Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Echoes of Provine
In roughly abbreviated form, these are:
1. Without God there is no good and evil; there are only subjective opinions that we then label "good" and "evil."
2. Without God, there is no objective meaning to life. We are all merely random creations of natural selection whose existence has no more intrinsic purpose or meaning than that of a pebble equally randomly produced.
3. Life is ultimately a tragic fare if there is no God. We live, we suffer, we die -- some horrifically, many prematurely -- and there is only oblivion afterward.
4. Human beings need instruction manuals. This is as true for acting morally and wisely as it is for properly flying an airplane.
5. If there is no God, the kindest and most innocent victims of torture and murder have no better a fate after death than do the most cruel torturers and mass murderers.
6. With the death of Judeo-Christian values in the West, many Westerners [are] unable to confront evil, whether it was Communism during the Cold War or Islamic totalitarians in its midst today.
7. Without God, people in the West often become less, not more, rational. Religious people in Judeo-Christian countries largely confine their irrational beliefs to religious beliefs (theology), while the secular, without religion to enable the non-rational to express itself, end up applying their irrational beliefs to society, where such irrationalities do immense harm.
8. If there is no God, the human being has no free will. He is a robot, whose every action is dictated by genes and environment.
9. If there is no God, humans and "other" animals are of equal value.
10. Without God, there is little to inspire people to create inspiring art. That is why contemporary art galleries and museums are filled with "art" that celebrates the scatological, the ugly and the shocking. Compare this art to Michelangelo's art in the Sistine chapel.
11. Without God nothing is holy. This is definitional. Holiness emanates from a belief in the holy.
12. Without God, humanist hubris is almost inevitable. If there is nothing higher than man, no Supreme Being, man becomes the supreme being.
13. Without God, there are no inalienable human rights. Rights depend upon a moral source, a rights giver.
14. "Without God," Dostoevsky famously wrote, "all is permitted." There has been plenty of evil committed by believers in God, but the widespread cruelties and the sheer number of innocents murdered by secular regimes -- specifically Nazi, Fascist and Communist regimes -- dwarfs the evil done in the name of religion.
What I find striking is the similarity between Prager’s comments and Provine’s five inescapable conclusions if Darwinism is true. Morality becomes a mass delusion. There is no purpose in living, no life beyond death, and no free will.