Liberation. Freedom. Super. Cool. Now I can do what I like.
In the “Letters” columns of the Jersey Evening Post a theme regularly recurs: there is no God; there is a God. The Editor has to close the correspondence every time – otherwise it would go on for ever.
Those on the “no God” side often, these days, cite Dawkins and the (supposed) fact that science has now disproved the existence of God. All very 21st century.
Hold on a minute. Isaiah (see above), who lived in Jerusalem (same place as Jerusalem today), was a young man in BC 740. That’s 2,749 years ago. He was a key person in his day – just like young men with serious responsibilities at a young age in Jersey these days. He spoke and wrote openly to challenge certain folk there who supported the “no God” lobby.
He identified (a., b., c. above) the deep-seated, underlying reasons for choosing this view above all others. In short, “liberation for MY plans (no one knows my motives)”, “liberation for whatever I want to do (no one sees what I do in the dark)” and “Who sees us? Who knows us?”
That super (?), liberated world-view is well expressed by Francis Crick, the Nobel Prize winning biologist, “You, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.” No morality then? Liberation? Freedom from any concerns about other “assemblies of nerve cells and molecules” (people)?
This young man Isaiah was very brave. He told these Jerusalem residents that they’d got it upside down. Several have done the same in the columns of the JEP. And then he asked three rhetorical questions (A., B., C. above) and left the Jerusalem residents themselves to provide the answers.
The A.B.C. are, surprisingly (or perhaps not so surprising, really), relevant to Dawkins and his followers in the JEP columns.
A. Dawkins argues that, if there were a creator, he would have to be more complex than his creation – and that would mean that he himself would need to have had a creator – and so on. So: God is like a man. But Isaiah asked 2,750 years ago, “Shall the potter be regarded as the clay?”
B. Dawkins explains everything by reductionism. Put simply, all can be explained by physics and can be reduced to small incremental changes leading to greater and greater complexity and resulting in men and women eventually appearing on earth. So: I made myself. But Isaiah said 2,750 years ago, “Shall the thing made say of his maker, “He did not make me”?”
C. Dawkins writes, “In [my] universe of electrons, selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.” So: my “no-god” is blind, pitiless and indifferent - and I am free. But Isaiah said 2,750 years ago, “Shall the thing formed say of the one who formed it, “He has no understanding”?”
Some pre-judgments don’t change in 3,000 years. Their consequences don’t change either. We have good reason to fear “liberation” days.