, it has only a one in 26 to the power of 20 = 19,928,148,895,209,409,152,340,197,376 chance of getting the first 20 letters right. The text of Hamlet has around 130,000 letters.  The probabilities of it being produced randomly are so remote as to be essentially impossible.

You can do the math if you want, but even if every atom in the observable universe were a monkey with a typewriter, typing from the Big Bang until the theoretical end of the universe, you would still need to multiply that amount of time by 10 to the 360,000th power, to have just a 1 in 10 to the 500th power chance of success.  In other words, trillions of gazillions of bazillions of monkeys, typing randomly for trillions of gazillions of bazillions of years, could not produce even one work of Shakespeare.  Yet, life, particularly the very specific sequences of the letters of our genetic coding - infinitely more complex than a Shakespeare play - came into being by blind random chance within just a few billion years?  Sorry, but it takes way more faith to believe that than it does to believe in God.

Now, as to purpose.  You believe you have purpose in life because you want to be a lawyer.  But, if there is no God, then your entire existence is purely accidental.  Your being alive is merely the result of blind random chance.  Can something that is the result of blind random chance be said to have purpose?  Any kind of purpose?  You might “think” you have purpose, but that is merely a random electrical impulse firing through your brain.  A monkey wants to eat.  So, he has a desire of getting a banana off the tree.  Does that mean his life has purpose?  Does your desire to be a lawyer mean your life has purpose?  No, it doesn’t. Your desire to be a lawyer has no more purpose than a monkey wanting to get a banana (nothing personal, mind you).  

Without God, all is chance.  All is random.  All is purposeless and meaningless.  Just random chemical and biological reactions to environmental stimuli which are themselves merely random chemical and biological processes.  We are biological robots without God, nothing more.  Oh, we can fool ourselves into thinking we have purpose, but the atheist who is honest and consistent in his thought processes, has to admit that thinking there is purpose to a life that is randomly generated by blind purposeless chance, is merely an illusion. Without God, your life has no more meaning then that of a worm's.  

On the other hand, if God exists, then you were created for a reason.  You are loved beyond comprehension by your Creator and His love for you gives your life purpose, meaning, and value.  

What I am trying to do with all of this, is to show you that a lot of what you think and believe is: 1) based on blind faith, and 2) makes no sense whatsoever if there is no God.  Christians are often accused of having blind faith (which isn’t true), but pretty much every atheist I’ve ever come across bases their entire belief system on a foundation of blind faith.  The universe coming into existence from nothing.  Blind faith.  The completely random development of life.  Blind faith.  Life coming from non-life.  Blind faith.  And so much more.  Also, most atheists claim to be moral people.  But, if there is no God, then there is no such thing as good and evil, no such thing as morality.  A lion killing a gazelle isn’t evil, is it?  Then neither is Hitler killing Jews.  How could one human animal killing another human animal be evil?  We’re all just animals, and there is no morality in the animal world.  Yet, most atheists believe in good and evil.  They are inconsistent in that, just as they are inconsistent in their claim that they base what they believe on science, when actually a lot of their beliefs are nothing more than a pseudo-scientific faith.  


Please keep Jules in your prayers.  You all know what it was like to be a teenager struggling with the great questions of existence.  I just cannot imagine going through life without God.  Well, actually, I can.  I did it for 13 years as a young adult, and I wouldn't wish that on anyone. 


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Apologetics for the Masses