Readers who like essays may be in for a treat. Ken Francis, often hat-tipped here, and psychiatrist Theodore Dalrymple have written a book as a series of essays, The Terror of Existence: From Ecclesiastes to Theatre of the Absurd:
The cultural death of God has created a conundrum for intellectuals. How could a life stripped of ultimate meaning be anything but absurd? How was man to live? How could he find direction in a world of no direction? What would be tell his children that could make their lives worthwhile? What is the ground of morality?
Existentialism is the literary cri de coeur resulting from the realization that without God, everything good, true and beautiful in human life is destined to be destroyed in a pitiless material cosmos. Theodore Dalrymple and Kenneth Francis examine the main existentialist works, from Ecclesiastes to the Theatre of the Absurd, each man coming from a different perspective. Francis is a believer, Dalrymple is not, but both empathize with the struggle to find meaning in a seemingly meaningless universe.
Here’s a sample passage:
KF: You say: “Godot seems to me to be the work of a man who can see all the advantages and consolations of faith in a personal God, and who in fact was brought up in such a faith, but who cannot assent to it intellectually.” There are also great advantages in the moral autonomy of atheism, if true, as well as the consolation that Hell does not exist. Perhaps Beckett’s faith was blind faith, as opposed to faith based on deep intellectual reasoning. It’s difficult to understand how disbelief in God is intellectual, when according to Naturalism, the probability of having reliable cognitive faculties for metaphysical truths is extremely low, if not zero. As Charles Darwin rightly acknowledged: “Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?” The Christianity preached in 20th century Ireland (both Catholic and Protestant) was and still is in many ways anti-intellectual. And that’s probably why Beckett didn’t seem to have a grasp of sophisticated theology. He confers freedom of the will on his main characters in Godot, which contradicts his Godless message. Also, surely in a meaningless world, communicating such struggles on stage would be without meaning and thus a waste of time…….
 Darwin Correspondence Project, letter, Darwin, C.R. to Graham Williams, July 3, 1881.
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See also: Theodore Dalrymple on how psychology undermines morality
3 Replies to “Theodore Dalrymple and Ken Francis on the terror of a materialist atheist’s existence”
One of the main, if not the main, supposed intellectual atheist’s arguments that we live in a ‘seemingly meaningless world’ is the argument from evil.
Darwin used the argument from evil in the ‘Origin of Species’,,,
And even today the knee jerk reaction of many supposedly intellectual atheists, that we live in a ‘seemingly meaningless world’, is not based on any scientific evidence but is based on the, theologically based, argument from evil.
The problem with the argument from evil for atheists is the fact that the argument from evil presupposes the existence of objective morality and thus presupposes the existence of God.
Specifically, in the argument from evil atheists hold that “There exist a large number of horrible forms of evil and suffering for which we can see no greater purpose or compensating good.”
And yet this is, once again, a self defeating position for the atheist to be in.
Specifically on the one hand, Atheistic materialists hold that morality is subjective and illusory.
And yet on the other hand, as David Wood puts it in the following article, “By declaring that suffering is evil, atheists have admitted that there is an objective moral standard by which we distinguish good and evil.”
Thus the atheist’s main argument that we live in a ‘seemingly meaningless world’, i.e. the argument from evil, actually presupposes the existence of objective morality and therefore presupposes the existence of God and therefore, in the end, actually presupposes that we live in a meaningful world.
In fact, as CS Lewis has noted, ANY argument that tries to argue that the universe is meaningless must necessarily presuppose the existence of meaning in order for the atheist to be able to make his argument in the first place, and therefore ANY argument an atheist may try to use to argue for a meaningless universe is self-refuting in its basic presuppositions.
Moreover, besides Christians using the atheist’s own self-refuting argument from evil against the atheist to prove that we live in a meaningful world, the Christian Theist can also appeal to numerous lines of scientific evidence to prove that we live in a meaningful world.
Perhaps the most direct piece of scientific evidence that each of of our lives have intrinsic meaning and purpose in this universe comes from the fact that life itself is now found to be based, not on matter and energy, or on ‘merely complex chemistry’, as many Darwinian materialists have claimed in the past, but is instead based on immaterial information.
As Stephen Talbott states in the following article which happens to be entitled “How Biologists Lost Sight Of The Meaning Of Life And Are Now Staring It In The Face”, “A given cell, typically contains more than a billion protein molecules at any one time. ,,, “The human body is formed by trillions of individual cells.,,, And then we hear that all this meaningful activity is, somehow, meaningless or a product of meaninglessness. This, I believe, is the real issue troubling the majority of the American populace when they are asked about their belief in evolution. They see one thing and then are told, more or less directly, that they are really seeing its denial. Yet no one has ever explained to them how you get meaning from meaninglessness — a difficult enough task once you realize that we cannot articulate any knowledge of the world at all except in the language of meaning.,,,”
In the following article, Talbott goes further and reveals that this overwhelming impression of meaning and purpose that is found in life is closely associated with there being immaterial information in life while an organism is alive.
Specifically, Talbott states that at the moment of a organism’s death “Code, information, and communication, in their biological sense, will have disappeared from the scientist’s vocabulary.”
And yet this immaterial information, that Talbott refers to, that is keeping an organism alive “precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer” also provides empirical evidence for a transcendent soul that is capable of living beyond the death of our temporal, material, bodies.
These following two videos go over some of that evidence.
Simply put, quantum information, (which is now found to be pervasive within molecular biology and of which classical information is now found to be a subset), is ‘conserved’. Which means, unlike classical information, that quantum information cannot be destroyed,,,
The implication of this is fairly straightforward, as Stuart Hameroff states in the following video, ‘But the quantum information,, isn’t destroyed. It can’t be destroyed.,,, it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul’.
Thus ‘immaterial quantum information’, that is now found to be pervasive within molecular biology, provides empirical evidence strongly suggesting that each of us do indeed have a immortal soul that is capable of living beyond the death of our temporal, material, bodies.
And thus also provides empirical evidence strongly supporting the Christian’s claim that each of our lives do indeed have, very deep, intrinsic meaning and purpose.
Many other lines of scientific evidence supporting the fact that our lives do indeed have intrinsic meaning and purpose can be found in the following video and paper:
Verse and video:
You never leave me anything to say, BA 77.
More power to your arm