In today’s modern Western world atheism is popular. On the surface, it solves several problems:
- Scientific understanding of reality
- Age of the earth and the geologic record
- Natural selection and evolution
- Social and moral ‘problems’
- Religious wars
- Antiquated views on gender roles, marriage, etc
- The problem of evil (“good God, bad world”)
- And many more
But taking on an atheistic worldview introduces a plethora of new, more fundamental problems:
- Accounting for free will
- Accounting for information, logic, the presence of matter and uniform physical laws and a finely tuned universe
- Abiogenesis – accounting for life. “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” is a useful maxim here. The Miller-Urey experiment (or any other materialist explanations for abiogenesis) don’t come anywhere near the “extraordinary” criterion in my estimation.
- Consciousness – accounting for the mind and personality
- Morality – accounting for human consciousness of good and evil
- Providing any insight into meaning, purpose and destiny.
The present popularity of atheism reflects our current obsession with advances in the physical sciences, technology, wealth accumulation, and freedom to do as I please.
Once these obsessions wear off, and I don’t think it will take many more decades, I predict a fundamental shift away from atheism.
As far as I understand it (and I admit my understanding has limits), an atheistic worldview is an entirely physical/material worldview. In this worldview, everything behaves in a deterministic way. Every effect has a cause. Even chaos theory recognises determinism, just that due to the limits of human observation the approximate present does not determine the approximate future.
Let’s just imagine, for a minute, that the human powers of measurement and observation approached perfection. Or if not human, then something somewhere had that ability. And all physical mechanisms were perfectly understood. Then the future state of everything could be perfectly predicted, including your and my choices, assuming that consciousness was a part of the material universe and conformed to physical laws.
Therefore in a materialist (atheist) worldview, everything is known or determined (even if humans do not yet have insight into the future). There is no freedom. No choice. Just the illusion of it. It is in this (atheist) worldview that I have to conclude that my choices are pointless, that there is no free will, and that everything that was going to happen is already determined. The script is already written.
Atheist William Provine understood that human free will cannot exist as one of five fundamental consequences of naturalistic evolution.
Yet we experience what we believe is freedom of choice, free will. As I have written previously, that freedom is awesome! Atheism cannot adequately account for it. Perhaps we need to reconsider theism, even though, I agree, accounting for a future-knowing God and free will also presents challenges to our human powers of reason.
Perhaps the new atheists of our day do not yet understand the problems created by choosing not to believe in God.