Tag Archives: Fatherlessness

James Spiegel explains what really causes atheism

I spotted this sample chapter from James Spiegel’s new book “The Making of an Atheist” at Apologetics.com.

Here’s the part I found the most interesting:

The eminent twentieth-century historian Paul Johnson describes his Intellectuals as “an examination of the moral and judgmental credentials of leading intellectuals to give advice to humanity on how to conduct its affairs.” Thus begins a 342-page historical expose that recounts behavior so sleazy and repugnant that one almost feels corrupted by reading it. Most disturbing are not necessarily the details of the sordid lives described by Johnson but the fact that the subjects are often regarded as intellectual heroes. Not merely successful people of letters in their day, they were scholars whose influence was, and continues to be, felt worldwide. They mastered their crafts as novelists, poets, playwrights, and philosophers and set forth ideals and values for ordering society.

So for most readers it comes as a bit of a shock to learn that so many leading intellectuals were self-serving egotists,whose ostensible interest in humankind generally was belied by their callous disregard for those nearest and dearest to them, especially familymembers.

The upshot of Johnson’s book is that not only do many leading modern intellectuals fail to live up to their billing as moral visionaries, but their moral perversity should cause us to question the legitimacy of their ideas. This is because one’s personal conduct impacts one’s scholarly projects. And, as Johnson shows, the works of these intellectuals were often calculated to justify or minimize the shame of their own debauchery.

Among the diverse vices that characterize the intellectuals studied by Johnson, brazen sexual promiscuity is the one recurring theme. So it is not surprising that most of these men explicitly rejected the Judeo-Christian worldview. Indeed, many of their scholarly and creative works openly challenged the values of this tradition, which condemns the sorts of lascivious behavior that dominated their lives.

Aldous Huxley, another significant modern intellectual, had much to say on this point. In the following quote he refers to a nihilistic worldview, but this could as easily be supplanted by Marxism, Sartrean existentialism, or Shelley’s vision of a religion-free society:

For myself as, no doubt, for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation.The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economic system and liberation from a certain system of morality.We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom.

Elsewhere in this same essay, Huxley is even more candid:

Most ignorance is vincible ignorance.We don’t know because we don’t want to know. It is our will that decides how and upon what subjects we shall use our intelligence. Those who detect no meaning in the world generally do so because, for one reason or another, it suits their books that the world should be meaningless.

As Paul Johnson argues, the philosophical systems and social ideals of many modern intellectuals were decided by their will to be immoral, not their quest for truth. They wrote the books they did to suit their personal lives, not vice versa.

The interesting point from the sample chapter here is that for atheists, the sin comes first, especially sexual sin. Now, pretty much everybody has some trouble with sin. No one can be perfect all the time. But atheists try to lie to themselves and others by re-imagining the world in such a way as to remove God as moral lawgiver. And it doesn’t matter how far they have to go to speculate, assume or imagine their way out of reality. If they have to deny the big bang, they will. Deny the fine-tuning, no problem. The origin of life? Aliens did it. The resurrection? Unknown identical twin of Jesus. It’s brute facts all the way down.

Consider this quote from an honest, respectable atheist philosopher named Thomas Nagel:

“In speaking of the fear of religion, I don’t mean to refer to the entirely reasonable hostility toward certain established religions and religious institutions, in virtue of their objectionable moral doctrines, social policies, and political influence. Nor am I referring to the association of many religious beliefs with superstition and the acceptance of evident empirical falsehoods. I am talking about something much deeper–namely, the fear of religion itself. I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers.

I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.”
(”The Last Word” by Thomas Nagel, Oxford University Press: 1997)

They don’t want to admit that they are doing anything wrong, and they don’t want to be bothered by God’s design for them. They don’t think there is any way they ought to be other than “happy”. Their new alternate universe allows them to do whatever they want (however destructive) while trying to make themselves happy for a few years apart from God. And their new moral standard requires that everyone call that selfishness “good”, or else. And finally, if anything goes wrong, then the government is right there with someone else’s money to fix it, so they never feel any shame or guilt.

Related posts

Interview with Jim Spiegel on “The Making of an Atheist” book

Interview here at the EPS blog.

Excerpt:

Why might there be a tendency among some Christian philosophical critiques of atheism (or any other worldview for that matter) to under-represent or downright avoid how the sinful tendencies of the human heart figure into the formation of a worldview?

One reason for avoidance of this issue might be a concern for decorum.  I suppose it could appear unseemly or offensive even to suggest, much less to present as a thesis of a book, that a person’s lack of belief in God is, at bottom, a form of rebellion.  And I must admit that at times I felt uncomfortable writing the book for this reason.  However, the fact that it is a clear biblical truth compelled me to write it anyway.  But I was careful to be as generous and winsome as I could manage, given the subject matter.

And:

How does one become “entrenched” in an atheist’s mindset?

In my book I expound on two aspects of this process, which explains something of the obstinacy of atheists.  There is a phenomenon that I call “paradigm-induced blindness,” where a person’s false worldview prevents them from seeing truths which would otherwise be obvious.  Additionally, a person’s sinful indulgences have a way of deadening their natural awareness of God or, as John Calvin calls it, the sensus divinitatis.  And the more this innate sense of the divine is squelched, the more resistant a person will be to evidence for God.

You say that right living contributes to the perseverance of faith. How is that perseverance related to Christian virtue and the “cognitive health” that it brings?

Just as sinful thoughts and behavior corrupt us cognitively and warp our perspective on the world, obedience and virtue benefit us cognitively in a number of ways.  Not only do we avoid the intellectual warping and deadening of the sensus divinitatis that sin causes, but Scripture also makes clear that God grants special insight and wisdom to those who obey him (cf. Ps. 19:7, Ps. 25:9; Pr. 1:4, Pr. 11:2).  So you might say that the life of Christian virtue enhances our ability to think and reason, especially about moral and spiritual matters.

I can hardly wait to read this book so that I can get some guidelines for dialoguing with atheists about how they formed their worldview. Is this really how atheists formed their view?

Jennifer Roback Morse podcasts on declining males and the overpopulation myth

From the Ruth Institute podcast page.

More women marrying down as men’s education and salaries decline

The MP3 file is here. (from 1/22/2010)

Topics:

  • women are “marrying down” educationally and financially
  • what do women typically want out of husbands and marriage?
  • are women happier bring the primary breadwinners?
  • has the feminist agenda driven men out of the university?
  • should there be complementarity or equality in the home?
  • men mature more slowly so they are less ready to marry
  • is it sensible for men to stay at home and for women work?

My previous post on this topic is here: How feminism’s war against men ends up hurting women.

The myth of overpopulation and what it means to you

The MP3 file is here. (from 1/22/2010)

Topics:

  • how the transition from country to city discourages child-bearing
  • how religion impacts how many children parents have
  • what is the US birth rate, is it high enough?
  • can we just import immigrants to alleviate the low birth rate?
  • has increased prosperity encouraged people to have more children?
  • how has the purpose of sex changed after the sexual revolution?
  • how does the demographic crisis threaten entitlement programs?
  • what do we learn from the declining birth rate in Japan?
  • how does population growth impact stock market performance?

Dr. J’s wonderful blog is here.  Please give it a visit! She has really been writing a lot of her own thoughts into her posts lately. It’s very fun and engaging!

Are elderly women who have babies through IVF being selfish?

The lovely Betsy of Ruthblog linked to this old 2009 article from BioEdge.

Excerpt:

The record for Britain’s oldest women to give birth will be broken next month by 66 year old Elizabeth Munro, from Cambridge. It is thought that Ms Munro, who is single and a successful business woman, travelled to the Ukraine to become pregnant using donor eggs and IVF treatment.
In the UK, health trusts determine which women will be eligible for IVF treatment on the National Health Service (NHS), and factors limiting availability include the age of the woman. Not many trusts will consider providing NHS treatment for women over about 39 years old. However, some private clinics, which are not obliged to follow NHS guidelines, will offer treatment to women up to the age of 50, although it is rare for them to consider treating women older than this.

[…]Ms Munro, who is due to give birth next month by Caesarean section, claims she still feels 39 and is fitter than many women a third her age. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph newspaper, she said: ‘It’s not my physical age that’s important – it’s how I feel inside.’ She added: ‘I don’t have to defend what I have done. It’s between me, my baby and no-one else’.

The Telegraph article says this:

The childless divorcee travelled to the Ukraine for IVF treatment and is planning to give birth at a clinic in Cambridge in the next month.

She will be nearing 80 when the child becomes a teenager.

I also note that IVF is covered for women under 40 by the state-run National Health Service, (as are breast implants), just like in Canada. Another reason that Christians should oppose socialized medicine.

Betsy makes this snarky comment:

Yet another example of how selfish people can be. So much for what’s best for the child. I want it, and I can get it, so I will. And of course the doctors aren’t willing to turn down a buck. So sad. Poor kids with moms who will likely die while the kids are in college. How kind. I’m willing to bet old women are doing this because their grown children are too selfish to provide grandchildren. And what 20-year-old wants to spend his time caring for his mom after her hip replacement surgery or while she’s dealing with dementia?

I note that Ms. Munro is divorced, so her child will be raised without a father in the home. I just think that when people begin a new realtionship with a living thing, that they should count the cost of the relationship and make sure that they can set aside the time, money and effort required to take care of that other person/animal/whatever. It’s no good to treat children like property, and no good to treat husbands like property either.

Something even worse

Anyway, here is a newer UK Daily Mail article that is even worse.

Excerpt:

Cradling her twin boys in her arms, the world’s oldest mother confidently proclaimed that longevity ran in her family.

But just two and half years on, Maria Carmen del Bousada’s boasts have been proved sadly wrong.

The 69-year-old, who admitted lying about her age to receive fertility treatment in the U.S, has died from cancer.

[…]Orphaned before reaching school, her sons, Christian and Pau, will have to rely on others to find out about her.

[…]Earlier this month, Britain’s oldest mother Elizabeth Adeney, who had a boy in May, was 67. Like Miss Bousada, she too was childless and single when she underwent fertility treatment using a donor egg and donor sperm.As for Miss Bousada’s cancer, it is understood that the former shop worker had been told that the drugs used during her fertility treatment may have hastened the advance of the disease.

[…]It is known that some types of cancer are sensitive to hormones associated with both pregnancy and fertility treatment. Miss Bousada told doctors in Los Angeles that she was 55 when she travelled there to undergo IVF treatment.

Critics, including her own family, called the pensioner, who went through the menopause 18 years before her £20,000 treatment, ‘selfish and irresponsible’.

After the birth she admitted lying about her age and predicted she would live to 101 as her mother had done.

‘I have every reason to believe longevity runs in my family,’ she said.

Please take a look at the related post below on how children are affected by single motherhood, because there is an interesting debate with a single mother in the comments, and you can see how they think.

Related posts

New book: James S. Spiegel’s “The Making of an Atheist”

Warning: Atheist readers of the Wintery Knight blog are forbidden to read this post. I forbid you! Forbid!

Here’s the web site for the book. (H/T Cloud of Witnesses via Apologetics 315)

Excerpt:

Sigmund Freud famously dismissed belief in God as a psychological projection caused by wishful thinking. Today many of the “new atheists”—including Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens—make a similar claim, insisting that believers are delusional. Faith is a kind of cognitive disease, according to them. And they are doing all they can to rid the world of all religious belief and practice.

Christian apologists, from Dinesh D’Souza to Ravi Zacharias, have been quick to respond to the new atheists, revealing holes in their arguments and showing why theistic belief, and the Christian worldview in particular, is reasonable. In fact, the evidence for God is overwhelming, confirming the Apostle Paul’s point in Romans 1 that the reality of God is “clearly seen, being understood from what has been made so that men are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20, NIV).

So if the evidence for God is so plain to see, then why are there atheists? That is the question that prompted The Making of an Atheist. The answer I propose turns the tables on the new atheists, as I show that unbelief is a psychological projection, a cognitive disorder arising from willful resistance to the evidence for God. In short, it is atheists who are the delusional ones.

Unlike Dawkins and his ilk, I give an account as to how the delusion occurs, showing that atheistic rejection of God is precipitated by immoral indulgences, usually combined with some deep psychological disturbances, such as a broken relationship with one’s father. I also show how atheists suffer from what I call “paradigm-induced blindness,” as their worldview inhibits their ability to recognize the reality of God manifest in creation. These and other factors I discuss are among the various dimensions of sin’s corrupting influence on the mind.

Nothing makes the Wintery Knight happier than seeing the truth of Romans 1 come out in encounters with atheists. I love to understand how atheists come to their atheism. What I am reading about this new book makes me think that Dr. Spiegel and I will be in broad agreement – but I still must know the details. And you should know it too – understanding atheism helps Christians to understand why they should not cave in the pressure to water down doctrine, e.g. – annihilationism, inclusivism, etc.

By the way, has anyone read R.C. Sproul’s “If There is a God, Why Are There Atheists?“? I love that book. (No, I am not a Calvinist!) Christians need to get really comfortable with the reasons why people reject the Christian God in particular. This is the best book I’ve ever read on that topic. We really need to do a better job of calling atheists out on the real reasons for their unbelief. (Note: I never talk to individual atheists about their individual sins – just don’t do that ever! But their speculations and unbelief are fair game)

Just last week I was dealing with an atheist who was trying to tell me how fair and balanced Rachel Maddow and Jon Stewart are. He also said that the Discovery Channel does a good job of exploring the historical Jesus, and that debates like the kind I recommend are woefully inadequate. One of my friends has a non-Christian father-in-law who is listening to Bart Ehrman lectures. I wonder if this father-in-law is open to watching Bart Ehrman defend his views in a formal debate? Probably not, and that’s my point.

There seems to be a whole boatload of busy people trying to twist the material world into some sort of lasting happiness apart from God and autonomous from the moral law. They do not want to bow the knee to Christ, which is the natural result of any honest investigation. Instead they deliberately look for speculations to keep the real, living God at a distance. We need to be courageous about pointing out the real reasons why they are pushing a fair investigation into these matters away with both hands.

Note, if you are an atheist and you read my blog and you’ve seen a William Lane Craig debate, then I don’t mean you. At least you were open-minded to some degree. But I’ll tell you right now, that’s only about 10% of the atheists I know. Atheists usually don’t know because they don’t want to know. That doesn’t mean I don’t love you, it just means you’re not being fair with your investigation of these matters and I’m going to call you out.

By the way, Jim and Amy Spiegel operate a blog called Wisdom and Folly. It looks good.

Related posts