A great deal of discussion still needs to be had between those of us who attribute our presence on earth to physical and biological phenomenon, those that attribute it to a divine will and those who split the difference.
Monotheism has seen humans through something like the past 3,000 years.
From our many aimless turf-wars and desert-wandering periods in the Middle East, religious belief still persists as we grasp at the lower slopes of quantum physics, illuminate remaining mysteries behind our biological origins and plot our own astronomical location and history, suspended within the beautiful tidal swirl of one galaxy, surrounded by perhaps hundreds of billions of others. It is Einstein who said of the universe that “the greatest miracle is that there are no miracles.” Everything operates in an order and scale much yet unimagined by human beings.
But with what we do now know of ourselves and our place in the observable world, is the theistic hypothesis still viable? Does the universe require or imply a designer that intervenes on our behalf?
Perhaps I have not yet known the Wake Forest community well enough to tell, though this seems to be the question upon which I always differ. I don’t believe there has ever been a suspension of this natural order to satisfy any religious sect or group: no deity has created or now supervises us.
Though many of both the religious and irreligious communities might lament this difference, I do not in any form. I only invite more people to meet upon this absolutely essential question. Freedom of speech, as founded in Athens and guaranteed by the First Amendment to our Constitution, expressly ensures protection of viewpoints considered to be heretical.
This seems counter-intuitive to many who grasp at consensus and shame those of dissenting opinion; however, it is the fundamental basis for any form of peaceful secular democracy. It means that no one’s viewpoint should go absent of criticism; each person should be given the chance to defend their own opinion or discredit another’s with argument and evidence.
Belief and disbelief is more of an ideological divide than most people seem to admit. It is a disagreement that involves our view in every sense and subject matter. Debate of religion’s claims past the labelling of others as ignorant and racist must be had or else our culture will actually descend toward one of ignorance and bigotry.
We must learn how to coexist and peacefully challenge one another while holding extremist views. This is the only way to generate a stable consensus without a heresy hunt.
College and university campuses should be the ones leading the charge towards free inquiry, especially as it has to do with religion, though people of an atheistic or anti-theistic fold seem to have been censored out of the discussion to avoid offense.
Whether you are a presuppositionalist, religious apologist or militant atheist, argument must be pursued for its own sake.
I am always in favor of freely challenging deeply held ideological differences of any kind, either to be accepted or discredited via logic rather than through Ad Hominem.