“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
but only in expressing his opinion.”
I recently watched the documentary “The Unbelievers” on Netflix. It’s about two scientists, Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss, as they travel the globe promoting a scientific worldview, and the rational questioning of religious belief. (Both men are self proclaimed atheists.)
There’s a lot that I can say about the documentary. However, I will only focus on one glaring constant throughout the film. With regards to our origins and purpose, Dawkins and Krauss deny the importance in answering the question:
Here are some quotes from the film, by Richard Dawkins:
“The question ‘Why?’ is not necessarily a question which deserves to be answered.”
“‘Why?’ is a silly question. You can ask, ‘What are the factors that lead to something coming into existence?’ That’s a sensible question. But, ‘What is the purpose of the universe?’ is a silly question. It has no meaning.”
As crazy as that sounds, it’s actually quite consistent to be an atheist who considers the question of ‘Why?’ to be “silly”. Think about it. Since atheism denies the existence of God, such a question would be incoherent in a reality devoid of Him.
Because without God, in an atheistic reality, there is no grounding for knowing anything. There is no absolute point of reference or standard by which to verify what may or may not be true. Not only that, there is no truth to confirm. Richard Dawkins is actually correct, within his Godless, reference-less paradigm, when he says, “The question ‘Why?’ is not necessarily a question which deserves to be answered.”
Not only could the question of ‘Why?’ never be answered in such a paradigm, but the concept of ‘deserving’ is incoherent as well. Within atheism, there is no ‘ought’. Therefore, to assume anything to be ‘deserved’ on any level, would be ludicrous as well.
But, here’s the interesting part. Dawkins and Krauss, who are both of the mindset that purpose is actually incoherent, each then attempt to impart meaning into a meaningless reality. They each look to impose ought to an “oughtless” paradigm.
Check out these quotes from each of them, which are taken from the film:
“We do not have a scientific understanding as to why we’re here. And we, therefore, have to make up our own meaning to life. We have to stand up, look the world in the face, face up to the fact that we are not going to last forever. We have to make the most of the short time that we have on this planet. We have to make this planet as good as we possibly can. Try to leave it a better place than we found it.” – Richard Dawkins
“You are far more insignificant than you had ever thought. And that is what I want you to celebrate here today. People say science takes away spiritual fulfillment and wonder and awe and happiness. You should be happier, because you’re insignificant and the future is miserable. ‘Cause you’re here today, and you are endowed by evolution with a consciousness, and an intelligence, and you can ask these questions. So, instead of being depressed and requiring meaning of the universe beyond your own existence, you create your own meaning, and enjoy your brief moment in the sun.” – Lawrence Krauss
It’s absolutely amazing…
These guys not only deny meaning, and then go around lecturing to promote such, but then they promote and celebrate the self-impartation of it! It’s incredible! You know what they are? They’re existentialists.
Existentialism: a philosophical theory or approach that emphasizes the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining their own development through acts of the will.
Dawkins and Krauss are so compelled to satisfy their innate desire for meaning and purpose that they actually pursue an endeavor of atheistic proselytization. Yet, at the same time, they accompany such with the promotion of imparting meaning in a supposedly meaningless reality. It’s funny because proselytizing is a big “no, no” in atheist circles. Yet, here it’s ok.
(And… of course they have an innate desire for meaning and purpose. They’re image bearers of God. There’s no way around it.)
“What a privilege it is for each one of us to have in our heads, an organ, capable of constructing a model of the universe. It is sad that that model will die when our brain dies. But, my goodness, what a privilege it is before we do die.” – Richard Dawkins
A privilege, Richard? You mean a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people?
It’s fascinating how Dawkins speaks of privilege. He speaks as though there actually is a positive, purposeful aspect to our existence. Yet, at the same time, Dawkins denies the validity of dealing with the question of ‘Why?’.
The reality of existing, and being able to ask and ponder ‘Why?’, is what separates us from the rest of the creation as image bearers of God. Dawkins’ attempt to point out privilege actually makes sense, in light of the image he bears.
On the cross, Jesus Christ (who is both God and man) asked ‘Why?’:
“And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?””
This asking of ‘Why?’ by Christ, is a reference to Psalm 22:
“My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?
Why are You so far from saving Me, from the words of My groaning?”
Isaiah provides the answer:
“Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush Him;
He has put Him to grief;
when His soul makes an offering for guilt,
He shall see His offspring; He shall prolong His days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
Out of the anguish of His soul He shall see and be satisfied;
by His knowledge shall the Righteous One, My servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and He shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the many,
and He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because He poured out His soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet He bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.”
‘Why?’ is the most important question anyone could ever ask. It’s so important, and impossible to overlook, that men like Dawkins and Krauss must actually promote the notion of imparting their conviction upon others, by invoking meaning in what they consider to be a meaningless existence. The “silly”, (as Dawkins described it), suddenly becomes something that we must “celebrate” (as Krauss demands). To them, it is the only means of happiness… in an unhappy reality.
Ironically, what they actually encourage is becoming LIKE GOD. Such reminds us (Christians) of the scenario far to familiar, which was the essence of why we all at some level are also guilty of the denial of ‘Why?’.
Here is Satan’s twisting of God’s words in order to encourage being LIKE GOD:
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be LIKE GOD, knowing good and evil.””
At least the serpent, unlike Dawkins and Krauss, acknowledged God’s existence.
When we (Christians) encounter atheism and its mission: “The denial of ‘Why?'”, our response needs to be evangelism. Our response needs to get to the heart of what the issue is.
Here’s an example of a proper response:
“You have a nice house, there’s just sand under it. There’s no foundation.”
This was Doug Wilson’s response to Christopher Hitchens, in the documentary ‘Collision’, regarding the notion made by Hitchens that he can be moral without God. The problem is that Hitchens has no basis for his morality, as Wilson pointed out. (Hitchens was also an atheist.)
Paul reminds us that everyone knows that God is there, and that we know that we have violated His purpose:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools.”
“The Unbelievers” actually confirms Paul’s statement. It opens with a brief intro from a well-known actor/director:
“I said this in a movie once: ‘Everyone knows the same truth, and our lives consist of how we choose to distort it.'” – Woody Allen
Pray for the atheist, and engage them with love.
Godspeed, to the brethren!
(Below is the trailer for the documentary)
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