Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Arrogance of Atheism

I was on my way back from court today and had Medved on in the car. There are times when the man gets on my nerves, but I can give him props for keeping guests and callers on topic, especially when he has just managed to eviscerate their argument. Some times that just isn't hard to do. Anyway, he had some self-important, bloviating Ph.D. from Florida who was floating the idea that religious people were just deluded folks who believed in magic, and she was really very condescending about it. After all, she and her psycholgist cohorts couldn't possibly be wrong about it. Medved let two callers at her, and when he prevented her from plugging her website, she hung up. It was too bad, because the next caller summed up the best defense I have heard in quite a while for the "intellectuals" who think logic dictates that there is no God: "The absence of evidence is not proof of absence."
It was one of those moments when I thought "I wish I had said that."
There was also some discussion about prayer, and C.S. Lewis' observation that "Prayer doesn't change God, but it does change you." I think that dovetails quite nicely with the idea that the atheists who believe that they don't need a moral code to be moral are doomed to fail. Time and changing circumstances will change people. Sometimes, the changes are subtle, sometimes they are really quite shocking. I know that people who knew me ten years ago would really be very surprised with me today. I can admit that I have changed, and for the better. I know this because I have something in my life that is unchanging, and that provides guidance, humility, and a lens that focuses where we have been as a country, as well as where we are going. I can look at the changes in the law and underlying legal theory in this country, and realize that Judeo-Christian philosophy provided an anchor for our society for quite some time. There was a commonly-held idea about things being right and wrong. For the last thirty or so years, there has been an active movent in this country to sever this mooring by attacking the anchor. The mythical "Separation of Church and State" has been used to bludgeon God from his traditional place in our institutions. As this reminder of the reason somethings were understood to be right and wrong has been pushed away from these institutions and down into the basement with ol' Ross Perot's crazy aunt, these same wild-eyed revolutionaries have first asked why something was wrong if that was what a person wanted to do. "It isn't harming anyone." was a frequent justification. And still they pushed. Always insisting that "we don't need religion to tell us what is right, we are capable of doing what is right, without believers in God telling us what that is." The result? It is very difficult to watch prime-time television with you children. Perverts and deviants stalk them in public and online. Cities, large companies and universities offer benefits to same-sex partners of employees. Gays scream that they should have the right to marry, so we start getting court rulings allowing them to do so that confer a sacred right based on a lifestyle choice (That's right. I said LIFESTYLE CHOICE. Until there is concrete proof that it is a genetic trait, like skin color, height, etc. I am not giving any slack on this.), while interpreting it as a logical progression from earlier cases finding a right to marry when it was prohibited based on circumstances beyond the participant's control (the Loving case), and state prohibitions based on outstanding financial obligations (Zablocki v. Redhail).
This is fine, we are told. We are being tolerant and accepting. If you are in love, you should be allowed to marry the object of your affection. Be careful what you wish for. (See Post Below.)
But it is ok to continually re-define right and wrong, because the deniers say so. We can't have God and his rules. They're so judgmental. I might have to look in a mirror and consider what I do. I might doubt the "rightness" of my actions. The real problem for these people who believe that they can know right and wrong without God is that if they remove God, who are they replacing him with? If they are making the judgments that God used to do, then aren't they stepping into his shoes? I'm sure that they don't see it that way, but they also can't see that they have set law and social policy adrift for decades now. They never stopped to consider that in determining right and wrong for themselves, they are acting like God, because their beliefs are dictating how our society functions. I think of our laws like a great big clock, with ourselves as small beings inside of it. The atheists are the ones who have decided that they don't like some of the functions, and have started to tear out some of the works, while screaming "There is no God!", without regard to how that will effect the entire machine. The rest of us now have to decide if we will let them continue to put the rest of us in a place where the society will be unrecognizable in twenty years, and the definition of what is right shifts like a Lake Huron sandbar, or if we will sharpen our tools of reason, and attack their vacant logic, exposing it for the M.C. Esher illustration that it is. We need to start with the atheists, not because they don't believe in God, but because they believe that man, untempered by the wisdom and humility of religion, can rule himself without the guidelines that a belief in God provides.