Why God Will Not Die

The Atlantic

What to say? In my 20s, I was a sucker for such stuff. Worse, I was painfully slow to notice my own posing. Only after the passage of some time and the small, salutary shock of having my wallet stolen did I examine these three professions of secular faith and realize, with an inward blush, that what I had wanted was simply closure, a way to stop thinking about questions whose answers were beyond my reach.

Given the secular company I then generally kept and the reading habits I had and still have, I was accustomed to the idea that religion was a refuge for those not brave enough to face the uncertainties of the real world. But now I asked: Had not Russell, too, sought a refuge, a “soul’s habitation,” and had he not finally claimed rather more firmness for it than was really there?

One thing Russell was right about is that Earth and the human species alike have finite life expectancies: “The whole temple of man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins.” You may die never having learned the one fact that would have changed everything for you. In just the same way, extinction may befall the human species with key questions still unanswered and perhaps even unasked. And as that moment nears, will science have been superseded by something that differs from it as much as it differs from philosophy or philosophy from religion? When we reflect on how slightly, on the one hand, our genome differs from that of the chimpanzee and how greatly, on the other hand, our knowledge surpasses that of our genetic cousin, can we not imagine that a further minor genetic alteration might bring into existence a being whose knowledge and modes of inquiry dwarf ours as much as ours dwarf those of the chimpanzee?

About PaulVK

Husband, Father of 5, Pastor
This entry was posted in Daily Links and Notes. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s