This is the age of reason, but it is also the age of prisons the self-proclaimed “reasonable” man has built for himself. This is the age of scientific enlightenment, but it is also the twilight of common sense. The modern man has for himself erected prisons for the illusions he’s intent on dancing to inside its walls.
The modern naturalistic scientist boasts of his objective, “reasonable” research, then turns around quickly and without any due consideration, to quiet, censor and discredit any opposing ideas. He boasts of his tolerance and inclusiveness, then turns around to oppress and ridicule those who hold to alternative theories. He has learned to wield his rhetoric and conceal his motives by proclaiming the death of religion, while ironically abusing his power and privilege to lord his intellect and “reason” over the “common man.” Thus, he has learned to practice the negligence to avoid the God whom he would claim to be negligent, and deified himself into hypocrisy to judge a God whom he thinks is too “bigoted” and judgemental. And at once the irony appears to be bleeding from the Bibles that have been beaten by practical layman eisegesis.
We have begun a bonfire around our misguided tolerance and jumped onto the back of science in hopes that it will carry us to Purpose mountain. Yet, the words of Aldus Huxley cut through the rigmarole with a stunning scream that silences the nonsense with its echoes,
“Science does not have the right to give to me my reason for being and my definition for existence, but I’m going to take science’s view because I want this world not to have meaning, because it frees me to my own erotic and political desires.” [1. Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means (New York, Harper, 1937)]
And just before the shivers of the stone cold truth settle down, perhaps another jolt is in order, this one from evolutionary geneticist, Richard Lewontin,
“We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.
It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.” (emphasis added) [2.Richard Lewontin, Billions and billions of demons (review of The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan, 1997), The New York Review, p. 31, 9 January 1997.]
So, has the modern naturalist [or materialist] come to the conclusion of his position based upon his research? Has his objective research prompted him to think that God does not exist or is it because of a prior commitment to not “allow a Divine Foot in the door”?
David Berlinsky, the secular Jewish philosopher, responded to Huxley’s comment with some minor irritation at the ridiculous bias by saying,
“If one is obliged to accept absurdities for fear of a Divine Foot, imagine what prodigies of effort would be required were the rest of the Divine Torso found wedged at the door and with some justifiable irritation demanding to be let in?” [3. David Berlinski, The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions, (ReadHowYouWant.com, 2010), 9]
And now we are at an impasse. What will we do next?! How far will mankind go to buy its autonomy from the lordship of God? And what exactly is the price we will pay for this so called freedom?
If there is no God, the price for our extremist autonomy is all the same for all – it is negligible. If, however, there is a God, the price for this autonomy is eternity! What has the modern naturalist done? There was a time during which ideas were discussed with respect for one another’s personhood. Today the modern New Village Atheist is on a crusade of rhetorical massacres content with his own prison. He has erected one such prison and locked himself inside, persistent that nothing else exists outside, content to dehumanize himself using his own mind to do it. And it must be the most dramatic irony that the mind that has been given by God is used to ridicule Him. No thoughts about it; this prison is very fine for the modern naturalist. It is a warm, clean and well-lit cell, and he refuses to come outside. He has fed his pride by constructing labels, calling himself “a free thinker” to free himself from the imaginary chains of religion and unknowingly locking himself into the real prison that he just cannot fathom.
With the merriment of his dance making him emotionally drunk with his ideology, he has nonetheless appealed to “reason” as his reason for his treason. But should he merely consider in earnest and with humility the total sum of reality and be open to alternatives to the comfortable prison he indwells, he may be shocked to find that this prison is not all that there is, and shocked, even more, to find himself truly imprisoned. Perhaps if he should consider where the light is coming from that allows him to see anything at all, perhaps then he will see the real world in its true essence – sometimes well-lit, but not always; sometimes warm, but usually cold; now more clamorous and rarely clean. The battle of ideas rages on, despite the naturalist’s own claim of certainty of his position – of his cell.
This is the age of paradoxes and it is highlighted for us in stark contrasts as the modern man screams for tolerance and goes ahead to quiet those who dare take a stance contrary to his supposed “facts.” G.K. Chesterton, the British philosopher, eloquently illustrated this hypocrisy,
“So thus he writes one book complaining that imperial oppression insults the purity of women and then he writes another book, a novel in which he insults it himself…As a politician he cries out that war is a waste of life and then as a philosopher that all life is a waste of time…The man of this school goes first to a political meeting where he complains that savages are treated as if they were beasts. Then he takes his hat and umbrella and goes to a scientific meeting where he proves that they practically are beasts.” [4.Chesterton, G.K., Orthodoxy]
But have we thought through this hypocrisy? Has the naturalist completely understood and come to terms with the fact that the mind he uses to erect his theories by the implications of his own theories are merely the result of biochemical inner-workings, and as such, cannot give him reason to believe that his mind can be reasonable, that biochemical reactions can somehow generate a mind that can understand those selfsame reactions. This then is the ultimate paradox of the modern naturalist – that by the “reason” he thinks he’s erected with his “theory” of mere material “dominoes” that perpetuate the cause and effect, that he commits a suicide of epic proportions. Yet, with his predisposition to naturalism and a blatant bias, he dances comfortably in the corner of his own cozy prison cell, avoiding any and all reason for his existence, content to unknowingly abolish all purpose and meaning, proudly but unwittingly intent on his own dehumanization and his own ultimate destruction.
But standing outside under the sun that allows all of reality to be revealed, is the one whose voice can barely be heard inside the prison. Barely cutting through the jovial dance in the dark inside, one can barely make out the words coming from outside, “I implore you, for your sake, please just look outside! We were meant for more!”
7 thoughts on “Naturalism is Like a Prison Cell”
Thank you! I appreciate it.
I appreciate your beautiful prose and attitude. We think alike. I will link yours to mine. John Wylie
Thank you, John! I appreciate the complement, but from what I read I didn’t necessarily find all the much in common with your view.
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