Thursday, March 13, 2014


             It is important at the beginning of this essay to first define the meaning of some basic words used in it. So, we will first define  the concepts of  two radically opposed mental attitudes of modern man. The fundamental questions of our times still remains the same :  are we alone in this universe or is there some transcendent reality which is not part of this universe but the  first cause of it's existence. In other words we can say that the philosophical notion of  the Transcendent Being is the  philosophical foundation of what in most important of a living religion is called God.  A believer in God  we call a theist. However in our times there is a spreading and  developing attitude of some people who are completely negative and they call themselves atheists. Atheism is a radical denial of any existence of any being beyond or above nature. All reality available to us  is known only within the  confines of so called  experience of material reality of some kind. Many atheists believe that the future of human knowledge  will be a final  proof of their attitude. This essay will be an analysis of the nature and the grounds   of atheism and an attempt to show that atheism is a belief  and a  mental   dogmatic attitude. Of course there are many different kinds of atheism steming from various sources in individual persons. Every atheist has his or her "reasons" for rejecting belief in a Transcendent Creator of reality. Nature is  totally, ontologically  and existentially dependent on  the Creator in it's existence and actions. So we have two worldviews radically opposed to each other. The question whether God exists or not is by no means outdated or old fashioned or as some would say obsolete. Any one who has at least some basic knowledge of this question must realize immediately that it is  the very central  problem embracing the whole  existence  of humanity, it's purpose or lack of it and any kind of meaning if such meaning exists. Why we exist,  live, do things, some times suffer and finally die.  For example if God exists and created the universe and humanity then this God has some plans for each human being and therefore each individual human has special personal destiny . A human being  is within theistic belief  a  spirit in a body. This spirit  is  what in theistic religion is called  a limited image of God. Death to which each person is subject is then not necessarily the absolute end : annihilation . Briefly saying there is an immortal principle in man and therefore the brief existence on earth is only a short growing of each person towards eternal destiny. Just to mention briefly one religion , Christianity. The whole center of Christian belief rests on incarnation of Christ into human life, His teaching  , His death and most importantly His Resurrection . Every Christian has to become a second Christ, that is  he/she has to imitate in thoughts and actions  the example of  God who is present in Christ. Within   this perspective  anything that happens in my life here on earth  whether it is pleasant and good  or perhaps the opposite that is difficult full of frustration and suffering  is  only a preliminary transition towards eternity and eternal life with God.

              On the other hand  atheists  display  a  tremendous belief  within the life here and now  that is  between  birth and the grave. Therefore they   must create their own meanings, their own beliefs and  ideals  and purpose within the context of  a life without any relationship  to anything  transcendent.
              For an atheist  life is  a simple product of the energies of matter, and  humanity is unintended  byproduct of the cosmic material tensions. Humanity within the context of the cosmos  is an unimportant  and accidental byproduct of biological evolution, which also is a part of the evolution of the whole cosmos from the moment of so called Big Bang . An  individual person will always be busy to create  his/her own  idols  or so called values  without which no human would exist and live at all. The atheist must therefore be self made  creator of him/herself . The problem for any thinking atheist is the meaning of his/her existence. He/she has no answer  to the questions:  Why I exist ? and What for do I exist at all?. Is there any  permanent  meaning of what I do  and live through here  or is this all a sheer  accidental incident of  impersonal matter and energy of the cosmos in it's blind movements.   If someone is an honest atheist, he/she must, in order to go on living  become a  strong
believer in some  reality or some value for which it is worth living,  acting, believing. Most atheists  will  therefore say that  they believe in science,  that science is the only way of knowing , any other  way to know  is unreliable and  science becomes a new kind of idolatry of the modern man. Science itself is a wonderful accomplishment of the human mind. It already changed in many ways  human lives and holds  many promises for  improving  the  conditions    of  life. The atheists however who  say  that they respect    science are making of science an atheistic  credo  and  matter  becomes  the reality replacing  God, the Creator.
          The claim of the atheists is according at least to some of them (for example Richard Dawkins and his friends) is based on  the belief that science is  the only way  to know reality and in this belief they would accept anything whatsoever even the most improbable  tenets  as long as they are labeled with the word "scientifically established." They  absolutely reject any reality transcending the scientific method  of investigation. Richard Dawkins especially shows a vigorous active attitude against any religious belief as based not  on scientific grounds but on prejudice and therefore false. He believes religion to be the very source of the worst evil  for mankind. His fundamental belief comes from the theory of evolution which according to his thinking explains completely and totally the history and nature of man and also by extrapolation the history of the whole universe. He believes also that mankind would be far happier  without any religious belief which only diverts human interest and efforts towards an not existing  phantom. When one reads his books  one is amazed at the  tremendous faith of this unbeliever.      Let's examine   whether  the scientific theories accepted by most scientists today  require less faith than the teaching of some religions.
        " The modern mind  is  selectively  skeptical. We have  no problem believing  the entire universe  came out of a pinpoint. But if told  that five thousand meals once came out of the small basket we exclaim: That's impossible!" ( from the play Abide for Me Many Days, Edmund Rose James, 1992)
                  Suppose you accept  as I do  the origin of the universe in the Big Bang model proposed by Alan Guth of Massachusetts  Institute of Technology you believe   that  around fifteen billion years ago all  material of the cosmos was contained in no more than a pinpoint. Time and space did not exist yet. Nothing was  old or new  because such words were not defined yet. You believe that the universe  has been created virtually out of nothing, you believe that space itself was "inflating" many thousands of times  faster than light, you also believe that during the early moments  the material  of creation  was 100 trillion times denser than water.  Next you believe that within  few seconds after the initial explosion the  particles began generating matter  which immediately began to collide and  annihilate  themselves  back into nonexistence,    vanishing  mysteriously the way they came.  
         The only reason our universe exists is that this process of annihilation   was slightly uneven  and it left a small amount   of  matter over antimatter by one part in 100 million.
         Believing in a Big Bang is well founded because of  heavily favored  hypothesis compared with which statements about the origin of the universe  which came from the  Bible or Koran and not from Massachusetts Institute of Technology would be  laughed out as  obscure and absurd mythology.  The rather recent   "superstring"  theory with at least ten dimensions  somehow "folded" into probability structures millions of times  smaller than atoms developed by Edward Witten of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton was glorified in the New York Times Magazine  as an invention of a  generation leading mind.
             If a man believes in the miracles of Christ  he must be mentally deficient, let few psychiatrists  examine his brain. But if a scientist talks about several  invisible dimensions in nature "folded " into  probabilities give him a chair of  professorship in  an outstanding university!  ( Eastebrook, Gregg, Beside Still Waters, William Morrow and Company, Inc., New York 1998, chapter II, Spirit and Science) 
           Things will become clearer if we examine  closely what is science. The intrinsic dynamism of a human mind  is directed towards understanding of not only  immediate phenomena,  but also the ultimate questions providing intelligibility  to the most urgent  questions  of man's  condition , meaning of his/her existence, and also his/her destiny as a human being. Part of  this dynamism towards intelligibility is what we understand by science . The scientific method has it's own limitations because  it remains  within  the sphere of the measurable and tangible  and also repeatable experimentations. The discovery of  facts of nature are the material out of which the scientific  hypotheses and theories are built. It is essential to remember that discovery of facts in themselves is necessary but not sufficient without interpretation.  That is why  a scientist uses universal concepts in which  he/she transcends   the here and now of the sense data. However  scientific hypotheses and theories are provisional in nature and never give absolute truth, but are only strong approximations  to what is. 
         It is important to remember that science does not exist by itself.  It is made by individual scientists in different specified fields of knowledge. Scientists are of course human beings and they also have their preconceived attitudes to the question what is true , what is possible and what is false. Beneath every scientific problem there always remain the crucial element of values  and meaning . None of those two is provided  by the scientific method alone. Since the scientist is a human being  he/she must have some personal vision of reality  and consequently into the  understanding of existence he/she puts his/her all human  reality with possible deviations , prejudices and unexamined attitudes  . Where science  has done it's work and cannot do more there comes in philosophy and  it's drive towards universal intelligibility  available to the human mind.