We’re living at a unique time, when existential relativism has reached its cultural tipping point, where the rather benign mantra of “who’s to say what’s really true?” has metastasized into an emboldened “I get to say what’s true, and you get to shut the hell up!” No doubt, social media has played a significant role in accelerating our experience of this phenomenon. What I’ve noticed in particular is the rise of the populist atheist (e.g. Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris) and their legions of disciples lurking out there in self-possessed, echo chamber chat rooms, when they’re not hiding in the weeds of your Facebook news feed, waiting to pounce on your next unsuspecting Christian aphorism . . . so they can set you straight.
Now, you’d think that there must have been some sort of new philosophical break-through development within atheism, rendering all other philosophies inert and inconsequential, precipitating such a rise in advocates and inspired such a brazen attitude – but you’d be incorrect. The simple truth is that nature abhors a vacuum, and given our current culture’s ambivalence about why God even matters – the hubris of populist atheism’s dismissive tone and confident swagger, rushes into fill that void, entrancing those most susceptible . . . those set adrift on a sea of self-referencing values.
But we shouldn’t mistake this as some sort of shift in interest for all things philosophical – it is far from that. The majority of these brash new non-theists have no interest whatsoever in engaging in a civilized philosophical juxtaposing of theism and non-theism. Because truth be told – they’re largely ill-equipped to make such a philosophical argument. They’d much rather frame the discussion in terms of “Science vs Religion”, imagining that it affords them the intellectual high ground, while burdening their opponents with the task of having to defend the buffoonery of religious kooks.
There’s just one small problem — as a Christian, I have no particular problem with science, in fact, as science continues to reveal just how complex our universe is, and how things once thought random now appear to have infinite layers of design — which seems to make it far less likely that such a universe could have somehow just magically sprung out of nowhere . . . for no apparent reason. And in truth, science offers us no particular opinion in regards to the practices of faith, which isn’t too surprising, given that science isn’t actually an entity unto itself, capable of forming its own opinions.
Let’s face it, addressing a philosophical question . . . well, philosophically – tends to take all of the starch out of a populist’s bloviating script. And when you have to actually be epistemologically honest in how you defend your ontological/ cosmological theories and their unavoidable implications, it doesn’t really create a lot of opportunity for pseudo-intellectual posturing – you either know what you’re talking about or you don’t.
So if you find yourself in a philosophical debate, and the substance of your argument is ostensibly nothing more than “I don’t see God—therefore he doesn’t exist . . . and O, by the way – I’m the only one here being rational because I’m a man of science” . . . then it may occur to you that you’ve probably over played your hand . . . but then again, who am I to say, you’re the rational one.
Actually, the “Fine Tuning” argument from science suggests that it is far more probable that the universe was deliberately designed by a designer than an accident of mere happenstance.