Is God really there? Or are we just an accident in the universe, a product of blind chance? Is there no design other than that which natural law provides?
Stalactites and stalagmites grow in caves by the natural process of water seeping through rock and depositing calcium carbonate. They can create some fascinating, even eerie, forms. In one cave, a collection of these in a corner looks enough like a pipe organ that someone gave the formation that name. Although those things may look roughly like a pipe organ in church, it is still only calcium carbonate, formed over time by dripping water (and it makes no music).
A real organ is designed. It is a work of art and craft absolutely unique among man’s inventions. It has a purpose. It follows the laws of nature, but was not created by the laws of nature. But more than that, the organ is a creation designed for creating. It allows for creation to flow from the mind of a man through his fingers. No one would ever argue that such a beautifully-designed instrument was created by the laws of nature. Nor would anyone ever try to create an organ that did not obey the laws of nature. It would be pointless, because it would allow nothing to be created that was worthwhile.
But man thinks nothing of arguing that he himself was created by the laws of nature. Nor of arguing that he need not obey the laws of nature. So man argues that everything, from the universe to the amoeba to man, evolved over time following the laws of nature. The argument is that the laws of nature are merely properties of matter. And whence cometh the matter…? Well, the matter just is. It originated out of nothing with a big bang.
Now if you can believe all that, don’t let me disturb you; because the alternative to that line of thought contains an idea that will boggle the mind. The alternative is that the whole thing—from the universe to the amoeba to man—was designed by an intelligence that had the power to make it happen. The idea that man is an accident of the universe, somehow brought into being by blind chance or natural law through evolution, is hateful because it would mean that life has no meaning at all. And I am reasonably sure that the persistent teaching of evolution down through the years has so eroded the morality of our people that they are completely lost. A kind of advanced utilitarianism now guides the thinking of so very many people. Utilitarianism is a seven syllable word that simply asks the question,
Is it useful. You know the word: Utility. The SUV—sports utility vehicle—is a byword in our society today; and the word
utility simply means,
fitness for some purpose, or worth to some end. Philosophy has elevated utility to a religion, by adding an
-ism and calling it Utilitarianism.
Professor Lawrence Hinman, in a series of lectures, lists what he calls the three basic insights of Utilitarianism:
The purpose of morality is to make the world a better place. Morality is about producing good consequences, not having good intentions. We should do whatever will bring the most benefit to all of humanity. He then lays out the purpose of morality:
The utilitarian has a very simple answer to the question of why morality exists at all. The purpose of morality is to guide people’s actions in such a way as to produce a better world. Consequently, the emphasis in utilitarianism is on consequences, not intentions.
Now you don’t have to have a PhD to realize that philosophy is offering you an alternative to religion. An alternative to God. Do you see any problems with this idea as presented? It is the absence of an answer to the question,
Why? Why should I concern myself with what brings the most benefit to humanity if it costs me more than I want to pay? Why can’t I just do what benefits me the most, what works for me? Sure, I need to be concerned about consequences to me, but why should I care about the consequences to Africa except as they might later affect me? And further, what may be the biggest
what if question of all…