Flowchart atheism

ReligionFlowchart

This image is a little more obtuse than I was hoping for.

In many of the enlightening discussions I have had and witnessed, there are a lot of self professing atheists out there who seem to subscribe to some sort of flow chart methodology for discussing (despatching) religion. One of the common components on many of these flowcharts appears to be a decision point which holds religion and science to be mutually exclusive. To partake in religion, it seems, is to deny science.

Science is a methodological approach created by people in order to understand and verify factual knowledge. There are other branches of knowledge that a scientific approach does not deal with very well such as knowledge of hate, deceit and discontent … yet it can measure the entropic effect that results from such knowledge. Furthermore science does not help us to have knowledge of love, forgiveness and grace. All this unscientific knowledge is what makes us human. I believe that love, forgiveness and grace are the most desirable forms of knowledge and they are fully embodied in the person of Jesus Christ.

Science can tell us if something is alive or dead, but it is ambivalent on the topic as to which option is more preferable. Science can establish a can be done but is silent on whether it ought to be done. Finally science might inform us of facts, yet it can never make a request or any demand of us. We should neither deny nor affirm science. To do so would be strange. Science is not meant to be affirmed, or believed in. It is meant to be applied.

To take science further than that is to almost be saying that science has some sort of sentient attributes. This is precisely what atheists refuse to attribute to God. While science cannot be affirmed or denied, God can, because he makes a claim over you, as he is your creator. He requires a response to the love he has shown to you, the forgiveness he offers you through his immeasurable grace in Jesus Christ.

Crossing and ticking life

Today in year 7 Science we were discussing the ethics of stem cell research and other life and death issues. Working at a faith based school, I had to provide (as information) the party line on the issue. I have a class that learns well, but they need significant support to do so, so I drew the graphic above. The idea was rather simple: which question marks would you replace with ticks and which would you replace with crosses. The trick was that I did not reveal the right hand quarter of the diagram until they had all made up their own minds. I did this to show them that it is not a straight forward issue.

The problem for me is I am constantly wavering on where I stand on this issue. I probably should do more research on it, but my diagram helps ….. I think ……

What do you think? Where do you put ticks and crosses? Why there and not somewhere else? Is this a useful image?

If God made man, then who made God?

Two posts ago I mentioned “school boy atheism”. This week I found myself as a teacher of science (I find myself teaching science quite by accident) being asked the very same question of my own youth.

If God made man, then who made God?”

The problem with the question is not that I cannot answer it, but that I do not need to answer it and that the average 14 year old boy doesn’t really want to understand my non-answer. You see for them, it is about point scoring. So instead I talk about apples.

Most kindergarten students will correctly calculate that if we have a bowl with ten apples in it and we eat one then we will have nine left. They instinctively know that if we keep eating apples without replacing them, then eventually the apples will be all gone.

But what if I had a bowl containing infinite apples? If I have infinite apples and I eat one, how many do I have left? The answer is simple: infinity! If fact if I could go on eating billions upon billions of apples and I would still have an infinite number of apples left. Nobody could make any difference to my bowl of infinite apples. Furthermore, there could not be a bowl, because my crop of infinite apples will take up infinite space, leaving no room for a bowl. One could not even be present to perceive the infinite crop of apples, because ones mere presence would negate the infinite nature of the crop. The infinite is both unfathomable and unbound-able.

The God I believe in is infinite. He is eternal. He is not bound by time.

 I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Rev 1:8)

The school boy’s question speaks of a different god. A bounded god. A god who was not at some point. It is a question that I do not feel compelled to answer as it does not pertain to my God.