First I want to say that it pleases me to no end to bear witness to intelligent and civil discourse being enjoyed by a growing population, and not resulting in bloodshed. Its this type of mature and enlightened communion with each other that will inevitably lead us out of the ignorance induced circumstances we find ourselves in.
Both speakers seemed humble enough to know when they had reached the limit of their understanding, and Matt continually reminded Jordan that he was willing to be wrong. An attitude like that is essential when it comes to having an intelligent debate.
Now I wanted to take a little time here and dip my toe into the God/No God conversation because I think there are valid points on the side of atheism but unfortunately for the atheists, through clarification, may very well lead to their arguments becoming kaput.
Does God exist?
Fundamentally, this is the question an atheist ask’s and answers with a resounding No.
Based on the flow of their logic, that is a very reasonable conclusion to make. What evidence is there for a white dude with a beard, living in the sky who damns most people and sneaks a few into the pearly gates who have “Dun good” by his standards?
In what way does the world reflect to us that anything is holy, or good, or beautiful?
Sure there are some examples; some fleeting moments in life where a profound light seeps into our hearts and minds and has the power of completely changing the way we experience life. These few moments, however, don’t provide enough evidence for a benevolent God.
Or do they?
Well, that depends on what a person means when they say, God. It seems to me that atheists conveniently use Traditional Christianity as their target when claiming that there is no god. Some go as far as to include Islam as well, which is fine because my point is the same for both.
When using traditional Christianity as the point of focus for the argument against the existence of God, I agree with atheists. I too do not believe in Santa Claus in the sky, who created the world in 6 days, sent us his son and then killed him in the name of our sins.
Its a story, and in all honesty, it’s not a story that has ever seemed to be founded in fact or history and therefore I have never accepted it as such. It boggles my mind that anyone of respectable intelligence would use any of their precious time arguing against the existence of this idea of God.
When my child tries to convince me that instead of an airplane its really Iron Man flying in the sky, I don’t argue with them, I just go along with it while I take care of the adult tasks and duties which confront me. My child’s belief in something that is not factual does not prevent me from being happy, nor does it provoke the need for me to become defensive of rationality and science.
So if arguing about the existence of that particular idea of God is a non-starter, what does the atheist have left to reject?
I have aligned myself with a growing group of people from around the world who you might consider to have a meta-modern view of God; not just a view based on rationality or belief, but on the consequence of contemplation, spiritual practice, and conscious participation in the evolution of our consciousness.
God is a word I use to describe an – imminent and transcendent Reality; A Causeless Cause from which all noumena and phenomena arise, play and disappear. A perfect and loving personality which encircles and imbibes all of life. The proto-pattern of existence.
An atheists primary argument is usually founded in the idea that the Universe is NOT a product of creative design, but is either the result of an accident or “Oops..”, or is the chaotic combination of primal and natural universal forces. And for me, this argument is a telltale sign of willful ignorance.
What I mean to say is that there is observable evidence one would have to ignore to conclude that the universe and life is a mere accident.
The above picture links to an article written for Popular Mechanics, describing an archeological discovery of tools which are dated between 172,000 years and 1 million years old. The fact that such a discovery turns everything science has told us about our origins and history upside down is not my point.
If you were walking along the beach and stubbed your toe on a hunk of metal that was clearly in the shape of a gear or mechanical tool, you would be amazed by it. And like every single person who looked at it you would ask, Who made this thing?
And why is that a reasonable question?
Its a reasonable question because of the objects complexity and also that it is fashioned in such a way for a particular purpose. We might not know exactly what the purpose is, but that does not take away from the fact that it was intelligently designed.
Now a gear or any mechanical object/instrument compares poorly to the complexity and sophistication of the human brain and nervous system. As far as we can tell, these two things are the most complex and sophisticated things in the Universe. And if we can claim that a simple gear or mechanical object must have an intelligent designer, how can we think otherwise of the human being? (I have not even included the mystery of consciousness, interiority, or gnosis which would only deepen this thought)
Personally, I feel that atheism is even still a thing because the purpose of human existence is still very much in question to the minds of the secular humans still lingering from the modern era, and without purpose, it can very much seem like there is zero intelligence behind life.
Meta-modern Story Teller
One of the things I really appreciate about Jordan Peterson is that he recognizes the inherent worth existent in our cultural narratives. It is no secret that the knowledge of our society is passed on through stories and narratives, holding us to traditions and ways of living that keeps the whole thing moving forward.
In his discussion with Matt Dillahunty, Jordan expresses how dire things would become if we lost what religious thinking and religious narratives have provided our species over the millennia, and so doing away with it all would be ‘bad for business’, so to speak. Ironic that Matt seemed pretty focus on developing a structured narrative focused around well-being…
Religions tell a story.
The entirety of the Bible is a meta-narrative, made up of smaller stories, story-arcs, poems, pros, and historically accurate accounts from the time in which it was written. I believe there is some great value in the Bible, while at the same time recognizing that it doesn’t have to be taken as the literal word of God.
And it is also very obvious to me that the Bible, as a meta-narrative for the 21st century, simply will not do. We are too interconnected, multi-cultural, and multi-varied in our altitudes of development to have such a narrow and specific narrative be what ‘tells the story of Us’.
But this does not mean we don’t need a story. What it means is that we are going to have to make a new one. To quote Hanzi Freinacht;
“…We connect all that we know and create a story. But we know that it’s just a story. However, we prefer it to no story at all. And we will both love it and fight for it and try to challenge it, evolve it and tear it down.” – Excerpt from – You’re not metamodern before you understand this. Part 2: Proto-Synthesis
I really enjoy the part about “..evolving it and tearing it down”. I think that really resonates with me because it acknowledges two important precepts to my thinking.
The first, Evolving It, speaks to the idea that there is an ever-present mystery to life that we can only plunge into and float within, perhaps forever synthesizing new frameworks of our understanding as we grow and evolve ourselves, allowing more ‘light to shine in’.
And the second, Tearing it down, which recognize’s the humility which accompanies an evolved mind to know that whatever present understanding we might have of life, the world, god, etc is forever open to revision. We have to be willing to recognize when we are wrong and have the guts to include new information and perspectives to create something better.
I really don’t want people to think I am damning the atheist perspective (even though I would stand opposed to the view in any debate). I truly recognize the value in the position insofar as it furthers the thinking of the religious community and forces them to evolve and tear down the elements of their religion that no longer make sense, or simply no longer work.
From a Big Mind POV, the dance of life proceeds wonderfully.