Some philosophers are claiming God doesn’t exist because the universe is big and mostly humanity-free.
These academic philosophers look across the vastness of space and say, “God would not have made something so big and yet so sparse in humanity, therefore God doesn’t exist.”
From the Real Clear Science article “Does the Size of the Universe Prove God Doesn’t Exist?” by philosopher Emily Thomas we learn:
Philosophers of religion such as Michael Martin and Nicholas Everitt have asked us to consider the kind of universe we would expect the Christian God to have created, and compare it with the universe we actually live in. They argue there is a mismatch. Everitt focuses on how big the universe is, and argues this gives us reason to believe the God of classical Christianity doesn’t exist.
Our own planet is 150m kilometres away from the sun. Earth’s nearest stars, the Alpha Centauri system, are four light years away (that’s around 40 trillion kilometres). Our galaxy, the Milky Way, contains anywhere from 100 to 400 billion stars. The observable universe contains around 300 sextillion stars. Humans occupy the tiniest fraction of it. The landmass of planet Earth is a drop in this ocean of space
(Incidentally, it’s a good bet many of these same academics say there are too many people in the world.)
Thomas appeals to scripture to say “God is human-oriented: human beings are like God, and he values us highly.” But then Thomas expresses puzzlement why God did not “create a universe in which humans feature prominently”. She expected “humans to occupy most of the universe, existing across time”, which of course we don’t.
Quoting Everitt Thomas says, “The findings of modern science significantly reduce the probability that theism is true, because the universe is turning out to be very unlike the sort of universe which we would have expected, had theism been true.”
The fallacy here should be obvious: How can know why God made creation the way He did?
You aren’t God
The mistake is what we can call the If I Were God Fallacy.
Step one of the fallacy: attempt the impossible feat of supposing you had the Infinite Mind of God. Step two: create your own imaginary universe. Step three: compare the beautiful utopia of your imagination with what you see out the window.
Step four: pronounce the comparison unfavorable.
Finally, step five: say that because God did not create the perfect universe you envision, God doesn’t exist.
Not only is this argument silly, it is arrogant. It is to accuse God of sloppiness and of lacking in imagination. It to say that God is less intelligent than your fine self because it didn’t occur to Him to make fewer cockroaches. It’s silly because it is impossible to know the mind of God. Impossible, and not just unlikely.
Nones are those who profess, when asked by marketers and other such people, no religion. Since this is scarcely possible—even atheists believe in scientism—we can blame the non-specificity of the definition. Nones are those who have given up, or were only mildly exposed, to Christianity. As such, Nones in the West evince a mixture of the most popular Christian heresies. Which, to be fair, so also do many who profess Christianity. To evangelize Nones, then, would seem to require the same techniques used to talk heretics out of their mistakes.
Now many Nones are Millennials, kids unused to hearing they have made mistakes and are either appalled or indifferent to being told they hold false beliefs. How to get to them? Barron has five ideas.
First, begin evangelization by commencing with the beautiful. Before arguing about the Good and the True, show Beauty. In an era of ugly clothing (“designer” ripped jeans), ugly architecture (glass boxes with unopenable windows), ugly music (primitive unnatural sounds), ugly art (giants asses for giants asses), ugly movies (Bad Teachers “will ‘F’ you up”), ugly television (willed ungraceful sodomy), ugly language (heard everywhere) any exposure to Beauty will come as a relief.
So much in art, music, and the rest seems designed to attack the soul. It is as if the art, and not only the artist, hates us. It’s almost as if it’s all intentional, that it’s planned. That couldn’t be, could it?
The Catholic Church has an enormous repository of Beauty. In every instance when confronted by the Ugly, respond with Beauty. Show what happens when man directs his energy to something greater than himself.
Second, stop dumbing down the faith. Barron told the story of a woman who brought her eight-year-old daughter to work. The little girl proceeded to launch into an intricate description of the Star Wars universe, displaying full knowledge of minute details of the timeline and familiarity with all the minor characters. If she can memorize who Obi Wan Kenobi was, she can memorize Methuselah.
This does not mean Thomistic theology need be preached on street corners (we’ll save it for blogs), but it does mean not fearing to be misunderstood. Barron points to Vatican II and the wave of anti-intellectualism it created and ushered in what he called the “banners and balloons” era.
We should (and we do not here) not fear confrontation with, what are at least thought to be, our strongest intellectual enemies. Since one of the biggest errors going is scientism, it’s best to begin by cutting away at its shallow roots. (Scientism is, as has been pointed about endless times, self-defeating: there is no scientific proof it is true.)
Third, learn again to tell a good story about Israel. There were reasons our Lord showed up where he did, and when he did, and under the circumstances he did. Somebody page Cecil B DeMille!
When I was a boy a young atheist asked me “What if Jesus was killed with a shotgun? Would Christians wear little shotguns around their neck?” I thought that argument convincing during my days away from the Church. The answer is, of course, that Jesus chose to appear before shotguns. If you can understand that, you have gone a great distance.
Barron says that if we do not see Jesus as the culmination of the Jewish story, then “Jesus devolves in short order into a sage…a teacher of eternal truths”, a man of no more importance than Socrates, certainly no deity. And the man most people now see.
Fourth, emphasize the god of the new atheists. Nobody believes in the god constructed by new atheists. If the new atheists had any victory it was in convincing people that their fairy story was the God. God is not “one being among many”, as the NAs have it. He is not a fairly but-not-too intelligent scientist magician who lives on the other side of the universe pressing buttons on some sophisticated machine. God is the ground of all being. Not only does He exist, it is necessary that He does so, for if He did not, noting else could.
Fifth, engage in radical witness, by which Barron meant a “recovery of a radical form of Christian life.” Act like we’re here only for a little while. Act like we mean it when we say we believe Jesus. Act like all that stuff in the Bible is true, and better than (say) politics.
Finishing Chapter 98, which we began last week. Review. We’re almost to the end of Book II! Only three chapters to go.
8 We must, therefore, consider that, since none of these substances is by its essence a sufficient principle of the knowledge of all other things, there must accrue to each of them, over and above its own substance, certain intelligible likenesses, whereby each of them is enabled to know another in its proper nature.
9 Now, this can be made clear as follows. The proper object of intellect is intelligible being, which includes all possible differences and species of being, since whatever can be, can be known.
Now, since all knowledge is brought about by way of likeness, the intellect cannot know its object wholly unless it has in itself the likeness of all being and of all its differences. But such a likeness of all being, can be nothing other than an infinite nature: a nature not determined to some species or genus of being, but the universal principle of all being and the power productive of all being; and this, as was shown in Book I, is the divine nature alone.
Indeed, no other nature can be the universal likeness of all being, since every nature except God is limited to some genus and species of being. It therefore remains that God alone, by His essence, knows all things. Every separate substance, on the other hand, is by its nature possessed of a perfect knowledge only of its own species; while the possible intellect knows itself not at all in this way, but through the intelligible species, as we remarked already in this chapter.
Notes Do not forget metaphysics is the study of being, the highest study there can be.
10 Now, from the very fact that a substance is intellectual, all being lies within the scope of its understanding. Since it is not endowed by its nature with actual understanding of all being, a separate substance, considered in itself, is in potentiality, as it were, to the intelligible likenesses whereby all being is known, and these likenesses will be its act, so far as it is intellectual.
It is, however, impossible that these likenesses should not be several. For we have already shown that the perfect likeness of all being cannot but be infinite. And just as the nature of a separate substance is not infinite, but limited, so an intelligible likeness existing in it cannot be infinite, but is limited to some species or genus of being, so that a plurality of such likenesses is required for the comprehension of all being.
Now, the higher the rank of a separate substance, the more is its nature like to the divine; and thus it is less limited, inasmuch as it approaches nearer to the perfection and goodness of the universal being, enjoying, therefore, a more universal participation in goodness and being. The intelligible likenesses existing in the higher substance are, consequently, less numerous and more universal. And this is what Dionysius says in The Celestial Hierarchy , namely, that the higher angels have a more universal knowledge; while in the book On Causes we read [X]: “The higher intelligences have more universal forms.”
Now, the apogee of this universality is found in God, who, through one thing, namely, His essence, is cognizant of all things; whereas its lowest realization is in the human intellect, which for each intelligible object needs an intelligible species appropriate to that object and on a par with it.
Notes Recall that Satan was the highest angel. Being close to God does not preclude sin; rather, it enhances the scope of potential sin.
11 Consequently, in the higher substances, knowledge acquired through forms of greater universality is not more imperfect, as it is with us. For through the likeness of animal, whereby we know a thing only in its genus, we have a more imperfect knowledge than through the likeness of man, whereby we know the complete species; since to know a thing only in terms of its genus is to know it imperfectly and as though in potency, while to know a thing in its species is to know it perfectly and in act.
Occupying the lowest place in the order of intellectual substances, our intellect requires likenesses particularized to such a degree that there must exist in it a proper likeness corresponding to each proper object of its knowledge. That is why, through the likeness of animal it does not know rational, and therefore neither does it know man, except in a relative manner.
The intelligible likeness present in a separate substance is, however, more universal in its power, and suffices to represent more things. Hence, it makes for a more perfect, not a more imperfect, knowledge; because it is universal in power, after the fashion of the productive form in a universal cause which, the more universal it is, the greater its causal range and its efficacy. Therefore, by one likeness the separate substance knows both animal and its differences; or, again, it knows them in a more universal or more limited way according to the order of such substances.
Notes Given our obvious intellectual weaknesses, it may not, as many have said, be surprising that some angels rebelled against God for His treatment of us, creatures who, as is clear, do not deserve consideration.
12 We have examples of this, as we remarked, in the two extremes, the divine and human intellects. For through one thing, His essence, God knows all things; whereas man requires diverse likenesses in order to know diverse things. And the higher his intellect, the more things is he able to know through fewer; and so it is that particular examples must be presented to the slow-witted to enable them to acquire knowledge of things.
Notes Do you need me to state this another way? (Forgive me.) The next paragraphs are real inside baseball and may be skipped.
13 Now, although a separate substance, considered in its nature, is potential with respect to the likenesses whereby all being is known, we must not suppose that it is deprived of all such likenesses; for this is the condition of the possible intellect before it understands, as Aristotle points out in De anima III .
Nor must we even think that it is possessed of some of those likenesses actually, and of others only potentially; in the way in which prime matter in the lower bodies has one form actually and others potentially, and as our possible intellect, when we are presently knowing, is in act with respect to some intelligibles and in potentiality as regards others.
For, since these separate substances are not moved, either through themselves or by accident, as we have shown, all that is in them in potency must be in act, otherwise, they would pass from potentiality to act, being moved, in that case, through themselves or by accident. Thus, they have in them potentiality and act as regards intelligible being, as do the heavenly bodies as regards natural being.
For the matter of a heavenly body is perfected by its form to such an extent that it does not remain in potentiality to other forms; and the intellect of a separate substance is likewise wholly perfected by intelligible forms, so far as its natural knowledge is concerned. Our possible intellect, however, is proportionate to the corruptible bodies to which it is united as a form; or it is so constituted as to possess certain intelligible forms actually, while remaining in potentiality to others. And so it is said in the book On Causes [X] that an intelligence is full of forms, since the whole potentiality of its intellect is fulfilled through intelligible forms. Accordingly, one separate substance is able to know another through intelligible species of this sort.
14 Because a separate substance is intelligible by essence, someone may see no necessity for holding that one such substance is understood by another through intelligible species, but may think that one understands another through the very essence of the substance understood. For, in the case of material substances, knowledge through an intelligible species seems to result accidentally from the fact that such substances are not by their essence intelligible in act; and that is why they must needs be understood through abstract intentions. This, moreover, seems to agree with the remark made by Aristotle in Metaphysics XI , that intellect, act of understanding, and thing understood are not different in the case of substances separate from matter.
15 The admission of this point, however, involves a number of difficulties. For, in the first place, the intellect in act is the thing understood in act, according to the teaching of Aristotle, and it is difficult to see how one separate substance is identified with another when it understands it.
16 Then too, every agent or operator acts through its form, to which its operation corresponds, as the operation of heating to the form of heat; thus, what we see is the thing by whose species our sight is informed. But it does not seem possible for one separate substance to be the form of another, since each has existence separate from the other. It therefore seems impossible that the one should be seen by the other through its essence.
17 Moreover, the thing understood is the perfection of the one who understands. But a lower substance cannot be the perfection of a higher one. Hence it would follow that the higher would not understand the lower, if each were understood through its essence, and not through another species.
18 Also, the intelligible is within the intellect as to that which is understood. But no substance enters into the mind save God alone, who is in all things by His essence, presence, and power. It therefore seems impossible for a separate substance to be understood by another through its essence, and not through its likeness present in the latter.
19 And, indeed, this must be true for Aristotle, who asserts that understanding occurs as the result of the thing actually understood being one with the intellect actually understanding; so that a separate substance, though actually intelligible of itself, is nevertheless not understood in itself except by an intellect with which it is one. And it is in this way that a separate substance understands itself through its essence. Accordingly, the intellect, the thing understood, and the act of understanding are the same.
20 On the other hand, according to Plato’s position, understanding is effected through the contact of the intellect with the intelligible thing. One separate substance can, therefore, understand another through its essence, when it is in contact with it spiritually; the higher substance understanding the lower through enclosing and containing it, so to speak, by its power; the lower understanding the higher, as though grasping it as its own perfection. Wherefore Dionysius likewise says, in The Divine Names [IV], that the higher substances are intelligible “as the food of the lower.”
Item The UK continues its slide into bat-guano crazy: “Human Rights Committee Draft General Comment No. 36 on article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, on the right to life” (pdf; emphasis mind).
The UK is generally supportive of paragraph 9, but considers that the third sentence should end after “substantial pain or suffering”; at present the following phrase is both too detailed and also risks restricting the more general text of “substantial pain or suffering”. We further note that in using the term “pregnant woman” the Committee may be inadvertently restricting the application of this paragraph to exclude transgender people who have given birth; this has happened in two recent cases in the UK.
We can note from this that sanity reigned in two recent cases, but that the politicians want insanity to hold in all cases.
Denmark is anxious to join the Insanity & Doom (Word doc; my emphasis).
However, we note that in using the term “pregnant woman” the Committee may inadvertently be restricting the application of this paragraph to exclude transgender people who have given birth. Furthermore, we support the Committee’s view that state parties should provide access to safe abortion and not criminalise girls and women who have undergone an abortion, nor the service provider.
For those who have, or are, growing up in the Insanity & Doom, only women, actual female creatures, can become pregnant and give birth. And it’s fine to criminalize killing people. We do it all the time. These unbreakable facts will come as a shock to some of you, for which I apologize.
An Oxford College has banned the Christian Union from its freshers’ fair on the grounds that it would be “alienating” for students of other religions, and constitute a “micro-aggression”.
The organiser of Balliol’s fair argued Christianity’s historic use as “an excuse for homophobia and certain forms of neo-colonialism” meant that students might feel “unwelcome” in their new college if the Christian Union had a stall.
Freddy Potts, vice-president of Balliol’s Junior Common Room (JCR) committee, said that if a representative from the Christian Union (CU) attended the fair, it could cause “potential harm” to freshers…
“Historically, Christianity’s influence on many marginalised communities has been damaging in its methods of conversion and rules of practice, and is still used in many places as an excuse for homophobia and certain forms of neo-colonialism.”
Readers will forgive the obvious pun that Potts is potty, in the Brit sense, and that Potts’s mind has gone to pot, in the Yank sense.
What I would like, though, is a concrete, agreed-upon definition of “homophobia” from the left. One they will stick to, in all of its logical implications. Does any reader know of one? Or is this just another idiotic slur, like “racist”, meant to shush the nervous?
A Missouri woman who is an adherent of the Satanic Temple won a victory in court last week in her quest to show that state abortion law violates her religious beliefs.
The Western District Court of Appeals ruled in her favor Tuesday, writing that her constitutional challenge — rare for its basis in religion — presented “a contested matter of right that involves fair doubt and reasonable room for disagreement.”
The woman, identified as Mary Doe in court documents, argued that her religion does not adhere to the idea that life begins at conception, and, because of that, the prerequisites for an abortion in Missouri are unconstitutionally violating her freedom of religion protected by the First Amendment…
Doe underwent an abortion in May 2015 in St. Louis. But before she was able to have the procedure, she had to comply with the state’s informed consent law…
She declined to hear her fetus’ heartbeat and felt “guilt and shame,” according to court documents.
Imagine being made to feel “guilt and shame” for killing your own child. What cruel, Christian torment! Anyway, “Doe’s” small victory is the result of freedom of religion. As is sacrificing live children to the hidden gods. Freedom for everybody!
Jesuit priest and papal confidant Father Anthony Spadaro said that Pope Francis holds that the Catholic Church can no longer set down general norms that apply to entire groups of people.
Spadaro, of 2 + 2 = 5 fame, thus joins the Satanists who also believe they get to write their own moral laws. For if certain absolute norms don’t apply to all, but are variable by group, then there is nothing to stop groups of one from forming. Smoke of Satan indeed.