Intelligent Design

Oakes: Nietzsche, the Only Honest Atheist

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Ed Oakes has a fabulous essay over at FT.  A taste:

Today, one can hardly find more puffed-up braggarts than those noisy New Atheists currently mounting their soapboxes in Hyde Park, and who seem to labor under the assumption that they are doing the human race a favor by attacking belief in God. In fact, as Nietzsche saw, in his own inimitably ironic way, these atheist frat boys are really attacking science. This is because for Nietzsche—who was perhaps the only truly honest atheist in the history of philosophy—science was ultimately a moral, not an epistemological problem, a point he drove home with special force in The Gay Science (all italics are his):

The question “Why science?” leads back to the moral problem: Why have morality at all when life, nature, and history are “not moral”? . . . [I]t is still a metaphysical faith upon which our faith in science rests—even we seekers after knowledge today, we godless anti-metaphysicians still take our fire, too, from the flame lit by a faith that is thousands of years old, that Christian faith which was also the faith of Plato, that God is the truth, that truth is divine. —But what if this should become more and more incredible, if nothing should prove to be divine any more unless it were error, blindness, the lie—if God himself should prove to be our most enduring lie?

 

In other words, atheist “scientists” are eating away at the very foundation that makes science possible in the first place. If God is “our most enduring lie,” science is inevitably founded on that same lie. After all, science teaches that all stars eventually die out, and with them the planets that orbit them, and once those planets are consumed by the suns that gave them birth, so too will vanish the pathetic creatures that emerged from their respective planetary slimes. Sure, soon after their emergence, they began to invent such high-blown Platonic words like knowledge and truth during their brief strut upon the otherwise empty stage of the cosmos. But so what?

I am not trying to argue here against such a scenario, it being an option impervious to argument anyway, at least among those who have already adopted it as their primary framework for addressing all other questions. (I speak from experience.) But it is a scenario that can hardly be regarded as consequence-free. The battle is still between nihilism and theism. There is no third option.

91 Replies to “Oakes: Nietzsche, the Only Honest Atheist

  1. 1
    pelagius says:

    Barry wrote:

    In other words, atheist “scientists” are eating away at the very foundation that makes science possible in the first place. If God is “our most enduring lie,” science is inevitably founded on that same lie. After all, science teaches that all stars eventually die out, and with them the planets that orbit them, and once those planets are consumed by the suns that gave them birth, so too will vanish the pathetic creatures that emerged from their respective planetary slimes. Sure, soon after their emergence, they began to invent such high-blown Platonic words like knowledge and truth during their brief strut upon the otherwise empty stage of the cosmos. But so what?

    Barry,

    You seem to be saying that science is impossible if our existence is transient. I don’t see how the latter implies the former. Could you elaborate?

    Editors: Barry did not write this. Oakes did.

  2. 2
    Ilion says:

    … The battle is still between nihilism and theism. There is no third option.

    Exactly.

    And, since nihilism inevitably leads us to all sorts of absurdity (including that we ourselves cannot reason), we must, reasonably and logically, reject it … and, rejecting nihilism, reject God-denial.

  3. 3
    Phaedros says:

    I find it funny that the atheists commenting on that essay keep repeating the mantra of “raligious faith is unwarranted and uncritical belief” and “faith is antithetical to reason”.

  4. 4
    Phaedros says:

    oops hit submit too soon-

    As Rodney Stark put it, there is a faith in reason and atheists must have a much stronger faith in their reason if atheism is true than a Christian does.

  5. 5
    Innerbling says:

    Phaedros in 3:
    “I find it funny that the atheists commenting on that essay keep repeating the mantra of “raligious faith is unwarranted and uncritical belief” and “faith is antithetical to reason”.”

    I find it to be extremely sad as in materialistic atheism there cannot be any reason because when that worldview is taken to it’s final conclusion we don’t in fact exists at all only matter and physical laws exist and even those can cease to exist at any moment.

  6. 6
    Phaedros says:

    Innerbling-

    You’re right it’s not funny, it is sad. Ultimately it degrades the value of the human intellect, spirit, and worth.

  7. 7
    paulbaird says:

    Given the excellent evidence that ID appears to have in it’s favour when can we expect Kitzmiller v Dover II (aka Scopes III) ?

  8. 8
    Barry Arrington says:

    pelagius regarding your comment at [1]. I am not saying anything. This is all a quote from Oakes’ essay.

    To your point, I don’t think Oakes is saying science is impossible if our existence is transient and meaninless. He is saying that if our existence is transient and meaningless, science is pointless. If a society becomes convinced that an activity is pointless, then the cultural foundation upon which that activity rests will cease to exist.

  9. 9
    CannuckianYankee says:

    Barry,

    The next charge from the atheists is going to be:

    Well if atheism renders science pointless, then how come there are so many atheists involved in science?

    I would answer that by saying it is because atheists in general have few other options within which to search for meaning. Even though science is really a dead end for such meaning, at least they can pretend that it does. Also, much of the meaning that atheists affirm in their lives is spun off the coattails of theism. Think about it; baseless morality is gathered from the dregs of theists, but they cannot with those dregs produce their own morality. All they do is pick out the parts they like from theistic morality, and leave out the parts they don’t. Then they champion those parts as their own. They’ve done the same thing with science. Science would not be where it is today without a prior theistic rationality and worldview. Now atheists are championing science and rationality as their own.

  10. 10
    CannuckianYankee says:

    I should have added at the end of 9:

    With absolutely no basis for the rationality.

  11. 11
    CannuckianYankee says:

    PaulBaird,

    “Given the excellent evidence that ID appears to have in it’s favour when can we expect Kitzmiller v Dover II (aka Scopes III) ?”

    I’m not certain if you’re being serious or facetious.

    If you want a court to decide what is true for you, then science isn’t a quest for truth. Truth simply becomes the resolve of legislation – a system, which at one time legalized slavery.

    If you want that as your final authority, I wish you good will with it.

    But you spelled it ‘favour,’ so I would assume your life is not even legislated by the us courts.

  12. 12
    CannuckianYankee says:

    Barry,

    Did you forget to create a title for this thread?

  13. 13
    zeroseven says:

    Barry, I assume you agree with Oakes, having described his essay as “fabulous”. I must say, it’s a point I don’t get. I don’t see why the transience and meaninglessness of our existence makes science pointless. In fact, I think that makes it all the more worthwhile. And our existence is only meaningless in respect of the trivial and pointless questions like “why are we here” or “what is our purpose”. I know that personally I find a lot of meaning in my existence and discovering the wonders of the cosmos and our planet is one of those activities that does provide meaning for me during my brief experience of life.

  14. 14
    bevets says:

    But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind? ~ Charles Darwin

    If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. ~ J.B.S. Haldane

    The ultimate irony is that this philosophy implies that Darwinism itself is just another meme, competing in the infectivity sweepstakes by attaching itself to that seductive word “science.” Dawkins ceaselessly urges us to be rational, but be does so in the name of a philosophy that implies that no such thing as rationality exists because our thoughts are at the mercy of our genes and memes. The proper conclusion is that the Dawkins poor brain has been infected by the Darwin meme, a virus of the mind if ever there was one, and we wonder if he will ever be able to find the cure. ~ Phillip Johnson

    The very notion of physical law is a theological one in the first place, a fact that makes many scientists squirm. Isaac Newton first got the idea of absolute, universal, perfect, immutable laws from the Christian doctrine that God created the world and ordered it in a rational way. ~ Paul Davies

    Modern science was conceived, and born, and flourished in the matrix of Christian theism. Only liberal doses of self-deception and double-think, I believe, will permit it to flourish in the context of Darwinian naturalism. ~ Alvin Plantinga

  15. 15
    CannuckianYankee says:

    Zeroseven,

    “I don’t see why the transience and meaninglessness of our existence makes science pointless. In fact, I think that makes it all the more worthwhile. And our existence is only meaningless in respect of the trivial and pointless questions like ‘why are we here’ or ‘what is our purpose’. I know that personally I find a lot of meaning in my existence and discovering the wonders of the cosmos and our planet is one of those activities that does provide meaning for me during my brief experience of life.”

    The problem is that your rendering finding purpose and meaning as ‘trivial’ is subjective. You have no basis for that assessment outside of your own prejudice. The same goes for the meaning that you find in your life. There’s no basis for the meaning, so it’s meaningless. It’s a circular argument – quite tautological: “I find meaning in life because my life is meaningful.” That’s all you’re saying.

  16. 16
    Barry Arrington says:

    zeroseven writes: “I don’t see why the transience and meaninglessness of our existence makes science pointless. . . . And our existence is only meaningless in respect of the trivial and pointless questions like “why are we here” or “what is our purpose”.

    Fascinating comment. The very next sentence in Oakes’ essay after the ones I quoted is: “I am not trying to argue here against such a scenario, it being an option impervious to argument anyway, at least among those who have already adopted it as their primary framework for addressing all other questions.”

    zeroseven proves Oakes’ statement. For whatever reason, he has already adopted the atheistic narrative, and he is impervious to any rational argument that does not fit within his belief system. He displays an unreflective fideism (to atheism) that would have made a medieval churchman blush.

    Let us examine the two assertions in his comment:

    1. “I don’t see why the transience and meaninglessness of our existence makes science pointless.”

    If you cannot see why the meaninglessness of everything means that everything is meaningless, I cannot help you. You are, as Oakes says, impervious to argument.

    2. “And our existence is only meaningless in respect of the trivial and pointless questions like “why are we here” or “what is our purpose”.

    Yes, it is true, that our existence is meaningless only with respect to questions about meaning. You’ve got me there. But your assertion that these questions are “trivial” and “pointless” is absurd on its face. If you were correct, a corollary to your assertion would be that the greatest minds in the history of humanity devoted themselves almost exclusively to “trivial and pointless” questions. You don’t really believe that, no matter how much you continue to whistle in the dark.

  17. 17
    CannuckianYankee says:

    Zeroseven,

    I should have pointed out also that you’re attempting to find meaning out of what you concede is meaningless.

    Read Ecclesiastes if you want a lesson in the futility of human secular endeavor.

    “Futile! Futile!” laments the Teacher,
    “Absolutely futile! Everything is futile!”
    What benefit do people get from all the effort which they expend on earth?
    A generation comes and a generation goes,
    but the earth remains the same through the ages.
    The sun rises and the sun sets;
    it hurries away to a place from which it rises again.
    The wind goes to the south and circles around to the north;
    round and round the wind goes and on its rounds it returns……
    …..All this monotony is tiresome; no one can bear to describe it:
    The eye is never satisfied with seeing, nor is the ear ever content with hearing.
    What exists now is what will be,
    and what has been done is what will be done;
    there is nothing truly new on earth…….
    …….No one remembers the former events,
    nor will anyone remember the events that are yet to happen;
    they will not be remembered by the future generations.
    I, the Teacher, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem.
    I decided to carefully and thoroughly examine
    all that has been accomplished on earth.
    I concluded: God has given people a burdensome task
    that keeps them occupied.
    I reflected on everything that is accomplished by man on earth,
    and I concluded: Everything he has accomplished is futile – like chasing the wind!…….
    ……I decided to discern the benefit of wisdom and knowledge over foolish behavior and ideas;
    however, I concluded that even this endeavor is like trying to chase the wind!
    For with great wisdom comes great frustration;
    whoever increases his knowledge merely increases his heartache.(1:1-18)

    His conclusion?

    There is nothing better for people than to eat and drink,
    and to find enjoyment in their work.
    I also perceived that this ability to find enjoyment comes from God.
    For no one can eat and drink
    or experience joy apart from him.
    For to the one who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy,
    but to the sinner, he gives the task of amassing wealth
    only to give it to the one who pleases God.
    This task of the wicked is futile – like chasing the wind! (2:24-26)

    So God is the basis for meaningful life and enjoyment. Chasing the wind is circular, as the author describes it. The wind simply returns eventually to where it was before. This is the author’s assessment of secular wisdom and toil. It is circular. It has no grounding. The grounding of theism is not circular, because it is not naturalistic. It’s grounded in He who transcends nature.

  18. 18
    CannuckianYankee says:

    Sorry, The Ecclesiastes quote is from The New English Translation (NETbible)

  19. 19
    zeroseven says:

    CannuckianYankee @15, yes I guess that is all I’m saying. Or, to be more specific, I don’t need a “celestial dictator” to give my life meaning. My sense of self and relationships with my fellow humans (and for that matter, non-human animals) are what give my life meaning.

    Barry, yes, I believe those questions are trivial in the sense of not having any meaningful responses. I don’t think my assertion is absurd, I think the questions are. I am not afraid of my lack of consequence in the universe. I don’t need to believe that a divine creator made it just for me. I’m not that arrogant.

  20. 20
    Phaedros says:

    Thanks cannuckianyankee.

  21. 21
    CannuckianYankee says:

    Thanks, Phaedros

    Really, if you think about it, all the tiresome philosophical quests for meaning over the last several hundred years culminate with the wisdom of Solomon. Yet Solomon didn’t simply conclude that all is meaningless. I think he was keenly aware of what naturalism is, and what it leads to. His words are profoundly prophetic to our current circumstance.

  22. 22
    Ilion says:

    B.Arington:He displays an unreflective fideism (to atheism) that would have made a medieval churchman blush.

    I’d have thought that a “medieval churchman” has even less use for fideism than we so-rational moderns do.

  23. 23
    Ilion says:

    Pelagius: You seem to be saying that science is impossible if our existence is transient. I don’t see how the latter implies the former. …

    Oakes didn’t say that our “transience” or the “meaninglessness” of our lives makes ‘science’ impossible.

    What Oaks said (rightly) is that “This atheist scenario [which seeks to explain how ‘science’ fits into the world] undermines science itself;” for, once we, as persons, understand/grasp the “atheist scenario,” then we understand/grasp the utter pointlessness of ‘science,’ or of anything else.

    Continuing on to deeper understanding, it isn’t that we die, that everything dies, that “the universe” will die that explains why the “atheist scenario undermines science itself.” It isn’t the meaninglessness (if atheism is the truth about the nature of reality) of all existence that explains why the “atheist scenario undermines science itself.” It is that, IF atheism is the truth about the nature of reality, THEN materialism/naturalism the truth about the nature of reality … and, IF materialism/naturalism the truth about the nature of reality, THEN all things, including the “thoughts” of scientists, are reducible to, and wholly explicable in terms of, matter-in-motion. If atheism is the truth about the nature of reality, then there are no thoughts: atheism destroys science because atheism destroys thought and reason and knowledge.

    Thank God that atheism is *not* the truth about the nature of reality, and that we *can* think real and true thoughts and can possess/know real and true knowledge.

  24. 24
    mentok says:

    zeroseven

    You’re missing the point. What is “meaning?” If you believe that all of the things you and I think or feel or do in our lives ends in a few short years with our eternal death; if all of the thoughts and things done by mankind end up in the destruction of Earth and all we have done in a relatively short time; if everything that gives meaning to our lives vanishes without a trace in the not too distant future (relatively speaking in the face of eternity) why would anyone want to propagate and defend such a meaningless end to our existence?

    Why is anything you do important if it all ends in a short while with nothingness? Sure, you could say that even though our lives and humanity is a temporary blip on the face of eternity that still we are here and let’s make the best of it. But that is exactly what you oppose. Preaching atheism to try to convince everyone that everything and everyone is existentially doomed is not a sign of someone who has found true meaning in life. Rather it shows someone who sees no meaning in life other than what can be experienced in the moment.

    You say that belief in a “divine creator” who made the “world just for you” is arrogant, and that you don’t need such a belief. No one is saying God made the universe “just for you.” God made the universe because God needed something to do and other people to be with. And if you want to be happy, truly happy, you do need to believe that because it is your only hope for life beyond the end of your body.

    As for the rest of you — faith is not something someone can intellectually decide to have. Atheists generally cannot be changed intellectually. Even if it seems that someone gained faith due to an intellectual argument, you need to understand that the ability to see the truth of God is due to God himself revealing that truth — or hiding it — according to a person’s destiny. No amount of scientific exposition will force someone to see the light if God sees fit to keep them in darkness. I see so much frustration by theists because they cannot understand that what is glaringly obvious to them — is not seen by so many very intelligent people. The truth is obvious, there is no doubt about that, but everyone has their destiny, or karma, to go through. Realize that God is in control of that.

  25. 25
    DiEb says:

    Oakes: Nietzsche – perhaps the only truly honest atheist in the history of philosophy.

  26. 26
    paulbaird says:

    11.CannuckianYankee

    PaulBaird,

    “Given the excellent evidence that ID appears to have in it’s favour when can we expect Kitzmiller v Dover II (aka Scopes III) ?”

    I’m not certain if you’re being serious or facetious.

    If you want a court to decide what is true for you, then science isn’t a quest for truth. Truth simply becomes the resolve of legislation – a system, which at one time legalized slavery.

    If you want that as your final authority, I wish you good will with it.

    But you spelled it ‘favour,’ so I would assume your life is not even legislated by the us courts.

    =================================

    Yes I was being serious.

    US and UK law are inter-linked, if only persuasively.

    If you are serious about advancing ID then you are going to have to deal with this issue, otherwise the whole ID debate belongs in the ivory tower world of academia.

    Certainly any UK government considering allowing the teaching of ID in schools will quickly come up against the objection founded on the US Kitzmiller judgement. This objection is already codified in the guidance issued by the Department for Education, but it could be altered, based on the Michael Gove’s (the new Secretary of State for Education) views on the independence of schools and the role of faith organisations in setting up new schools.

    If the Kitzmiller judgement stands uncontested then that battle is lost before it begins.

  27. 27
    Berceuse says:

    Zeroseven, your entire post is saturated with arrogance. In fact, it’s spoken like the typical “holier than thou” atheist.

  28. 28
    bornagain77 says:

    Countering The New Atheism Of Richard Dawkins – Dan Petersen – 20 minute video
    http://www.tangle.com/view_vid.....03f439f879

    —————–

    Nickelback – Savin’ Me – song
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPc-o-4Nsbk

  29. 29
    tgpeeler says:

    I think much confusion arises from the equivocal use of the word “faith.” In New Testament times, the word meant, basically, either an act of the will, i.e. a choice (based upon sufficient reason) or a body of doctrine that is believed (again, having sufficient reason).

    However, if I go to the M-W online dictionary, I find this phrase as one of the definitions of faith: “firm belief in something for which there is no proof”. This is decidedly NOT what the New Testament writers had in mind when they used the word pistis or pisteuo. However, it seems to me that is often the meaning ascribed to the word in many of these conversations.

    So in 21st century vernacular, as a Christian, I am not a person of faith, I am a person of REASON. It is the atheists who are people of faith in the 21st century meaning of the word.

    Exodus 3:14 “I AM WHO I AM”

    God reveals Himself as the foundation for all rational thought – the Personalization of the First Principles of Reason. He reveals Himself to us, as, among other things, a God of REASON. He IS Being and Identity.

    Small wonder then, that reason is the universal method of acquiring truth. And small wonder that the “new” atheists, or more properly perhaps, the anti-theists, commit the error warned against (violating the Law of Identity) in Isaiah 5:20 “woe to you who call evil good and good evil”. Only they say it like this: I am a person of reason and you are a person of “faith” when it is exactly the opposite that is true. They call their “faith” reason and our reason “faith.”

  30. 30
    DiEb says:

    Perhaps my comment #25 wasn’t clear enough: In the title, at least the missing “s” in Nietzsche’s name should be inserted…

  31. 31
    CannuckianYankee says:

    Paulbaird,

    Thanks for the response.

    I just don’t believe ID’s merits are going to be decided by a court. If we allow them to, then we have no right to call ID science.

    What has to happen is a paradigm shift.

    The old school dies out, and a new generation that is more ID friendly comes to the reigns. It’s not really our fight. Our fight is in presenting ID, and that’s all. Forget Kitzmiller. If ID advocates have the better argument, then it will catch on among the young, and they will earn degrees, and get teaching positions, and soon enough the science academy will no longer be populated by an atheistic majority. I think the whole Wedge strategy, if you want my honest opinion, was wrongheaded. All ID advocates really need to do is present ID in the best light and with the most rigor. The legislation and the politics will take care of itself.

  32. 32
    CannuckianYankee says:

    mentok,

    Re: 24,

    I agree with everything you stated except for this:

    ‘God made the universe because God needed something to do and other people to be with.’

    Perhaps you didn’t mean to say this. But as I understand the Godhead, he is in need of nothing. If he needed anything, He wouldn’t be God. What He creates is out of His own pleasure. This is why I believe the concept of the Trinity, because in it God is self sufficient, yet personal.

    Anyway, a little off topic, but I liked your response.

  33. 33
    VMartin says:

    Do you know that Nietzsche ridiculed “struggle for existence” and Darwin?

    Have a look at “Friedrich Nietzsche’s Anti-Darwin”:

    http://cadra.wordpress.com/

  34. 34
    CannuckianYankee says:

    tgpeeler,

    Re: 29

    Excellent post. The definition for faith commonly employed today is perhaps in light of new age belief systems, which are really anti-faith in the Christian sense of the term. We don’t just believe for belief’s sake, we believe because it is reasonable. Reasonable faith leads to reasonable thinking. The opposite of that is simply belief without reference to thorough inquiry, which leads to error. Religious cults such as Heaven’s Gate or destini depend on information that is not in the least verifiable. People who follow them are not acting out of faith in the Christian sense, but out of uncritical blind compliance.

  35. 35
    tgpeeler says:

    Cannuck @ 33
    Thanks, and exactly. A careful reading of the gospels, Acts, heck, all of the New Testament, reveals a constant drumbeat of empirical evidence. We have seen. We have heard. We have touched with our own hands. And so on. There are no privleged truth claims, scientific or religious. All must stand before The Two Towers of reason and evidence. Or so I say. (Pardon the LOTR reference. The devil made me do it.) 🙂

  36. 36
    CannuckianYankee says:

    zeroseven

    Re: 19

    Relationships have meaning though, because there is something about them, which we sense as more than temporal. They are more than simply our means to survive. And even if we do view them as simply that, our drive to survive suggests that we are not surrendering to the ultimate realization of our demise, So we act in rational contradiction to the outcome of the natural life-cycle process. That’s all you’re really doing. It has no more meaning than a line of gibberish. Your attempt to find meaning in your life, then is a rational contradiction, if you don’t believe rationally that there is something beyond the mundane naturalistic temporal existence, which eventually fades away, never to be thought of again.

    But no, as an atheist, you seem to think you’re above what in human history has been the plague of the thoughtful for millenia – an attempt to rise above mere human existence to higher plains of reality.

    Neitzche proposed the idea of an Ubermensch, which was a notion that humans as a species could rise above the circumstantial meaninglessness to life’s existence through some sort of human enlightenment. The Ubermensch was his atheistic answer to what he viewed as theistic ‘otherworldly’ aspirations.

    Theists aren’t otherworldly, but realistic about being human. We’re not attempting to reinvent ourselves into some sort of super human species or Ubermensch, but attempting to become more human; more Christlike. Not even Ubermensch leads anywhere beyond the temporal and mundane. It’s simply meaningless, because it starts from the circumstance of human temporal existence, and attempts to find meaning – just like what you’re attempting to do. You don’t get something out of nothing.

    You may protest and say: “But wait a minute, I do have meaning in my life,” but that is merely because you are no different as an atheist than the multitude who has gone before, in striving for something that keeps you from surrendering to your ultimate demise.

    ‘He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.’ (Eccl 3:11)

  37. 37
    StephenB says:

    tgpeeler @34:

    Exactly right.

    The Gospels may be interpreted in abbreviated fashion as, “We saw, felt, and touched the power of God for ourselves AND SO DID HIS ENEMIES, who verified every word of it by attributing it to the forces of hell.

  38. 38
    suckerspawn says:

    Now faith is the SUBSTANCE of things hoped for, the EVIDENCE of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

  39. 39
    tgpeeler says:

    suckerspawn – one of my favorite verses. 🙂

  40. 40
    StephenB says:

    —zeroseven: “I don’t think my assertion is absurd, I think the questions are. I am not afraid of my lack of consequence in the universe. I don’t need to believe that a divine creator made it just for me. I’m not that arrogant.”

    The absurdity is in the motivation.

    What is the point of conducting a scientific investigation in a meaningless universe? What could you possibly find that would be of any value?

    What is the point of trying to reverse engineer a cosmos that wasn’t engineered?

    What is the point of reacting against meaninglessness by contriving meaning “for yourself” when no such thing as meaning exists?

  41. 41
    bornagain77 says:

    I just heard that verse (Hebrews 11:1) on this interesting 9 minute video:

    The Deep Connection Of Sound To Reality – Evan Grant – Cymatics – Allosphere – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4672092

  42. 42
    allanius says:

    Nieztsche is saying something quite different from what is indicated here.

    In the first place, “The Gay Science” has nothing to do with “science” in the modern, English sense. It is the living knowledge of a new way of being that Nietzsche thought possible for those “heroes” who embraced the death of God and went beyond good and evil—a psychological state where gaiety and lightness of heart come into being through the negation of the heaviness of religion and shame.

    Like his hero Socrates—and for that matter, like Hume—Nietzsche regarded the other kind of “science” (the study of nature) as an enemy to philosophy and liberation. Meditation #344 is an attack on science. Nietzsche accuses science of being nothing more than metaphysics—again, much like Hume. He does not make this claim in order to defend metaphysics. He makes it in an attempt to annihilate the hold of science as well as metaphysics on human psychology.

    In reality, there’s nothing “honest” in any of this. Nietzcshe wanted to annihilate the value of that which exists. This was necessary in order to cross over the river of apodictic certainty and enter the enchanted realm of the superman, with his perfect freedom to seek happiness in self-gratification and the sound of his own sardonic laughter. Science cannot help declaring the glory of God through its study of nature; therefore science must be annihilated in order for the new order to come into being.

    Nietzsche was deeply dishonest because he pretended not to see signs of the existence of God in being. He pretended to be insensible of the benefits of the Christian way. He pretended to believe in a psychic land of liberation and carefree delight that he himself did not achieve and in fact is not achievable. And the deceitful nature of his philosophy is all too evident in the most famous would-be superman of the late, lamented century, who idolized him.

  43. 43
    Phaedros says:

    allanius-

    I think you’re quite right. He did lose his mind for what was it 17 years until his death?

  44. 44
    bornagain77 says:

    allanius, very well put.

  45. 45
    DiEb says:

    @Barry Arrington:
    for the last time: Please, could you correct the title? It’s Nietzsche, with an “s” between the “z” and the “c”!

  46. 46
    zeroseven says:

    I’m in a different time zone to you guys, but thanks for the comments, it is an interesting discussion.

    Mentok @ 24,

    In answer to your first paragraph. Yes, it can be hard to find motivation and meaning sometimes in the face of that truth. But at the same time strangely uplifting and freeing once you come to terms with it (which I did as a very young boy). Your worldview, that we were created as playthings for a bored god (to paraphrase a little facetiously) , I find completely draining of a will to live.

    “Preaching atheism to try to convince everyone that everything and everyone is existentially doomed is not a sign of someone who has found true meaning in life. Rather it shows someone who sees no meaning in life other than what can be experienced in the moment.”

    You have got me wrong. I don’t believe in preaching and I believe there is more meaning in life than the moment. Obviously. What is literature and music. And funnily enough I regard someone who accepts that everyone and everything is doomed as someone who has found true meaning. To ignore that obvious truth or pretend it doesn’t exist is to refuse to face the world honestly in my view.

    “And if you want to be happy, truly happy, you do need to believe that because it is your only hope for life beyond the end of your body”

    This is revealing. I don’t regard the quest for happiness as the cornerstone of life. Happiness is overrated if you ask me. A lot of other emotions are equally as important.

    And as for hoping for life beyond the end of my body…..no thanks, I am with Hitchens on my aversion to the great North Korea in the sky.

  47. 47
    Barry Arrington says:

    allanius, I do not agree. Nietzsche was wrong, not dishonest. He felt keenly the momentus effect of his ideas (if they were correct). Not for him this mamby pamby “we can have morality without God” nonsense of the New Atheist wimps. Here is Nietzsche in one of the most tragic passages in all of literature:

    Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market place, and cried incessantly: “I seek God! I seek God!” — As many of those who did not believe in God were standing around just then, he provoked much laughter. Has he got lost? asked one. Did he lose his way like a child? asked another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? emigrated? — Thus they yelled and laughed.

    The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. “Whither is God?” he cried; “I will tell you. We have killed him — you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying, as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning? Do we hear nothing as yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.

    “How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whoever is born after us — for the sake of this deed he will belong to a higher history than all history hitherto.”
    Here the madman fell silent and looked again at his listeners; and they, too, were silent and stared at him in astonishment. At last he threw his lantern on the ground, and it broke into pieces and went out. “I have come too early,” he said then; “my time is not yet. This tremendous event is still on its way, still wandering; it has not yet reached the ears of men. Lightning and thunder require time; the light of the stars requires time; deeds, though done, still require time to be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than most distant stars — and yet they have done it themselves.

    It has been related further that on the same day the madman forced his way into several churches and there struck up his requiem aeternam deo. Led out and called to account, he is said always to have replied nothing but: “What after all are these churches now if they are not the tombs and sepulchers of God?”

  48. 48
    bornagain77 says:

    But Mr. Arrington, though the passage you cite is certainly of great prose and thought, was not his attack against Christianity primarily motivated by his rebellious attitude against what he felt Christianity placed on his homosexuality in the first place? Thus these lofty words of his appear to be more the result of a desperate man trying to find solace within himself(which he never did accomplish) than of a man motivated by a pure inspiration to find the truth.

    notes:

    Friedrich Nietzsche
    Among the several men who have been dubbed “the Father of National Socialism” (including Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels), Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900) is probably most deserving of this distinction, being so labeled by Nazi luminaries Dr. Alfred Rosenberg and Dr. Franck (Peters:221). Others have called him the “Father of Fascism” (ibid.:ix). Rabidly anti-Christian and a homosexual, Nietzsche founded the “God is dead” movement and contributed to the development of existentialist philosophy. Nietzsche’s publisher, Peter Gast, called Nietzsche “one of the fiercest anti-Christians and atheists,” and described his book, The Antichrist, as a “ferocious curse” on Christianity (ibid.:119). Nietzsche called Christianity and democracy the moralities of the “weak herd,” and argued for the “natural aristocracy” of the Uuebermensch or superman, whose “will to power” was grounded in the material world (Wren in Grolier).
    http://www.defendthefamily.com.....apter3.htm

    Word on the Street – SODOM – video
    Why did God destroy Sodom? Perhaps the real reason isn’t what we’ve always thought.
    http://www.tangle.com/view_vid.....0dcfe788bf

  49. 49
    zeroseven says:

    Cannuckian Yankee @ 36,

    “But no, as an atheist, you seem to think you’re above what in human history has been the plague of the thoughtful for millenia – an attempt to rise above mere human existence to higher plains of reality.”

    I don’t think I’m above it. I just don’t dismiss human existence as something “mere”. What we have (life, the universe) is mind-blowingly stunningly amazing. I don’t need anything above that – a higher plain.

    And I’m not striving for something that keeps me from surrendering to my ultimate demise either. I have surrendered – in the sense I know there is nothing I can do about it. Its that upcoming demise that makes life sweet. Just like a weekend without a working week is not as sweet.

  50. 50
    zeroseven says:

    StephenB at 40,

    “What is the point of reacting against meaninglessness by contriving meaning “for yourself” when no such thing as meaning exists?”

    I never said meaning doesn’t exist. Of course it exists. It’s just that the meaning is created by us ourselves, not provided to us from outside.

  51. 51
    bornagain77 says:

    zeroseven:

    “If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world”
    C.S. Lewis

    Brooke Fraser- “C S Lewis Song”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHpuTGGRCbY

    Does God Exist? – Finding a Good God in an Evil World – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4007708

  52. 52
    CannuckianYankee says:

    zeroseven,

    I was going to respond to #49, but I found your response at #50 to be more exemplary of the point that most of us are attempting to get through to you.

    “I never said meaning doesn’t exist. Of course it exists. It’s just that the meaning is created by us ourselves, not provided to us from outside.”

    If we create our own meaning, then one person’s meaning is as good as another’s.

    David Icke has created his own meaning. He truly believes that the world leaders are controlled by the illuminati, who are controlled by reptilian aliens from another dimension.

    Your philosophy of meaning as being self-evident, legitimizes philosophies like Icke’s which are demonstrably false and anti-science. It is demonstrably false because it can’t be falsified. Once you disagree with Icke, according to his philosophy, you are a part of the conspiracy. But that’s his meaning, which according to your perspective is as legitimate as any other.

  53. 53
    paulbaird says:

    31: CannuckianYankee

    05/27/2010

    1:11 pm

    Paulbaird,

    Thanks for the response.

    I just don’t believe ID’s merits are going to be decided by a court. If we allow them to, then we have no right to call ID science.

    What has to happen is a paradigm shift.

    The old school dies out, and a new generation that is more ID friendly comes to the reigns. It’s not really our fight. Our fight is in presenting ID, and that’s all. Forget Kitzmiller. If ID advocates have the better argument, then it will catch on among the young, and they will earn degrees, and get teaching positions, and soon enough the science academy will no longer be populated by an atheistic majority. I think the whole Wedge strategy, if you want my honest opinion, was wrongheaded. All ID advocates really need to do is present ID in the best light and with the most rigor. The legislation and the politics will take care of itself.

    Then the battle is lost.

    Universities (US and UK) will be able to use Kitzmiller to filter out ID from qualifying students and even insist (as has already happened) that they retake courses.

    By not taking on Kitzmiller you’re adding at least 50 years to any timescale you might be considering.

  54. 54
    tgpeeler says:

    zeroseven @ 46
    “Your worldview, that we were created as playthings for a bored god (to paraphrase a little facetiously) , I find completely draining of a will to live.”

    That would indeed be a worldview to sap one’s spirit. However it bears no resemblance at all to the Christian worldview, which is quite exhilarating and has the added advantage of being true.

    Imagine being created in the image of the Creator of the universe, a self-aware, thinking, rational, feeling, morally responsible, choosing being. Imagine being created so that the Creator could take on your form and have glorious and eternal fellowhip with you and your fellow created beings in a state of sinless perfection. Imagine being reincarnated in a body of perfection with a nature that is only capable of loving fellowship. Imagine this being a free gift, available to everyone. The price? Being willing to admit of your imperfection, yea, sinfulness, and admitting to the need for a saviour. Oh yeah, that sounds bleak to me. Sign me up for rejecting that. Sigh…

  55. 55
    Seversky says:

    tgpeeler @ 54

    Imagine being created in the image of the Creator of the universe, a self-aware, thinking, rational, feeling, morally responsible, choosing being. Imagine being created so that the Creator could take on your form and have glorious and eternal fellowhip with you and your fellow created beings in a state of sinless perfection. Imagine being reincarnated in a body of perfection with a nature that is only capable of loving fellowship. Imagine this being a free gift, available to everyone. The price? Being willing to admit of your imperfection, yea, sinfulness, and admitting to the need for a saviour. Oh yeah, that sounds bleak to me. Sign me up for rejecting that. Sigh…

    I agree. It sounds fantastic. But what if that is all it is, a fantasy? What if it is really only doing for believers what drugs do for others, making the world seem a better place. It is better than drugs in that it is not self-destructive behavior and that it makes this life more bearable by offering the prospect both of life after death and a better one at that. Hope is clearly better than no hope but what if it is an empty promise?

    The unanswered question is why a God who is necessary, in the philosophical sense of not being contingent on anything else, and perfect, in the sense of being that which there is and can be nothing better than, would create this Universe and us within it? Such answers as I have seen all imply that there is in God some unfulfilled need that can only be met by this creation of something more or something that was not there before. But those explanations are inconsistent with the complete necessity and perfection which are His supreme attributes.

    I realize that for those who have found in religion that which meets their deepest needs such questions are largely irrelevant nit-picking but they do call for an answer nonetheless.

  56. 56
    StephenB says:

    —seversky: “Such answers as I have seen all imply that there is in God some unfulfilled need that can only be met by this creation of something more or something that was not there before.”

    Surely, you must know that an omnipotent, truine God has no “needs,” being already complete and independent. Thus, a perfect God creating out of need would be a contradiction in terms.

    How about this? A good God wanted to share his goodness in the form of a beatific vision and establish a loving relationsip with his creatures. Since only free creatures can participate in a loving relationship and, in the end, experience this vision, God endowed them with the requisite free will. In granting that power, God took a risk, knowing that many of his creatures would abuse the privilege and seek to become their own Gods, wreaking havoc in the universe. In other words, free will can either say yes or no to the offer of love. Equally important, love cannot express itself in the absence of free will. There is no charm in a yes unless a no is possible.

  57. 57
    Phaedros says:

    Seversky-

    “The unanswered question is why a God who is necessary, in the philosophical sense of not being contingent on anything else, and perfect, in the sense of being that which there is and can be nothing better than, would create this Universe and us within it? Such answers as I have seen all imply that there is in God some unfulfilled need that can only be met by this creation of something more or something that was not there before. But those explanations are inconsistent with the complete necessity and perfection which are His supreme attributes.

    I realize that for those who have found in religion that which meets their deepest needs such questions are largely irrelevant nit-picking but they do call for an answer nonetheless.”

    These aren’t irrelevant questions, but the most important especially for those who have found religion as you say. No doubt, I was, and still am to a certain extent, in the same position as yourself. However, apart from what StephenB I would say there are two possible answers that don’t necessarily contradict eah other. One is, to know Christ, i.e. to know God in some sense, and also, “We just don’t know.” At least, we don’t understand the full reason or purpose as to why we are here.

  58. 58
    Phaedros says:

    what StephenB said*

  59. 59
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky, I agree that it does sound too good to be true, which is why I try so hard to be as accurate and concise on my science as is possible for me, because I know for fact that it (Christianity) is true, But the basis of my drive is not the science which I, being a finite being, must use to make my case, but instead arises from the fact that I have seen several small miracles in my life wrought through Christ:

    Here is one:

    Miracle Testimony – One Easter Sunday Sunrise Service – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3995314

    Here is another:

    Angelic Aurora Borealis
    http://docs.google.com/Doc?doc.....#038;hl=en

    Strange But True
    http://docs.google.com/View?id=dc8z67wz_53hrdcdkdv

    Shoot seversky, I’ve seen enough “small miracles” in my own life to not doubt these “big miracles”;

    Real Life Miracles – Blind See; Dead Raised; Deaf Hear – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4596829

  60. 60
    above says:

    The following quote is relevant to atheism/materialism and the honesty of its supporters. I simply wanted to hear people’s opinions:

    “The beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into it, but the way those atoms are put together.
    The cosmos is also within us, we’re made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.” -C. Sagan

    The first thing that pops out for me is the inevitable anthropomorphism of the cosmos. How can the cosmos know anything? And if secularists have problems with alleged anthropomorphisms for ID/religions then how is this not some sort of anthropomorphic, representation of their ideology?

    Second is the underlying materialistic assumption that man is merely a random by-product of nature, so how exactly can this man claim that it’s wonderful how life is “put together”? Does that not imply design?

    Third, so is man merely a vehicle (a simple means to an ends) for the mindless cosmos to utilize for its alleged “benefit”? What is this “knowing” that the universe does? Is this not a regression back to determinism, superstition and paganism?

    Anyone else see the hypocrisy and meaninglessness behind this quote? What do you guys make of this?

  61. 61
    Phaedros says:

    above-

    I’ve come to realize that the atheistic anthropomorphizing of nature, or the cosmos as Mr. Sagan puts it, is just a pale shadow of the true God. They are clearly pointing towards it but cannot accept it.

    Here’s R.C. Sproul talking to Ben Stein about Expelled. Carl Sagan comes up.

    Part 1:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpM76ymlnbA
    Part 2:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....re=related
    Part 3:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....re=related

    I believe in the second part R.C. Sproul mentions that he spoke to Carl Sagan about the nano-second before the big bang. Carl Sagan didn’t want to go there to say the least.

  62. 62
    nullasalus says:

    I am not a fan of Carl Sagan, but on this subject I want to give a pertinent quote from him, along with the accompanying crapipedia entry:

    Sagan, however, denied that he was an atheist: “An atheist has to know a lot more than I know.”[36] In reply to a question in 1996 about his religious beliefs, Sagan answered, “I’m agnostic.”[37] Sagan maintained that the idea of a creator of the universe was difficult to prove or disprove and that the only conceivable scientific discovery that could challenge it would be an infinitely old universe.

    Oddly, this would drop Sagan squarely against most of the ‘New Atheists’.

  63. 63
    Phaedros says:

    above-

    Actually, sorry, it’s not a pale shadow it’s really a kind of paganism or nature worship which is in opposition to God.

  64. 64
    bornagain77 says:

    Personally When I look at the universe, unlike Sagan, I am awed by the power of God,

    Louie Giglio – How Great Is Our God – Part 2 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfNiZrt5FjU

    You could fit 262 trillion earths inside (the star of) Betelgeuse. If the Earth were a golfball that would be enough to fill up the Superdome (football stadium) with golfballs,,, 3000 times!!! When I heard that as a teenager that stumped me right there because most of my praying had been advising God, correcting God, suggesting things to God, drawing diagrams for God, reviewing things with God, counseling God. – Louie Giglio

    Psalm 8: 3-4
    When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?

    Journey Through the Universe – George Smoot – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3993965/

    In fact, I find the fact this seemingly insignificant earth is found to revolve around the much more massive sun to be reflective of our true spiritual condition. In regards to God’s “kingdom of light”, are we not to keep in mind our lives are to be guided by the much higher purpose which is tied to our future in God’s “kingdom of light”? Are we not to avoid placing too much emphasis on what this world has to offer, since it is so much more insignificant than what heaven has to offer?

    Sara Groves – You Are The Sun – Music video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3993951/

    The NDE and the City of Light – Kevin Williams’ research conclusions
    Excerpt: Fifty of the near-death experiences I profile on this website which I gathered statistics on, 17% of them experienced a city of light. These cities of light have been described by various experiencers using such adjectives as: golden, beautiful, unearthly, fairy tale-like, indescribable, beyond anything that can be described, so superior to anything on Earth, colorful, brilliant, heavenly, endless, crystalline, grand, paradise, and galaxy-like.
    http://www.near-death.com/expe.....rch19.html

  65. 65
    above says:

    Thanks for the insights everyone. 🙂

    The videos were all very interesting. I especially enjoyed hearing RC Sproul and his perspective.

  66. 66
    above says:

    @StephenB + Phaedros

    -“Surely, you must know that an omnipotent, truine God has no “needs,” being already complete and independent. Thus, a perfect God creating out of need would be a contradiction in terms.

    How about this? A good God wanted to share his goodness in the form of a beatific vision and establish a loving relationsip with his creatures. Since only free creatures can participate in a loving relationship and, in the end, experience this vision, God endowed them with the requisite free will. In granting that power, God took a risk, knowing that many of his creatures would abuse the privilege and seek to become their own Gods, wreaking havoc in the universe. In other words, free will can either say yes or no to the offer of love. Equally important, love cannot express itself in the absence of free will.”

    That is an illustration of my thoughts on the matter. Well said.

    -“apart from what StephenB I would say there are two possible answers that don’t necessarily contradict eah other. One is, to know Christ, i.e. to know God in some sense, and also, “We just don’t know.” At least, we don’t understand the full reason or purpose as to why we are here.”

    Phaedros,
    Like you said, I believe it’s important to remember the limits of our knowledge and in doing so remain humble.

  67. 67
    above says:

    Now I want to touch up on the issue of this notorious nihilist a little. The way I understand nietzsche is something similar to a social critic. Reading him in such a context I would say that at least some of his writings are in part honest. He clearly understands the meaninglessness created from rejecting God and how that ties well will the ideals of ethics. That is not a point this new breed of watered-down anti-intellectuals known as new atheists are willing to accept. They simply act under the delusion that normative order in ethics, experience, science can be substituted by biology. But as it has been repeated by some here (kairosfocus comes to mind) there is no way to ground is into ought under a atheistic/nihilistic worldview.

    As I stated in a previous topic in response to Clive, ethics are at the heart of all human endeavors (ref. Haldane). nietzsche realized that and along with his attack on morals he also launched an assault on science itself. I am surprised Oakes did not include the following quote from gay science but here it is:

    “It is no different with the faith with which so many materialistic natural scientists rest content nowadays, the faith in a world that is supposed to have its equivalent and its measure in human thought and human valuations—a “world of truth” that can be mastered completely and forever with the aid of our square little reason. What? Do we really want to permit existence to be degraded for us like this—reduced to a mere exercise for a calculator and an indoor diversion for mathematicians? Above all, one should not wish to divest existence of its rich ambiguity [multi-interpretable character; C.B.] that is a dictate of good taste, gentlemen, the taste of reverence for everything that lies beyond your horizon. That the only justifiable interpretation of the world should be one in which you are justified because one can continue to work and do research scientifically in your sense (you really mean, mechanistically?)—an interpretation that permits counting, calculating, weighing, seeing, and touching, and nothing more—that is a crudity and naivete, assuming that it is not a mental illness, an idiocy.
    Would it not be rather probable that, conversely, precisely the most superficial and external aspect of existence—what is most apparent, its skin and sensualization—would be grasped first—and might even be the only thing that allowed itself to be grasped? A “scientific” interpretation of the world, as you understand it, might therefore still be one of the most stupid of all possible interpretations of the world, meaning that it be one of the poorest in meaning. This thought is intended for the ears and consciences of our mechanists who nowadays like to pass as philosophers and insist that mechanics is the doctrine of the first and last laws on which all existence must be based as on a ground floor. But an essentially mechanical world would be an essentially meaningless world. Assuming that one estimated the value of a piece of music according to how much of it could be counted, calculated, and expressed in formulas: how absurd would such a “scientific” estimation of music be! What would one have comprehended, understood, grasped of it? Nothing, really nothing of what is “music” in it!”

    Here we see the nihilist attack not only science (which we all agree is a integral part of modern human endeavor) but also attacks, and rightly so, the faith of the materialist/naturalist. So what we see once again is honesty in regards to how destructive materialistic dogma is on the human spirit but simultaneously see him throw the baby (honest science) out with the bathwater. while most of us find this disturbing and moronic, this was of no concern to a self-proclaimed irrational man, whose only purpose was to propagate intellectual and existential suicide.

  68. 68
    above says:

    To echo some of the points allanius has made, nietzsche was very dishonest in so many other respects as well. He created this entire imaginary fiasco of the ubermensch in his mind to compensate for the reality that he was in fact a weakling (both physically and mentally). As Bertrand Russell (an atheist of all people) puts it, nietzsche’s work is “the power fantasies of an invalid”.

    Another incidence where he is extremely dishonest is in his pursuit of this alleged liberation and gratification (via the ubermensch fantasy), despite the fact that said endeavor is incoherent given nihilism. Simply put, there is no freedom in nihilism. The irony is, that he realized it and explicitly stated it but still went ahead and pretended as if this alleged imaginary friend he called the ubermensch would enable him to be free. The quote is as follows: “There exists neither “spirit,” nor reason, nor thinking, nor consciousness, nor soul, nor will, nor truth.”

    After reading that statement, any reasonable person’s obvious response would be… So why should I believe anything that you have to say fredrick? All too often the anti-intellectualism of post-modernity conveniently forgets this, just like our little friend fredrick did. That is in my opinion the state of the intellectual degeneracy witnessed in some parts of our society today. The problem compounds itself, when said “nietzchean offsprings” advocate said position as the truth. Hypocrisy would be an understatement in this case.

    A lot more can be said about this man and his idiocy, but for now I will leave it at that.

    @ CannuckianYankee #36
    -“Not even Ubermensch leads anywhere beyond the temporal and mundane. It’s simply meaningless, because it starts from the circumstance of human temporal existence, and attempts to find meaning – just like what you’re attempting to do. You don’t get something out of nothing.”

    That’s precisely right. That is the self-imposed delusion of the nihilist and his twin brother, the atheist, who believe that meaning can be fabricated. Even in this instance, we not only witness the futility and incoherence of their belief but the impossibility of consistently living a life under such pretense… Hence we see the constant hijacking of Theistic ideals by such characters as a means to comfort themselves.

    Honesty and specifically personal honesty it seems has been sacrificed… And for what? To worship their prescious nothingness?

  69. 69
    CannuckianYankee says:

    Seveersky,

    Re: 55

    To add to what tg, Phaedros and BA replied, let me add the following observation.

    Throughout the development of Christian theology, and within the scriptures themselves, God is never portrayed as needing anything. In all the literature I have read (and I’ve read a lot) God is portrayed as self-sufficient. Your question: “Why create?” then requires an answer somewhere. That answer is in the character of a self-sufficient omnipotent and omniscient God. In that character is God’s other-directedness. While He doesn’t share our emotions of desire and loss, his character is other-directed. Therefore, it’s perfectly within His character to create and love His creation. It is also within that character to create sentient beings, who can respond to His other-directedness.

    While this is theologically and scripturally sound, it is also logically sound. If God is perfect in all categories, and love exists in the Godhead (The Trinity), then the perfect expression of love is not inward-directed, but other-directed. Love is by nature not self-directed.

    However, because of the freedom expressed by his sentient creation at the fall, humans began to express the contradiction – self-directed love. Cain slew Abel. And since then, human love has been expressed more in a struggle for each individual to survive, than it has been expressed as other-directed according to the character of God. Then along comes Jesus, and the rest is history, or should I say “future.”

  70. 70
    Seversky says:

    StephenB @ 56

    Surely, you must know that an omnipotent, truine God has no “needs,” being already complete and independent. Thus, a perfect God creating out of need would be a contradiction in terms.

    My point exactly. A perfect, necessary God would have no need and hence no reason to create anything outside of Himself. Yet, according to Christians, that is what he has done. This suggests that either He is not the perfect, necessary being Christians believe Him to be or this entire Universe was created on a random impulse or He does not exist at all.

    How about this? A good God wanted to share his goodness in the form of a beatific vision and establish a loving relationsip with his creatures…

    That is one possibility but the proposal still implies both that God is doing this to satisfy a need or want that cannot be met from internal resources and that He cannot foresee the outcomes of His actions in their entirety. Where is the satisfaction in being given love when you know in advance exactly how that person will feel and exactly how they will express that feeling? In effect, they would be acting out a predetermined plan or program like some sort of robot. That is what omniscience implies for free will.

  71. 71
    Seversky says:

    CannuckianYankee @ 69

    Throughout the development of Christian theology, and within the scriptures themselves, God is never portrayed as needing anything. In all the literature I have read (and I’ve read a lot) God is portrayed as self-sufficient. Your question: “Why create?” then requires an answer somewhere. That answer is in the character of a self-sufficient omnipotent and omniscient God. In that character is God’s other-directedness. While He doesn’t share our emotions of desire and loss, his character is other-directed. Therefore, it’s perfectly within His character to create and love His creation. It is also within that character to create sentient beings, who can respond to His other-directedness.

    That still doesn’t help. Yes, it is within His power to create whatever He wants but you are still positing a being who has a need for something “other” than Himself which contradicts his presumed necessity and perfection.

    It also raises another question. God is assumed to have no beginning and no end. But we do. So what changed? God has existed forever but at some point He suddenly decides to create a Universe and populate it with living things, including us. Why? Why then – whenever “then” was? Or has there been an infinite succession of Creations and an infinite succession of chosen or favored races?

  72. 72
    above says:

    @seversky

    -“A perfect, necessary God would have no need and hence no reason to create anything outside of Himself.”

    What kind of reason is that? Why are you equivocating need with reason? That’s a non-sequitur.

    Now as far as why he chose to create the world 13.7 bya and not 3 minutes earlier is an irrelevant question.

  73. 73
    CannuckianYankee says:

    Seversky,

    “That still doesn’t help. Yes, it is within His power to create whatever He wants but you are still positing a being who has a need for something “other” than Himself which contradicts his presumed necessity and perfection.”

    Well then it’s really an issue of semantics then, if you think that creating something is only out of need. Did Shakespeare need to create Hamlet, or was it his passion; his drive? There’s a huge difference.

    He didn’t need to create us, in the same way that Shakespeare didn’t need to create Hamlet.

    Now there are limits to this comparison, because Shakespeare obviously was not God, so don’t take this to far.

    The similarity is not in the passion, but in the heart. I would say that God created from His heart, but I think more accurately it would be from His character.

    Humans have passions, which make them do what they do. God has a particular character, which, from what he does, is a natural outflow. He doesn’t need to do it, it’s in His character to do it.

    God is love, so He does what is love out of the natural outflow of his character. If He did not love, He would not be God. It’s not a need, it’s just who He is.

    I have blue eyes. Do I need to have blue eyes? No, it’s just who I am.

    All of these arguments you’re giving tend to flow naturally to absurdity. It’s like you’re looking for an escape route to disbelieve in God, rather than to accept the logic that is necessary for even your own existence.

    Part of that escape route is that God can’t exist if he needs anything. He created us, so He needs something, therefore, He can’t exist.

    That argument is so pathetically weak if you compare it with the imminently more for forceful arguments for God’s necessity.

  74. 74
    CannuckianYankee says:

    Seversky

    “It also raises another question. God is assumed to have no beginning and no end. But we do. So what changed? God has existed forever but at some point He suddenly decides to create a Universe and populate it with living things, including us. Why? Why then – whenever “then” was? Or has there been an infinite succession of Creations and an infinite succession of chosen or favored races?”

    You are making the assumption that “eternity” in the scriptures refers to infinite time. This is not warranted. Time is meaningless in eternity. It doesn’t mean infinite time, it means infinite essence.

    God exists from eternity to eternity, which doesn’t mean that He lives in infinite time. Eternity cancels time, so God is timeless.

    So your argument doesn’t work. Time is only relavent in the universe. God created the universe, so obviously He’s outside of time and space, while He can also be within it.

  75. 75
    CannuckianYankee says:

    Seversky,

    If you want a scriptural basis for eternity being timeless, it’s in God’s name, which if appropriately translated, is “I Am.” It’s not “I always have been,” or “I always Am,” but simply “I Am.” There’s no time reference to this at all.

  76. 76
    Phaedros says:

    CannuckianYankee-

    A shocking reference to timelessness from this perspective was when Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I AM.”

  77. 77
    bornagain77 says:

    1 Timothy 1:17
    Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

    Unto The King – Song
    http://www.tangle.com/view_vid.....d8fa28aaa0

  78. 78
    bornagain77 says:

    I found these scriptures:

    2 Timothy 1:9 “This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.”

    Titus 1:2 “A faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time.”

  79. 79
    CannuckianYankee says:

    Seversky,

    Incidentally, the “I AM: comes from what is known as the Tegagramaton in Hebrew. It’s the Hebrew letters for YHWH or JHVH, from which we get the names Yahway or Jehovah. Since to say the name of God is claiming to be Him, it was considered blasphemous to mention the name. To prevent scribes from being tempted towards blasphemy, the early Hebrew scriptures never included the entire Tetragramaton. It was always split in two as YH or VH, and never the twain should meet. However, those familiar with the scriptures knew what it meant.

    Also, there are no vowels between the letters as are found in other Hebrew words, precisely so that the name is never pronounced.

    So what does all this mean? It means that God’s very name is a reference to His eternal nature and essence. The only true essence is God. All other existences are conditional (or contingent) upon the essence of God.

    It goes against logic and necessity for a contingent being to claim to have the essence only belonging to God. This is why it was considered to be blasphemous to even mention God’s true name.

    Yet what do we find Jesus saying in John’s gospel towards the end of the 8th chapter?

    “Before Abraham was I AM.”

    This explains why at the end of the chapter, they took up stones to stone him – the punishment for blasphemy.

    Now I think this is an important point in light of the issue that was brought up regarding the creation.

    If it’s to be assumed that God needs to create, which cancels out his self-sufficiency, in light of the eternal nature of God, who’s essence is justifiable based upon one of the prime basis’ for all logic, that everything that comes into existence has a cause; it becomes quite illogical that the exception to that rule, which is the necessity at the head of all logic; God, should fall under the logical constraints, which we use to justify our beliefs. If God “is” (I AM), and his own identity of himself is timeless, then whatever logical constraints we have, are not logical constraints for God.

    Yet, God works within the logical constraints we employ to justify our beliefs. He doesn’t need to do so, it’s simply, as I mentioned earlier, another part of His character as God. He could, if He wanted to, create a universe that is totally absurd, and non-universal law driven.

    But as an expression of His character he creates what is logical up to, but not going beyond the point of His very essence. Beyond that, what we perceive as logical may be defied. An example: an ability to know what has not as yet come to pass, or three persons being one essence. So the paradoxes we find in the workings of the Godhead are not so much a contradiction to His essence; rather, an indication that He is truly God: beyond the logical constraints, which He has set into place.

    The Hebrews understood this. What goes agains nature may not necessarily be God – Jesus performed miracles, and so the religious leaders simply accused him of having a devil. However, when he says I AM, he’s claiming to have the eternal essence of God. They knew the difference. They were keenly aware that simply performing supernatural acts does not a Godhead make. What makes God who He is is more than that. His essence must show signs that He is outside the very constraints of our logic, yet must also have His very essence confirmed within those constraints.

    So God’s essence is confirmed within our logical constraints as the necessary first cause of all that exists.

    His essence defies, or rather transcends those constraints as the only uncaused cause.

    You have to ask yourself when you make arguments that God cannot be who He is because an omnipotent self-sufficient god would not create out of need; whether such an argument falls within the first area of reasoning or the second. I personally believe it falls within the first, so it’s pretty much trumped by the necessity argument, even though I believe personally that the argument is formed on the basis of a false premise: that creating something indicates a need to do so. Such an argument is not even true within our own logic, so how could it be true of God?

  80. 80
    CannuckianYankee says:

    Phaedros,

    I was in the process of writing 79 at the time that your 76 was posted. So apparently we’re both on the same ‘wavelength.’

  81. 81
    Phaedros says:

    🙂 You went into much more detail than I would’ve been able to so I was grateful for it.

  82. 82
    tgpeeler says:

    Seversky @ 55
    “I agree. It sounds fantastic. But what if that is all it is, a fantasy? What if it is really only doing for believers what drugs do for others, making the world seem a better place. It is better than drugs in that it is not self-destructive behavior and that it makes this life more bearable by offering the prospect both of life after death and a better one at that. Hope is clearly better than no hope but what if it is an empty promise?”

    If the hope is an empty promise then we are indeed doomed. As the apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15, squarely acknowledging the consequences of being wrong:

    13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised;

    14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.

    15 Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised.

    16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised;

    17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.

    18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.

    19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.”

    The question I would like for you to ask yourself, now that you know what the consequences of a Christian being wrong are, is what are the consequences for an unbeliever to be wrong? I ask this with the utmost humility and concern for you. What if Jesus Christ is Who He said He is?

    John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

    1 Timothy 2:3-4 “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
    4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

    C.S. Lewis said, and I paraphrase, that in the end there are two kinds of people. Those who say to God, “Your will be done” (see v4 above). And those to whom God says, “your will be done.” Don’t be the latter.

    John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

    You’ve corresponded with us for long enough to see, I hope, that none of us “just believe.” Only fools do that. We are all serious about knowing WHAT IS TRUE because the consequences for being wrong are unimaginably (for me and I expect, others) horrific.

  83. 83
    CannuckianYankee says:

    tg,

    Thanks for the reference to one of my favorite passages of scripture, the 1 Cor. quote.

    Christian scripture provides no basis for self-delusion. Atheists should understand this. Paul was quite serious in his belief that Jesus was whom he claimed to be, and he understood the consequence of it not being a reality, as the passage clearly shows.

    Yet from what is apparent from scripture and extra-biblical writings of the 1st Century, the first Christians were willing to sacrifice their lives for this belief.

    It becomes even more powerful when we understand that Paul came from a background of killing and torturing Christian believers as a pharisee, before he became one himself.

  84. 84
    bornagain77 says:

    The Disciples – Would A Man Die For What He Knew Was A Lie? – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4193404

    Did Jesus Christ actually rise from the dead?
    Excerpt: “it was IMPOSSIBLE that the apostles could have persisted in affirming the truths they had narrated, had not JESUS CHRIST ACTUALLY RISEN FROM THE DEAD, . . .”
    (Simon Greenleaf, An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice, p.29).
    http://www.av1611.org/resur.html

  85. 85
    allanius says:

    Barry, I love your earnestness, but my dear fellow, you are swimming in a sea of sharks.

    The very passage you cite—we know it well—is one of the most fundamentally dishonest things the “blonde beast” ever penned. Follow me now—if God really is dead, and no signs have any meaning, and life itself is utterly meaningless, then who is this heroic “Madman”? What is the meaning of the sign he chooses for himself? Nothing.

    Nietzsche saw himself as the hero of a liberation drama. He is Prometheus, the bringer of truth, the prophet—as well as the would-be priest and king. He is the Madman who frightens and amazes the crowd with the supposedly sanitizing power of his madness. He is Zarathustra who comes down from the high places to bring the sweet balm of freedom to the common herd, though they reject him.

    Dear friend, these narcissistic fantasies form the basis of Modernism itself. The storyline of the age is that God and meaning are dead but a new happiness and Meaning will arise through resistance to God and the heroic efforts of our supermen. As Nietzsche himself put it, killing God will enable us to invent “new gods and new ideals.”

    The modern experiment shows quite plainly that this was nothing but self-serving fantasy. Killing God did not lead to a happy new empowered state of being. It lead to the “age of anxiety,” to the Wasteland, to the extreme bitterness and alienation on display in the End Game.

    Anyone who imagines himself to be a superman is deeply dishonest, since all men are like the grass. The boasting of the New Atheists has its origin in Nietzsche.

  86. 86
    tribune7 says:

    Well said, allanius

  87. 87
    above says:

    @allanius,

    Well said indeed.

    I would also like to mention that it’s not enough to point out to the destructive nature of this nihilist, his fantasies and his nonsense. It’s not enough to merely indicate that his ideas are logically incoherent and absurd but to actually show how his own thinking is an enemy of itself. Simply put, to demonstrate a reductio ad absurdum that stems not from the foundations of formal logic, but from the foundations of his own thinking. In essence, the reality (if you can call it that) which he operates in cannot sustain itself even without external criticism. The term I like to use to refer to this man is ‘like a snake eating its own tail’.

    One of the numerous exemplifications of this can be found in the statement I linked above: ““There exists neither “spirit,” nor reason, nor thinking, nor consciousness, nor soul, nor will, nor truth.”

    So when he claims as you say:
    -“Nietzsche saw himself as the hero of a liberation drama. He is Prometheus, the bringer of truth, the prophet—as well as the would-be priest and king.”

    One can only laugh at him. The obvious response is: “If there is no truth, how can you bring us truth? If there is no soul, no will, then how can you give us freedom? If there is no reason, then why should I believe what you are saying?”

    In another occasion, he claims that he only wishes to seduce the minds of others through extremist rhetoric . Here we see a man blatantly stating the malevolent nature of his writings, yet, it is completely ignored by those who follow him blindly.

    But you see allanius, mankind cannot bear the burden of nothingness. That is something this foolish man did not consider in his opium-infused ramblings. He went mad by his 40s and the last that was remembered of him, was in the streets of Turin, crying like a little girl and hugging a horse that was being beaten. Now, it’s natural for us to empathize with a suffering horse, but what business does this sadistic, self-centered, power-hungry overman-wannabe, who asserted that the weak need be suppressed, have in empathizing with an animal? nietzche was a living contradiction of his own fantasies. That’s all he ever was.

  88. 88
    Timaeus says:

    allanius @ 85:

    I agree with Barry Arrington.

    You have not picked up on the details of the Nietzsche passage, and therefore have missed the full meaning of it.

    Your use of the future tense in “killing God will enable us to” (as opposed to “having killed God now enables us to”) misses the point of Nietzsche’s madman piece. Nietzsche’s point is that Western civilization *has already killed God*, but is not aware of it yet. The madman is not leading the charge to get rid of God; he is pointing out that we have already done so, without knowing it. [For Nietzsche, we have done so by accepting certain philosophical premises (leading to modern science) that are incompatible with retaining belief in God.]

    I don’t believe that Nietzsche imagined himself to be the superman; rather, he projected that only the superman would be able to overcome the crisis created by the death of God. He seems to be longing for the coming of the superman (much as the Hebrew prophets longed for the coming of Christ), not claiming such an exalted role for himself (any more than the prophets claimed to be the Christ).

    I also agree with Barry that Nietzsche was honest. Misguided, but honest.

    By the way, you never replied to my criticism of your remarks about Plato on another thread, several weeks ago. Does this mean that I am unlikely to get a reply to my comments here about Nietzsche?

    T.

  89. 89
    Timaeus says:

    I guess my question immediately above now has its answer. Allanius, for the second time, has pulled a Beckwith on me.

    (Note: “Pulling a Beckwith” — cruising through UD, making questionable statements, then vanishing from the thread, thus refusing to defend the statements against rational argument.)

    T.

  90. 90
    above says:

    -“I don’t believe that Nietzsche imagined himself to be the superman; rather, he projected that only the superman would be able to overcome the crisis created by the death of God. He seems to be longing for the coming of the superman (much as the Hebrew prophets longed for the coming of Christ), not claiming such an exalted role for himself (any more than the prophets claimed to be the Christ).”

    That is simply not true. He did fancy himself as the overman or at least fantasized that he would become him. His role models were the likes of napoleon. That’s what his overman represented. Perpetuation of one’s power and oppression of the weak, as he himself put it.

    Although I think that you don’t intend to be insulting to Christians with your remarks, I think that any parallel that references Jesus to any of this man’s foolish ramblings is simply distasteful.

    But like Barry, you do have a point. nietzche did have some moments of honesty as I indicated earlier. And to his credit he did – to some extend at least – understand the abhorrent nature of atheism/nihilism. However, that does not detract from the fact that he was also extremely dishonest as I have indicated on several occasions in my previous posts.

  91. 91
    Timaeus says:

    above:

    Could you give me some references to passages where Nietzsche either claimed to be the superman, or indicated that he thought he was on his way to attaining that state? I’m not saying you are wrong, but I don’t remember any.

    In any case, my main point to allanius (who appears to have vanished again), was that Nietzsche was not (in the passage about the madman, anyway)*recommending* killing God, but *announcing* that God had already been killed.

    My parallel to Christianity was deliberate. Nietzsche often used Biblical-sounding language to make his points. He was deliberately recalling Biblical themes, while of course offering a non-Biblical teaching. I was not attempting to offend anyone, but merely to note that he cast his ideas in Biblical form. It was part of his rhetoric.

    I don’t deny that Nietzsche might have been dishonest at some points. It is often hard to tell because he often writes ironically. But overall I think his teaching is honest, or not more dishonest than most philosophers. A good number of the modern philosophers prior to Nietzsche have been accused, with good reason in most cases, of dishonesty, at least in matters of religious belief. He was much franker about Christianity than were many of his more orthodox-sounding predecessors.

    T.

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