There have been many arenas in which this thorny issue theism vis-a-vis atheism has been addressed. It has been addressed in rigorous philosophical terms – mostly pitting one [or a group] person’s philosophical mind against another’s – and at the day, makes absolutely no difference in anybody’s thinking. I have read, and In fact, been to some of the most poignant debates on this matter and seen both scholars do extremely well, drawing spontaneous applause from the audience in the course of the debate and at the end of it all, everybody walks out of the building very impressed but no real change to their way of thinking.
Case in point: you take a look at these gentlemen, Dr. John Polkinghorne and Stephen Hawking, and you come to the definite conclusion that, broken down to the bare bones, this isn’t really an intellectual battle. Dr. Polkinghorne was a mathematical physicist for many years at Cambridge whiles Stephen Hawking holds the Lucasian chair of Mathematics at Cambridge – the famed chair once held by Sir Isaac Newton. Both of these men are well recognized in their fields of study. Stephen Hawking is an agnostic… John Polkinghorne is an avowed theist.
What this ends up proving is that there is adequate intellectual material available for both sides of the argument. And anyone who thinks he’s either avowed it or disavowed the notion of a supreme being purely for intellectual reasons betrays a prejudice and a lack of understanding of the matter at hand.
I’m going to come at it from a social and personal perspective. My first follow up post on why God? Reasons why it is difficult for me not to belief in God and implications of my beliefs. I might not exhaust all points with this post but questions and useful inputs – however dissenting – are welcome provided it is kept civil.
Argument for Design – The Big Bang Theory!
We are told the universe started with the BIG bang and I find it quite interesting that nobody really ever discusses who banged it (At least I have sought for some more answers and I have not as yet gotten any explanations for it). We are also told, from that emerged the universe, the galaxy and everything in it. Proponents of this theory claim it happened by sheer chance! (Sounds very cool).
And it so happens that one of the resultant galaxies produced our solar system in which earth finds itself. Conditions on earth JUST happened to be so perfect for life to begin on it. Perfection everywhere by chance – the perfect distance away from the sun; any closer, life won’t survive the heat; any farther, we will all die from the cold. Then again I asked how all these random occurrences happened in such perfection, and the range of answers I got had ‘Oh! it just Happened’ as a prominent feature …. Truth is, none of my questions reached any member of atheistic intelligentsia but those who cared to answer my questions were folks to whom belief in God was a near impossibility. Hope I get pardoned!
…okay lets go with that for a minute. They also go on to say a mixture of gases and lightening, somehow caused the first life on earth to start. Randomly! And from that single life, through macro-evolution [darwin’s origin of species], that cell [life] went through various processes of evolution and has evolved into YOU & ME. So in effect, we [modern man] came into being by a random chance. Purposeless lumps of carbon, mind machines, meaningless by-products of the universe, matter & time & chance. So let’s go with this and try and understand exactly what it means to our existence and personhood.
If I should believe all that the naturalists say, then I would come to the safe conclusion that human beings are essentially of no value. We have no meaning. We are accidents.
The universe banged a certain way and somehow we’ve come here. A collection of physical matter. Nothing more, nothing less. This line of thinking has very damning consequences. It means we’ve come here to survive. We happened to exist because of our aggression. Natural selection which also means natural rejection. The logic of this is pretty simple, if I could as well rationalize that, in order to survive, when I feel conditions are not too favorable for me, I would have to weed out the weak so I can survive better. So the logical outworking of it is that, if I take a cutlass and chop you off into pieces, just because I can, I would’ve done nothing wrong really. I have nobody to account to. I came here by aggression and I will survive by aggression. The worse that could possibly happen is that, a stronger force would also sniff out my life.
Responding to my earlier statement in a discussion on this matter so time back, the maverick Karen Yartey [@aghanaiangirl on @twitter] had this to say;
“The issue with humans is that we think we are that special or important so our existence has to be something beyond chance.”
“Science doesn’t claim to know everything like religion does, science seeks to find answers. We ask the question why. Many creationists say ‘no one knows what caused the big bang therefore its God’… it’s the desire to attribute every unknown thing to a divine being(s) instead of searching for answers.
“We’re no different from any mammal around. We all have a place here on this earth, no one is important than another…
“You have more to fear from person who will do anything an imaginary being tells him to do, including kill than one who believes in natural selection. You don’t need a god to tell your life is precious, animals raise their young and take care of them, they have families and establish relationships because they know life is precious.” she added.
Very interesting! My response to this will be in the next post since it appears I have reached my quota for this post. So let me quickly round up my earlier point.
For a minute, let’s assume God exists. If GOD exists, then it means YOU & I, and everybody else on earth are here for a purpose. No human is an accident… We are more than a mere collocation of atoms and carbon particles… Your very existence is of worth. And there sure was a reason why you weren’t born 1500years ago but now. Your life is precious, mine is… (then again, not everybody will come to this conclusion.. but that’s okay). I will end here. Drop comments, questions, counter-arguments and suggestions in the comment box down there. All will be factored in my next post. Peace!