The Summit Lecture Series: Making Sense of Your World with John Stonestreet, Part 13

The Summit Lecture Series: Making Sense of Your World with John Stonestreet, Part 13 September 21, 2016

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“One can’t prove that God doesn’t exist, but science makes God unnecessary. The laws of physics can explain the universe without the need for a creator.”

– Stephen Hawking

This is a quote from a guy who is considered one of the smartest, if not THE smartest man on the planet. Yet, you can see his Naturalistic predisposition embedded within his quote.

You see, as the idiom goes, to a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Therefore, to a Naturalist, every looks natural. To a naturalistic physicist, everything looks like the laws of physics.

What I found most interesting about Mr. Hawking’s quote was that, within the context of this interview, as he threw out this philosophical statement claiming that everything can be explained by the laws of physics, he went on in the very next paragraph to say:

“…but, I don’t take that belief home with me because it makes for awkward relationships.”

So, wait a minute… if EVERYTHING can be explained by the laws of physics, then relationships should also be able to be explained by the laws of physics. But they can’t.

You won’t ever see me pull my little daughter up on my lap as I look into her deep eyes and tell her, “The laws of physics tell me that I love you.”

Yet, let’s assume for a second that Mr. Hawking’s assessment of the universe is true. What kind of universe would that be?

Bertrand Russell, one of the top atheistic philosophers of the 20th century put it this way:

“Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve and individual life beyond the grave, that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins… all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”

That just makes you happy to be alive, doesn’t it?

But, here’s the real question. Let’s say that you woke up tomorrow believe that the world we live in was actually as Mr. Dawkins and Mr. Russell describe. How would you live? What lifestyles doe a naturalistic worldview promote?

Here are some of the key ideas and expressions that Naturalism manifests within our culture today:

  • Atheism
  • Agnosticim

Atheism is an attempt to deal with this “God belief” that, in their minds, has plagued human history. At its core, Atheism is a definite statement (A Theos, which means “no God”).  It’s a declarative statement that says that God does not exist.  One leading atheist in America was Madalyn Murray O’hair, who worked stridently to push prayer out of schools, citing “separation of church and state” policies.  She once said,

“There are no supernatural forces or entities, nor can there be any.  Nature simply exists.”

But, here’s what you need to understand: Atheism is not simply a “negative belief”.  It’s not merely someone “not believing in God”.  It’s actually a “positive belief” of “believing only in the world that we have before us”.

Probably the most famous atheist on the planet is Richard Dawkins.  He once said the following:

“To explain the origin of the DNA/protein machine by invoking a supernatural Designer is to explain precisely nothing, for it leaves unexplained the origin of the Designer.  You have to say something like, ‘God was always there’, and if you allow yourself that kind of lazy way out, you might as well just say, ‘DNA was always there’, or ‘life was always there’, and be done with it.”

In other words, if everything came from God, then who created God?

Now, as a scientist, Mr. Dawkins is quite extraordinary.  I disagree with many of his assumptions and therefore his conclusions, but his scientific methodology is quite sound.

Image: A Remonstrant's Ramblings
Image: A Remonstrant’s Ramblings

However, as a philosopher, Richard Dawkins is terrible.

You see, his argument of “God made everything, so who made God” has been handily answered time after time after time.

Richard Deem, in just one case, answers it simply:

“…such logic assumes that time ha always existed, rather than being merely a construct of this universe.”

Another key expression that Naturalism manifests within our culture today is Agnosticism.  While atheism says that there is no God, Agnosticism claims that there is no knowledge about God.  This typically comes in two forms:

Soft Agnosticism.  Which says that I do not have knowledge about God.

Hard Agnosticism.  Which claims that knowledge about God is impossible.

Yet, logically, how is it that you can know that knowledge about God is impossible?

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