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Materialism is a delusion in that it is a BELIEF that’s established on the ASSUMPTION that immaterial things do not exist. Putting aside for now the fact that billions of people over the course of human history have testified to having a transcendent experience; and also putting aside for now the fact of this baffling mystery of human consciousness and many other unexplained mysteries of the human experience, the fact stands that materialism runs against the tide of human experience. This is not an argument against materialism per se, because those experiences could be false. However, it certainly demonstrates that if there was a transcendent reality, then those intuitive experiences to which the majority of humanity has testified, would be rationally grounded and justified. Now, a purely materialistic interpretation of reality that excludes the validity of spiritual experience and revelation from God directly to the individual, has not the qualities of humility or openness. It is however, reductionist and dogmatically biased to support only one interpretation of reality, namely its own.
Furthermore, science does not negate the existence of God and scientists cannot assert that immaterial things/persons do not exist. If they did, such an assertion would not be scientific but merely philosophical in nature and therefore would be nothing more than an expression of their own subjective opinion. Many great scientists see no conflict between their scientific field of specialty and their experience of the transcendent and spiritual. They see no conflict because they have not subscribed to a philosophical position that debars or suffocatingly restricts their experience of knowledge or reality.
Materialistic dogmatism may be perfectly suitable and complementary for the individual who rejects the concept of God on philosophical grounds, or for some other underlying motive. However, the uninformed masses need to know that this position is not scientific but metaphysical in constitution. People like Richard Dawkins cannot prove the nonexistence of God; they simply reject Him outright on the grounds of materialistic prejudice, bias and personal opinion. This is where Jesus is refreshingly and wonderfully liberating as He disentangles us from the choke chain of reductionist dogmatic materialism. He opens our minds and understanding to a reality that is truly beautiful and profoundly cathartic. Jesus would remind each one of us that we are more than mere molecules and atoms dancing forward in a meaningless and purposeless path to final oblivion. He would also affirm that our desires for the spiritual and transcendent are justifiably grounded in ultimate reality and that our experience of morality is rationally anchored in the nature of the way God created the universe.
It is just as real as any other governing law at work in the universe. Also, He would awaken us to the fact that our consciousness, with all its mystery and intuitive sense of self awareness, is part and parcel of the transcendent nature of being itself. Jesus said, ‘He whom the Son sets free is free indeed’. Today, in these times of spiritual blindness and materialistic distraction, this truth is needed more than ever. Christ would invite each one of us to draw near to Him and learn from His heart in regards to the true nature of reality. First and foremost though, we must begin to yield and let go of our desires to rule on the thrones of our own little autonomous kingdoms and allow His Spirit to teach us in the way of the kingdom of God. Philosopher Terence McKenna says that modern science is based upon the principal: Give us one free miracle and we will explain the rest. Biologist Rupert Sheldrake says that the ‘one free miracle’ referred to by McKenna, is the appearance of all the matter and energy in the universe, and all the laws that govern it, from NOTHING in one single instant. In fact, the whole atheistic enterprise owes its very existence to that ‘one free miracle’ idea and now that the grand miracle has been provided, all the atheist has to do is simply assert that this incredible miracle of nature was wrought by nature itself.
However, adding dishonesty to mystery in his atheistic attempts to get a universe for free, Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical phycisist, has simply just waved his magic wand and declared that the universe came into existence from NOTHING! Done and dusted – good work Professor Krauss! Don’t be fooled by this man’s definition of ‘nothing’ just because it includes a law of gravity and the laws of quantum mechanics that brought this SOMETHING into existence from NOTHING in the first place. It is evident that Krauss has smuggled SOMETHING into his NOTHING.
Besides, when Krauss was asked where these laws of quantum mechanics came from, he didn’t know. Be that as it may, the materialist is forced to stick to his philosophical position i.e. that immaterial things do not exist. Therefore, we should not be surprised when materialists arrive at the conclusion that only material things are real. But even a child can identify the links in this self-referring loop. What’s more, if they have already decided that all shapes are square then it naturally follows that all explanations will be square in conclusion. In short, the fundamental assumption held will always rout back to reinforce the conclusion. Scientist, Rupert Sheldrake in his bestseller, The Science Delusion exposed this materialistic orthodoxy when he wrote, ‘Twenty-first century atheists, like their predecessors, take the doctrines of materialism to be established scientific facts. Furthermore, many have not realised that they are only assumptions that are philosophical in nature – part and parcel of the orthodox creed.’ Sheldrake calls to our attention the vision of Sir Francis Bacon in which Bacon foretold a time when the power of the Roman Catholic Church would be replaced by the autocratic power of the scientific priesthood with all the pomp, status and unquestionable claims to dogmatic authority.
There has always been a small percentage of the population (4.2%) that claims they don’t believe in the existence of God. This is quite normal. However, lately a new ‘species of sceptic’ has surfaced. These people assert with passionate conviction that God does NOT exist. When asked to provide the evidence that supports this passionate certainty, these people have to inevitably acknowledge that they cannot in fact know or prove the non-existence of God but have to presume this on faith. Even after time spent endlessly dodging and weaving, these philosophical arguments always end up routing back to assumed conclusions that were, a priori, already subscribed to. What is initially striking is that such sceptics pride themselves on what they consider to be superior arguments based upon reason and intelligence. Christians, on the other hand, are accused of leaning upon nothing but faith and belief. Also, when I point out the fact that sceptics subscribe to a particular interpretation of reality, things become uncomfortable. Nonetheless, this purely materialistic and mechanistic postulation of the universe was the grounding for sceptics’ belief, in which faith was pegged and securely anchored. When asked if they knew absolutely that immaterial things do NOT exist, I knew that if they were going to be honest, they would have to say that they didn’t know. To the credit of the sceptic to whom I spoke, this point was conceded. Just as the rest of the atheists have their ‘just-so’ stories and hold onto a faith that science will one glorious day eventually explain everything, this science of the gaps is an enterprise that is driven by hope, faith and optimism. After all, the very concept and idea of progress in science implies present ignorance in our certain fields of knowledge and understanding. Otherwise, how could we talk of progress?
The word ‘science’ means knowledge, and human knowledge is not absolute but finite and limited. Therefore, it is perfectly reasonable to concede that there are (and would be) things that are in ultimate reality that would contradict our currently held limited interpretations of reality. Moreover, when it comes to God, absence of evidence is not equal to evidence of absence. This assertion of the atheist – that faith is the exclusive domain of the religious whereas reason and superior intellect is the domain of the nonbeliever – is blatantly false and dishonest. I personally have never met an atheist who was present and saw how the universe began or who was there to witness life begin. In fact, any argument or idea that makes claims about the unrepeatable past requires belief. Have you ever run into anyone who was there when something popped into existence from nothing or was present when non-living matter gave rise to life? Many atheists even believe that aliens may have seeded life on earth or that a protein might have piggy-backed on a mystic-crystal from outer space. In fact, in the atheist’s reality, any explanation is open for discussion; any scientific belief, premise or postulation is welcome to the table … EXCEPT GOD.
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, the real underlying issue is not one of faith or belief because faith and belief are very welcome in the fields of scientific research, theory and exploration.
What then is the real issue? The answer is simple – GOD!
The dogmatic atheist is obsessed with conformity and will hold in contempt any individual who doesn’t subscribe to a purely materialistic worldview. The dogmatic atheist assumes that science is on his/her side and that the believer is anti-scientific and superstitious. Moreover, the believer is accused of being an enemy of reason and is therefore deemed irrational at best and suspiciously evil at worst. In short, the dogmatic atheist is the new fundamentalist and fanatically devoted to the orthodoxy of materialism. But are the sciences on their side or is this just an assertion that has no basis in reality? Firstly, science is neither for nor against belief in God. In fact, science says nothing about the transcendent. The secular humanist will accuse the believer of putting faith over reason or against reason. This is despite the fact that the universe is full of profound mysteries that are outside the knowledge and direct experience of science. Christians do not reject science; there are many Christians who are scientists. What they do reject are the atheistic and metaphysical assumptions that are ‘smuggled’ into the final equations that tell us there is no God. This is an assertion that cannot be proved and has to be accepted entirely on the grounds of faith.
In fact, the only issue is this materialistic model of interpretation that can be directly traced to the adoption of a 19th century materialistic philosophy that is purely dogmatic and circular in nature. The widespread seeding of this purely philosophical materialistic interpretation of reality has tainted and influenced the academic platform ever since. To this day, it remains the reigning and dominant ideology that supports the infrastructure and scaffolding of academia today. As can be expected, over 100 years of materialistic societal and cultural reinforcement of this kind has led to the illusion that the presuppositions of materialism are in fact true. This gives the impression of strength and academic credibility in the eyes of those who look to the academic world for the authority of knowledge. But the good news is that reason and common sense are prevailing. Today, many philosophers and scientists alike, from all departments of academic specialty, are breaking the enslaving shackles of this 19th century mechanistic philosophy. It is a system, which owes its very existence to the proceeding atheistic movement that was violently propagated in a period known as ’The Reign of Terror’. It was spread by certain atheistic champions of the French Revolution (1789-94), which directly led to the cold-blooded massacre of thousands of people, including women and children. Increasingly, scientists everywhere are refusing to be bound by these ideological shackles of this 19th century moral rebellion. Even academic intellectuals are fighting for their freedom of expression at the highest levels where academic dogmatism is entrenched. However, it’s not easy to step out in courage and fight for these rights because the very institutions that train, qualify and pay these intellectuals also bully and intimidate them to keep on the narrow path of dogmatic conformity. This enforces the model of knowledge and learning that is nothing more than the villainous legacy of 19th century philosophical militant materialism. One particular scientist – out of the many hundreds that are tired of this institutional bullying – is the biologist Rupert Sheldrake. After publishing his new book, Science set Free, Sheldrake has been bullied and targeted by many different atheistic lobby groups in an ongoing militant effort to silence his voice. The book pursues his gentle and humble challenge of the many materialistic dogmas that have been smuggled in and diligently guarded. Furthermore, these keepers of the gates and bodyguards of unreason predictably become rabid and enraged when their materialistic, a priori, presuppositions are questioned or challenged.
Suspiciously, we have seen this kind of dogmatic institutional bullying played out many times in the past. In both the religious and secular areas, we have seen the same kind of institutional bullying played out in the government enforced institutions of communistic thought control. For instance, when dogmas were questioned or challenged the priests and laity involved were labelled heretics and were punished. The masses of people to whom atheistic materialism was academically force fed endured the pain of torture or death if they opposed this movement. Furthermore, the leaders of the communist fraternity justified the bloodbath by declaring that the ends justified the means. Accordingly, they could do whatever was necessary to bring about a workers’ paradise, a cherished saying that was lauded by prison officers as they beat, tortured and murdered the God-fearing. It’s plain to see that these Christians were perceived as a really ‘bad’ thing because they stood in the way of atheist-communist utopian expansion. Moreover, the Christians were considered fully conscientious class enemies of the state and the congress declared unrelenting war against them. This was coupled with anti-religious education to be instituted from pre-school through to university. Marx wrote that the abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of man is a requisite for real happiness. Nothing has really changed; those in power (where might equals right) set up structures that if challenged will spit venom. A particular case, the biologist, Rupert Sheldrake, was dealt with in this way. Another such example is recognisable in the documentary, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed in which Ben Stein examines the issue of academic freedom and decides that there is none, going on to prove this proposition empirically.
This whole phenomenon of hostility and vociferous hatred towards God – a phenomenon that is everywhere present in emerging secular atheism, (books, radio talk shows, internet blogs and the general media) – cannot be fully or adequately explained or accounted for. Apart from taking into consideration the abject contempt for ‘divine moral law’, it is perceived by an increasingly liberal society to be interfering, menacing and disagreeable to the pursuit of individual lifestyle preferences in regard to personal appetites and pleasures. It seems entirely disingenuous of non-believers to deny this glaring, protruding fact as a contributing factor towards their overall rejection of God. It can be substantively and credibly argued that fundamental rebellion and wickedness is the underlying responsibility for the individual’s and the collective’s rejection of God in any given age or society. This proposition is exactly what the prophets of the Bible claim about the nature of man and the long-standing historical propensity towards the nature of sin.
One should expect, in an enlightened liberal age where the experience and pursuit of pleasure is the only celebrated virtue, that the promotion and endorsement of an absolute moral authority would be at an all-time low. It does not take too much of an imagination to see that in an age where sexual liberation is perceived as the greatest emancipation for 21st century man, that the notion of a supreme moral authority would be abhorrent and extremely undesirable if not reprehensibly disgusting.
Consequently, the atheist is glad to surrender up the claim to being the recipient of divine purpose and planning in exchange for the path of the will to self-rule. It’s an indictment of us if we choose the Godless path, because it testifies to the state of our hearts. Every choice made and every step taken (regardless of hubristic claims to superior intelligence) reveals more about what’s really inside our own hearts than it does about the existence of God. Christ and the prophets promised mankind that if they seek God with a sincere heart, God would reveal Himself to that man. However, if we reject the existence of God, based upon materialistic prejudices then we are the victims of our own ignorance and wickedness. The absence of experience is not evidence of knowledge but only evidence of our ignorance. Only eternity will reveal the underlying motives and respective choices of each and every individual. Our rejection of God may seem impressive here i.e. amongst our friends, colleagues or students, but eternity will bring to light the hidden motives of every single human heart. On that day, the infinite mind will not be proven wrong or contradicted; neither will it be outsmarted or checkmated by the minds and reasoning of mortal men. On that day it will be said, infinitus est numerus stultorum … infinite is the number of fools.
Although we may not acknowledge it, there is a strong, emotionally inherent revulsion against reconciliation with God because such a connection does not foster the promotion of self-rule. In short, there are actually some very intelligent and warm people who do not want God to exist. There is a certain kind of psychological Freudian wish-fulfilment going on behind the scenes, because this eases the discomfort of divine moral accountability.