Materialist Worldview and the Resurrection
I came across a very interesting theory in the Journal of Speculative Philosophy. The article was dealing with the concept of justice/injustice in a Materialistic worldview.
Some preliminary thoughts. One of the philosophical problems which has emerged since the Enlightenment and its scientific worldview was the process of slowly making religion, particularly Christianity as an outdated kind of thinking, was the problem of values. In other words, what is the origin of values, of any values? Most of us don’t worry about this too much because the fruit of Western thinking, especially the Christian values, still abounds.
But as science makes more of an inroads into people’s trust, as in thinking science can really solve most of our problems, even those of a spiritual nature, what we call good and bad and why we make those distinctions will become very important. A total rejection of religious thinking and a total reliance on science will inevitably make every decision a matter of politics!
That will seem to be the logical when we examine the worldview of science which, with the exception of a minority, is exclusively evolutionist! Why that matters is that pure evolution has nothing to say about values and ethics. Evolution is brutal, impersonal, blind, purposeless, and valueless! If we took a cross section of every ethical maxim and value-laden rule and asked how did that emerge—then the values question becomes obvious! Any kind of thinking which we have arrived at has to be sourced in the very cosmic material which is influenced by evolutionary processes, namely the atoms and molecules of our brain. So the movement of electrons and the chemical processes taking place in the brain is undergoing continual evolutionary change even as I write. It may be slow, but what is viewed today as a “value” may not be down the road—so what is “right”?
With that state of affairs, one could then ask about actions which have made the news in the past few years, for example, what makes Isis’ acts of beheading innocents wrong, or what makes those terrorists who go through theaters and killing as many as they can, wrong? What do we appeal to? Our evolved thinking? Isis’ thinking could also be claimed as “evolved”—evolution makes no distinctions and so then how can we? We really can’t, and that is where ultimately politics will have to be the arbiter and the world may not like where this will eventually head since it will be a matter of who has the power! Hence our future if we are not careful!
Back to the article. One of the questions confronted is the idea of justice and injustice. The article makes one feel the tensions brought about by the science/evolution worldview and its possible atheistic “resignation”! The “absurdity of a world without God” is even mentioned. To avoid the consequences of those tensions, which any reasonable person should recognize as a bad state of affairs, an effort was made to justify “bodily resurrection” as a way of making life seem more attractive. Now, resurrection should not be possible according to present day science—as the article states about science’s thoughts on the matter: “We die, and we remain dead.” But due to some theories about the mathematics of “infinite” quantities, the author sees an opening for the idea of bodily resurrection. These mathematical theories generally prohibit the possibility of science/mathematics ever completely encompassing all “logical possibilities” and with some tricky reasoning an argument is made that bodily resurrection is a “logical possibility” and so not absolutely prohibited by science after all.
The problem that is not answered is whether it really really can happen and following that, what is the “how” of resurrection. And, this whole discussion is not predicated on a God who will do this later, this is all assumed without a “God” behind the scenes. So the idea comes across as just some kind of therapeutic notion, or a kind of “pretending”, which if bought into, makes life easier to face. Sure, in a world in which we are finite, then how are we to really know that bodily resurrection just can’t occur on its own? But the way this is presented is a leap!
In this article, the ultimate injustice is death! If we have a “chance” of being resurrected then that takes away the injustice in a way! Knowing that bodily resurrection is possible serves to counter the injustice in the world and so allows one to not give in to a nihilistic life! But at the end of the day, I really don’t think many people will buy this!!! Some years age I remember a quote by an evolutionist in which, paraphrasing, he said that immortality is a part of life! After all, when we die and our bodies get broken down into its respective atoms, they will be absorbed into other structures of the universe—hence we live on!! Sorry, that just doesn’t capture immortality for me. The same for just the “idea” of bodily resurrection—thinking something may happen due to some mathematical possibility just doesn’t give much comfort—human nature is a bit more complex than to fall for that kind of thing.
It did interest me that the concept of bodily resurrection was considered in this way! Was he influenced by Christianity? I don’t know but, for the writer, there seems to be a “sense” that something beyond this material world that we experience, is needed to offer “hope”.
He is on the right track because in Christianity, resurrection is also the ultimate source of hope! But the bodily resurrections we are looking forward to are not predicated on some “chance” possibility, but instead is based on the actual Resurrection of Jesus Christ, who will do the same for His followers. And for the record, His resurrection has been challenged but never refuted—so this is an actual real hope which has endured, one that a person can stake this life upon, and have for 2000 years! To the Christian, we don’t look at resurrection as a “panacea” idea but a real event which will occur. The confidence one can have in the resurrection after receiving Christ is hard to put into words but to those who believe, it is not hard to understand!
So I end with the Apostle Paul:
“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable…For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
I’ll stick to that!
If this persists and becomes a national cause, the inevitable clash between government and community may cause irreparable damage.
Jews being hid during the Nazi regime—glad it was done, wish more could have been protected like that!
Underground Railroad hiding and moving slaves to freedom—glad it was done, wish more could have been accomplished that way!
Hiding illegal aliens—not the same, though moral equivalency will be claimed somewhat. The difference here is that the worst case scenario is still not that bad as it was in the above cases! Even if every illegal alien was deported, many could apply and return via a legal route, it would be a bit disruptive but at least there would be no more looking over the shoulder.
We need to consider the ramifications:
If a major law can be broken this easily, we better watch out, other laws can be viewed that way as well—slippery slope to anarchy?
Do we really want to find out?