October 20, 2017

Welcome To The World (Atheist Remix)

Last week Craig Bubeck took at look at a video that has been making the rounds, a video prepared by the Thinking Athiest.  Craig then gave us his counter-narrative. Today, Liturgical Gangsta Daniel Jepsen looks at Welcome to the World–the atheist remix.

By Daniel Jepsen

My child, welcome to this world. Before you grow up, there are a few things we must tell you.

First, you are the chance, random result of certain biological processes, and nothing more.  Your father and your mother were inborn with a desire to spread their own genes, and thus, you are here.  This is why they “love” you. In turn, your parents are also solely the result of the same impersonal drive of their ancestors to competitively reproduce their own DNA.  In truth, just as a chicken is an egg’s way of making more eggs, you are your gene’s way of making more genes.

Oh, you will have false, deluded people who insist on making up stories about life having a purpose beyond this, but they lie. The cosmos is a closed system of matter. There is nothing outside it. Nothing.  The universe simply is. It has no purpose. And your own life, as part of this material universe, likewise simply is. It has no purpose.

Again, because there is nothing outside the universe (or at least nothing that could conceivably affect the universe), then matter is all there is.   You may someday wonder about the “why” of this.  “Where did the matter come from? Why is there something rather than nothing?” But there is no answer to that. The matter simply always existed.  There is no reason why.

Matter exploded into order not through the design or plan of anyone or anything, but solely through an impersonal explosion (again, don’t ask about the who or why of the explosion).  As the matter cooled, it formed itself into galaxies, stars and planets, and then somehow (we haven’t figured this part out yet) it changed into life.  That life evolved without help or design from anyone, and, in time, single cells of bacteria turned into ants, dogs and humans (including you of course).  Life is simply organized matter.

As your young mind learns logic, it will also see the implications of this truth.  You will see, for example, that your sense of free will is an illusion.  Just as we can tell the occurrence of the next comet, we could, if we had all the data, tell the next occurrence of everything, for everything in a closed universe must operate according to the laws of physics working out the results of the big bang.  Of course, you may feel you can do as you desire.  But you forget that your desires themselves must have a previous material explanation in a closed, material universe.  As one of our great prophets, Nietzsche, said,

If one were omniscient, one would be able to calculate each individual action in advance, each step in the progress of knowledge, each error, each act of malice. To be sure, the acting man is caught in his illusion of volition . . . this assumption that free will exists, is also part of the calculable mechanism.

In other word, my child, your free will is an illusion.  Your own mind will convince you of this if you think through it: in a material world, where your mind itself is simply molecules colliding without reason or purpose, what could the concept of “free will” possibly mean? As another prophet, Skinner, has said, “A person does not act on the world, the world acts on him”.

Since this is so, it follows that no actions can be “good” or “evil”. They simply are.  The Prophet Nietzsche again:

We don’t accuse nature of immorality when it sends us a thunderstorm, and makes us wet: why do we call the injurious man immoral? Because in the first case, we assume necessity, and in the second a voluntarily governing free will. But this distinction is in error.

Therefore, we will not punish you for being “bad” nor reward you for being “good”, for you had no choice in the matter. In any case, who are we to say what is “good” or “bad”?  We are simply pre-determined bodies of organized molecules like yourself. The only thing we have chosen by free will is to believe in a closed, materialistic universe that makes free will impossible.

As your mind grows, you will also need to make sure to not be deluded by the idea of “truth.”  Certainly, some things will seem true.  But remember your origins! Your mind is simply your brain, a physical organ, and it, like the rest of your body, has evolved from non-thinking matter.  And no-one and nothing is there to guide this evolving, other than the unreflective desire to reproduce.  Therefore, your mind evolved, not to find truth, but to reproduce your DNA.  Simply put, we have no reason to believe your mind has any other purpose than your genitals have, and thus no reason to think the idea of truth (if there is such a thing) matters to the mind.  The Apostle Steven Pinker puts it well:

We are organisms, not angels, and our minds are organs, not pipelines to the truth. Our minds evolved by natural selection to solve problems that were life-and-death matters to our ancestors, not to commune with correctness or to answer any question we are capable of asking.

Exactly. The question to ask is not whether an idea is “true” but whether it is “useful” to spreading your DNA.  (You may wonder if this makes our worldview self-defeating; it’s is best not to think too much about that. It is not useful).

This is the glorious world you have been born into.  Do not be deceived by those claiming you have value because you are human, or made in the image of some imaginary god.  The only difference between yourself and a fly is that your genetic information is more organized, just as a car is more complex and organized than a bike. In reality, they are both just matter. To be sure, sometimes one is more helpful than the other to get around in, but that all depends on whether you live in the Texas countryside or in downtown Hong Kong.  In reality, the matter in you (and thus, you yourself) is not more valuable than the matter in a corpse or a stone of the same size.  Of course, this applies to the other people you will meet also. Everyone and everything is the same: simply matter. And when you die, nothing will remain of you except a few memories in a few other bodies of soon-to-be dead matter.

My child, in keeping all these things in your mind from the start, you will be one of the few to rise above the herd and see clearly.  Even some of our fellow atheists still cling stubbornly and inconsistently to foolish notions of human freedom, human meaning, absolute truth, and all the accompanying nonsense of morality, justice and purpose.  BE CONSISTENT! Then you can end up like our great martyr Nietzsche, who bravely endured the insane asylum for his consistency. Yes, you will find for yourself the greatness seeing the world like the wise skeptic Mark Twain did near his death:

A myriad of men are born; they labor and sweat and struggle; … they squabble and scold and fight; they scramble for little mean advantages over each other; age creeps upon them; infirmities follow; … those they love are taken from them, and the joy of life is turned to aching grief. It (the release) comes at last—the only unpoisoned gift earth ever had for them—and they vanish from a world where they were of no consequence,…a world which will lament them a day and forget them forever.

Yes, my child, welcome to the world!

 

 

Comments

  1. Now I think that this is meant to be satire and a straw-man of atheists in response to the previous video, but I have to take you up on one point. When it comes to the big bang and the creation of the universe you are claiming that atheists say “…don’t ask about the who or why of the explosion.”

    This is incorrect. I have never heard of an atheist who would say this. Instead, atheists say “We don’t know what happened before the big bang, we don’t understand physics well enough yet. Here is a Nobel Prize if you can figure it out.” There are countless scientists and physicists trying to figure out what happened before the big bang, or even how to discover a way to figure out what might have happened before.

    Also, I don’t get the Nietzsche part, are you saying that atheism drives you crazy?

    • I was adopting the view of the consistent athiest, that is, strict metaphysical naturalism. This is distinct from the voice of the scientist (though some people will be both). As far as i know, metaphysical naturualists do not seek to spend much time asking about the who or why of the big bang, but simply the when and how.

    • But you are right, it is intended to be a satire, not an impartial examination of a particular worldview. My goal was not to fight fire with fire, but simply to make the point that all of us who desire to consintently embrace a worldview have intellectual issues and problems. Not for a moment do a think theism is without these. But, and this is what i intended to get across, i dont think any wholistic worldview is without problems of a similiar (or greater) weight.

  2. While Christians (well, some of us) would immediately object to Thinking Atheist’s “Welcome to the World” video as a false oversimplification of Christianity, I doubt too many of them will object to this depiction of an atheist cosmos—although to be fair, it’s an awfully long script for a five-minute video.

  3. Hi all,

    Scripts, scripts, scripts – we are profoundly shaped by the scripts that we wish to believe. The catch 22 is that in order to say that other scripts are delusions, such as Christianity, one must be prepared to say that it’s possibly true.
    But it’s an enjoyable post, which I quite liked.

    Yuri

  4. Matthew Johnston says:

    Hello Ya’ll,

    Where abouts is Chaplain Mike?

    Thanks

  5. Jack Heron says:

    I’m going to object here. While I don’t like the original ‘Welcome to the World’ video, you don’t beat puerile mockery with more mockery. I’m haven’t been an atheist for a good while, but I wouldn’t have recognised the ideas here even when I was.

    Atheism, for the most part (and I know there are loud-mouthed idiots in all belief systems including atheism, so don’t give out those as example) is not about what so many Christians think it is about: denying beauty or meaning, rubbishing the big questions, taking the easy materialist way out. Atheism is as follows: the lack of belief in a higher power. That’s it. That’s all. While many atheists object to the actions of various religious groups (and who here doesn’t?), that’s not the same as thinking religious people are deluded, grasping fools. While many atheists think that the search for a higher meaning distracts us from finding meaning of our own, that’s not the same as thinking that there is no meaning and it’s all just a blank void. While many atheists think the spiritual side of humanity has developed merely as part of our psychology, that’s not the same as thinking that any search for a spiritual life is worthy of dismissal.

    Most atheists I have met – both when I was one and since I became a Christian – did not become so by some grudge against the church, some wish to be special or some deep despair at the universe. They became so simply because they did not find that the reasons people gave for the existence of God were convincing.

    If we want interfaith dialogue (and we must, to live in this world), that dialogue must include atheists. Those among us who like to characterise atheists as immoral, Nietzsche-loving haters are as much an obstacle as those atheists who categorise all Christians as raving fundamentalist nutcases.

    Atheism is rational, consistent and capable of being quite sensible. I think it’s quite incorrect, but that doesn’t refute the previous sentence. We here have taken offence at a caricature of our faith: why must we caricature another’s lack of it?

    • Thank you for your explanation of what most atheists believe. While not an atheist myself, I now consider myself a “God-fearing agnostic,” after exiting “the post-evangelical wilderness.” I cannot rationally NOT believe in a creator; I just cannot describe that creator with my limited human mind. The God of the universe must be infinitely greater and more complex than any attempts to describe that God, whether in the Christian scriptures or in the writings of any other religious people.

      • Oddly, it is the Christian scriptures themselves which tell us He is way bigger than the scriptures can ever portray. Eye has not seen, ear has not heard…

        • Yes, I do believe in God, the Creator, but this God I believe in is not a “He,” and cannot be described in anthropomorphic terms. I’m coming to terms with being comfortable realizing I cannot know the unknowable. I can only marvel at the mysterious. This is more comfortable to me than trying to force myself to continue to believe unquestioningly in all I was taught in church and Sunday School.

          • I think the He and, yes, the She of God are attributes of that being and that being made in God’s image we have those attributes. The rub is that we percieve them from an earthly standpoint with partial blinders on. In heaven there is neither male nor female so the genders apparently morph into something eye has not seen and ear has not heard. We are made in the image of God but images can also be illusive constructs used to sort out, in a practical way, the incomprehensible. He, I think, points generally to the advance and outward movement of God and the she to the wisdom and receptive nature. These constructs match what we have known about male and female since childhood and are easy to appreciate. They are stepping stones to help us approach the unapproachable.

    • Jack, thanks for your thoughts. I wrote this piece not to caricature anyone, but to answer satire with satire. Of course no athiest would put their beliefs in these words, just as no christian I know would parrot the nonsense of the first video. Every worldview has things that are intellectually troublesome (especially presuppositions), and it is good to point these out.

      I do think, however, that satire sometimes is a useful tool to get us to re-examine our beliefs. In this case, I really do feel a strict, metaphysical naturalism is self-defeating. Satire makes this point perhaps more clearly than a more dispassionate approach.

      • Jack Heron says:

        I see where you’re coming from, Daniel, but the trouble is that religious debates (and recently, debates between the religious and non-religious) are so often dominated by the fringe elements to which both the original video’s description and your reply to it could easily apply. Satire when people understand that it’s satire is excellent, but satire when it merely feeds into the dominant picture of adversarial mud-slinging is usually counter-productive. Right now, I would suggest that the best response to satire is to turn the other cheek and answer it with thoughtfulness.

  6. Jack, thank you so much. I was directed to this by a Christian friend. I had not seen the original video until now, and while I am not sure I agree with your characterization of it as puerile, or even that I agree with your characterization of the response as equally so (I actually think this response is well written), I agree with just about everything else you have said.

    I recently posted a similarly irreverent, somewhat sarcastic piece of atheist/agnostic propaganda on my FB page and got a range of responses, some of them quite offended. Here’s the thing. There is a HUGE difference between poking at/questioning, even lampooning, *ideas*, and insulting PEOPLE. I think the ability to critically examine one’s own belief system is critical to integrity, living well and doing good. To sometimes be made uncomfortable, even by a warp of one’s own principles, is a GOOD thing. There IS somethliing fatalistic about a lack of faith. That is not a value judgment but an assessment of what it means to think empirically and to live without faith. There IS a tendency among humans to need and want a ‘greater being,’ regardless of the truth or lack thereof of such a being, to deal with one’s relationship to self, the universe, and everything in between.

    I find both the original video and this response both to be valuable, if only because of the thought and questioning each provokes.

    I am also thankful for and respectful of your ability to accept, understand and respect belief systems you do not share.

    Thank you for your comment.

    (an agnostic)

    • Maggie, thanks for that. I agree with you. I actually deleted a few sentences that were too sarcastic, because satire can too easily turn into insults.

  7. One technical correction (or maybe not so technical): Many atheists would follow the existentialist line that the “meaning” of life must be chosen by each person (i.e., you decide what your “purpose” is), and not imposed by some outside source such as God.

    • Indeed. Atheists certainly don’t think that life has no meaning, at least not enthusiastic ones. Most would say that we are free to create meanings and not have them imposed upon us. And many would say that free from the fear of an imaginary God, we can embrace the limited scope of our lives for what it is and enjoy it for what it is, with no false pretenses. This allows us to accomplish something real and satisfying.

    • Blake, you are right that a person can try to find his own meaning without one given from the outside. Nietsche (and others like him) would of course find this foolish, since your thoughts are determined, and not free. My problem with the idea of chosen-meaning as opposed to given-meaning is that if we are only highly organized matter, then on what criteria can i say that one purpose of my life is to be chosen over another? Why choose philanthropy over consumerism, or seeking knowledge over dissipation? I have never seen a persuasive answer to that question that is consistent with the premise that I am simply matter and everything else is also.

  8. Very thoughful rebutal. Atheists make me sad…they are wounded and I can’t help them, except to pray for them.

  9. Maybe the next remix can be something saying to the child what we think the world and God really IS all about!

    I think many atheists are very brave people. They get up every day and do their best to make the world a better place, also believing that when they die, that is the end for them. They find meaning in their love for their friends and family, in doing good work, in enjoying the good things of the earth. I am talking about “healthy” atheists. I am not talking about people that are mired with hatred toward a church environment that may have done them terrible damage. If someone told me that we had it all wrong and that this life is all there is, at this point in my life anyway, that would be OK with me. But I do think Jesus got it right. 😉

    And…maybe you will see atheists “in heaven.” Why? Because they loved the unlovely. Because they did the work of God, helping the helpless. I know why I can be wrong on this on so many levels, but I think it is a good way to believe as we live on this earth with so many that do not believe the same creeds that we do. I can say the Apostles Creed and believe it and pray every day to be more conformed to the person God intends me to be and yet…a non-Christian can be more loving and more Jesus-like than I am.

    • One more Mike says:

      Joanie your last paragraph is a gem. I often think of Matthew 8:11&12:

      “…I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (ESV) … especially when I hear the squalling about Mormonism & Atheism & Islam & that goes on everywhere I turn. I try to treat everyone I meet like I would “angels unawares” because someday I will be right. Yes, they’ll come from the east and west and far be it from me to sort them out and split them up.

  10. In the battle between strawmen, nobody wins.

    • Unless its on TV. Then somebody gets to make money off it.

    • Dumb ox, i tried not to make this too much of a straw man ( while still keeping the satire). For instance, Nietsche really did say the quotes, and meant them. And it it is not without reason he is often thought of as being different than other athiests in simply being more willing to follow the logical conclusions of his beliefs.

  11. I believe the answer is finding points of dialogue with atheists. A good place to start may be Tony Campolo’s “Partly Right”, in which he devotes one chapter to Nietzsche. In reading Camus’ “Myth of Sisyphus”, I find an odd parallel between his quest for life in spite of the absence of hope and the Christian/Lutheran view of one man’s quest for a gracious God in spite of ones utter sinfulness.

    Another interesting study is Einstein’s analysis of science and religion and the rebuttals provided by Bishop Fulton Sheen and that by Paul Tillich. Bishop’s Sheen harshly criticized Einstein, ridiculing his cosmic religion as comic religion. In contrast, Paul Tillich began his response by encouraging Einstein to not base his criticisms on out-dated religious views no longer held by most Christians; he then defended the belief in a personal God in a way which attempts to find common ground with Einstein’s views. Although Tillich’s theology is not with out its own flaws, I think he demonstrates how to respond to communicate with those with whom one disagrees.

    • dumb ox, I have a collection of some favorite quotations and two of them are from Einstein:

      “I want to know God’s thoughts; the rest are details.” (Albert Einstein)

      “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.” (Albert Einstein)

  12. The harshest commentary on Atheism comes from the psalms – The fool has said in his heart, ‘there is no God’. Not too nuanced. That doesn’t make me much more than a fool, in fact I’m mostly a bloomin’ idiot but the scriptures certainly don’t mince words on the ‘no God’ stance. In fact you can’t find, to my knowledge, an other side of the coin type scripture on this subject. Basically if you start with ‘no God’ you are being double dumb. It’s just dumb.

  13. For what it’s worth, I thought Craig’s reponse to the video last week was spot on, both in content and in tone.

    I also think that in intellectual argumentation, we need not only a good defense, but to occasionally go on the offense, as Jesus did with his opponents in Matthew 22:23-46. He did this, as best I can tell, not to show them up, but to create the cognitive dissonance needed to open their minds and re-examine their beliefs.

  14. I just found this article by Rob Moll entitled “Saved by an Atheist”, which describes he was lead to Christianity through the writings of Albert Camus. He also includes quotes from Alister McGrath’s book, “Twilight of Atheism”, where he describes the atheism that emerged during the Enlightenment as “one of the greatest achievements of the human intellect, capable of capturing the imagination of generations.” I think this article describes better what I was trying to say in my earlier comment.

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/august/28.40.html?start=1

  15. I was going to offer a critique here, but I arrive to find that it is not needed. I suppose I could offer the idea of Humanism as a source of ethics, the idea that nihilism is a flavor of atheism, just as Jehovah’s Witnesses are a flavor of Christianity, and so on. But I find that this has already been done. So thank you all.

    I woke up around 3:30 this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I started reading here. I was thinking about things and I realized that I envy Christians. Believing or not believing never felt like a choice, instead it simply fell out of who I am as a person. And it feels like you guys get an extra security blanket that I don’t. A sense of purpose that you don’t have to come up with on your own. Knowing that you are loved, even in the darkest times, without having to go find your pet. I don’t know if this is a grass is greener, but it feels that belonging to a religion would make life easier philosophically. It kind of makes me wish that I could believe in an afterlife.

    • Jason writes, ” Knowing that you are loved, even in the darkest times, without having to go find your pet.” I like that, Jason. And your statement of “It kind of makes me wish that I could believe in an afterlife” I think is true of many people who find they cannot believe in God. I think when God shows Himself in all his glory, many folks who heard about God but didn’t “know” Him, will say, “There you are, at last! I wanted to believe, but I didn’t know how. Now I see that you are all and more than I hoped you would be. Please accept the life that I lived, doing my best to live by The Golden Rule in spite of not knowing if you were real or not.”

  16. strangertides says:

    I think the problem with both the original video and the remixed script is the underlying message that asks “how could you possibly believe this?” I’ve heard this called the “argument from personal incredulity” – in other words, if I personally can’t imagine this being true, then it must not be true.

    I think it’s clear that there’s not much force to this argument – after all, there is _something_ that is literally true about the universe, no matter how many people sincerely believe otherwise. There is no reason to believe that the truth is necessarily something that is easily imagined or easily accepted by human minds.

    • Strangertides,

      Actually, I do think the argument has some force. In fact, underneath the satire, three arguments are made, all in the valid deductive form called Modus Tollens. A Modus Tollens argument takes this form:

      Premise 1: If A, then B
      Premise 2: not B
      Conclusion: therefore, not A

      In other words, the first premise states that if one thing is true, then a second thing is also true. Premise 2 states that the second thing is not true. Therefore, the first thing cannot be true also.

      Here is an example from the textbook, Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric:

      1. If blacks are genetically less intelligent than whites, then mixed racial blacks should have higher test scores than pure blacks.
      2. They don’t have higher test scores than pure blacks.
      3. Therefore, blacks aren’t genetically less intelligent than whites.

      Note, this is a valid, inductive argument. If the two premises are true, the conclusion must follow.

      Underneath the satire, I make three arguments of this type. Here they are:

      Argument 1:
      Premise 1: if metaphysical naturalism is true, then we cannot have free will.
      Premise 2: we do have free will.
      Conclusion: Therefore, metaphysical naturalism is not true.

      Argument 2:
      Premise 1: if metaphysical naturalism is true, then humans do not have unique worth.
      Premise 2: Humans do have unique worth
      Conclusion: Therefore, metaphysical naturalism is not true.

      Obviously, the question is whether the premises are true. In each argument, I have assumed the second premise and not argued it, because I think most people have an intuitive sense that they are true. Of course, someone is welcome to argue against these if they will. In any case, the form of the argument is valid, and the question is whether the premises are true.

      A third argument I make implicitly is this:

      Argument 3:
      Premise 1: if metaphysical naturalism is true, then we have no basis for making truth claims.
      Premise 2: the phrase, “metaphysical naturalism is true” is itself a truth claim, so truth claims must be possible.
      Conclusion: therefore, metaphysical naturalism is not true.

      In this case, I don’t see how the second premise could be denied, so the question comes back to whether a brain that evolved solely to reproduce is able to make metaphysical truth claims.

      My satire, then, does less to prove these arguments than to bring the arguments into the mind, so that they can be weighed and evaluated. If satire like this can cause at least a few people to wrestle with the logical implications of their beliefs, then my time has not been wasted.

      • strangertides says:

        Thanks for the reply – just to be clear, I wasn’t saying that those specific arguments have no force (although as you say, we could debate whether the “premise 2” statements are really true or not).

        The argument I was referring to is where you have statements like: “The universe simply is. It has no purpose.” Your goal in stating this (correct me if I’m wrong) is to get your audience to think about it and say – “But that’s ridiculous! It just _can’t_ be true!” The same strategy was used, of course, in the original video – making statements designed to evoke this kind of reflection. And my point is that the fact that a particular reader just can’t imagine that something could be true is no proof at all – it only reveals the limits of the reader’s imagination.

        • humanslug says:

          But the matter of whether or not the universe has meaning or purpose behind it hasn’t been proven (scientifically or otherwise) one way or the other. And that question is probably not going to get a definitive, universally-accepted answer any time soon.
          So when you’re dealing with something that’s unproven and very quite possibly unprovable, then who’s to say that emotion and intuition aren’t as good a guides as any — particularly if the Creator of the universe turns out to be more of an emotionally-motivated person than a purely objective intelligence (as scripture certainly seems to suggest).

  17. Hi All,

    There’s a wonderful scene from Ayn Rand’s, “The Fountainhead,” which is a conversation between Edward Tooley and Howard Roark. The dialogue follows as: Ellsworth Toohey: “Why don’t you tell me what you think of me…?” Howard Roark: “But I don’t think of you.”

    I would respond in the like manner. If someone were to ask me what I think of Catholicism or the Pope, then I’d reply, “I don’t think of them.” It is a waste of time trying to prove or disprove the theological system of another. What matters is what each one thinks of Christ. Of course some people don’t think of Christ, but I do. So for me, to walk into a discussion of the endless minutia of a system like Catholicism is meaningless and vanity.

    I decided some time ago that all denominations have a tendency toward cultist behavior, and what truly matters is how each one responds to and comes to a knowledge of Christ.

    Yuri

    • Oops this response was meant for the “Top Ten Things People Hate About the Catholic Church” post. Please ignore my comments thanks!

      • Quixotequest says:

        Your point (though I’m not fan of Rand *smile*) still speaks truth for this subject: It works just as well for one approach of some kinds of athiests; they don’t affirm their worldview from rigorous intellectual, scientific, rational and/or philosophical probing. (And I’m not saying they must only that it is pragmatic to realize and engage authentically with the obvious that many don’t.) Many athiests live comfortably with the unknown and unmined commitment to the basic affirmation of their worldview: “I don’t think about God and see no evidence for why I should.”

        That willing irrationality is also a valid pragmatic perspective of theistic faith, even as a fallback after one has gazed into the mystery and the darkness and concluded no certainty – but ceded a willing fondness for Truth and Beauty thereafter in spite of it.

  18. The odd thing is how much evangelicalism is influenced by the dark side of atheism, where if there is no eternity, then all that matters is the here-and-now. Evangelicals spin this secularism into sermons on sex, prosperity, financial success, happy, shiny families, and cultural warfare. Such pragmatism is a by-product of cynicism toward any belief in the ultimate meaning in life. Many atheists rose above such cynicism while many evangelicals have plummeted to its depths.

    • Quixotequest says:

      Amen. The Believer who has embraced the hope of the resurrected, redeemed material creation has affirmed the desire for Truth and Beauty over and against the many reasonable arguments against it. The bridge to understanding with the non-cynical, hopeful non-theist is not so far as it is with the “neo-Gnostic” worldview of the evangelical Christian who has resolutely moored his/her ship on a pessimism toward the material world into which God condescended so that His glory and grace could triumph, and so that we may better know Him.