Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Talking to atheists online....

Question:  Why must all people consider the question of God?

I ask the atheist:  if God does not exist, then there is no reason to believe existence itself has any meaning at all - right?  If everything in the universe somehow simply began to exist, and operates  entirely by random chance (which is the current basic assumption about evolution, for instance), then clearly nothing has any inherent purpose.  This of course includes human beings; we are merely random collections of the various elementary particles, arranged in a particular physical form (in common with all other things that exist), apparently driven entirely by one primary motive force: doing whatever it takes to ensure the survival of our own genetic material.  (Well, look at that!  There is perhaps a "purpose" after all; now where did that come from, I wonder?  But never mind this for now.)

The atheist response:  What you say is true; there is no meaning at all inherent in the universe or in anything in it.  But we can create our own meaning.

I reply:   And what exactly is the difference between your desire to "create your own meaning" and mine, which is to find meaning in God?   Why is your "invented meaning" by definition superior to what you deride as my "invented meaning" (i.e., God)?  

And doesn't the whole idea of "creating meaning" violate your own assumptions anyway?  If the universe and everything in it is meaningless, as you claim, then aren't you by definition inventing something that you already know isn't there - which is the very thing you express scorn for in theists?   (The difference, actually, is that theists do believe in God, and so aren't implicated in the "invention of something they know isn't really there" problem, as you by definition are.)   Furthermore, at that point aren't you violating your own first principles, i.e., your assumption that there is nothing in the universe except what materially exists and can be empirically measured?   How does "meaning" fit into the materialist scheme at all?

And BTW:  isn't this actually a classic reductio ad absurdum result?

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