Greetings, my dear confused friend, Mr. Atheist.
I have desired for such a
long time to dialogue with you about your most morbid and despairing view on life, and would have contained myself from doing so, until I heard you speak about how you had elevated your philosophy from despair to hope. I mean, come now
Mr. Atheist, you can't expect us to be convinced that you consider yourself a "person" now, and that there truly is a difference between "right" and "wrong", or that you are any more than the matter you are made of, since
you now boast of a human "soul" or "spirit". My friend, you are beginning to sound far too religious.
Any man in his right mind surely knows that these terms are those founded and defended by your
so-called "opium of the masses"; those intolerant, hypocritical, ignorant, poor, confused people (as you surely shouldn't hesitate to admit) that claim to know God and serve Him. Poor wretches, haven't they heard that there
is no God, nor will there ever be a God (a truth of which you are quite convinced). As for your first claim, your claim that you are truly a personal being, please I beg of you, give me one rational reason why
you should most brazenly boast of this matter. You, of all people, should realize that all of the known universe (besides this black sheep we call man) is of a non-personal nature. A person wills, is
self-conscious, communicates, appreciates, loves, grows in intelligence, and displays a certain amount of self-will.
Now, that I am a being wholly composed of matter is one of the fundamental tenets of your
camp. That I am nothing more than this body combined with complexity is the position upon which you must defend (even though of late many of you are speaking of a "soul" or "spirit", terms in which you should know better in
using, but more on that later). When it comes to the nature and being of man, your belief (and oh how you hate that dreaded word!) is in the philosophy of materialism. You boldly claim that "Everything that is, is
material". You blindly assume the validity of the theory of empiricism which states that knowledge must be restricted to those objects which can be perceived by our senses. Thus a man and a rock are, in your theory,
relatively the same. Both are just a collection of atoms.
The only apparent difference (and in this philosophy the key word is "apparent", since in essence, there really is no difference) is that one is more complex than
the other. Yet since I am material (and only material) and the rock is material, we find ourselves in a dilemma. Either I must explain why I, as a self-conscious individual, can feel, reason, think, love, hate, etc.;
or I must explain why the rock does NOT think, feel, reason, love, hate, etc. But oh how we strive as man to think that we have a dignity, an honor, something that will explain why we seem to be different in a
much greater way than just mentioned from a rock. That there is no essential difference, you, my cavalier Mr. Atheist, must boldly proclaim.
But this conclusion is ridiculous and is not satisfying to modern man's reasonings. Do you mean to tell me a totally impersonal universe all of a sudden puked up this freak of nature, this orphan of orphans,
this being who claims to have self-consciousness and self-will, and left him to fend for his own against an entire universe of impersonal things! Poor, poor man! He cries out for an answer to his personhood, for a reason
for his apparent uniqueness and dignity, but there is no explanation, nor will there ever be an answer, for there is nothing and no one to answer him. He is a fluke, a mistake, a slip, an error, a blunder, the world's
greatest blooper. And as man strives for a hope, an answer, anything that may make it seem as if he has any inherent value or worth, he must rest quietly in despair and truly realize that he was never meant to be; a
solitary creature of chance who is unlike anything else in all of creation.
So my dear Mr. Atheist, far from being a person, you must rest assured in the "fact" (for it is the logical conclusion of your view) that though we
may refer to man as a personal being (for it is a comfort to think of ourselves that way, seeing that that is how things appear to be), we are deceiving ourselves and must accept ourselves as we really are: Complexity plus
My, my, my Mr. Atheist, what a complex machine you are! A toast to this freak of the universe called man; three cheers for the orphan of the cosmos. Hip, hip, hooray, and all that rot. "Ah, but it is not nice
to call people machines," you say. "It is not proper, nor mannerly, nor right to talk about people so rudely with no regards for their feelings."
I'm sorry, but did I hear you correctly. Did you say that something was not "right"? Do you mean that it is "wrong" then? Do you mean that it is "evil" and not "good"? Wait a minute, Mr. Atheist, there you go
using those religious words again.
You've got to stop that you know, it could ruin your reputation. "Right," "wrong," "good," "evil," are words that indicate that there is some ultimate and absolute standard of morality.
You know that can't be true. If there is nothing else of which you can be confident, you are absolutely (absolutely?!) sure of this one fact: All truth is relative. You should be ashamed of yourself, trying to promote your
morality on others. How judgmental, how intolerant, how self-righteous of you. Are you of the opinion that your standard is any better than mine? Shouldn't you rather say, "It is my own personal opinion that you should not
refer to people as machines." Then I could reply that, "It is my own personal opinion that we should call people whatever we darn well please." We would then be in a dilemma.
We have two opposing views. How will we know who
is right? We will attempt to compare both our views to a perfect standard, and decide which view better conforms to that standard. But wait! Where did the standard come from? Surely not from the impersonal universe,
for an impersonal universe can offer no personal moral guidance. It is then reasonable to assume that there is no absolute moral standard. Therefore, if I say, "It is my own personal opinion that the purpose of life is to
purge the planet of this evil, orphan entity; man," and you say, "No! The continuation of the human species is of utmost importance," then I would have to reply, "Why?" Well, why? Man is just a fluke, a blunder, a
cosmic mistake, we have already proven that. You think the human species is valuable and should be continued at all costs, and I think that the human species is a stench in an impersonal universe's nostrils and should be
exterminated at all costs. Who's right? Surely, you're not going to give me any self-righteous bull and assure me that your view must be right. I will just have to counter you and say my view must be right. You see, "right"
and "wrong" have no meaning in our conversation. Neither term stands for absolute rightness in all situations and at all times or absolute wrongness in all situations, at all times. "Right" and "wrong" in our conversation
stand for nothing more than our own opinions.
You must admit, that unless you are still hanging on by a thread to the Judeo-Christian ethic, that it is quite possible that the extermination of the species of man might be
the answer to all things. Sorry to burst your bubble, but there truly are no morals Mr. Atheist, just opinions.
My, my, my Mr. Atheist, what a self-righteous bigot you are. You see, I rather think it is quite "right" to refer to something truly. A dog is a dog is a dog is a dog I say. If someone is a wonderful machine,
I don't mind telling them a bit. And if they are a useful machine, I especially like to complement them. Of course, if they are handicapped and broken, inconvenient, or just plain don't fit in well with the other machines,
then again I don't mind telling them that they need to move over and make room for the better machines.
Utilitarianism, they used to call it. Society, the mass of people, decide what is right and wrong based on the innate
worth of each machine's contribution to the society as a whole (understand that "right" and "wrong" in this context is in relation to society and its welfare, and not to any outside absolute standard; just the way we like
it, huh Mr. Atheist). A society where those in power are assured of being major contributors and can therefore direct the society in the direction which they think is best for the majority of the machines. A philosophy that
is founded upon pragmatism and the changing views of those in power. Ah yes, nothing like seeing a machine that never got past pre-building stages, that would have had no use in society (and not only that, but would have
been a tremendous inconvenience to the incubator apparatus), being terminated and disassembled to make room for those who will benefit. It's a wonderful thing striving for the good of society, don't you think, Mr. Atheist (kinda'
brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it).
Ah, Mr. Atheist, defender of truth, moral values, social welfare, peace and good-will among men. Where would we be without your great knowledge which
transcends the minds of men everywhere! A knowledge that erects such structures as Utilitarianism, Pragmatism, Materialism, Marxism, Euthanasia, Abortion, and all other strange and wonderful things which further the cause
of mankind. God bless you, Mr. Atheist! Oops, I'm sorry (I used the G word, that should only be used in church, or in cursing, along with the J word), I meant Sod bless you! You know, sod, the ground, the earth, your
mother. After all, you did spontaneously generate from the materials of your wonderful mother. It can truly be said then, in a sense, that she is your mother. I know, I know, you don't buy this new paganism which
gives personality and will to material things, ...yet aren't.. you... just... material; matter and nothing more. Don't you claim to have (in spite of all evidence to the contrary) personality, will, and morals. Didn't she
in a sense, even in a remote back-handed way, give birth and life to you? Ascribing personality to material objects isn't that far-fetched an idea now, is it, Mr. Atheist! You should know.
Mother Earth has
truly blessed us with such wonderful machines, hasn't she, Mr. Atheist. Since we all came from one source, maybe we are all one after all. Maybe we need to get back to basics, to find ourselves in the nature that gave birth
to us. Maybe we can tap into the creative powers that gave us consciousness. Maybe, if we can just get in touch with that oneness within ourselves, then we can share it with others, and mankind could truly experience peace.
Maybe we are the g...ods?! We are unique, you know. And now, dear Mr. Atheist, you have gone full circle. In denying the fact that there is an transcendent, rational, personal God which created all, you have
come to find that the next best substitute for that God is man himself. You have come to worship yourself in a sense. You believe that mankind can perfect himself, regardless of all the evidence to the contrary. You believe
that the changing tides of society (mankind in plural) can define morals. You are convinced that there is a reason to exist, even though you are a mistake to start out with. You have come to the pinnacle of your evolution.
The next big step could be the G word (Of course, then you will have to retract your belief in atheism, for atheists say that there is no God now, nor ever will be one). Mankind, the greatest machine ever known,
master of his destiny, maker of all morals, the supreme being in every sense of the word! In the final analysis Mr. Atheist, you have a greater faith than I. "Oh come now," you exclaim, "surely you jest." But it is true,
Mr. Atheist. For some reason you claim to be personal when an impersonal universe does not produce personal beings. For some reason you claim to have ethics, but there is no reason for anyone to be
assured that your values are more "right" than any other person's. Disregarding logic altogether, you would have all men to believe that (1) life came from nonlife, (2) personality came from non-personality, (3)
everything ultimately came from nothing, (4) order came from chaos, (5) reason came from irrationality, and (6) morality came from amorality. Quite a list of premises wouldn't you say. I find it awful hard to believe such
preposterous claims without some evidence. HOW COME YOU DON'T? Is it because the only other alternative is...no, that's not possible.
Forget I even said anything. Let's just suffice it to say that you have faith. Yet it is
not the kind of faith that I have. You see, there are two kinds of faith. Faith based upon evidence, and faith irregardless of the evidence. The first is called evidential faith, the second is called blind faith. The six
premises listed above that you would have me to believe: Can you give me ample evidence that they are true? Or must I just believe them with a blind faith? Thanks, Mr. Atheist, but no thanks. I'll stick with
my faith founded upon evidence. You see I believe that a personal, infinite, rational, loving God created the universe. Because He is personal, He has the capabilities to create a personal being. Because He is an
infinite, rational Creator, He has the ability to lay down an absolute moral code that He has the right to impose upon His creation. Because He is loving, He has made Himself known in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus
Christ claimed to be God the Son made flesh, sharing in our humanity. Jesus Christ claimed to be the only way to God. God the Father set His seal of approval upon the testimony and teachings of Jesus by raising Him from the
dead so that He lives forevermore at the right hand of the Father. The proof for the veracity of the resurrection is overwhelming and thoroughly convincing when examined. I believe that Jesus truly rose from the
dead, and that He is the Lord of the universe.
I believe that because of the great mass of evidence. How about you, Mr. Atheist? Are you willing to examine the evidence, or will you continue with your vain hope and your
blind faith? Of course, if you want to examine this with an open mind, you'll have to go through a bit of an alteration. You'll have to at least admit the possibility of a personal, infinite, rational God. To do that we
will have to change your name. You'll have to change your name to Mr. Agnostic. This won't be too painful and hopefully you won't have to keep this name too long (it does seem a little awkward, doesn't it). After you have
examined the evidence, we can then change your name back to Mr. Atheist, or to Mr. Christian, whichever you prefer, depending upon what you decide.
Richard J. Vincent
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