Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Atheism and Logic

I’ve read numerous books on the subject of whether the Christian faith is “reasonable”.  Most of these were consumed as a young adult, when the question seemed more urgent and I was considerably less equipped to argue it.

While some books were better than others and all made some valid points (most if not all of which are now lost in the sands of time), I do not recall many staking out the intellectual Christian position as aggressively as John C. Wright does in his latest “Wright Perspective” column.

By aggressive, I don’t mean nasty or mean-spirited. But, Lewis and Chesterton aside, the more modern books seemed primarily concerned with mounting a satisfactory intellectual defence of Christianity from accusations of unreasonability, illogic and incoherence. They were, if not on the ropes sucking air, perhaps a little over-occupied with avoiding the knockout punch.

Wright, on the other hand, comes out swinging and keeps moving forward.

Wright says that after being taught his whole life that Christianity was “a nursery where men believed in superstitions as rank as a belief in Santa Claus, but also a lunatic asylum where men believed three equaled one and dead men could live again”, he was immensely surprised to discover that:
“... not only was the Church not illogical, but that atheism had a weaker claim to logic and reason than she did. I am not here claiming the atheist model is illogical. Rather, I claim that the Christian story of the universe is a better story than any atheist story. More to the point, I claim it is also a better model than any atheist model, in that it explains more with more parsimony of assumption.”
Wright contends that there are many brands of atheism, but all have certain commonalities:

·         none have a rational explanation of the objectivity of moral rules; and

·         no atheist can account for the rationality of the universe.

I’d list my favourite bits, but that would entail republishing the column.

Okay, fine, if I have to pick just one:
“A Selfish Gene theory explains nothing: I am too selfish to listen to my selfish gene urge me to sacrifice myself half the time for my child and one fourth of the time for my uncle.”
You can find it here. (Or at least the best bits of it anyway. I’d link directly to the column at EveryJoe, but the ads, the ads! NSFW. Or home. Or pretty much anywhere. You have been warned.)

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