Friday, July 11, 2014

Atheism and It's Consequences for Human Existence. Visit my page:


          It seems that in our times atheism is spreading and becomes in some circles almost the fashionable  way of speaking and living. One hears more and more : I am an agnostic and an atheist. One wonders however whether those who  speak as atheists really considered  the meaning of the word and also  the consequences of  honest and serious atheistic attitude.

        Of course the  fundamental  question here remains whether atheism is  in any way  true . Only if  one seriously considers the fundamental questions of human existence  and  one does it with courage and persistence is some insight  into truth available to man.
              If one  observes the  human ability to know  and  the  philosophical  persistence and  reaching  the  transcendent being  and  later the revelation of  a religious tradition  one is entitled to consider one ‘self a true seeker for meaning. Of course any  mentioning of meaning  is justified  only  within the context of some religious belief.

                   Atheism is based on  the denial of an serious metaphysical reflections it  refuses  to use  the full  power and abilities of  the unconquerable  human mind. Atheism must therefore accept  materialistic  interpretation of all reality including human beings. Nothing exists for an atheist but only matter in movement. The universe is an immensity of unified forces, of impersonal, blind and ultimately chaotic, material phenomena. The immensity of the universe transcends any understanding or  imagination. Atheism does not acknowledge any kind of  personal creator, of course it is atheism and not theism. 
                     Man is an accidental  speck of  living matter  and  he/she appears  accidentally , exists  not knowing why and  disappears also often accidentally although necessarily  in death . Death is as nonsensical as birth because both have no  durable meaning at all. A human being is only one of the  millions of other living forms   living on this globe and  the most murderous.   With a little higher degree of  sagacity  he/she lives on the rest of  animals life: Hundreds and thousands of animals are killed every day to feed  the human animals . For an atheist this is  a difficult  problem to solve  why the human life is  more important  life  than the life of any other living thing: a fly, a mosquito. or a bacteria, not to talk about such  living giants like dinosaurs. If  human being  is nothing but matter  then atheism abolishes  completely the personality of man .


            Because  man is nothing else but  as David Hume mentioned  a bundle of perceptions.

            There is no  self, conscious , human self , there is no  knowledge of  freedom of choice or  any  purpose of preferring  one action over another . Atheism abolishes  the importance of  conscious and  moral values . If there is no God  as Dostoyevsky mentioned,  then everything is allowed. This means , that there is no higher authority above man facing which  one would feel responsible or accountable for one’s mode of living actions or any other  idol  which would govern my life. Nothing is  anymore sacred , holy allowed or forbidden . Each one  is  his/her own  lawgiver  and creator of moral values. Therefore no one should be really de-facto condemned or praised for any action or mode of behavior.

 There is only one drive in the human animal: survival on all costs, because  nothing else matters. Atheists  should not  condemn or praise anyone in human history, whether  it be  an Adolf Hitler , Joseph Stalin or  Jesus Christ on the cross asking   God:  

 " Father forgive them for they do not know what they do."

Atheistic  attitude   abolishes  any  ground for talk about human dignity because there is none left, for man is an animal and  there is no reason why he/she should be somehow honored  as higher   or better.

            When man gets older , sick and weaker closer to his death, he/she becomes  a nonsense a useless burden  for others and  his/her meaningless suffering is best solved  by  disposing of him/her. So euthanasia , special exterminating hospitals  and  such methods as were employed by the Hitler’s hordes in XXth  century  already practiced on a very large scale. After all such  ways of extermination of  undesirable  persons  are very efficient  methods to  make room for  some  higher chosen race. The German term was Herenvolk ( the nation of lords) .

            Is what I am saying here an exaggeration?  No , I don’t think so because it was  practiced in many forms  during the history  of humans on this globe and there is no  reason  to doubt that in some form or other it will appear again and perhaps in far more terrible way then it appeared so far.
          It is  interesting  how  an atheist faces those  consequences mentioned  of his/her atheism , a specially  when he/she gets  sick, old and close to death. Death  for atheist   is  a  final  annihilation  of  man’s life forever. All His/her  hopes, dreams , projects and aspiration are simply  extinguished forever like blowing out the flame of  a burning candle.
        No meaning, no future, no eternal life of any kind , no values worth mentioning and  a brief accidental  existence and  fast disappearance  into nothingness . Atheists  of course create their own idols and values : many people  put their meaning of life  in procreation, having children. They  believe that in their children they themselves somehow will endure after their physical demise. This is a nice thought but  unfortunately self- deceptive  because  no matter how many children I have I myself will die and thy after living their lives will also die . This cycle will repeat it self,  but  if I am dead I will not even  remember or  in any way  be conscious of my past life because there will be no more me.
“ What does it profit a man if the gains the  whole world but loses his soul.”   
                                                                                             Jesus Christ.

            Of course  atheism is  everybody’s choice   . Everyone has  the duty to Himself/herself if not to any other to  seek  for  the  right answers , for the ultimate questions.
          There are very  sound and valid arguments pointing to the existence of the Transcendent , Infinite Being  giving  a rational foundation  for  belief  in God on the philosophical level. There also exists  solid , valid historical fact of God’s revelation of Himself and His plans for mankind in human history.
          We can paraphrase  the  saying of  Hamlet: to be in eternity or not to be for eternity.
                                                                                            Leszek Figurski

                          Suggesting readings :

Hartshorne,Charles and Reese, L.William, Philosophers Speak of God, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago & London: 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Atheism and the Question of Truth - Professor L. Figurski invites you to read his books

The natural desire to know can be only satisfied if the person is    passionately  looking  for truth . Somehow we know that life in delusion , illusion and ignorance,  must be necessarily false,  meaningless and leading to disaster. The most essential  distinction between humans and  other lower forms of life consists precisely in  the fact that man  has a mind  which in it’s quest for truth  is  unconquerable . Aristotle’s statement that all man by nature desire to know  seems to be true beyond any question. All human history is a gradual  development  of  ideas and  visions of reality, because  ideas are  governing  human behavior.  
Human beings  are known  to have been  freely and willingly dying  for their beliefs and  I do not mean here  only religious beliefs, but  also other strong convictions for which man was willing to die.   Since man  is  not only  a self,  and the mind , but also embedded  in matter and body,  he/she is subject to many deviations,  and even  conscious denial  of the importance of seeking the truth. Those hindrances are connected  with many  powers and institutions  in which  humans live. Especially in modern times  the pressures  against  honest search for truth are enormous. Everyone is constantly bombarded by political propaganda , commercial advertising, biased mass media , and  chauvinistic  and corrupted influential politicians. In such situation it is  easy to resign  from one’s own independent thinking, and follow the  accepted  political ideology for fear of being ostracized and  even persecuted as  an enemy of the state,  and the interest of the nation, like it happened  for example in the  Nazi ideology  in the XX century.
However  the purpose of this article is  to analyze  the position  of new atheism  (Richard Dawkins, Lewis Wolpert, Sam Harris, Victor Stenger, Daniel Dennet and quite a number of others)  and  it’s relationship to the  ultimate  truth of reality and the atheistic  attitude.        The  basic problem  here is the  question of  possibility of the human mind to reach the  transcendent , philosophical truth. Atheism  developed under  the  umbrella of  science, which primarily for atheists, became the new idol of our times. The average person is also  under the influence  of  the authority of scientific accomplishments . Many people  when they hear the words scientifically proven,    accept  whatever is announced without any question. The authority of science  replaced for many  the authority of  religion, tradition and even moral values.
The question is very  important  because there is an  absolute  unbridgeable gap  between  atheistic position and  the  vision of religious person. Religion   , to the degree it is true,  requires  the totality of  man’s life: it influences  his/her  thinking,  his/her expectations for eternity , his/her values and his/her  way of living  this life. In other words, it calls for total, absolute commitment. On the other, hand atheism  destroys  the power of the human mind  to discover the  transcendent being  (metaphysics)  it  denies  any  meaning after death , and  it has to establish its own values, purposes and  meaning of life. To many atheists,  especially  existential thinkers, life appears utterly meaningless and  absurd ( Russell, Sartre, Camus, Nietzsche and others).   The  appeal to science as  a final explanation of  the universe and it’s development  cannot be justified logically because science on the basis of it’s methods  does not deal with the  questions of existence , the universal mature of being  and  the final answer to the question why is there universe at all. 
The aim of science is to  conquer the natural forces for  human purposes . Every scientific theory is  therefore provisional and subject to the possibility of change and replacement by  a more comprehensive theory. That is why  science  never will answer the most fundamental question of existence and  it cannot therefore serve as  replacement of philosophical arguments concerning  the  nature  of final  , contingent beings and their  existence. Science cannot answer the question why is there a universe at all, why not  nothing instead .
                        The basic arguments  for existence of a transcendent infinite being  are  as follows :
1.     The first cause of existence of a universe of contingent beings (The Aristotelian concept of a First Mover).
2.     The  inference from contingent existence of all finite beings to one  First cause  creative  of all contingent reality.
3.     The purposefulness    and regularity observable  in the universe  both in the inanimate  world and  especially the  living  world developing in the process of evolution shows  the validity of the teleological  argument pointing to some cosmic intelligence responsible for  the nature and structure of all finite beings man included.
The  three above arguments are not all but the most obvious pointers to some  sort of  infinite transcendent being, perhaps not only  as First Cause but also as a personal reality  self-hood and  freedom   and intelligence.
Dawkins and the other new atheists  do not show in their writings that  the metaphysical arguments mentioned are not sound. Certainly, Richard Dawkins in his book “The God Delusion” does not  show it. He  stresses again and again that science    is  the complete explanation of the phenomena of nature. By science Dawkins  means the theories of  development of the universe  but primarily  the fact of Darwinian evolution relative to the appearance of man. He does not explain  why there is  life  or evolution of life. He simply assumes that this is how it is and  that is enough. If one takes him seriously, then man is nothing else  but a little higher  developed great ape . The intelligence  of humans  would then be only somewhat different  from the intelligence of higher primates but same in kind. This approach is really           abolition of man as man . For man,  so understood,  is not really a person  with  symbolic  language , ability to think abstractly and to  develop philosophical understanding of reality. He/she remains  within the borders of scientific method where  transcendent activity of the mind to reach towards the absolute  is  simply denied at least according to Richard Dawkins.
       Philosophy begins with the  wonder of the fact of existence  analyzed on the metaphysical level . Without this attitude there is no philosophy. If one refuses to use the  power of the human mind  then one commits a mental suicide  One refuses simply even to seriously ask the questions and  becomes an agnostic or  skeptic. As  Frederik  Copelston remarked in his  famous discussion on God’s existence with Bertrand  Russell: “If one does not sit down  to the chessboard and makes the first move  one can never lose the game.” One can add here: neither can one win it.
            Even if science would explain  every detail in nature  and how it all works    in the whole universe  known to man , it would not answer  why there is a universe or why there is such a universe   and not another. Neither would it explain  the  dynamic nature of the world developing  from sub atomic particles to molecules, to  primitive living forms , to the multiverse of  life,  to  the rudiments  of animal intelligence, to self consciousness, abstract intelligence and  free personality of humans.  So much  can never be denied and  it is enough to  guarantee that  the argument of the First Cause , the Prime Mover and the Cosmic Intelligence are valid pointers to the existence of  God.
            Richard Dawkins seems to believe without any hesitation that Darwinism implies the following : (a) there is no evidence for God , (b) no life after death and (c) no foundation  for right and wrong or ultimate meaning of life. (d) people really have  no free will.
If we take Dawkins statement seriously we would have to believe that nothing produces everything, non-life produces life, randomness produces information, unconsciousness produces consciousness, and not reason produces reason.  It is obvious that for  Dawkins the Darwinian theory of evolution is a  complete universal  explanation of any problem whatsoever.
The central question here is  the  definition of truth and  it is the fundamental problem because outside of truth we have only ignorance, deception, and  delusion of all kind. The first thing to notice is  the  crucial distinction between facts   and interpretation of fact , explanation of facts or  proving  facts. All relationship between mind and reality is a form of mutual interaction . The  scientific method,  so popular in our times is a philosophical assumption because it cannot be proven scientifically. Consequently rejection of  metaphysical reflections is also  an unproved  assumption. It  denies  the minds the natural ability to  make the fundamental questions of existence intelligible and   somehow  valid as arguments  for a transcendent being.
Here we have very many positions beginning with uncritical  acceptance of whatever is  given  in the society and the mass media, through the skeptical attitude of the agnostic  who affirms that any knowledge of  the ultimate question is not possible, to the scientific attitude and finally to philosophical metaphysical reflections. Methodical realism accepted in those present reflections  is an accepted definition of truth. It assumes  intelligibility of  the realm of being and  penetrability of beings to the human inspection and analysis. Truth therefore will have three basic characteristics :
(1) Conformity of  the concepts of the mind to what the facto is real.
 (2) Intrinsic coherence.
 (3) Consistency and ,
 (4) Acceptance of both  deductive and inductive  thinking conforming to the laws of logic. The mind is not  a passive faculty but it is  both active and passive .
Search for truth requires methodical  effort of the whole mind and a serious commitment to the importance of truth in human life. At the base of any problem whatsoever in human life  there always lies a question of value . Without  fully expressing  the attitude of the mind to reality we all know that truth is  of  fundamental and absolute value. Any other position leads to living in semi –darkness and a mental suicide.
Evolution of different forms of life including humans is by no means hostile to the belief in a transcendent deity . The concept of  natural selection and survival of the fittest  leaves out  many fundamental philosophical problems completely untouched:
 (1) Matter  is not eternal as it was believed for many  centuries because  astronomy and physics itself proves the beginning of the universe.
(2) Natural selection is in itself not productive of new species but it eliminates the less adapted , and  it is important to remember that before  there are the fittest there had to be first the fit, that is  the beginning of  life .
(3) The biological increase in complexity from the most primitive living cell to the phenomena of man does not explain the  appearance of consciousness, self-consciousness , the human personality  and  the nature of the human mind.
The concept of evolution understood in his own way by Richard Dawkins  does not provide evidence  or sound arguments. It is  a dogmatic , philosophical assumption. The whole philosophy of people life Dawkins and his friends ultimately is based on  sheer unproved  belief that nothing exists  but only matter in movement.
If one accepts this  first         assumption then of course any talk  about mind, spirit, purpose, intelligibility,  moral values are of course automatically rejected. However it remains nothing but   sheer assumptions  not  a valid  interpretation and explanation of reality.  If the arguments  mentioned here  for the existence of God are  valid  - and  no one ever proved that they are not valid – then  there exists  a transcendent  First Cause , Omnipotent Creator,  One  Prime Mover , Immaterial, Intelligent Personal Being and  this  to use  the words of St. Thomas: All call God.

Suggested readings
Miller, Kenneth R.      Findings Darwin’s God. A Scientist’s Search for Common ground Between God and Evolution  Harper, Perennial: (New York, 1999)

Strobel,  Lee, The Case for a Creator, Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God, Zondervan:  (Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2004)