Monthly Archives: July 2013

Leave God Out of It

Recently the Supreme Court heard arguments about same-sex marriage. The public discussion among Christians and non-Christians said something like this. ‘We live in a secular world and the courts in America don’t make rulings based on religious principle, not everyone believes in God, therefore we must leave God and the Bible out of the debate.’
This has become a theme in America, “Leave God out of it”. At first it sounds reasonable. I mean in order to participate in a debate the individuals must have some agreement as to what is accepted as facts and what is not. Otherwise you simply get individuals asserting that something is true and the other denies it. You get an argument but not a debate that can come to reasonable conclusions and acted upon.
The problem here is TRUTH. Somehow we forget that the goal is truth not opinion or what we would like the truth to be. Once I was an alternate on a jury. Every once in a while the prosecuting attorney would allude to something about the defendant. The judge would immediately stop him and say that it was not permissible evidence. After a while it was evident that the attorney felt that it was important information that would sway the jury toward a conviction. It was also evident that the judge was irritated with the prosecutor. As a juror I felt that there was something very wrong with the situation. I felt that there was some element of truth out there that I was not allowed to hear. Someone had decided for me what information I could consider or not, and it was clear that the reason was because it would bear on my decision. I felt insulted that someone had decided for me because they didn’t trust my judgment, and yet I was to decide the fate of this man without all of the information. The responsibility rested on me but certain pieces of information were deemed as inadmissible. I could make a wrong decision that endangered people’s lives. It didn’t seem fair to me. If I am responsible for the decision then I should be able to decide what information is pertinent.
When it comes to legal or public debate about issues, we say ‘leave God out of it’, as if He doesn’t exist or is unimportant. The reason given is that not all people believe in God. That is odd. Well over 80% of Americans say they believe in God. So statistically less that 20% of the people are dictating the terms of the debate. The word atheist means “without god”. Why is it that in a nation that is mostly theist we discuss issues as atheists? Why is it that in a democracy we let the minority dictate to the majority?
If God doesn’t exist then maybe He should not be part of the discussion. But He does exist and to pretend that He doesn’t is to live in a fantasy world. That doesn’t sound right does it? We are so used to the atheists telling the believers that they live in a fantasy world, it now sounds strange to be telling the atheists that they are living in a fantasy world. If God exists, and most Americans say He does, then to live as if He doesn’t exist is to live in a fantasy.
But people do live as if God exists, even atheist do. You see if God doesn’t exist the alternative is a naturalistic world view. Each person is a product of biology. They are built on a chemical formula determined by their DNA. Environment adds in some additional variable to complicate the matter. The bottom line is we are just a complex series of chemicals interacting with the environment. The environment itself is just a complex series of chemicals interacting within a seemingly endless chain of variables. All that appears to be thought is just chemical reactions in our brains. There is no mind. There is no free will. We don’t make decisions. Chemical reactions happen that appear to us to be free and independent thought. Our whole idea of right and wrong is an illusion; possibly evolutionary tools developed over eons to sustain the survival of the species. Actually even that language doesn’t work, because words like “tools”, “developed” and “survival” imply intentionality, purpose and meaning. In a naturalistic world none of those exist. Things just are. Thought, meaning, purpose, right and wrong, even personhood are all illusions—pure fantasy.
If there is no God then there is no right or wrong. The whole idea of having a discussion is irrelevant. What is the point of debating something if there is no independent thought? What is the point of trying to reach the right conclusion if there is not right or wrong?
Very strange! The whole idea of having a debate is dependent on a belief in right and wrong. It rests on our ability to think independently and to make value judgments. Both of these cannot happen in a naturalistic world. They only exist in a world where God exists, and yet we say that God is not relevant to the debate. Very strange indeed and totally incongruent! If debate exists then God exists. If God doesn’t exist then real debate does not exist. We appear to actively “participate” in independent thought, reasoning, discussion, debate, and decision making, but it is all an illusion, just a fantasy. If debate exists and God exists then God must be taken into account.
Next time someone tells you to “Leave God out of it.” Think about how ridiculous that statement really is. Then have yourself a good laugh or maybe you should cry for a world that has lost their mind.