The PROBLEM OF PIFFLE, Part Six: Formless & Void (Continued): Chaotic and Ugly

Part Six: Formless & Void (Concluded): Chaotic and Ugly

We continue our examination of the Formlessness and Void necessarily implied by the atheist worldview below. The previous entries are here:

We have previously established that a godless view of the universe, to be logically consistent with itself, must view the universe as nihilist hence irrational, hence unreal, agnostic, nonsensical, immoral, antinomian. 

Ugly Aesthetics

Atheism has no choice but to glorify ugliness.

Some secular philosophers can make noble attempts to explain that beauty has an innate meaning, regardless of human custom, changing in form but not in central vision, but in so doing, such a secular will depart from secularism and enter into mystical speculations of an ineffable world for whose reality he can give no account.

Even a secular theory that proposes a theory of aesthetics, can offer no reason why there could be an imperative to seek beauty or create it, or why, if such an imperative drive is discovered buried in the human psyche like an alluring siren, any man not so inclined should heed its voice.

A Christian can, should, and must heed the voice of beauty when not so inclined, as he holds that all beauty comes from God, who is beauty itself, regardless of personal opinion or taste. The Christian holds this reality to be objective: the beauty of the Beatific Vision is not in the eye of the beholder.

Instead, any beholder unable to perceive the beauty is diseased and imperfect in his perception, blinded by sin, unable to tolerate the light. For the sinner, the light of heaven is the flames of hell, and will scorch him.

In the secular worldview, however, this is not so.

If there is no law higher than human law possible in an antinomian universe, and if there is no knowledge more certain that mere opinion possible in an agnostic universe, then certainly there is no standard of moral beauty, above and beyond temporary and local fashion and opinion. With no moral beauty, other types of beauty cannot be correctly seen nor represented correctly.

Aesthetic perception is conditional upon one’s view of life. An ugly worldview produces ugly views of the world. In atheism, nature is all that exists, hence is blind. Blind nature is aberrant, and man most aberrant of all. There is no Creator whose creativity the creative arts follow. There are no standards. Even if not so intended at first, the degradation of art from a glorification of truth and beauty to a glorification of fraud and ugliness is inevitable, because art is the ineffable expression of one’s vision of the world. If nature is formless and void, so too will be the art that reflects nature.

This is not to say that a given artist, or even a generation of artists, cannot mimic the standards produced by a worldview they no longer understand.

For a time, perhaps, a secular-minded artist can mimic the beauties in nature, which even he can see. But, unlike the pagans of old, who saw the dryad in the tree and the nymph in the stream, not to mention the spear of Jove or hammer of Thor in the thunderbolt, the secular cannot see and mimic the artistry in nature at its heart, that is, as the artist of nature wrought it, because he holds nature to be mechanical, soulless, undeliberate, random, blind.

Perhaps a figure like Byron can, for a time, pen poems like ‘The Destruction of Sennacherib’ by mimicking a world he does not himself know, but if his integrity as an artist gets the better of him, he will speak the truth as he knows it, which is to say, display his ignorance, and pen epics where philanderers are the heroes, or fallen angels. See Byron’s DON JUAN or his HEAVEN AND EARTH: A MYSTERY for details. The dignity and moral stature of Homer and Virgil are beyond the reach of the atheistic poet, as being beyond his grasp.

How much the worse for such an artist, however, if his integrity does not get the better of him: his work will be mechanical, soulless, inauthentic, uninspired, serving either to promote commercial interests or political propaganda. If he thinks the world is soulless, to be honest, his own work will be soulless, depicting the ugliness and absurdity which is all he can see in the world; and if he is not honest, it will be soulless because his soul is not in it.

Atheism inclines the heart toward immorality by removing any contrary incentive, and brutality is the result in politics, brutal ugliness in art. The Cathedral is replaced by Corbusier.

The brutal ugliness of the secular architects of the Twentieth Century speaks for itself, as does the fate of the fine arts once it was deemed chic to hang a toilet in an art gallery, or cans of shit, crucifixes in urine, or images of the Madonna smeared with dung. Theirs is a universe where beauty, because it exists in the eye of the beholder, does not exist at all.


Atheism, in addition to being unable to offer any rational account for the existence of metaphysical axioms, logical principles, ontological reality, real or empirical knowledge, the human faculty of speech, of conscience, of hunger for justice, thirst for beauty and the godlike power of creativity which mimics natural beauty and adorns it, is unable to offer any account of what these axioms, principles, realities, truths, should be, or how these faculties and powers should be used.

Atheism cannot offer a rational account for monotheism.

If atheism were true, no one would worship and adore gods, fear ghosts, or bury the dead with flowers or weapons, and, more to the point, nothing would ever arise in human consciousness to prompt even the possibility of imagining such things. Animals do not bow and serve unseen spirits, even if, by all accounts, they can from time to time see ghosts.

The atheist model cannot account for theism at all, much less for why it is universal. There is no generation and no continent, no island, no isolated plateau, were knowledge of the supernatural is not commonplace, and atheism a freakish minority, more rare than dwarfism, more rare that the sociopathy it so closely resembles.

But if atheism were true, why is there even one theist?

How and why could any man, howsoever primitive, suddenly look at sea and sky and stars, and say, “Eureka! Intelligent beings formed in my image, with passions and motives like mine, but whom I cannot see and to whom I have never spoken, must be organizing and ruling all these things, and, moreover, dead men must have an invisible and insubstantial part of themselves which, after death, continues onward in another land, perhaps below the earth or above the clouds.”

If these speculations were not true, by what act of hallucination or fantasy would anyone first invent them? And why did the tribe or village all suddenly accede to his notions, rather than treat him as a madman?

Only because we are human, and we all secretly know the spirit world is real and life after death a fact, is the true and stark impossible absurdity of reaching such conclusions were they not true invisible to us.

We do not think it normal for a man to have faith that an extinguished candle still burns somewhere in unseen lands below earth or above sky. So why would anyone invent the idea that the flame of human life is inextinguishable, unless it were?

Why would anyone believe in ghosts, if no one had ever seen one? Why would anyone believe such a report, if he did not already suspect such a thing were likely?

Once, in my youth, I came across a passage in a book by L. Sprague de Camp regarding architectural engineering of the ancient world, where the science fiction writer supposes that primitive men, seeing images of departed loved ones in dreams, mistook them for real, and concocted the belief in continued non-material existence after death, that is, belief in a non-existent existence.

The insolent folly of this theory, the profound shallowness of it, the author takes no time to excuse nor mitigate. He seems to be unaware of the fact that, if humans in times past could not distinguish dream from waking, nor avoid mass deception, they cannot now in times present. Human nature has not changed. That this passage is inserted midmost in a book whose topic is the genius of the ancient man in engineering is an irony apparently lost on the writer. Apparently, genius in engineering does not carry over to conclusions of theology, nor, indeed, the basic ability to distinguish real from dream most children learn by age seven.

It is sometimes proposed that the human nervous system, merely by blind mutation, is prone to see patterns in chaos, faces in the clouds, and to attribute deliberate action to random events. This error in perception, so the argument goes, aid in Darwinian survival because mistaking a wind-rustle in the brush for the footfall of a predator, by keeping the ape-man in a constant state of fear via false alarms, is a useful survival mechanism.

However, in real life, when we see a face in the clouds, for example, it is a matter of an eyeblink before we realize that the shape being suggested is only a suggestion. Human eye and human brain will, in fact, try to make sense out of a senseless shape using the same neural mechanism we use to distinguish the camouflaged shape of predator stalking or prey hiding against its background, looking for a meaningful pattern. It is for this reason that an electrical wall socket or the headlights and grill of a motorcar suggest a human face. A shopper in a mall might also mistake a mannequin for man when seen momentarily from the corner of the eye, and think the figure is a store clerk standing quietly.

Obviously, a neural mechanism prioritizing the interpretation of possible shapes of predator, prey, or human faces and forms against complex visual backgrounds is useful, and may well have been encouraged by natural selection. Just as obviously, a man who strikes up a conversation with a wall socket or motorcar grill is a madman. The shopper who berates a mannequin as if it were a lazy store clerk, and rejects all realization the he is speaking to a storefront dummy, likewise, is not indulging in a behavior Darwinian selection is likely to select. More likely such a shopper will be selected to play Mr. Magoo in a comedy.

The explanation of that belief in the supernatural is based on an innate human bias toward anthropomorphism is sufficiently refuted by saying it is not. While there might be a Darwinian advantage to such a neural predisposition if it operates correctly, for example, when penetrating camouflage, there is no advantage when it operates incorrectly, and induces some freakish lifelong hallucination of seeing people where there are none.

And this explanation also simply invents, out of whole cloth without a scintilla of evidence, a story of the origins of belief in the supernatural which is not the account given by those who believe in the supernatural. The eyewitnesses of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ did not report seeing a suggestive silhouette at a distance in a fogbank.

It is often proposed that belief in gods and ghosts is a stopgap or abortive scientific theory, a failed attempt to account for material phenomena, or a failed technology attempting to control phenomena. It is a sufficient answer to say that it is not: predicting the motion of stars or other regular natural phenomena, guessing tomorrow’s weather, or the like, is neither aided nor impeded by saying spiritual beings arrange this regularity.

Theism is an explanation as to why there is regularity at all, which otherwise has no explanation. It is not a predictive model saying which regularities obtain.

The motions would be the same whether one believed in spirits or not, hence, whatever the reason might be for universal belief in spirits, the attempt to explain or control nature is not it.

An argument could be made, perhaps, that witchcraft is an abortive technology, that is, witchcraft is an attempt to control nature by means of secret and abominable rites meant to control spirits. Likewise an argument could be made that alchemy is a primitive and confused form of chemistry. But, if so, the longstanding enmity between religion and witchcraft — for pagans had their witchhunts, too — shows that commanding spirits and worshipping them is not the same social phenomenon, and very likely may be the opposite.

Perhaps one could then argue that the psychology of mankind is so ill-adapted to reality that the continued failure of this abortive scientific model never pries any votaries away from continued partisanship in their belief system, but, if so, that same argument applies with equal force to atheists as to monotheists, on the grounds that their atheist belief system is never abandoned by them when it fails to explain social phenomena, such as, for example, the universality of theism, or when it fails to predict the nightmarish evil of socialist commonwealths before they arise, and fails likewise to recognize them once they do.

In sum, if monotheism were an abortive scientific model to explain physical phenomena, so is atheism.

One might speculate that fear of death, which nature implants in all creatures, could produce such vapor in the brain as a belief in the comfort of afterlife, and that such fear grips all men, and so might be universal to all men. Of course, this would make ghosts a welcome sight, not a spooky one, no more numinous that seeing a loved one on a departing ship waving farewell from the deck.

But fear of as punishment in the next life for sins committed in this life is just as likely an explanation to explain whatever vapor it is that leads to the hallucination that there are no ghosts, no afterlife, no karma, no punishment coming.

For saying men invented dreams of heaven because of fear of death, hoping for eternity, is no more likely nor less than saying men invented dreams of death because of fear of hell, hoping for oblivion.

Again, explanations that are offered for psychological reasons to believe in the supernatural are in general no better and no worse that psychological reasons for disbelief. It simply assumes the belief is invalid, if not childish and absurd, not based on clear and obvious reasoning. Religious belief based on revelation is not even considered, as there is no category in the atheist worldview for such a source of belief.

Explanations based on power-hunger are contemptable: as if priests entered lives of discipline and self abnegation to gain power over other men. Far easier ways exist, if that were the motive, to gain political or social power which include scams that do not risk crucifixion by Romans. Indeed, in the Twentieth Century, atheist despots achieved unimaginable degrees of power and control over their fellow man, as religion was slowly expelled from their nation, for the religion acted as a check on the ambition of Christian kings. Moreover, explanation based on power hunger does not explain why hermits appear both among Christian and pagan votaries.

As staid above, atheism cannot offer a rational account for monotheism. Ironically, atheism cannot offer a rational account for atheism, either.

That is, it cannot account for the fact that atheism is as vast minority, followed, not by the men of greatest genius and deepest insight of the ages, but by malcontents and freaks with a peculiar distaste for chastity. Einstein, Newton, Aquinas, Socrates were none of them atheists. Marx, Nietzsche, Rosseau, and all the crew of rogues, fakes, philanderers and madmen, were.

The emptiness of atheist life, the lack of higher purpose, the awkwardness and vacuity of their worldview, and the sheer despair of the pointless coffin-universe into which their imaginations entomb them, like some wretch buried alive in a tale by Edgar Allan Poe, all beg for explanation.

If humans are natural creatures with no souls, no supernatural part, living in no hope of justice and peace in the next life so craved in this, and so obviously absent, then why is our psychology — the psychology of every man of every age of history worldwide — so obviously ill-suited for life on Earth?

If the atheist is correct, he alone is sane, while all other men, the overwhelming majority, suffer from a belief which, if not absurdly childish, must be the product of brain disorder. And yet, looking at history, the mere opposite seems the case, as if atheism is both a personal brain disorder in a man and a morbid social malady when it spreads through a group of men.

Social breakdown into anarchy and despotism are the likely side effects of atheism when allowed to spread widely, as the Twentieth Century testifies. The testimony of other centuries is silent on this point, since never before in any society was atheism allowed to spread widely.

There is no record of any ancient people embracing atheism, and passingly few individual writers whose works history preserves. Even such figures as Epicurus or Lucretius who speculated about the indifference of the gods, or Confucius who dismissed the effort of theological speculation as unprofitable, believed in gods. Thomas Paine, famously called an atheist, was a Deist, hence a monotheist, if an inconsistent one.

If atheism were true, and the atheist conceit that all religions were frauds and aberrations of abnormal psychology, or were manifestations of barbarism and benighted thinking, they would be the greatest among us. Instead, to judge from lists of accomplishments in any field but genocide, they are the least.

If it were true, their worldview would have the most coherence, being the most highly evolved pinnacle of the long upward climb of mankind’s search for knowledge. The dawn of atheism would be the dawn of the golden age.

Instead, it is the gospel of Christ that breaks the back of slavery in every land and century into which it took root. It is Christianity that promotes the equality of the sexes; Christianity drives back infanticide, pederasty, polygamy, divorce, despotism. The concept of limited government, or the innate worth of the poor and untouchable, has its fountainhead nowhere else but in Europe, springing up at no time else save when Christianity marches from triumph to triumph. Likewise, where Christianity retreats, as in communist hellholes of the East and Far East, slavery returns, of mind and body.

Dithering attempts by Freud and others to explain, or explain away, religious experiences, historical accounts of miracles, commonplace sightings of supernatural events, celestial or diabolic, are unworthy of rebuttal, and outside the scope of this column, and not a point that need be emphasized.

The point being made here is not just that the atheist worldview cannot explain why, if atheism is true and rational, it leads to nihilism, illogic, despotism, and the death of art and architecture; the point is that atheism is unable to explain anything.

Moreover, the atheist model of the universe cannot explain why this is the case, whereas the monotheist model explains it handily: without God, man craves neither the light of reason nor the fire of righteousness.