Atheists, Deists and the Creator

02/22/2017

This is kind of an old topic, but it is one that seems to never die. That is, does God exist? The debate between deists and atheists typically is centered around the Christian god with atheists rejecting God simply because they reject Christianity.  To be fair, though, there are some 4,200 religions in the world and the Christian god, therefore, is just one of 4,200 gods .

So, I pose these questions: In order to be intellectually honest, do atheists need to reject all 4,200 gods before declaring themselves to be atheists? And exactly what makes Christians feel that their god, amongst all of the 4,200 gods, is the one and only?

While my interest in this debate wanes by the day, I feel that it’s still worth a mention. To begin with, religious beliefs are claims rather than the truth. Holy books, however, may be considered to be the truth by a believer, even if it’s based solely on their faith. On the other hand atheism, is a religion too.  Michael Ruse, an evolutionist himself, admitted that, “Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion-a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality…Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.”

Scientists of all stripes have weighed in on this debate. Here’s a few thoughts from some of the great minds of science:

“I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.”

– Albert Einstein

Note: According to Wikipedia, Spinoza believed that “…everything is a derivative of God,  interconnected with all of existence.” Further, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy states that Spinoza’s God is an “infinite intellect.”

 

“The universe does not exist ‘out there,’ independent of us. We are inescapably involved in bringing about that which appears to be happening. We are not only observers. We are participators.”

– John Wheeler, physicist

“The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.”

– Carl Sagan, astronomer

Note: Of course, Sagan was admitting that there is super- intelligence in the cosmos, an intelligence which can think, extrapolate… and “know itself”.

 

“Our brains mathematically construct objective reality by interpreting frequencies that are ultimately projections from another dimension, a deeper order of existence that is beyond both space and time….”

– Michael Talbot, The Holographic Universe

 

“Life is the most mysterious of all the wonders of creation because atoms have been assembled in such a way so that they can ponder their own existence.”

– Martin Rees, astrophysicist

 

“The secret of DNA’s success is that it carries information like that of a computer program, but far more advanced. Since experience shows that intelligence is the only presently acting cause of information, we can infer that intelligence is the best explanation for the information in DNA.”

Jonathan Wells, molecular biologist

 

“To me, it is clear that we exist in a plan which is governed by rules that were created, shaped by a universal intelligence and not by chance.”

– Michio Kaku, physicist

 

“Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe that was created out of nothing and delicately balanced to provide exactly the conditions required to support life. In the absence of an absurdly improbable accident, the observations of modern science seem to suggest an underlying, one might say, supernatural plan.”

– Arno Penzias, physicist

 

“It is easy to understand why many scientists like Sir Fred Hoyle changed their minds in the past thirty years. They now agree that the universe, as we know it, cannot reasonably be explained as a cosmic accident.”

– Frederic B. Burnham, historian of science

 

and philosophers:

 

“Beyond all finite experiences and secondary causes, all laws, ideas and principles, there is an Intelligence or Mind, the first principle of all principles, the Supreme Idea on which all other ideas are grounded.”

– Plato

 

and atheists:

 

“When it comes to the origin of life on this earth, there are only two possibilities: creation or spontaneous generation (evolution). There is no third way. Spontaneous generation was disproved 100 years ago, but that leads us only to one other conclusion: that of supernatural creation. We cannot accept that on philosophical grounds (personal reasons); therefore, we choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance.”

– George Wald

“Super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature.”

– Antony Flew

 

These gentlemen hardly referred to God at all in explaining the origins of life. Therefore, I would suggest that the vast majority of concepts/perspectives about God (both pro and con) are incomplete, at best. Since the word God is generally associated with religion, I believe that it would be preferable to use the term “creator” instead.

 

Of course if there is a creator, he doesn’t have to be the god of any religion, now does he? So, if any of you are hung up over the illogic of religion, especially Christianity, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there is no God. It may simply mean that you have been looking for him in all the wrong places and calling him by the wrong name.

 

 

God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought.”

Joseph Campbell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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15 Responses to “Atheists, Deists and the Creator”

  1. Howie said

    Hi Chicagoja,

    You have probably heard of the word “ignosticism” before. If not you might be interested in reading this: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Ignosticism

    Your post relates very much to concepts brought up by that term.

    • chicagoja said

      Thanks for your comment. One difference, though, between ignosticism and what I write about is that ignosticism believes that any discussion about God is meaningless. I don’t believe that a discussion about God is pointless, just that it usually leads to something which is non-productive.

  2. Arkenaten said

    And why ”he”?

    • chicagoja said

      He is the so-called norm when talking about God. God is a man after all, isn’t he? Just kidding. ‘It” works just as well, if it makes you happy. The bigger question for me is out of this whole post, the only comment you have is: “And why he?”

      • Arkenaten said

        I don’t know if your god is a man. How do you know?
        The character, Yahweh is considered a male, yes, but how on earth do you arrive at the conclusion that a supposed omniscient post-Canaanite deity is a man?

      • chicagoja said

        Obviously, no one knows if God is a he. I never said that I did. You’re just hung up over the use of the term “he”. Get over it.

      • Arkenaten said

        Obviously only a deluded person believes in gods. I don’t, so I could not give a monkey’s uncle if this make believe creator god you seem to be alluding to is a Manchester United supporter. Get over it.

      • chicagoja said

        Sure, the atheist perspective is that a person who believes in gods is deluded. Of course, you have to believe that because otherwise you would be the deluded one. It was one of your own, Richard Lewontin, who stated that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. Also, George Wald admitted that the origin of life could have arisen only from creation or spontaneous generation (evolution)and that spontaneous generation has been disproved. However, atheists cannot accept creation so therefore choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance.

        – George Wald

      • Arkenaten said

        I like to consider myself a man of integrity and try to be as honest as I am able, which is why I have never stated there are not gods, only that I do not beleive in the ones currently available. … And the ”them ” in question are all the gods currently on display, free for anyone to peruse and abase themselves if this is what they so desire.

        However, based on all the evidence presented for these gods …or at least the more popular ones that I am familiar with .. I can dismiss them with impunity.
        As to the underlying question: Is there a creator of some description?
        My answer is the only honest one than can be offered, and the only one generally do offer.
        I. Don’t. Know.

        However, if you feel as if you have a case to present and you truly believe you have the chutzpah to speak on some god’s behalf, then,please … be my guest.

        ‘Tis you blog … feel free to ”go to town” and present away.

      • chicagoja said

        The problem, as I see it, is that you hold yourself out to be an expert on certain things, like, say gods. You have evaluated all of the evidence (I daresay you haven’t) and declared victory. The only people that you’re going to impress is your circle of friends who all believe in exactly the same things you do (i.e. atheism, materialism, evolution etc.). You say that you “have never stated there are not gods.” Yet, you have told me many times that you do not believe in any kind of god/creator. Accordingly, I’m finding it difficult to buy into your integrity argument. Suggest you discuss this issue with your friends rather than with someone who knows better.

      • Arkenaten said

        Not an expert at all. And for you to say I am merely suggests insecurity on your part; insecurity bolstered by hubris.

        Now, let me reiterate … again… Oh, btw, I am writing slowly as I now realise how slow you need to read, yet still you are missing important parts.
        So …

        Not believing in gods/creators does not mean they do not exist.
        I have judged that the evidence put on the table by the god believers cuts no ice with me. Do you get that? No. Ice. With. Me.
        And as all the different religions are claiming bragging rights over their god you can hardly point a finger at me simply because the evidence they are offering all seems like a load of shite?
        … or Shi’ite depending on which way you wear your burka.
        And they can’t all be right now can they? So, so I suggest they are more than likely all wrong.
        It is because the religious are all fighting to establish their own particular god at the head of the theological table that they cannot agree. Hence, religion poisons everything.

        But I keep /em> offering you the opportunity to present evidence.
        Why do you continually want to hand wave this away?
        Maybe you are right?
        Don’t keep yelling from the cheap seats!
        Step up to the plate and dazzle me with The Right Stuff.

      • chicagoja said

        I’m good with that to the extent that you do not state that gods categorically do not exist. Rather, it’s fine if it’s simply your opinion. I assume, then, that identifying people as delusional is also based on just your opinion. I also assume if these things are based on your opinion, then it’s just possible that you may be wrong.

      • Arkenaten said

        Of course I may be wrong.
        That is why am quite happy to say I don’t know.
        As any honest person would do.
        I should probably amend my comment about delusional people and include the caveat that believing in the current crop of gods we have on planet Earth is, based n available evidence presented delusional an probably due to culture, indoctrination or willful ignorance.
        But I have written similar to this so often I guess I thought you would have taken this as a given. Shows it pays not to assume, right?

        And this is why … once again … I invite you to present evidence for any god that takes your fancy and particularly any creator deity who you may consider responsible for creating it all.
        Any time you’re ready ….
        Waiting ….

      • Arkenaten said

        Sorry, that comment came out a bit wonky .. slipped on the keys. You can fill any gaps, yes?

  3. revanthukkalam said

    Good to see these quotes. You might be interested to look at Advaita and Indian Vedanta which is sometimes parochially translated to pantheism. That is not very wrong either. When I read Spinoza I am only reminded of Uddalaka Aruni.

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