Questions for atheists (part 5 of 7)
|June 30, 2011||Posted by Joseph Keysor under Blog|
56. Sartre, the atheist, argued that life was meaningless and absurd. Does it follow that Sartre himself, his books, his ideas, his life, and his influence were also meaningless and absurd? To put it another way, was Sartre a hopeless fool whose books are a complete waste of time?
57. Sartre, the atheist, was a long time defender of the Soviet Union. Many other secularists and atheists defended the Soviet Union as well, admired it, supported it, whitewashed its crimes, and shared its ideals, and even saw it as the hope of humanity. Does this mean that the philosophical (dare I say spiritual?) affinity between atheism and Communism is deeper and more substantial than some defenders of atheism would have us believe?
58. Do you atheists believe that you have found the true meaning of life, while countless millions of Buddhists, Hindus, Moslems, Christians, and Jews are in error? If so, how do you account for your superior insight?
59. If you had been born in a Moslem culture, would you now be a believing Moslem? Does this mean that your ideas also are culturally relative to the society you were brought up in, and not solely the product of detached and rational observation?
60. Ernst Haeckel, 19th-century Germany’s leading public advocate of Darwinism, held many views identical to those of the so-called “new atheists.” He ridiculed the bible and revealed religion; claimed that scientific knowledge was the only way to further progress; and asserted the truth of Darwin’s theory of evolution, which he considered to be scientific fact.
Yet, this paragon of secular rationality had a number of disturbing ideas. He claimed that blond, blue-eyed northern Europeans stood at the apex of human development, and ridiculed blacks as culturally inferior. He felt that “survival of the fittest” justified Germany attacking other countries and seizing their territory, that European imperialist domination of the world was natural, the outcome of the law of evolution. He advocated using the death penalty freely, including on the sick and the defective, as well as on criminals. He was an enthusiastic German nationalist, and hoped a German victory in WWI would be followed by the annexation of much new territory, allowing for the German domination of Europe.
Other secularists, Darwinists, and atheists such as H.G. Wells, Lenin, Trotsky, and Friedrich Nietzsche have held morally reprehensible, even disgusting views – reprehensible and disgusting even today’s general secular standards. Does this mean, then, that the image of atheists as calm, rational, dispassionate advocates of fact is something less than the whole truth? If atheists focus on religious extremists and ignore secular extremists, is this a failure to objectively consider all of the evidence?
61. Can you prove scientifically that it’s wrong to make people of a certain skin color sit at the back of the bus? You “feel” it is wrong, but what if someone “feels” differently? Are not clever philosophical schemes totally impotent in the face of our baser passions, nothing but word games that have nothing to do with life as it is lived?
62. Christians inhabit the same physical universe as atheists. We have the same solar system, the same vast reaches of space, galaxies, stars, mountains, flowers, marvels of nature, the same splendors of sunrise and sunset – how is it then that saying “These things were created by God” makes the creation less wonderful? Doesn’t it rather add another element and dimension? Does saying “It all happened by accident and has no higher purpose” really lead to a greater sense of appreciation? If someone answers “Yes,” is that a purely subjective evaluation which might be mistaken and can later be changed? Is a universe that is cold, empty, and lifeless more of a cause for awe and reverence than a universe that has personality, mind, and love at its foundation?
63. Where do you think that Joseph Goebbels would feel more comfortable: at a religious service where it was maintained that the Bible in the Old and New Testaments was the word of God; that there would be a day of judgment followed by heaven and hell; that the Jews were the people God used to reveal himself through the prophets, Christ, and the Apostles; that we should follow the teachings of Christ; that God was love, and those who did not have love would not go to heaven; that liars and murderers would go to hell? Or at an event where the speaker said the Bible was outdated and unscientific myths; that life on earth came from evolution; that people were in essence only animals; that survival of the fittest was the underlying law of life on earth as we know it; that there was no after life; that the main thing was to find our own fulfillment in our own way?
64. Does the enthusiasm of fans at a football game remind you of the enthusiasm at a Nazi party rally, or can you see that the two enthusiasms have different objects and different results? Aren’t attempts to link Christianity and Naziism similarly wide of the mark?
65. Hitler claimed to be a Christian once publicly, in a speech given in 1922. If you believe this because he said so, do you also believe that the Aryans are the master race? That Germany attacked Poland in self defense? That Hitler wanted peace but the Jews who controlled England were to blame for the war? Is “Hitler said so himself” a valid argument?