For the past few days I have been traveling cross country with my family as we are en route to Pennsylvania to start a new job as the Outreach pastor for Grace Valley Fellowship. The travels thus far have been enjoyable. I have been driving a Uhaul accompanied by either one of my two sons taking turns in the truck with me…playing games, singing songs, and talking about life. It has been a great time being with them for an extended period of time. What has also been very enjoyable for me is the time I have had to listen to my ipod which is full of lectures on topics related to philosophy, theology, and apologetics. I wasn’t planning to write any posts until arriving in PA. However, after a full few days of pondering the objective reality of truth, beauty, and goodness, and since my family has decided to watch “Nanny McPhee” for the umpteenth time before bed, I’ve decided to spend a few minutes challenging the world from our hotel room.
Several weeks ago I wrote a few posts related to the fatal flaw of the atheistic/naturalistic worldview- which is its inherent irrationality. In this post I wanted to write a bit more about the inability of philosophical naturalism(atheism) to provide a rational account of reality. I hope to be very brief. Simply put…the atheistic worldview cannot account for the universal, necessary, and abstract laws of logic. The more I ponder the nature of logic, the more I become convinced of the bankruptcy of naturalism in explaining logic’s existence. At this point, I am not making a positive case for the existence of the Christian God. Rather I am attempting to show that the atheistic worldview cannot account for the existence of the laws of logic.
Atheism is a view of the world that does not admit any “super”natural entities. This means not merely that there can be no God or gods or angels or spirits, but it also means that there can be no immaterial reality. The naturalistic worldview admits only of materiality- physical stuff. All that exists is physical particles (called matter) of various sizes and shapes such as atoms, electrons, molecules, and other groupings of physical particles. According to atheism/naturalism, the physical stuff which comprises the universe is all that exists- there is no non-natural stuff. Even human beings are nothing but physical machines- matter in motion- their “life” and movement is not because of any immaterial aspect to their substance, but rather is due only to physical causes. Naturalism necessarily admits that humans are nothing but complex physical machines. Indeed, acording to this view, the universe is full of things that are only made up of material stuff. According to Carl Sagan “the cosmos is all there is, was, or ever shall be.”
So the question is (in view of this understanding of the cosmos) How can the naturalist account for the existence of universal, non-conventional, abstract laws of logic? To me the answer seems obvious…It can not. Of course naturalists use logic and claim for themselvers to be the upholders of reason and rationality. However, with a critical analysis, one discovers that although naturalists uphold logic, they are unable to account for its universal and thus immaterial existence, and inevitably must borrow the laws of logic from the Theistic worldview which is easily able to account for universal, non-conventional laws of various kinds. E.g logic, mathematics, etc.
The atheist, though using logic to make his case, must deny the universality of logic- for how could logic be universal in a merely physical cosmos? In denying its univesality, does he suggest that logic only applies to certain areas of the physical universe and not to all areas? Is there any place that logic does not apply? If he does not deny its universalty, how does he acount for it? If he does deny its universality he is left with logic as a human convention. Is this tenable? If logic is merely a human convention then it necessarily becomes relative. This is a serious problem. If merely a convention, could one portion of humanity say that A can be not A thus contradicting the law of non-contradiction itself while another portion maintains it? Who would be correct and how would they decide?
How can the naturalist who is committed to a material universe account for these obviously universal and non-conventional laws of logic? Where could these immaterial aspects of reality come from in an atheistic worldview? If humans are (as the atheist maintains) merely matter in motion, did they create logic? or did they discover its existence? If they created it, then it is a convention and not universal- i.e. not applicable to all reality and thus relativistic. If they discovered it as a universal, immaterial aspect of reality…How does the atheist account for not only the improbability that human brains would evolve with this ability to discover abstract entities like logic and mathematics, but how does the atheist account for the existence of the immaterial entities themselves? If the atheist admits the laws of logic as universals, must he not cease to be a materialist? How does mere matter in motion produce universal abstract entities? Where do they come from? The atheist must say that they are “just there” as universals or as human conventions. But how does he account for them? If he says that they are just there, then he ceases to be a naturalist because he admits to their immateriality. The laws of logic are not phycal, are they? Of course not.
Logic is the sort of thing that is not bound by physical limits of space. The laws of thought are in effect in every place- they are universal and thus cannot be an invention of human brains. Furthermore, the laws of logic are not physical things. They are abstract and immaterial aspects of reality that do not fit into a worldview that admits only materiality.
The laws of logic, however, fit very nicely into the Christian worldview which admits an intelligent God as the source of all reasonable thought and the Creator of rational beings in His image. The universe is full of universal, abstract, immaterial entities because it was created by a God who is the unifying eternal source of all truth, beauty, and goodness. All other worldviews which deny God unavoidably fall into internal contradiction and relativism. Both of which are easy tests as to whether the worldvew is indeed true or false.
In this post I have not made a positive case for Christian theism but rather have indirectly argued for it by showing very briefly the impossibility of the contrary. Atheism cannot be true, because it cannot rationally account for the laws of logic. It is inherently irrational. If atheism is irrational, then it is false. If atheism is false, then some form of theism must be true based on the law of the excluded middle.
The laws of logic are a universal and immaterial aspects of reality. (They are not conventions nor are they physical in nature)
Atheism by definition cannot account for the universal immaterial nature of logic. (If naturalists admit logic as being “just there” they cease to be naturalists)
Atheism is therfore a worldview unworthy of adherence because it is internally inconsistent. (Atheists use logic though they are unable to account for its existence from within their own conceptual system)