The Theist Widow Cannot Regain Her Atheist Virginity

The reason why I am a Christian is partly experiential and partly supernatural.

The experiential part is that a lifelong and very tortuous process of logical reason, requiring the utmost in clear eyed intellectual courage objectivity has lead me, one after another after another, to discover inescapable secular reasons to support all the social teaching of the Church, namely, her opposition to abortion, to euthanasia, to sexual liberation, to sexual perversion, and to contraception.

I had laid out these arguments in excruciating detail in years past, hoping to provoke some interesting counter-arguments. No reader was kind or skilled or patient enough to construct any counter-arguments, or even to raise a single logically valid objection.

I live in a society so utterly without honor, that the vast majority consider it an honest reply merely to voice their disagreement with a conclusion, and not to give a reason, or have a reason to give.

The segment of that vast majority who gives no justification for their beliefs, each and every socialist, leftist, nihilist, and modern thinker replied with one and one response only, and ad hominem attack. Only men not of this faction even attempted to engage the issue of justifying his beliefs with reason rather than with emotion. The utter uniformity of this one tactic is a source of never-diminishing awe and horror and laughter to me. No matter how learned or accomplished they are in other fields, the Leftist cannot utter any other response when the topic turns to one of the ideas sacred to them. As best I can tell, the program started by Nietzsche and Marx to abolish philosophy entirely from human civilization has, for all practical purposes, succeeded.

It struck me as an inexplicable puzzle that my allies the atheists, we paragons of logic as we were, would be entirely wrong on some or all of the social issues listed above, and my hated enemies the Christians, those knavish and obscurantist foes of all progress and reason, would be, and have always been right. If, of course, the laws of morality and the laws of nature and the laws of logic have an author, which is what my hated enemies the Christians maintain, why, then, the puzzle is not inexplicable.

The supernatural part is that I saw a vision, and miracle, and had a religious enlightenment, and my life has been changed for the better, increasing both my own happiness and the lives of those around me.

That is why I became Christian.

Why do I stay a Christian?

Some atheists of my acquaintance have urged me to accept the model of the universe that says I hallucinated the vision, never experienced a miracle, did not have any enlightenment, but instead either imagined everything, or saw patterns in events where none exist.

None of them are willing to put this model to the rules either used by scientists and philosophers, as Occam’s razor, nor to the normal rules of evidence a lawyer would use in a court of law, as placing the assumption of the burden of proof on the party making a claim not in evidence. Indeed, none of my atheist acquaintances so far have even proven willing to discuss the normal rules of evidence with me, much less to discover how logical demands we are to apply them in this case.

Why stay a Christian?

If I were willing to accept the theory that thirteen or so events that I take to be related by cause and effect were instead a bizarre coincidence, and to accept that a mysterious force exists in my sub-conscious mind that can, at will, start and stop heart attacks, induce visions and control their content, reveal true information about the outside world beyond the reach of my senses, or, if not, can rewrite my memories and those any nearby witnesses to make the evidence of the events match the end-result the theory commands we reach.

In other words, if I were willing to adhere to atheist theory in defiance of all evidence and logic, I could indeed write off my experiences as hallucination and coincidences and (insert other ad hoc explanations here, adding to the list as needed) — and best of all, I would lose the respect and fellowship of the honest, sane, charitable, loving and polite segment of the majority of the world, and would win the fellowship of that minority of selfish and self-righteous creatures whose good opinion I respect almost as well as I respect the opinions of pirates, whores, drunks, weasels, cowards, tyrants, toadies, and Nazi concentration camp guards. I could depart from the company of Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas and other spokesmen for Christendom in order to join the company of the Marquis de Sade and Karl Marx, and other spokesmen for Postchristendom or Antichristendom, or whatever one might like to call the modern world.

The reason why I stay a Christian is a matter of pure logic: the atheist world view does not explain the facts its attempts to explain, and so I cannot return to it. A theory that neither predicted the current facts nor explains the past facts is not a theory.

That world view is too shallow to explain anything about human nature or our role in the cosmos, or ultimate fate or the purpose of man in life, and is usually too silly.

(Yes, silly. I have more patiently explained more often to men suffering the delusion that they are meat robots without free will that if they were meat robots they could not suffer that or any other delusion, since robots by definition have no points of view, nor consciousness, nor reasoning power, than I care to remember.)

But let us not allow the presence of silly or stupid atheists of the Left to obscure the fact that atheists of the right can, unlike their fellows who are atheists for emotional reasons, give a rational account for their stance. Not all atheist accounts of the world are silly. Some are merely inadequate to explain the facts that the theory attempts to explain. Why do I not return to one of these dignified version of my old haunts?

The reason is because atheism rests on an absolute moral imperative to think and believe the truth, no matter how painful and disheartening, merely because it is true. If it so happens that we mortal exist in a universe created by nothing and no one for no purpose, and the intellectual tools given us are insufficient for determining ultimate questions  of ultimate importance, that a moral imperative to seek the truth at any cost demands our view of life consist of the admission of that limitation. To say one does not know what one does not know is what truth demands.

However, if the atheist world view cannot account for the existence of an absolute moral imperative to think and believe the truth no matter the cost and no matter the pain to oneself, then it does not rest on the imperative on which it rests. If natural reason tells us no natural reason to be naturally reasonable, why follow reason? The atheist cannot appeal to a mystical reason for the imperative, nor to a reasonable supernatural reason.

I submit that an atheist world view can account for the existence of an absolute moral imperative only if it has an associated moral code which logically flows from its premises.

That code must be based on something other than the transcendental and supernatural truths religion claim to base its values on, because atheist holds such supernaturalism to be against reason.

There are any number of atheist world views. Any world view not requiring reference to a god is atheist. But there are not an infinite number of atheist world views that can be logically consistent and yet uphold a moral code.

In order to be logically consistent with the conclusion that the answers to any or all of the ultimate questions of the meaning of man’s life in the cosmos is forever beyond human reason one must either be a Stoic, or a hedonist, an idolater or a nihilist.

A Stoic says that he can endure the pain of not knowing his purpose and destiny because he must.

Moreover, a moral code based on Stoicism will serve for a military hierarchy, but one cannot erect the moral code needed for an enlightened society on such a narrow base.

A Hedonist says there is no purpose and destiny aside from those pleasures a man can devise for himself before he dies, and laughs at the notion that such pleasures will pall and fail with passing time.

Moreover, a Hedonist cannot devise a moral code which commends self sacrifice, even the minor self sacrifices needed for the maintenance of civilization. Hedonism is the vanguard of barbarism.

A man can adopt some human cause, some simplistic and simply wrong idea, such as libertarianism or communism or environmentalism, as a substitute for religion, and bring to the idols of this world those selfless impulses and spiritual hungers which otherwise would draw man’s heart to the next world.

Alas, the main weakness of such idolatry is that it is local. The libertarian sees exactly one problem in life: how to exercise liberty while escaping tyranny and anarchy. The communist sees exactly one problem: how to ensure the success of the historically inevitable proletarian revolution to usher in an era where the laws of economics will be suspended. And the other simplistic answers likewise: any moral question falling outside the model of the one problem is ruled to be not a problem. For a libertarian, drug abuse and pornography are ruled to be non-issues. Theory says they cannot cause problems, or, at least, no problem where the cure of outlawing the practices are not worse than the disease. For the Marxist, theory says that there are laws of history, but no laws of cause and effect or laws of supply and demand. Scarce goods can be made abundant merely by rationing them and adopting policies that discourage their production. The theory says this will not cause a problem.

Examples could be multiplied. The problem with simplistic answers is that simplicity is not ecumenical or catholic, that is, the world view does not apply to the world, only to one’s personal or factional but parochial mental landscape.

A nihilist says such questions can have no answer in this or any other universe, because life is meaningless by definition, and the only truth is that there are no truths.

Moreover, so called moral relativism is the only moral code that can float on the vacuous foundations of nihilism. It is a total eclipse of the powers of moral reasoning and moral persuasion: the ability to imagine ethics vanishes along with any motive to make or to heed ethical reasoning

Experience shows that each of these four approaches, Stoicism, Hedonism, Idolatry, Nihilism, eventually fails of its object, which is to produce a satisfactory account for life, a moral standard consistent with human dignity, and a motive to uphold civilization.

Of these, only Stoicism, the philosophy of a warrior elite, can maintain a civilization, but not above the level of the Rome of Marcus Aurelius of the China of Confucius. It cannot, if itself, maintain a non-slaveholding state.

If to maintain an enlightened and modern civilization is one’s goal, these four stages of the atheist decay are washed out bridges to short to reach that destination.

So logic will not allow me to return to the ideas experience has proved inadequate and cramped to explain the wide wonder of the world, and insufficient a foundation to justify a minimal set of civilized moral standards.