Why do some people seek out God? They understand that the secular, materialistic worldview cannot account for their experiences and perceptions; it cannot explain the facts of our lives. Nor can it provide an accurate roadmap for life. In “Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical,” Timothy Keller wrote:
· One of the world’s most prominent philosophers, Jürgen Habermas, was for decades a defender of the Enlightenment view that only secular reason should be used in the public square. Habermas has recently startled the philosophical establishment, however, with a changed and more positive attitude toward religious faith. He now believes that secular reason alone cannot account for what he calls “the substance of the human.”
For one thing, materialism is unable to provide a basis to believe in the things that we must. It cannot provide a basis for objective moral law. Consequently, with the rise of irreligious states, there has also been a rise in genocide:
· Habermas tells those who are still confident that “philosophical reason . . . is capable of determining what is true and false” to simply look at the “catastrophes of the twentieth century—religious fascist and communist states, operating on the basis of practical reason—to see that this confidence is misplaced.” Terrible deeds have been done in the name of religion, but secularism has not proven to be an improvement.
Secular humanism is unable to provide any moral basis for our indignation for the surrounding evils. The poet and atheist, W.H. Auden moved to Germantown in NYC from his Ireland in the early 1930s. While he was watching a news clip in the movie theater about the Nazi invasion of Poland, he was horrified to see the audience rise to its feet, applaud and cry out, “Destroy the Poles.” Auden wanted to take a strong moral stance against their response, but he realized that, as an atheist, his values were merely self-constructed and, therefore, lacking in any persuasive value. This sent him into a moral tailspin, resulting in his becoming a Christian.
Materialism could not give Auden what his heart demanded – objective moral truth to combat evil. There are also many other things that materialism cannot provide. Keller writes:
· Habermas writes: “The ideals of freedom . . . of conscience, human rights and democracy [are] the direct legacy of the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love. . . . To this day there is no alternative to it.”
Nor can science provide the ideals that are so essential to human thriving, like the concept of human equality. Keller writes:
· In 1926 John T. Scopes was famously tried under Tennessee law for teaching evolution. Few people remember, however, that the textbook Scopes used, Civic Biology by George Hunter, taught not only evolution but also argued that science dictated we should sterilize or even kill those classes of people who weakened the human gene pool by spreading “disease, immorality, and crime to all parts of this country.” This was typical of scientific textbooks of the time. It was the horrors of World War II, not science, that discredited eugenics.
When we find that our roadmap will not take us where we need to go, it is time for find a better one.