Our Existence

Courtesy of Stockvault.net

On another blog, there’s been an ongoing discussion between some atheists and a Christian related to our “existence;” that is, our “beingness” — why we are here, why we are alive and living on this planet. Some would describe it as a discussion related to Ontology: The metaphysical study of the nature of being and existence; that is, study based on hypothesis or theory rather than experiment.

As would be expected, there is a rather significant difference of opinion between the two factions.

The atheists naturally consider science as the most important element of our existence because it IS based on experiments. They assert it is the discipline of science that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions, not only about ourselves, but also about the universe we live in. They further contend it is science that has allowed us to survive, as well as improving our lifestyle in the process.

The Christian naturally downplays this perspective and repeatedly accuses his detractors of believing in “scientism,” which has been defined by some as “a scientific method that has no (or few) limits, can successfully be applied to almost all aspects of life, and provides an explanation for everything.” It has even been referred to as a RELIGION and that its followers worship science, its rituals, and its results! The following from Wikipedia is notable:

According to Discovery Institute scientism is an effort to use the methods of science to explain and control every part of human life, in other words, the misguided effort to apply science to areas outside its proper bounds.

Moreover, the blog owner believes philosophy (the rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics) plays just as important a role defining our existence as the discipline of science.

He emphasized his perspective by offering the following quote on his blog by Stephen Barr, author, and professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Delaware. I find it very telling …

“There’s a misconception that’s actually at the root of the science-religion tension. Many people think that nature and God are in competition, that if something has a natural explanation that God had nothing to do with it. And, if God did something, it’s supernatural, so it’s an either-or. And, so the more science can explain naturally the less there is for God to explain. But that’s a complete misconception because God is the author of nature.

(Emphasis added)

I close this post with a quote from the referenced blog owner: Science cannot prove that we have a complete picture of reality.

Considering the preceding discourse, what are your thoughts?

“I’ve Had A Wonderful Life”

On another blog, someone commented with a quote from Ludwig Wittgenstein (1989-1951), an Austrian-British 20th Century philosopher:

To believe in God means to see that life has a meaning

As I read this, I asked myself, “Self, does this mean life has no meaning without a belief in God?”

Hmmmm.

Ludwig_Wittgenstein_by_Ben_Richards
Ludwig Wittgenstein (by Ben Richards)

In a cursory reading about Ludwig on Wikipedia, I found it rather interesting that he made the following comment as he lay on his death bed, just before losing consciousness for the last time, “Tell them I’ve had a wonderful life.”

In the last years of his life, Wittgenstein was said to be agnostic — in a qualified sense. Qualified in that he did not accept any religious faith. In fact, he was impatient with “proofs” of the existence of God and any attempts to give religion a rational foundation.

So it would seem his original thinking, as stated in the above quote, had changed by the end of his life. He had found meaning in life despite his agnosticism … to the extent he was able to say on his death bed, “I’ve had a wonderful life.”

In his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus  (1922), he wrote:

Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present. Our life has no end in the way in which our visual field has no limits.

I like this: eternal life belongs to those who live in the present.

There is no other time but now. There is no other life but this one. Enjoy the life you have at this moment. Even if you are living with pain and suffering, always remember, you still have LIFE! You are still able to enjoy the magnificence of the universe, the love of friends and family, the joy of simply “being.”

And when the time comes for it all to end, may each of us join Ludwig and say, “I’ve had a wonderful life.”

The Existence of God – Or Not

I found the video below quite fascinating. While I am not an atheist, I am interested in the many and varied perspectives that people have of who and/or what god is.
Before viewing the video, I had never heard of Alvin Plantinga so I didn’t have any idea what to expect. Since then, I have done a little research and find he is described as a “philosopher/theologian.” Wikipedia states he is a Christian who applies “methods of analytic philosophy to defend orthodox Christian beliefs.”

When presented with questions about God’s existence, he certainly answers in the same tenor of every Christian I have ever heard.

I found many of his answers to be nothing more than a nonsensical jumble of words. Instead of taking a true stand on his beliefs and offering solid evidence, he meandered through the usual language of the Christian religious.

The other thing that stood out to me is the constant reference by both parties to “God” as gender-specific. To me, God is an intangible spirit and therefore has no gender but of course, the debate passionately rages on.