Sunday, January 3, 2010

Accidental By-products of Nature: The Senselessness of Life Without God

Quite possibly the greatest question humanity asks itself is this: "Why am I here"?

It is obvious and blatant that humans--theistic or non--strive for meaning in their lives.

If God does not exist, then sadly life is without any objective meaning. It is, unfortunately but most assuredly, senseless. We humans are, so to speak,

"the accidental by-product of nature, a result of mater plus time plus chance. There is no reason for your existence. All you face is death." (Reasonable Faith p. 71).

What we know from science concerning earth is that even from its very beginning it was doomed to end. Breakthroughs in cosmology and biology have shown us that as our universe ages, it expands, becomes colder and less energetic. Matter will collapse, light will cease to exist, and life--humanity, animals, bacteria, etc.--will die out. All of this, science says, is inevitable. It will happen; it has to happen. Earth--for lack of a better term--was, is, and will always be a death trap built for extinction.

If there is no higher deity, life truly is meaningless--at least in the objective sense I'm arguing for. No matter how much we try to attach meaning to our lives, we cannot. We are no more important than, say, the wild, disease-ridden dog that runs and roams our streets, or the mangy, long-tailed rat that is resident to our local sewer system. Sadly, even the disgusting cesspool of bacteria exponentially multiplying on the back side of our toilet has the equivalent significance of a human being.

And because life is without meaning in the absence of God, we as humans

"just kill time waiting--for what, we don't know" (Reasonable Faith p. 74).

As for morality, it truly makes no difference if you and I have modeled our lives after Mother Teresa or Adolf Hitler--for both people, without God, are one in the same. In a world without an objective, moral law giver, how could you and I differentiate between good and evil? We can't. If life is without meaning, statements of moral values are indifferent.

Without God we are accidental by-products of nature, here by chance, awaiting our fate. Life truly is senseless without Him.

tyler m taber


tyler m taber said...

Thank you for the lengthy reply, I appreciate the dialogue. I will try to respond to everything that I can; however, you said an awful lot.

1. "You made a claim that life is senseless, and in the name of keeping the argument on task, you move an argument from telos to evolution. You then make a false dichotomy by
asking a question with only two options, when there are more than two.
For instance, a deistic God could have created us, and simply does not
seek to do anything with us. An evil God could have created us to
watch us suffer.

I am not throwing you into this camp of guys (because I don't know exactly what you believe); I'm only trying to show what other men have said who do not believe in God about life—namely, very influential men.

Again, I'm not concluding that you side with him, but Quentin Smith has stated that the universe, along with humanity, was created "with nothing, by nothing, and for nothing."

Jean-Paul Satre, who wrote the novel "Nausea," essentially concluded the"complete meaninglessness and nauseating purity of existence." (at least in the objective sense).

Nietzsche, in The Gay Science, wrote that “God is dead,” subscribing to nihilism, the view that life “is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value.”

While the burden of proof may be on me to attest for the existence of God, this blog post was never meant to be taken as a positive argument. You have assumed that it was.

Where, Jason, did I mention evolution?

If you notice, nowhere in my post did I make the assertion that we can't give life meaning. I made the assertion that life is without ultimate significance. In the absence of God, we as humans can still live free lives, enjoy relations, and have fun. But there's no ultimate reason for our existence. By that token, our life is no better than that of a dog without God.

Again, I do believe that we can make our lives meaningful without God—but there’s still no purpose or reason for our existence. We’re just here.

You state that a deistic God or an evil God could've created us. Yes, I agree. But if those Gods created us, then they created us with meaning. Even if an evil God summoned huanity, he created life with a purpose—that is to watch us suffer—which, by definition, is still a purpose. We may not like that an evil God created us to watch us suffer, but at least life still has purpose. The purpose, therefore, would be so that the God could watch humanity in anguish.

If a deistic God exists, then we are not accidents--which, if you notice, is the hallmark of my post. He could've created us and walked away, but we aren't accidents.

I'm claiming that in the absence of any God—monotheist, deistic, pluralistic, evilistic--life is purposeless in the ultimate, objective sense.

Again, even if we were created by an evil God, life still has purpose--for Him to watch us suffer, even though we may not like it. Without God—or aGod, we’re just here taking up space.

Once more, this wasn’t a positive case for Yahweh.

tyler m taber said...

2. You cannot attempt to defend your own claims by seeking to destroy others. You defined your premises, now you need to defend them. You forwarded an author who argues for a Judeo Christian God and claims that he is rational – stay on target and defend that God.

Where and when did I try to destroy the faith of others?

Yes, I forwarded an argument from Craig who happens to be a Christian. But if you will note, Jason, nothing in my post was distinctly Christian. In fact, a Muslim, a Mormon, a Jew, or even a Buddhist could’ve written the exact same blog post—all the post contended is that life is random and meaningless, in an objective sense, without God. (This God could be Yahweh, Allah, Zeus or Thor).

(By the way, Muslims also use Craig’s kalam Cosmological Argument—as does Judaism.)

I proudly call myself a Christian and willing to defend Christian theism. However, you said it best: You can not expect me to define and forward everything Christianity believes in. Must I also make the case that I exist before writing the next blog post?

tyler m taber said...

3. Further, although I do not think my comment was a cheap shot – I want to apologize if it seemed that way. I had previously typed up a page or more on what I thought – but I realize now that I am expecting too much out of your blog post. I don’t think you should have to post a full Christology or Ontology every time you post. However, I do think that a full Christian (William Lane Craig style) Ontos of God has a lot of work to do to explain why a God who loves us enough to give us a grand Telos, condemns so many of us to hell.

Again, I will gladly defend Christian theism. And yes, I couldn’t agree more: Christianity has a lot of explaining to do. But this particular post does not call for that.

Had you not known that I was a Christian, what would you’ve really said upon reading my post?

I’m humbly asking to keep the argument on the argument. (Also, if the paragraph above is a post you want to discuss then perhaps I’ll make a separate post. I love talking any kind of theology.)

tyler m taber said...

I just realize in my post I said:

If there is no higher deity, life truly is meaningless--at least in the objective sense I'm arguing for. No matter how much we try to attach meaning to our lives, we cannot.

I should have clarified. We can give life meaning without God, but we as humans really serve no purpose and are accidents.

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