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The Godless Delusion

The Godless Delusion: A Catholic Challenge to Modern Atheism.  By Patrick Madrid and Kenneth Hensley.  Our Sunday Visitor, 2010.  Softcover.  $14.95.

Reviewed by Steven Schultz

There are only two options.  It is either one or the other.  There is no middle ground.  The issue at hand is the existence or non-existence of God.  God cannot partially exist – that position is utter nonsense which any rational person would reject.  Instead, we are left with only one choice or it’s opposite.  Either the theists are correct and God exists, or the atheists are correct and belief in God is a delusion.  In The Godless Delusion, Patrick Madrid and Kenneth Hensley charge headlong into this debate to deliver a sounding blow to atheism by showing through rational argument the logic of the theist position over illogic of the atheist position.

The importance of this conflict cannot be overstated in light of today’s society.  Rejection of belief in a higher power and rejection of the notion man is held accountable for his actions on earth and will face final, individual, ultimate judgment based on those actions are at the heart of all of society’s ills.  The self-appointed intelligentsia tells us God doesn’t exist and that those who believe in such “delusions” are uneducated simpletons – and far, far too many of us accept this since the message comes from “science” and we all know “science” is irrefutable.  Mark my words, atheism will be the downfall of Western society.  As Madrid and Hensley point out, atheism inescapably leads to conclusions which result in the death of society – there is no escaping this reality.

To understand the true absurdity of the atheist position, we must first understand exactly what their position says.  Atheists base their argument for the non-existence of God on what they consider a rational application of the scientific method.  Yet, their argument hinges on a blatant misstep in logic.  Like a magician skillfully employing misdirection, they hope no one notices their leap of faith.  As Madrid and Hensley put it:

“They [atheists] begin with an undeniably true assertion: that the scientific method, if used correctly, has been demonstrated to be a precise and trustworthy method of gaining accurate information about the natural world – as evidenced by remarkable successes and innumerable stunning advances in the fields of medicine, engineering, manufacturing, and technology.  But where the ‘magic’ occurred is when they moved from this true assertion to one undeniably false: that science and naturalism are somehow essentially the same thing.  From this, they drew the preposterous conclusion that because science has been demonstrated as true, naturalism has also been demonstrated as true…In fact, the two are quite distinct.  Whereas science is a method for investigating the natural world, naturalism is a philosophy that says the natural world is all there is.”

In other words, for the atheist, the material word, naturalism, is all there is.  Nothing else exists.  Even our thought is simply a series of chemical and electrical reactions.  If it’s not physical, it’s not real says the atheist.  However, by doing so, he either argues for absurdity or traps himself in his own contradiction, as we shall see.

Some reviews have commented on the lack of specifically Catholic arguments for the existence of God in this work.  However, these reviewers neglect to understand Catholic theological arguments for the existence of God would fall on deaf ears with atheists.  You cannot argue from a theological standpoint with someone who does not accept theology as a basis of argument.  In order to enter into conversation with such a person, you must begin with arguments based on rational logic – which is exactly what Madrid and Hensley undertake in this book.

The authors systematically dissect the atheist position, showing how it leads to utter non-sense and reveals atheists living in a contradiction.  For example, the atheist denies the existence of natural law or absolute right and wrong, instead claiming “right” and “wrong” are merely relative, individual concepts brought about by chemical and electrical reactions in the human brain.  Yet, the same atheist complains of not being treated “fairly” when wronged.  If absolute “right” and “wrong” don’t exist, there can’t be legitimate appeal to being treated “unfairly.”  To claim “unfair” treatment implies the existence of some sort of universal sense of “right” and “wrong” – which also implies existence of something beyond the natural world or beyond mere matter since a universal truth cannot possibly exist as a physical object.  On the other hand, the theist position rationally accounts for the universal human concept of a fundamental and absolute right and wrong as part of natural law created by God.

In a similar vein, atheists are forced to either take an absurd position or to contradict themselves when commenting on the actions of people such as Hitler.  Again according to the logical conclusions of the atheist position, since “right” and “wrong” are merely relative, individual human concepts, there exists no basis on which to criticize the genocide committed by Hitler or people like him.  Hitler’s writings and speeches make it abundantly clear he believed he was perfectly justified in murdering millions of Jews – in fact, he believed he was operating for the “good” of his society.  In order to honestly hold to his position, an atheist must accept Hitler’s arguments and admit Hitler was perfectly justified since he operated within his individual concept of “right” and “wrong.”  Would any rational person hold such a belief?  Instead, most atheists admit Hitler’s mass murder of Jews was wrong.  However, to admit Hitler (or Stalin or Mao who murdered millions of their own countrymen in the name of atheism) was wrong is to admit to the existence of a universal notion of right and wrong (and its subsequent notion of the existence of more than mere physical things), which again reveals the contradiction in which an atheist must live in order to cling to his belief system.

The theist has no such problem of being forced to take an absurd position or to contradict himself.  Instead, the theist believes in existence of things beyond the material world, therefore he is able to unequivocally state actions of people such as Hitler are evil and unacceptable since they violate natural law — God’s law.  Once again, the theist position comes through as the logical, rational position which actually jives with the human experience.  Additionally, the theist position is the only position which consistently describes the human experience without having to resort to modification or compromise of its propositions.

It’s all fine and good to shout from the comfort of one’s living room or classroom, “God is dead!”  Where does it lead when this becomes more than an anti-establishment slogan, but a lived belief system?  As Jewish psychologist and Nazi concentration camp survivor, Viktor Frankl puts it:

“If we present man with a concept of man which is not true, we may well corrupt him.  When we present him as an automation of reflexes, as a mind machine, as a bundle of instincts, as a pawn of drive and reactions, as a mere project of heredity and environment, we see the nihilism to which modern man is, in any case, prone.  I became acquainted with the last stage of corruption in my second concentration camp, Auschwitz.  The gas chambers of Auschwitz were the ultimate consequence of the theory that man is nothing but the product of heredity and environment – or, as the Nazis like to say, ‘of blood and soil.’  I am absolutely convinced that the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Maidanek were ultimately prepared not in some ministry or other in Berlin, but rather at the desks and in the lecture halls of nihilistic scientists and philosophers.”

To understand the true absurdity of atheism, and frankly, the true horror to which it leads, we must fully and honestly face its full implications.  One of the only atheists to ever fully and honestly embrace the totality and reality of atheism was Frederick Nietchie – and we’d do well to remember he died a broken and insane man.  When viewed with intellectual honesty there is no escaping the full evil and horror to which the religion of atheism ultimately leads.

In order for our society to survive, we must abandon the absurd notion that man is his own master.  Hitler, Stalin, Castro – our history is filled with the results of man believing in the absurdity of atheism.  The sooner we accept the fact we have a divine Master, who calls us in love to freely surrender our will to His, the sooner we can begin to right the ship of society.  Madrid and Hensley arm us with the rational arguments to show the absurdity of atheists clinging to a godless delusion.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on The Godless Delusion.  Also be sure to check out their great selection of Mary statues.

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