Some years ago, an essay of mine was chastised by some readers because I had dragged God into it. The incident wouldn’t be interesting except for the fact that I hadn’t dragged God into it. I hadn’t even mentioned Him.
I think what set them off was that I had said human nature has a meaningful pattern. At some level they must have recognized that for contingent beings like us to mean anything, we must be borrowing meaning from something that isn’t contingent. Our meaning depends on a First Meaning, of which we are the reflections. Since this First Meaning is what we call God, I didn’t have to mention Him; I had implied Him. To please my chastisers, I would have had to avoid the very suggestion that human nature has any significance.
Everyone knows that men offer sacrifices to their gods, but we do not reflect much on the sacrifices they offer to godlessness. Having to deny one’s own meaning is a pretty high price to pay for atheism.
And the price gets higher still. For in much the same way that contingent meaning presupposes a First Meaning, we find that beauty presupposes a First Beauty, movement presupposes a First Mover, cause and effect presupposes a First Cause – in fact, being presupposes a First Being. So in order to deny God, it isn’t enough to deny just one of these things. Logically, you must deny all of them.
To say that God does not exist, you must finally say nothing and nobody does.
Tomorrow: Why Can’t Johnnie Reason?