Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Atheism 101 ?

An odd title for such a beautiful morning! Azaleas are their full glory. Iris is blooming & sunshine is glittering through my window. I’ve been away from the blogs b/c it has been just like THIS for several days now! Today, though, I feel inspired to put my fingers on the keys…

Lately I’ve encountered another blogger @ Cristina’s site, where she had posted the following:


The belief that there was nothing and nothing happened to
nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason, creating everything
and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason
whatsoever into self-replicating bits which then turned into dinosaurs…Makes
perfect sense.

It was a rather clever summation of atheism, & I left a comment saying so. However, an atheist had stopped by too, & wasn’t pleased. I tracked back to his homepage, finding a blog seemingly entirely devoted to atheism.

From the intellectual nature of his language, I deduced that science & math were the basis for his atheism. Having done a bit of science in my day, I was curious about his perspective. (I’ll admit my pride was stung, too, having been down-right insulted when Cristina’s blog was belittled.)

See, I don’t tend to partake in arguing the “How it happened” of Creation/Evolution. To me, that’s a frustrating, circular dispute, resulting in one party’s presumed intellectual superiority, & the other party’s presumed spiritual superiority. I’m more of a mind to insist that the “Who” discussion is the most important part. In other words, Creation could have taken God 7 days or 500 million years (which to Him may have been 7 days…). It doesn’t really matter to me, because “How it happened” was God’s prerogative (& His Mystery), not mine. But the “WHO” of creation is absolutely critical. Anyway, our discussion @ this new blogger’s site went something like this:

My comment to A“I'm truly curious, A. What makes me ignorant b/c I believe that God created it all? I'm fascinated by math…I'm riveted by the beauty & creativity of science...I'm awed by the magnificent creation that is the human body…I'm continually thankful for modern medicine's progress…I respect these disciplines & those who practice them. I do not discount science, but I acknowledge that the One who created all of it is a greater Mind than mine could ever fathom...Respectfully I ask, why is that ignorant?”

A’s reply: “I didn't say that you were ignorant for your beliefs. I said that the person who posted that was ignorant about atheism and what science says about the origin of the universe. You are certainly entitled to believe in your god, but I find the Christian god to be logically incoherent. What science tells us about the universe points to a completely natural process that does not require a creator, and until there is actually evidence of such an entity, I find it irrational to believe in he/she/it.”

My next comment to A:
“…I've studied 'what science says about the origins of the universe.' Though I don't claim science as a profession, I find it extraordinary & fascinating. Indeed, it is 'a completely natural process.'

Here's where we differ: it's more plausible in my mind to believe that there exists an Architect of this 'completely natural process' than to deny it…

Here's my question: what or Who do you believe…is responsible for the organization of any molecule, for the exquisite structure of the double helix? For the mathematic perfection of the circle, the sphere? Who or what do you think is responsible for the mind boggling nature of pi? What about the absolutely astounding creativity & variety of animals/plants in the rainforests? or deserts? I suppose your hypothesis might be that it all arose out of the natural qualities of molecules…Even if you look at an atom, the mind blowing structure of protons, neutrons, electrons. Who decided how these things would function & interact? Laws of matter or antimatter? Perhaps. But what or Who is/was the organizing force of such 'laws'? Nature? Of course. I read here: God…

I'm not one who believes that sincere, evangelical Christianity & science are mutually exclusive... In my mind, all-the-above is all the 'evidence of such an entity' anybody ever needs. I believe God has given us our lives to study, mull over, & chew on it. In my mind, God gave us this richness in order to draw us near, that we would take joy in it! That's much more fun, I would think; living joyfully...”

Though I was sincere in my questions, there has been no further response from this new friend.
I ask you, though, & I wonder myself -- How someone can look at this:

Or this:

Or this:

…& really believe that there is no God? That, dear friends, is more of a puzzle to me than Quantum Physics, Organic Chemistry, Micro-neurosurgery, or the mysterious Black Holes of the outer universe will ever be.



bluepitbull said...

Good for you taking on the people who call Creationism illogical. Saying that it is seems to be an insult to those who believe in the first place.

As the weather warms to frying here in San Antonio, I took my visiting mother to the Mission Trail. Along with all of the old Spanish Missions were azaleas, prairie fire, star of texas, sunflowers, juniper, elm, cedar, acacia, and other plants I took in but can't remember the names of now.

For me, there had to be an architect, as you say, responsible for all of that beauty and serenity.

Sandy said...

Susannah, I just love you!

Our whole family worked on a jigsaw puzzle this winter. We can work on a big puzzle on and off for days, sometimes weeks, sorting the edges, then the colors, etc., connecting them all and creating a beautiful scene that fits precisely together - would it make more sense for someone to walk in, look at the finished product, and think that someone, anyone, noone, just tossed all the pieces in the air and they magically wound up perfectly configured? Hmmmm? I think you/we win this philosophical debate.

Meadowlark said...

Seriously, don't you think a lot of atheists (and people who hate cops for that matter) just have problems with any sort of perceived "authority"? They just can't STAND the thought that someone is "above" them.

Sorry, not a very 'thought out' answer, but just wanted to interject the idea.

Cristina M. said...

Thanks for mentioning me...I went to the atheist's blog and made some comments. Of course, beside name calling, he could not bring any proof that evolution is anything else than a false theory.

DeafAtheist said...

Creationism as an answer is intellectually lazy. The truth is we don't know exactly how life is possible. Atheists turn to science to find the answers. Creationists assume the answer is God since there is no other readily available easy answer to every question. God is the "Solver of All Puzzles". With God as our answer we have no reason to keep looking for a real answer. True intelligence isn't in having all the answers... it's in the ability to question what you think you know.

Grandma J said...

For me, I gave up years ago trying to explain my belief in my Creator because he hasn't revealed His plan to us. So to me it boils down to one word. Faith.

Besides, it's the greatest love affair in the universe, something an athiest will never experience.


fuzzys dad said...

You gave some fine examples of why there is a God. I would like to add if you ever witness the miracle of a birth be it Human or animal. You will know there is a God. Or just look at the birds,fish,insects etc.Who but God could have created them.

Grandma J said...

Oh, I meant to comment on the beauty of your flowers! Thanks for sharing.

And JJ would love to romp with your cute Otis

Cristina M. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cristina M. said...

Atheists turn to science??

Let's look at the definition of science:

Formulating an hypotesis or theory based upon observation, testing and the ability to make predictions. Let's take one by one and apply it to the evolution theory.

Observation: does anybody observed that something came to life from a non-life? NO

Testing: is there any test that can be done, whatsoever, that will produce life from non-life? NO

Prediction: are there any predictions that can be made that life can be produced from non-life? NO.

Based on scientific obeservations, testings and predictions we can conclude that evolution is only a theory, a false one.

Who is intellectually lazy?

Joe said...

How a "scientist" can expect that the complexity of a DNA molecule came into existence by the accidental combining of chemicals in some primordial ooze is unbelievable. Why, the most intelligent being on earth, the scientist himself, cannot even replicate that, no matter how hard he tries.

And if he did, that would be evidence for intelligent creation, not atheistic sciencism.

BetteJo said...

I agree with fuzzys dad.
I remember when I was pregnant thinking about and being in awe of all the things that had to happen exactly right to create another human being. Not just 10 fingers and 10 toes but blood flow and chromosomes and organs and the brain ... science? Oh yes. But more importantly to me - a miracle.

Susannah said...

Bluepit~ I'm closing my eyes & trying to imagine the Mission Trail - must have been gorgeous!

Sandy~ right back acha, my precious! I LOVE your puzzle analogy. Thanks for the great mental picture (& keep reading - it'll come up again).

Meadowlark~ Very provocative idea! That's something to really think on, isn't it? (Maybe we'll have to ask one of those folks.)

Cristina~ No. Thank you for initiating this discussion! I meant to drop you a comment letting you know I'd posted this.

DeafAth~ Thanks for stopping by, friend! I'm wondering, though, if you read my post...? I didn't post to get into the creation/evolut. debate. I gave due diligence to the plausibility of empiricism. My concern is not the How?, but the Who?
"The truth is we don't know exactly how life is possible" - EXACTLY! That's why we can't throw out Creationism as a viable theory.
"Atheists turn to science to find the answers" And so do very well-respected Christians - using the noodle that God gave them to put His puzzle together (see Sandy's comment).
"God is the 'Solver of All Puzzles' " Indeed He is (He made the darned thing, see?), and He gave us our brains for a reason. Like Sandy's family, we're sometimes required to marry our faith w/ our intellect -Gosh, did I say that? can it be done??- to solve the puzzles God has laid out for us.
"With God as our answer we have no reason to keep looking for a real answer" Ok, so now I KNOW you didn't read my post...Please see the last green paragraph b4 the pics.
"True intelligence isn't in having all the's in the ability to question what you think you know." Very nicely said. I would add, that true intelligence involves HUMILITY. I would also add that Intelligence is not the end-all-be-all of life either. I would much rather live a gracious, joyful life than an Intelligent one - if I had to choose.

Thanks again for stopping by. Please come back again.

GrandmaJ~ Faith - "the greatest love affair in the universe" - indeed. B/c faith cannot be empirically studied, it's tossed by hard-core scientists/athiests. Seems like a lot to sacrifice in order to hold onto scientific dogma so fiercly, though. (Who are the intolerant & rigid ones, again?)

Oh, & thanks on the flowers, they're just gettin' started! Otis would like to invite JJ for a playdate... :)

Fuzz~ You're right on the $$ here. Of course, I was just tossing out a few of the obvious, for argument's sake. If we tried to list all the examples, Blogger would run us out of town for taking up too much of their space, eh?

Cris~ Interesting line of thinking. And you're right, it is a false theory using this process, b/c you're working deductively. I think perhaps evolution theory works on inductive reasoning as well - taking what we know (scientific facts, laws of matter, etc.) & working backward, kind of like Sandy's family working their puzzle. Using that kind of logic, one could make a pretty convincing case for evolution, though it's all speculative - like you're saying & not "prove-able," per se.

Still, as we're trying to say, it doesn't address the WHO of it all. Like Sandy's puzzle, there simply has to be a larger Hand at work, & it ain't just Darwin's luck. (Your puzzle didn't just fall into place, did it, Sandy?)

In the end, GrandmaJ is right - faith is an experience & a choice. I know, that I KNOW, that God will honor that choice to believe, & give our spirit all the proof we need.

Joe~ I'd forgotten that term "primordial ooze." (Sounds like something you'd find on the shelf @ Toys 'R Us!) You're onto what Cris said - you can't get nuttin' from nuttin' (oops! That is, "Matter can neither be created nor destroyed"). Bingo!

Oh, & wouldn't you have just loved, for one minute to see God's face as those guys unlocked the human genome?? I think it made Him proud! They used what He gave them & put a puzzle together! I wonder, did they give Him any credit?

BetteJo~ Yes ma'am. The best miracle of all!! What a privilege to have been a part of that process. You've made me stop & think of it again. Amazing. It'll make me tear-up if I keep thinking on it...

Thanks, friends for such an interesting discussion here. You're all great!

The Pajama Underground said...

I like that quote: basically if you don't believe in God, you have to believe in MAGIC as the reason everything came into existance!

SarahG said...

Beautiful blog as always.

Listen To John said...

Susannah , I just read your comment on that so called "liberal blog"
Progressive Eruptions

I just came here to tell you that it was SUPERB. It's about time some one told her the truth.
Great job.

Susannah said...

PJ! Isn't it great? Credit to Cristina. Thanks for coming by.

Sarah~ Thanks, dear. I tried to leave you a comment after I read the troubling exchange you had. Couldn't comment - something about 'only members' can comment...Anyway, thanks for coming by & for the follow!

LTJ~ Thank you so much! I appreciate that feedback. Sometimes you just have to say it, don't-cha?

Anonymous said...

Why do you care if people don't believe in God? How does it affect you?

The Wordsmith said...

Susannah I admired your support of Sarah on that "liberal blog" if you want to call it that!
At Progressive Eruptions. We need folks like you to support each other.

Im Here To Say It said...

Amen to what WordSmith said..

Susannah said...

Wordsmith & Im Here~ Thanks for the feedback. We do need to support each other, & we need to be civil with 'the other side' (as Sarah was trying to be).

The ultimate goal is to persuade, to change hearts & minds to our way of thinking, right? (I don't pay attn. to somebody's argument when they're slingin' insults as fast as they can type. In fact, it steeles me to my agenda even more...)

Anyway, thanks again for your support of Sarah & of ME! :)

Z said...

Beautiful tie-in....from your garden, to the atheist discussion about God's existance, to your garden again..indeed, "who can imagine these things in the photos are accidents of nature?" Oops...who invented nature?

Remember the fellow who dared God by saying "I can make anything you can make, including man.." God said "Cool, go ahead!" The man bent down to scoop some dirt into his hands with which to begin... God interrupted "Hey, GET YOUR OWN DIRT!"

OweMe1Cannoli said...

Z said:

"Remember the fellow who dared God by saying "I can make anything you can make, including man.." God said "Cool, go ahead!" The man bent down to scoop some dirt into his hands with which to begin... God interrupted "Hey, GET YOUR OWN DIRT!"

hehe - Can I use this?

I've always likened the atheist take on "the big bang" to "it all started with a sack of atoms" Okay, Who brought the sack?

Susannah said...

Z! "Get your own dirt" !!!! I LOVE that! ;)

Oh, & check out today's post..inspired by you!

OweMe! "Who brought the sack?" !!!! You two are great!

KrisEveland said...

Oh boy, soapbox time for Kris...this is one of my favorite topics.

I have approximately 1000 thoughts rolling around between my ears on this topic and I don't have time to gather them all right now. (H1N1 outbreak and being asked at the last minute to give the message at our midweek service tonight)

So I will be back to comment soon, or I may just blog about it myself.

KrisEveland said...

Ok, so I couldn't condense all my thoughts enough for a comment, so I blogged about it at my site, check it out:

Mullmeister said...

Thanks for showing this to me. Very interesting and good food for thought. But i still have the same question as before. To put things simply, we say the universe could not be created in the big bang or what ever other theory. Point conceded. But once again, if something as complex as the universe cannot just be, then what about God?

Susannah said...

"To put things simply, we say the universe could not be created in the big bang or what ever other theory."
Well, I didn't say that. I think the 'Big Bang' is entirely plausible. My contention is that it didn't "just happen", that it was orchestrated by a larger force, i.e. the hand of God.

"...what or Who is/was the organizing force of such 'laws'? Nature? Of course. I read here: God…"

As for where God came from (again, interesting question), all I can say is what God himself told Abraham: "I Am."

God is God...and my mind can't stretch that far.

Gen. 1:1-2
1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
2Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.


John 1:1-3
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning.
3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.