Thursday, September 25, 2008
On this day:

An atheist finds God?

Mike Potemra seems to think that maybe - just maybe - Christopher Hitchens, a self-proclaimed atheist - may not be as far apart philosophically from believers as he thinks he is. It's interesting stuff. If you're in the mood to think, then read the thread:

Christopher Hitchens does believe in God! (Mike Potemra)

Hitchens and the moral law (Mike Potemra)

Re: Hitchens and the moral law (Jim Manzi)

Re: Hitchens and the moral law (Yuval Levin)

For a long time, I've thought that pure atheism demands much more faith than is demanded by belief. The idea that there is some fundamental force or principle that willed the universe into existence and that in some way sustains it seems to me to be a consequence of reason, not its conquerer.

Very few people - even those who call themselves atheists - are willing to go so far as to deny the existence of such a force or principle - if not because such a denial stands opposed to both reason and experience, then because its logical consequences are so abhorrent. If there is no ultimate "truth," then there is no morality. If God is dead or never lived, then we must be gods; the concept of "human nature" and all that follows from it - including reason - are merely illusions. Deprived of a God-given nature or essence, every man is free to create one for himself. Man's will reigns supreme.

But there's a problem with all of that: it's self-evident that our will does not reign supreme. And how do we know that? Because nature and reason (thank God) have intervened. In contemplating the abyss, we've seen it for what it is, and we know that it harbors only madness and superstition. That's why we shouldn't ignore the reports of men like Nietzche and Sartre who dared to gaze over the edge. They followed atheism to its logical conclusion, and thereby did more to prove its inherent illogic than all but the most thoughtful and devout believers.