Oct 172005

Dembski at Uncommon Descent quotes Barbara Forrest from her article “The Possibility of Meaning in Human Evolution,” Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science 35.4 (Dec 2000), 861-889

However, religion cannot help us find meaning in any honest sense unless it can assimilate the truth about where human beings have come from, and the only real knowledge we have about where we came from we have acquired through science.

Consider the words of a staunch atheist like Jean-Paul Sartre. Jean-Paul Sartre was correct in stating that man required an infinite reference point in order for life to have any meaning. Since Sartre didn’t believe there was such a reference point, he stated, “Man is absurd, but he must grimly act as if he were not” and “Man is a useless passion.”

Jean-Paul Sartre. Rationally the universe is absurd, and you must try to authenticate yourself How? By authenticating yourself by an act of will. So if you are driving along the street and see someone in the pouring rain, you stop your car, pick him up and give him a lift. It is absurd. What does it matter? He is nothing, the situation is nothing, but you have authenticated yourself by an act of the will. But the difficulty is that authentication has no rational or logical content — all directions of an act of the will are equal. Therefore, similarly, if you are driving along and see the man in the rain, speed up your car, and knock him down, you have in an equal measure authenticated your will. Do you understand? If you do, cry for modern man in such a hopeless situation. (Schaeffer, F. A. (1996, c1982). Escape From Reason)

Sartre would consider moral rules as slavery to a bad construct. In the last sentence of his book Being and Nothingness, Sartre writes “all human activities are equivalent”, and “it amounts to the same thing whether one gets drunk alone or is a leader of nations.”

This is the irony of Atheistic existentialism. While atheists like Forrest pontificates on the nihilism of human existentialism based on the denial of God, her very pontification is demonstration of Man’s innate refutation of nihilistic existence. Existence cannot be nihilistic if we have an innate drive to seek meaning. The question is where did this innate search for meaning comes from? Could it be that one of those pre-enlightenment and ignorant Christian might have the answer?

14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus (Ro 2:14-16)

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15 years ago

Well said!