The following was prompted by commentary at Kiwiblog:
In the words of Neitzsche’s Madman:
“Where has God gone?” he cried. “I shall tell you. We have killed him – you and I. We are his murderers. But how have we done this? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What did we do when we unchained the earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving now? Away from all suns? Are we not perpetually falling? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there any up or down left? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is it not more and more night coming on all the time? Must not lanterns be lit in the morning? Do we not hear anything yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we not smell anything yet of God’s decomposition? Gods too decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we, murderers of all murderers, console ourselves? That which was the holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet possessed has bled to death under our knives. Who will wipe this blood off us? With what water could we purify ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we need to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we not ourselves become gods simply to be worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whosoever shall be born after us – for the sake of this deed he shall be part of a higher history than all history hitherto.”
What Nietzsche is concerned at in relating the above is that God is dead in the hearts of modern men – killed by rationalism and science. This same God however, before becoming dead in men’s hearts and minds, had provided the foundation of a “Christian-moral” defining and uniting approach to life as a shared cultural set of belief fully within which people had lived their lives.
It has become an assumption of secular society that truth claims relating to the existence of God cannot be verified, and the historical basis of the Christian faith in particular has been discredited.
However such assumptions are themselves highly suspect. At the vanguard of science we do not find endless affirmations of materialism but expressions of wonder at the complexities and deep mysteries of “Creation”. When one examines the circumstances and documents surrounding the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, one finds a wealth of evidence to support his claim to divinity. How does a Universe arise from nothing? How does Mind arise from chaos? Historically, the majority of philosophers (e.g. Antony Flew) have believed in God in some form.
(Responses to questions from R. Sproull: )
Does being very powerful make someone worthy of worship?
No, but being very good does. It blows my mind to think that the Creator of all is also the epitome of goodness and grace.
What makes the emergence of life different from any other event in the universe?
The emergence of life is suffused with meaning; most people consider their lives meaningful, the claim that “it just happened” is not very useful in the quest for the reason why.
Paul Collins writes: “Even in its most primitive forms [matter] is impregnated with a purposive energy that constantly evolves toward ever-greater complexity. Matter is not static; it is in constant evolution … into deepening consciousness and increasing complexity. In humankind consciousness, more or less, becomes conscious of itself; we not only know, but know that we know. Theology is ultimately our attempt to articulate spiritual experience
and express it in cultural terms … we experience a lurking transcendent presence, particularly in the natural material world”
Lucy Tatman suggests: “in the face of an onslaught of such dogmatic, extremist belief, it may well be the case that religious faith, broadly understood, and painstaking scientific practice are each others’ closest allies. Put simply, I have yet to discern a difference between the wonder, awe, and mystery of faith and the wonder, awe, and mystery of life, the universe, and everything that is presented by science. Frighteningly, at this particular historical juncture neither an open-minded faith nor evidence-based science are secure.”
Those that deny the creator are the most miserable of all things. –Kepler Sings
Humanistic culture, insofar as it functions as an ideology and therefore as a religion, consists essentially in being unaware of three things: firstly, of what God is, because it does not grant primacy to Him; secondly, of what man is, because it puts him in the place of God; thirdly, of what the meaning of life is, because this culture limits itself to playing with evanescent things and to plunging into them with criminal unconscious. In a word, there is nothing more inhuman than humanism, by the fact that it, so to speak, decapitates man: wishing to make of him an animal which is perfect, it succeeds in turning him into a perfect animal; not all at once… but in the long run, since it inevitably ends by “re-barbarizing” society, while “dehumanizing” it ipso facto in depth.–F. Schuon
Instead of “I am your God and you shall have no other gods before me,” the flatland secularist begins with “there is no Absolute and you shall be absolutely subject to the sacred relativities we have inserted in His place.”
Many implications follow from this initial inversion. In fact, author Eric Raymond writes, “There is no truth, only competing agendas,” “All Western claims to moral superiority are vitiated by the West’s history of racism and colonialism,” and “There are no objective standards by which we may judge one culture to be better than another. Anyone who claims that there are such standards is an evil oppressor.” Ironically, each of these is a false and repressive absolute disguised as a relativity. Their real purpose is to undermine and subvert the Absolute.
Two things that the reconstructed mind knows for certain: that the world is intelligible, and that man is free. Take away either, and the world is simply an absurdity, a monstrosity, a mistake. For to say that we may know is equally to say that we are free, otherwise it is not knowledge at all. Knowledge proves freedom, freedom proves knowledge, and both prove the Creator, for the hierarchy of being disclosed by the free intellect leads back to its nonlocal source above.
Therefore, the second commandment follows logically from the first: you shall not turn the cosmos upside down and inside out and worship created things.