Foolish Delusion

On a recent episode of “Real Time,” Bill Maher repeated his charge that religion is “mass delusion.”  He has suggested before that science and thinking are opposed to faith.  By framing faith as ignorant, he would convert you to his irreligion.

Here’s the full quote.  “The inconvenient truth here is that if you accord religious faith the kind of exalted respect we do here in America, you’ve already lost the argument that mass delusion is bad.”  He was criticizing delusional conspiracy theories and found a way to disparage Christians in the same breath.  It’s true that outlandish conclusions drawn from random facts and innuendo are not harmless.  But that’s not Christianity.

One of the foundational beliefs of Christianity is that God exists.  Is that ignorant? To answer that, let’s call British professor and philosopher Anthony Flew to the witness stand.  As a longtime atheist he wrote, “It is impossible to establish the existence of God, or even to show that it is more or less probable.”  But in 2004, he courageously announced a change.  He concluded the evidence of modern science indeed establishes the existence of God.

As a new Deist he wrote, “Science spotlights three dimensions of nature that point to God. The first is the fact that nature obeys laws. The second is the dimension of life, of intelligently organized and purpose-driven beings, which arose from matter. The third is the very existence of nature.”  He also pointed to the DNA genome, saying “that it has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce life, that intelligence must have been involved in getting these extraordinarily diverse elements to work together.”

Thank you, Dr. Flew for recognizing the evidence for design and the logical inference that God exists.  We don’t have space to call witnesses to explore other evidence, such as the logic of the material universe requiring an immaterial first cause and the impossible odds of the unguided appearance of the precise parameters necessary to sustain life.  Nor can we explore the questions, how is it we all have an innate sense of morality (how could a material universe that “is” place within us a sense of what “ought” to be?) and why ignore the evidence of the Resurrection of Christ?

The Bible anticipates discussions like this.  It says, “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (1 Cor. 1:21).  Vocal and influential people may claim to be wise and knowledgeable, while canceling God talk as foolish.  Yet that “foolishness” contains the keys to answering the ultimate questions of origin, meaning, morality, and destiny.  One wonders who is delusional, Mr. Maher.