I have a polite, but firm bone to pick with those of the secular persuasion regarding belief in a God, and one’s intelligence or the ability to reason.
I came across a gentle soul on the National Review Online commenter’s board–always a festive (read: cutthroat) place–who was prepared to call into question a Bible-believer’s ability to reason. The article in question concerned an ongoing legal battle–decades long– in California about a cross erected in honor of fallen veterans. Cue one ‘Lucien Midnight’, purveyor of secular orthodoxy and all things antagonistic towards those of religious faith.
In drawing distinction between the faithful and the “rational”:
“The reeking mental diaper of delusion must be laundered in public sight. The rational and all those rooted in reality must perpetually endure public displays of madness from the superstitious and where else but in this great country called, America, can such a cloud of paranoid, superstitious mosquitoes roam free to further spread the disease of their ignorance?…They are sirens luring otherwise rational minds into a wreckage upon the rocks of their feeble superstition.”
While Mr. Midnight is entitled to his view (he also decried “Christians and victimhood,” saying they’re “longtime bedfellows”. I guess he didn’t hear about more than three dozen Christians killed or injured in bombings in Iraq this week. But I digress. Those silly victims.), my point of contention is with his seeming claim that only the irrational, or even delusional, partake of Christianity, or of a generalized belief in God.
I’ve noticed this in the world at large, as well. A sizable portion of, though not all, secularists or atheists seem to claim a corner on the market for intellectual depth or scientific authority. That the only reasonable conclusion for an adherent of science to make is that God is nothing more than an invisible sky wizard concocted by “paranoid, superstitious mosquitoes”.
Codswallop. I can speak as one who’s forayed into both the scientific and spiritual. My final five and a half years in college were spent wading through the waters of thermodynamics, stoichiometry, and protein synthesis. For over two years, I was knee deep in research in electrochemistry and molecular microbiology. I received a degree in Biology, minor in Chemistry. I know the discipline’s power.
But I’m also conversant, at least minimally, in its limits, too. I’ve never witnessed a single law, theory or principle that excluded the existence of God, or to be inclusive, a higher power. Personally, in fact, I left college even more convicted that God is not only real, but also an intensely creative and eternally gifted engineer. I find the sole belief in naturalism (the idea that Nature is all there is, and created itself) to be tragically limited, and I know of no Law governing matter that allows it to intelligently organize itself.
Science describes that which is orderly, yes. Hence our yearly orbit around a star due to the orchestrations of gravity. But our DNA contains 3.2 billion pieces, in a wildly specific order, and no theorem I’ve read of can say how the proceedings of a handful of different, non-living atoms, bonded together into non-living molecules, bonded together into non-living “super” molecules, can tell my hair to be brown or my living heart to beat at a determined, regular interval. Where does that information come from? Atoms and molecules don’t possess such inherent complexity. I’m convinced there’s More (and that was but one example).
And I’m not the only one. I am but a lowly amateur biologist in the wide history of modern science. The fact of the matter is this, a fact lost on Mr. Midnight: more of history’s most influential, rational, and intelligent scientific minds have been devout believers in the God of the Bible, than they’ve been anything else. Sir Issac Newton, granddaddy of them all, wrote more about God and the Bible than he did about math and science:
“Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion. God governs all things and knows all that is or can be done.”
This was the man who created infinitesimal calculus because he needed it to explain the elliptical orbit of planets. Heavy stuff. I had to look up how to spell “infinitesimal”. All the biggest names belong in the same group. Galileo, Kepler, Copernicus, Heisenburg, Pascal, Pasteur, Mendel, Kelvin, Faraday, Maxwell, Planck. Even the originator of the Big Bang theory, that bastion of thought that “doesn’t require” God, was a Belgian Catholic priest.
Every one of these men used prodigious skill and creative power to discover some of the most foundational scientific and mathematical principles there are: electromagnetism, quantum theory, laws of motion, pasteurization, inheritance theory, theories of gravity. Without their unrivaled capacity for reason, we would still be languishing in the Dark Ages.
And all believed that what they discovered was evidence of God’s limitless creative ability and knack for exquisite order. One who spoke the universe into existence using the same laws that hold our Blue Marble into orbit, at the perfect distance, from a star far enough to not incinerate us, but close enough to provide warmth for life. The same laws that allow neutrinos (tiny subatomic particles) to pass through 12 trillion miles worth of solid lead unimpeded. The same laws that somehow allow our brains to generate intelligent (or Mr. Midnight’s ignorant) thoughts.
So don’t be so quick to assign all intellectual rigor and scientific authority to secularism, Mr. Midnight. The best thinkers humanity ever produced had no qualms whatsoever in heeding the Psalmist’s words:
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork.
We shouldn’t either.