Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Biblical Worldview vs that of Materialists


“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes....” Romans 1:16

Alice C. Linsley


It is difficult for materialists to approach the study of the Bible, religion, or the question of faith with anything resembling objectivity.  The material world is all there and miracles are, in the words of David Hume, "a transgression of a law of nature by a particular volition of the Deity, or by the interposition of some invisible agent."  An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding (Section 10)  This is not the biblical view of miracles, but that hardly matters when one relegates the Bible, religion, and faith to the realm of fantasy, invention and superstition. Materialists regard religion in general as the invention of deluded minds. To their way of thinking those who believe that miracles happen and Jesus Christ is the Son of God are naive, brain-washed or stand to profit from their connection to the religious establishment. Their confidence, contrary to the evidence, rests on the assumption that this Gospel concerning Jesus Christ is a conspiracy, a fabrication.

No wonder they prefer to ignore scientific research that verifies biblical claims. For example, materialists are generally not interested in biblical archaeology or biblical anthropology because both draw on science to verify as historical events and persons of the Bible.
 
St. Anthony the Great articulated the biblical worldview when he wrote: "God’s providence controls the universe. It is present everywhere. Providence is the sovereign Logos of God, imprinting form on the unformed materiality of the world, making and fashioning all things. Matter could not have acquired an articulated structure were it not for the directing power of the Logos, who is the Image, Intellect, Wisdom and Providence of God.”

In the biblical view, miracles are patterns in a singular universe that reflects a divine plan.  They are not discerned by those who insist on randomness.
The materialist is shaken by the reality of which St. Anthony speaks. He is so thoroughly shaken that he must escape into fantasies about a universe governed by randomness, about the human being as just another creature, and about there being nothing beyond what we can experience. He invents creatures to fit his  theory of human origins but has no physical evidence for such creatures, since they never existed. He attributes Christianity to the Jews and then illogically insists that the Jews corrupted Jesus' true religion. He often lifts up the Gnostics as having the right end of the stick and then pokes fun at the idea of secret knowledge for a chosen few.

Most materialists should be delighted with my discovery that Abraham and his ancestors looked forward to the appearance of the Son of God in human form and believed that He would be born from their blood line. They might argue that because the promise of the Son existed before Abraham's time, Christianity is so terribly old that it should be relegated to the realm of extinct entities. But it is also possible that their confidence would be shaken by the fact that the Jews didn't invent Christianity; that instead, this belief in the promised Son of God developed organically from a time before Abraham; that Abraham himself received from his ancestors belief in a God-man who would destroy evil and restore Paradise. They can't explain how this belief in the Incarnate Son of God could be preserved from ancient times to this day. Just as none are able to explain how the 318 bishops who came to the Council of Nicea from around the world and had not formerly communicated with each other should hold a consistent view of Jesus Christ. Such preservation of Truth can't be explained by material mechanisms.

The materialist worldview is riddled with holes and a thoughtful materialist recognizes this. This is why many materialists are nihilists deep down.  Randomness can't express the patterns that comprise the fundamental geometry of the universe.  In randomness there are no patterns by which we can deduce meaning.  Without patterns we must conclude that there is no meaning to the universe.  Ultimately, we slip in nihilism.  That's one of the ironies of Philosophy - that the materialist worldview must deny itself and conclude that there is nothing.

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