(The following QA was hosted in Huffington Post, August 26, 2013)
How would you respond to Dr. Stenger?
Victor John Stenger, PhD (1935-2014), was an American particle physicist, outspoken atheist, author, philosopher, and a popular religious skeptic. He published twelve books for general audiences on physics, quantum mechanics, cosmology, philosophy, religion, atheism, and pseudoscience. His 2007 book God: The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows that God Does Not Exist was a New York Times bestseller. His last book was God and the Atom. Dr. Stenger popularized the phrase: “Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings.”
1. What do you say to someone who comes to the realization that this is all there is, there is no personal God?
Stenger: Deal with it. It’s a fact of life. Look at the bright side. You no longer have to worry about eternal punishment. Your life is now your own, not governed by external forces except for those imposed by the fact that you are a physical being in a purely physical world.
“Pampered bodies grow sluggish through sloth; not work but movement and their own weight exhausts them. Prosperity unbruised cannot endure a single blow, but a man who has been at a constant feud with misfortunes acquires skin calloused by suffering; he yields to no evil and even if he stumbles carries the fight on upon his knee.” (Seneca)
Those who struggle are stronger than those who do not?
Easy living makes for weak living?
Does this explain a lot about the weakness of comfortable christianity?
Here is William Lane Craig’s take on the absurdity of life without God:
Man, writes Loren Eiseley, is the Cosmic Orphan. He is the only creature in the universe who asks, “Why?” Other animals have instincts to guide them, but man has leamed to ask questions. “Who am I?” man asks. “Why am I here? Where am I going?” Since the Enlightenment, when he threw off the shackles of religion, man has tried to answer these questions without reference to God. But the answers that came back were not exhilarating, but dark and terrible. “You are the accidental by-product of nature, a result of matter plus time plus chance. There is no reason for your existence. All you face is death.
Modern man thought that when he had gotten rid of God, he had freed himself from all that repressed and stifled him. Instead, he discovered that in killing God, he had also killed himself. For if there is no God, then man’s life becomes absurd.
If God does not exist, then both man and the universe are inevitably doomed to death. Man, like all biological organisms, must die. With no hope of immortality, man’s life leads only to the grave. His life is but a spark in the infinite blackness, a spark that appears, flickers, and dies forever. Therefore, everyone must come face to face with what theologian Paul Tillich has called “the threat of non-being.” For though I know now that I exist, that I am alive, I also know that someday I will no longer exist, that I will no longer be, that I will die. This thought is staggering and threatening: to think that the person I call “myself” will cease to exist, that I will be no more! …
And the universe, too, faces death. Scientists tell us that the universe is expanding, and everything in it is growing farther and farther apart. As it does so, it grows colder and colder, and its energy is used up. Eventually all the stars will burn out and all matter will collapse into dead stars and black holes. There will be no light at all; there will be no heat; there will be no life; only the corpses of dead stars and galaxies, ever expanding into the endless darkness and the cold recesses of space—a universe in ruins. So not only is the life of each individual person doomed; the entire human race is doomed. There is no escape. There is no hope.
If there is no God, then man and the universe are doomed. Like prisoners condemned to death, we await our unavoidable execution. There is no God, and there is no immortality. And what is the consequence of this? It means that life itself is absurd. It means that the life we have is without ultimate significance, value, or purpose.
Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-absurdity-of-life-without-god#ixzz3Ez3hCliz
I watched this fascinating interview with Nicholas Carr. It has something to say about our growing inability to engage in deep thinking (contemplation, meditation, focussed thinking, reading books, concentration). People often tell me that they can’t concentrate when praying or reading the bible. I wonder if this has anything to do with it… rhetorical question! The internet is not bad, but out of balance it skews our ability to think in other ways. Watch it and let me know what you think… or if you can relate. If you want to go deeper, this two part interview goes further into it.
— How the Internet is Rewiring Our Brains (Part 1) (25 min)
— How the Internet is Rewiring Our Brains (Part 2) (25 min)
Lately I have been encouraging people to spend time in the bible listening for what God is saying to them.
I know what I mean when I say ‘God speaks to us’, but I’m starting to wonder if others know what it means.
I want to start a conversation here, and hope people will participate, to share their ideas.
The whole concept is cliche among Christians, yet I wonder if it is an actual experience among them?
What does it mean to you to hear God?
Does the idea make sense to you, or is it something you’ve never experience before?
Was it an actual voice, or an impression, a prompting, an inward whisper in the mind?
Please join the conversation by leaving a comment!
Not sure if you’ve been reading through Ecclesiastes.
Did anyone else find it depressing?
All share a common destiny—the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad, the clean and the unclean, those who offer sacrifices and those who do not. (Ecclesiastes 9:2)
Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. (Ecclesiastes 9:9)
As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them. (Ecclesiastes 9:12)
Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good. (Ecclesiastes 9:18)
However many years anyone may live, let them enjoy them all. But let them remember the days of darkness, for there will be many. Everything to come is meaningless. (Ecclesiastes 11:8)
Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them”. (Ecclesiastes 12:1)
“‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Everything is meaningless!'” (Ecclesiastes 12:8)
Raises the question for me, ‘is this God’s Word’? Continue reading ‘Is this God’s Word?’ »