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Monday, August 23, 2010

Well, if you put it THAT way

   My favorite atheist, Christopher Hitchens, is extremely confident in his atheism. Would that I were so confident in my theism! He does pose some interesting questions, such as this:

Would we have adopted monotheism in the first place if we had known:

That our species is at most 200,000 years old, and very nearly joined the 98.9 percent of all other species on our planet by becoming extinct, in Africa, 60,000 years ago, when our numbers seemingly fell below 2,000 before we embarked on our true "exodus" from the savannah?

That the universe, originally discovered by Edwin Hubble to be expanding away from itself in a flash of red light, is now known to be expanding away from itself even more rapidly, so that soon even the evidence of the original "big bang" will be unobservable?

That the Andromeda galaxy is on a direct collision course with our own, the ominous but beautiful premonition of which can already be seen with a naked eye in the night sky?

These are very recent examples, post-Darwinian and post-Einsteinian, and they make pathetic nonsense of any idea that our presence on this planet, let alone in this of so many billion galaxies, is part of a plan. Which design, or designer, made so sure that absolutely nothing (see above) will come out of our fragile current "something"? What plan, or planner, determined that millions of humans would die without even a grave marker, for our first 200,000 years of struggling and desperate existence, and that there would only then at last be a "revelation" to save us, about 3,000 years ago, but disclosed only to gaping peasants in remote and violent and illiterate areas of the Middle East?
   Well done, sir! The only answer I can think of, and I know it will not satisfy, is this: That the invitation to a spiritual life with and in the God of this chaotic universe is available as a limited-time offer. It is not intrinsically unfair that at some point something new is offered to those who may have been hitherto unable to acquire it. The issue is not what of the millions who came before, but what of Christopher and Wayne. One perceives a blessing, the other does not.
   For now, we have both made our choices.
Wayne S.
   Quotation is from the Big Questions Essay Series at www.templeton.org.

1 comment:

jjustinn85 said...

And yet, despite the apparent rise of entropy I still see beauty in the "ominous" night sky. And I'm still filled with childlike wonder at those few stories of sacrifice and service to the greater good in books in every culture. There is no good reason for that. I too am a creature of decay, in moral fabric and in mind, and all of my race tends toward darkness when all the cards are handed out. Still, where some see the holocaust, I see that we made it out our certain doom, mostly whole. The other side to the incontrovertible evidence of God's non-existence in the outer universe is His persistent and undeniable presence in our inner one.