If Wishes Were Hearses, Atheists Would Ride in Back
By the way, isn't it fitting that "Mister Rational," Bill Maher, is being eviscerated and shown for the buffoon he is, with his anti-vaccination lunacy? And now climategate. It's not easy being so brilliant. (More on the liberal war on science and reason here.)
Well, things are also about to get tougher for Oldbob. Next up is argument #5, which I will quote verbatim, even though it makes me cringe by proxy. It sounds exactly like some of our trolls. To think that I was once one of them!
"No tenable argument for the existence of God has ever been promulgated. For one thing, the word 'God' has no definition, and one can never assert that something exists without saying what the existent precisely is. Who would dispute for long about 'blue meanies' without indicating in a rough way what these are?"
Really, this is too stupid and incoherent to even take seriously. Let's start with the first statement, "No tenable argument for the existence of God has ever been promulgated."
In fact, plenty of tenable arguments for the existence of God have been promulgated (and BTW Oldob, who are you trying to impress? I know you just learned that big word last week!). But even then, rational arguments about the existence of God only take one so far, which is to say, not very. However, I maintain that in our hyper-materialist age, these arguments are actually more important than ever, because they help the mind transcend its own limitations, and give one "permission to believe," so to speak.
For better or worse, modern man's intelligence must be convicted. And there is a huge upside to this, as I am not one of those people who shun the countless technological blessings of modernity brought to us by scientific rationalism. It's just that one must not confuse method with ontology, the map with the territory. Science is a way to look, not the thing seen.
In his Logic and Transcendence, Schuon has a couple of chapters devoted to this topic, Concerning Proofs of God and The Argument from Substance. To even mention "Schuon" and "Oldbob" in the same breath should be a source of deep embarrassment to the latter. But how is he to know that there are intellects that tower over his? A fluorescent bulb in a dark room can appear brighter than the sun. And Oldbob was futilely attempting to develop pnuemagraphs in his windowless little darkroom.
Likewise, how is Richard Dawkins to know that he and Thomas Aquinas are not meeting on the same ontological playing field, let alone Bill Maher and Hans von Balthasar? Children have no way of knowing what is far above and beyond them.
Just yesterday, my son, good boy that he is, took his dinner plate over to the countertop when he was finished eating. He thought he was placing it on a surface, because he had no way of knowing that he was dropping it into a concavity known as the "sink," so the plate broke. How many of us get into trouble in life because we have no idea of the outlines, contours, attractors, and forces that lie above -- to say nothing of the powers and principalities below?
Just recently, Mrs. G. and I have begun the practice of reading my long series of meditations on Meditations on the Tarot, which I did last year. I explained to her that one of the main purposes of these verticalisthenics is to be able to "see," "hear," and "touch" the spaces they illuminate. Yes, a regular exoteric practice helps one intuit these realities, and for many people, that's enough.
But these exercises - and I hope my blog in general -- help one to really see what's going on. I don't think it's any different than the manner in which science helps to illuminate material reality. It's just that we are attempting to illuminate immaterial reality. It's just as lawful, except that the laws are not necessarily embedded in matter, so they're not as obvious to the senses.
Again, there's nothing wrong with intuition. As Schuon writes, "if authentic, it necessarily contains in an infused manner the certainty transmitted by the proofs of God or the supernatural." Many people are convicted in this way -- just as the materialist is ultimately convicted by his own defective sense that there is no reality above matter. It's just a feeling he has, not a proper thought, let alone intellection. In the end, atheists are rank sentimentalists.
Schuon begins with the idea -- and when you think about it, all philosophies must begin here, on pain of undercutting their own foundation and rooting themselves in accident and contingency -- that "human intelligence coincides in its essence with certainty of the Absolute." This is really just another way of affirming the Truth that truth exists and man may know it. If he cannot know truth, then we have no argument, for what are we arguing over? The more attractive lie?
Indeed, we might say to Oldbob: "You say that no tenable argument for the existence of God has ever been promulgated. Is that true? Really? Are you sure? Then there is your tenable argument for the existence of God: truth surely exists, and man may know it."
As Schuon points out, the traditional proofs of God are not intended to be the end, merely the beginning; they "can serve as keys for restoring to intelligence its characteristic and integral nature." Truly, they are more like enzymes, or fertilizer, that helps restore the balance of your barren psyche.
But even then, the fertilizer does nothing if the seeds aren't there: "In the spiritual order, a proof is of assistance only to the man who wishes to understand and who, because of this wish, has in some measure understood it already; it is of no practical use to one who, deep in his heart, does not want to change his position and whose philosophy merely expresses this desire."
So I say to Oldbob: yours is a philosophy of your own desire that it be true. If it is, then it isn't. But at least you still have your desire to guide you through life. Enjoy the ride!