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Making Sense of Life

The 1960’s were famous for free love, hippies, flower power and music. It was also a time when many people began to lose their belief in the existence of God. In America ‘The Death of God Movement’ was telling people that God was dead

For decades in the UK, Antony Flew was a dominant figure in the philosophy of religion, among the most influential of atheist philosophers. He lectured on philosophy at the University of Oxford and the University of Aberdeen, and held professorships at the University of Keele and the University of Reading. He was famous for his writings and arguments as an atheist.

Professor Richard Dawkins is a British evolutionary biologist, ethologist and writer. He is often referred to as "the most famous atheist in the world".Inspired by the gay community, he has also encouraged atheists all over the world to "come out" and be proud of their beliefs - or lack thereof. This culminated in 2007, when the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science created the Out Campaign.

The ‘Death of God Movement’ has all but disappeared today.

At the age of 81 Antony Flew changed his mind. He says that there is much scientific evidence to support the design argument for the creation of the world. He could of course be hedging his bets as he moved closer to death.

Professor Dawkins in his debate with the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams in February 2012, defined himself as an agnostic, rather than an atheist. He argued that, as a human, he cannot be 100% sure that God does not exist. Many interpreted this statement as Dawkins abandoning the atheist cause to embrace agnostic stance.

I remember a PE teacher who often said to me. ‘Thank God I’m an atheist’

God is not dead.

I would argue that religious belief and faith are the only way we can make sense of life.

Science teaches us how to split the atom religion teaches us when to use this discovery. Medical advances have transformed medicine and scientists have developed cloning. Science and religion are not opposites and they are not at odds with each other. They complement each other and work side by side to help us make sense of life. There is some harmony between the Biblical account of creation and Charles Darwin’s theories of evolution. The order in which the different aspects of the world were created is almost the same in both accounts.

There are many ultimate questions that people pursue answers to. We need to answer them to make sense of life. E.g. why do we suffer and why do some people die young and at their peak?

There are five well known arguments supporting the existence of God.

Cosmological Argument (First Cause Argument)

It was in the thirteenth century that Thomas Aquinas made this argument famous. The world exists and so something must have caused it. The theory is based on everything that exists being caused by something and the creation of the world was therefore caused by the first cause. Some people have said that the first cause was ‘The Big Bang’ and this has led to ‘the Big Bang Theory’. Others have said that the first cause was ‘the Creator’ who we now refer to as God.

Design Argument (Teleological Argument)

In the eighteenth century, William Paley developed the Design Argument and it is based on the theory that everything in the universe is ordered and so there must have been a designer. The universe could not have happened by chance because it is ordered. If you were walking in the desert and saw a pocket watch on the ground you would assume that its parts had not come together by chance because it is too well made and complicated and so someone must have designed it or it would not work.

Because the universe is also ordered and complicated and works, someone must have designed that too. That ‘designer’ is God.

Ontological Argument

St Anselm was an eleventh century Archbishop of Canterbury, philosopher and theologian who believed that it is absurd to think of the universe without a perfect being existing. St Anselm would say that It is totally logical to believe in a perfect being we call God.

Moral Argument

This theory is based on the fact moral laws exist in the world and someone must have commanded these and this was a supreme, higher being we call God. Everyone knows the difference between right and wrong and this has been referred to as a sense of morality. Some people might call it a conscience. This sense of morality or conscience must come from somewhere and that somewhere is God.

Experience Argument

There are people who say that they have had a religious experience such as a vision or miracle or the answering of a prayer. These experiences are used to argue that God does exist because people have experienced him.

What are your views?

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