Monthly Archives: April 2014

Atheists can’t Think

I know that sounds harsh and it sounds like I am calling atheists stupid. I am not. You may think I am questioning the logic and reasoning of atheists. I am not. What I am saying is that atheists can’t think.

Let me give an example to illustrate my point. Please follow along. As you may know the first computer was built in 1957 to do complex mathematical calculations. Computers have come a long way since then. Now we have computers that are extremely complicated. We even have computers with artificial intelligence and computers that can learn.

With the first computers the technician would input a bunch of data. The computer would crunch the data and output a result. If you always input the same data you would always get the same result. The only things that have really changed are that computers will take data in a number of different ways. We can upload data from databases, spread sheets, text, pictures and audio. There are even computers that can see and hear, simulating human capabilities.

One of the more exciting trends in computers is computers that adapt their programing. Today’s computers can identify patterns and trends and make assumptions. They remember past inputs and relate them to current activates and make decisions based on this greater amount of data.

There is computer research into making organic computers. That is storing information using organic molecules like certain proteins.

When we talk of computers we sometimes use phrases like, ‘the computer is thinking’, or ‘the computer decided’, but do computers think? Do they decide? They appear to, but they don’t really. In spite of the science fiction movies to the contrary; computers don’t think. Computers don’t make decisions. Computers only make some very simple calculations. Then they stack those calculations in very complex ways and output a result. That is all. They can appear to think but they don’t. The same is true of humans at least from a naturalistic atheistic perspective. I am assuming that this type of atheist not only denies the existence of God but of anything that would be considered supernatural. For the naturalistic atheist everything can and should be explained in terms of matter and energy. Human thought is simply the interactions of chemicals and electrical impulses in the brain. Thinking is a complex physical function; that is all.

The best analogy we have is that of a computer. Our bodies, like a computer, take in data from all kinds of sources; basically our five external senses and a few internal senses. All of this information is processed through our brains. Within our brains there are a tremendous number of variables. There is the basic wiring of our brains determined by genetics and developmental factors. There are chemicals which are affected by nutrition and emotions. There are past memories which contribute data to the computations. All of these factors come into play and these variables are changing all of the time. So each time we think about something our thought processes change some because the variables are constantly shifting.

In the end the brain is nothing more than a very complex computer. It is an organic computer so it functions somewhat differently than an electronic computer. There are chemicals which enhance or inhibit electrical transmissions, but in the end the human brain simply makes computations based on the input data and the electro-chemical functions.

We do not think; at least in the way we think about thinking. (I know that is a convoluted and contradictory sentence but you understand what I am saying). We think that we direct our thought. That is, I control the direction and paths of my thought. But the brain cannot do that. The impulses within the brain must take the paths of least resistance. They cannot be directed. Any changes in direction of impulses must come by way of chemical changes, and those chemical changes are caused by other electrical or chemical changes. The point is that the changes are all internal, they cannot be directed. For them to be directed would require a force outside of the brain, body or environment. By definition that force would be supernatural.

There are only two possible conclusions:

  1. We don’t think. We only believe that we think. Thinking is an illusion. Something that developed through the processes of evolution and currently serves some purpose in survival of the species (or it severed some purpose in the past).
  2. We are more than a brain and a body. We have a mind in addition to the brain. The mind is a supernatural element that works outside of the physical realm but somehow interacts with our brains and bodies. Our minds give us all of the elements that we understand as thinking: directed thought, free will, independent decision making, self-awareness, and personhood, even logic and reasoning.

Atheists can’t think. Not that they are stupid. It is that thinking the way we understand it cannot happen within the brain alone; it requires a mind, supernatural component. That leads us to a supernatural realm, something that cannot be explained by matter and energy alone. Not only do we conclude that a supernatural realm exists but we exist in it. We are supernatural.

There is another point that is apparent. If the mind interacts with the brain then the supernatural interacts with the natural in a very “natural” way. This discussion does not lead us to conclude that there is a God; not at all but if there is a supernatural realm and we are part of it, then don’t you think we should at least explore this realm? Don’t you think that we should explore the possibility of God?

I hope you enjoyed thinking along with me. If you were thinking along, then you were doing it from a Christian world view not a naturalistic world view. For those who were approaching this from a naturalistic world view, I hope the data your brain received from reading this created a predictable series of chemical and electrical interactions that were perceived and “understood” as thought.

                                                                  

Noah

It seems that everyone is commenting on the Noah movie. So now it is my turn. I don’t want to take my time to critique the movie or to discuss all of the errors. Dr. Brian Mattson wrote an insightful article on April second at his website “drbrianmattson.com”.

I would rather focus on the many missed opportunities in making a Noah movie. The Biblical account has so much to offer I can’t see why anyone would want to tell a different story. Most Biblical accounts are pretty brief. There is plenty of opportunity to fill in the details and still stay true to the story. If I were a Hollywood producer/director here are some possible storylines I would explore.

The Family Side

Imagine being Noah. You are living in a world that is filled with violence and corruption. It is described with this phrase, “every imagination of their hearts was evil continually”. I have struggled with raising my children in our world. How to you protect them? How do you keep them safe? How do you protect their innocence? How do you teach them right from wrong when the world says that good is evil and evil is good? You don’t want to totally isolate your kids but you want to limit the influence of the world. These are all things that I have struggled with. Can you imagine the conversations between Noah and his wife? Can you hear the Noah’s talks with his small children when he tries to explain why the neighbor kids are so mean? Can you feel the heartbreak of the small child when he is told that he cannot play together with the other children because of the types of “games” they have been playing?

At some point Noah is called by God to build an ark. He is told that the world will be destroyed. How do you share that message with your family? They would go through all of the same stages of loss: Denial, Bargaining, Anger, Mourning, and Acceptance. Noah had to work through all of these emotions for himself, then he had to help his family work through their loss. The fact that they apparently did not hear from God would make the process all the more difficult.

How does Noah enlist his family in the task of building the ark? How does he keep them motivated and on task for a construction that probably lasted 100 years? Can you hear the arguments, ‘God told you to build an ark; not me. Why do you need to drag me into it? I want my own life. You are ruining my life! And for what—this stupid ark? I’m out of here.’

At some point the boys find wives. They choose wives out of a completely corrupt population. And you worry about the girls your boys date. It doesn’t stop there. These daughters-in-law need to buy into the whole ark thing. Don’t you think there were moments where the girls were trying to draw the boys away from their crazy, over protective and controlling parents? Imagine the in-law issues.

A lot of times we as parents have high aspirations for our children. We want them to succeed and we dread the possibility that they would make some horrendous life mistake. Our children feel that pressure and sometimes it becomes unbearable for them. Now put yourself in Noah’s place. The future of an entire new world lies on the backs of your children. Noah must have felt that pressure and so did his children. Imagine the pressure when the destiny of the world rests on your shoulders. Any personal failure on your part has major impact on the world. Those who came before you had failed and you saw the results first hand. Now you have to get it right. Failure is not an option. Every small flaw in yourself or your children is magnified.

Then there are the problems that anyone would have in getting a family to work together. Someone always feels that they are given the dirty job, or that someone else is not pulling their weight.

As you can see there is more than enough material for a successful movie by just exploring the issues that must have been present within Noah’s family.

Without going into too much detail here are a few more possible ways to expand on the Noah story.

Personal Loss and Emotional Trauma

Noah and his family lost everything that they knew. This was not moving to a new city, this is hurricane Katrina on a global scale and you are the only survivors. The loss is unfathomable.

What about the emotional trauma and guilt that persons feel when they survive a disaster and feel that they should have died too.

What about the loneliness. Everyone is gone. Everyone! There are only eight people left.

Frustration

I have no doubt that Noah did everything that he could to prevent the flood. Scripture says that Noah preached. Can you imagine spending a hundred years preaching, trying desperately to avert this catastrophe but without success? In some ways it was an us and them struggle, but I have to believe that Noah had the heart of God, “not wishing that any would perish but that all would come to repentance.”

Logistics

There is plenty of material for a Noah movie just in the logistics and engineering to build an ark, collect all of the food for the animals and figure out how you will care for the animals. Imagine Noah’s understanding of the needs of the animals and how to care for them. The ark must have been filled with innovative automated systems to feed and care for the animals. Hollywood designers and engineers would have a great time coming up with creative ideas.

God’s Perspective

If Noah had a heart struggle, imagine the heartbreak of God. It was not unusual for God to call a prophet to give His message and then call him to live out in real life God’s heart break. Hosea is one of those accounts, but I don’t think anything compare with the story of Noah. All of your dreams and hopes for the world totally destroyed. You are left with only a small remnant to begin again.

There is just way too much good material here. How could you not use it?

Does anyone want to make a real Noah movie?