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Babette Francis

Books by atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris are  recent best sellers, and    now we  have James Cameron, claiming to have discovered "the tomb of Jesus".  So I feel   impelled to  ask a few questions myself. 
Do Richard, Christopher, Sam and James actually exist?  I ask because  the evidence for the existence of God, defined as the First Cause,  the Prime Mover and Shaker, is so much stronger than for the existence of these writers.  Sure, they appear to have written a few books and James appears to have produced "Titanic"  but that does not compare with creating the Big Bang  which brought the universe into existence and gave us planet Earth on which to live.  And anyway the Titanic sank, unlike the biblical Noah's Ark which floated.

The theories of  Richard Dawkins, author of "The God Delusion", assume  we are all here due to evolution,  and  I have heard that   a number of monkeys typing for  13 billion years  could have produced  Shakespeare's plays.   So  the monkeys could certainly have produced  the books by Dawkins et al, especially  as during the past 13 billion years   typewriters have evolved themselves into much faster  computers.  Given a million cameras, the monkeys could   also have  produced "Titanic" .

But Dawkins et al do not explain the origins of   some observable phenomena:

Where did the universe come from?  Why is there a universe rather than nothing?  Where do matter and energy come from? 

Where does life come from?  How does life come from matter that has no life?   Is it those pesky monkeys again, crawling out from under the rocks and becoming us?

What is the origin of  a self-aware mind? How do primitive life forms become self-conscious beings?

What is the origin of good and evil? How does an amoral animal that functions on instinct  become morally aware?  How did those monkeys know Shakespeare was worth typing?

But the most difficult question for Richard, Christopher,  and Sam is  the question of free will  - I am assuming they wrote their books freely and were not coerced by some malign influence from the nether world.   If there is no mind or soul independent of the brain, all our thoughts and choices are purely the result of  chemical reactions in the brain. Thus we  would not have any free will -  we would be controlled by neurochemical determinism.  But we KNOW that we can choose between  practical  options  A or B.   (If you don't know this, just ask the pro-choice ladies).   Where does our ability to choose come from if we are just predetermined matter? 

Atheists reject  arguments from physics and  "design" in nature  as indicating the existence  of  a Designer (God), but a  few experiments with a simple ball show that the ball remains stationary  unless moved by someone or   some force like a breeze, or gravity on a slope.   (Some feminists of course reject gravity, claiming it would work differently if discovered by a female scientist).   But  anyway who created  gravity, the force we best know?  With our powerful telescopes   we can  look  right back to the milliseconds after the Big Bang.  But what about just before the Big Bang?   Who said "Let there be light"?   Who  said "Let there be Richard and Christopher and Sam? 

James Cameron and his discovery of the "tomb of Jesus", reminds me of  the nineteenth-century novelist, Gustave Flaubert,   who used to joke about archaeologists discovering a stone tablet signed "God" and reading, "I do not exist."  His punch line had an atheist then exclaiming, "See! I told you so!"

Our local non-believer  is Jill Singer, columnist for the Herald Sun, who entertained us all on Christmas Day 2006 in an article claiming  that God does not exist.   However, Jill is to be commended for reading the Gospels.  She   queried Jesus's lineage as belonging to the House of David because Joseph was only His foster-father.   However,  tradition has always held that Mary, Jesus's  mother, was also of the House of  David.  This appears to be substantiated in Luke's Gospel, Chapter 2, where he reports that "Caesar Augustus  decreed that all the world should be taxed  [a forerunner  of our very own  Income Tax Department] and all went to be taxed, everyone into his own city".  Joseph went to Bethlehem because he was of the lineage of  David, and so did Mary. 

Jill, if she exists,  may belong to the lineage of Caesar Augustus, because  in her second column on the same topic  (8/1/07) she expresses the  frustration of her fellow non-believers that we are not taxed  even more  for "public welfare services", while glossing over the enormous voluntary contributions made by Christians and church agencies  in relieving suffering all over the world. 

In the same spirit of generosity I am willing to concede that Jill and her  fellow non-believers do indeed exist, and I would tell  them of   a  university debate between a priest  confronted by  atheists  stridently proclaiming there was no God.  He commented dryly "You had better pray that you are right!"




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