Sunday, August 8, 2010

Does disbelief stem from immorality?

A professor of philosophy at Taylor University (an evangelical college in Indiana) believes he has found the true origin of lack faith.  Dr James Spiegel has written The Making of an Atheist: How Immorality Leads to Unbelief to explain his thesis.  The argument begins with the statement that rationality must lead to faith:
God has made His existence plain from creation – from the unimaginable vastness of the universe to the complex micro-universe of individual cells, Spiegel notes. Human consciousness, moral truths, miraculous occurrences and fulfilled biblical prophecies are also evidence of the reality of God.
 A disbeliever is therefore actively rejecting what he knows to be true:
Drawing from Scripture, Spiegel says the atheist's problem is rebellion against the plain truth of God, as clearly revealed in nature. The rebellion is prompted by immorality, and immoral behavior or sin corrupts cognition.
 Searching for a common cause, Dr Spiegel in particular singles out father/son issues:
Some of the atheists whose fathers died include David Hume and Friedrich Nietzsche. Those with abusive or weak fathers include Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire and Sigmund Freud. Among the New Atheists, Daniel Dennett's father died when Dennett was five years old and Christopher Hitchens' father appears to have been very distant. Hitchens had confessed that he doesn't remember "a thing about him."
 As a summary:
In essence, "atheists ultimately choose not to believe in God," the author maintains, and "this choice does not occur in a psychological vacuum."
 The problem with the reasoning is that Dr Spiegel has reversed the order of the cause and effect.  His faith is what makes the existence of higher powers obvious from the vastness of space, the complexity of cells, etc.

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