You are here:   Features > The onslaught against the West's moral codes

Atheism, by contrast, holds that the world comes from a random and therefore irrational source so that reason is an accidental by-product. As the writer and Intelligent Design theorist Phillip Johnson has amusingly put it, to theists the concept of a supernatural mind in whose image we are created is the essential metaphysical basis for their confidence that the cosmos is rational. To a scientific naturalist, by contrast, the cosmos can be understood by a rational mind only if it was not created by a rational mind.

It is atheism, therefore, that is innately hostile to reason. And it was religion, not secular thought, which propounded the view that nature was founded on deep rationality. The medieval Christian thinkers Anselm of Canterbury and Thomas Aquinas believed that, since God created the universe through divine wisdom, the universe must be supremely rational. Science was motivated from the start by the belief that there were comprehensible laws in nature — which could only have come from a rational Creator.

This is why many scientists from the earliest times onwards have been Christians and Jews. It is why Francis Bacon said God had provided us with two books — the book of Nature and the Bible — and that to be properly educated one must study both. It is why Isaac Newton believed the Biblical account of creation had to be read and understood; why Descartes justified his search for natural “laws” on the grounds that they must exist because God was perfect and so “acts in a manner as constant and immutable as possible” except for the rare exception of miracles; why the German astronomer Johannes Kepler believed that the goal of science was to discover within the natural world “the rational order which has been imposed on it by God”; and why Galileo Galilei said that “the laws of nature are written by the hand of God in the language of mathematics”.

As C.S. Lewis wrote: “Men became scientific because they expected law in nature, and they expected law in nature because they believed in a lawgiver.” John Lennox writes that faith always played a foundational role in science for precisely this reason. “Dawkins is simply wrong,” he says. “Faith is simply inseparable from the scientific endeavour. Gödel’s Second Theorem gives further evidence for this: you cannot even do mathematics without faith in its consistency—and it has to be faith because the consistency of mathematics cannot be proved.”

The philosopher Professor John Haldane points out the similarities between the religious and scientific approaches: “Thus science is faith-like in resting upon ‘creedal’ presuppositions, and inasmuch as these relate to the order and intelligibility of the universe they also resemble the content of a theistic conception of the universe as an ordered creation. Furthermore, it seems that the theist carries the scientific impulse further by pressing on with the question of how perceived order is possible, seeking the most fundamental descriptions-cum-explanations of the existence and nature of the universe.”
View Full Article
Gavin Stoffberg
March 14th, 2018
3:03 PM
Thanks for a great article. Loved it!

Madge Hirsch
March 14th, 2018
10:03 AM
It is obvious that Melanie Phillips has never bothered to aquaint herself on any but the sketchiest level with Hinduism. One could argue that the order of the 10 incarnations of Vishnu were an example of evolution just as much as anything to be found in Genesis.I would suggest that the arrested development of science in Hindu India has a lot more to do with the devastation caused by neverending Islamic invasions and the reduction of the Hindu population to dhimmi status rather than cyclical notions of time. As for the tyranny of atheism there was plenty of tyranny around before the 20th century.And just look what that wonderfully vibrant Bible Belt has produced- a great deal of hypocrisy, lots of people who believe the earth is only 6,000 years old and Trump for POTUS. As for asserting that the stuff in the OT is more factual than the so called miracles of Christianity because "it happened to us"- pathetic.

Naomi King
March 12th, 2018
7:03 AM
The comments above simply prove that atheism is irrational and stupid.

Elisabeth Holland
March 12th, 2018
2:03 AM
The Hebrew Bible reveals that God is holy/pure/ righteous/just and as such is the true judge of sin. It is very hard for us to comprehend the holiness of God and just how bad sin is. Sin always perverts truth. There are so called Christians who deny the resurrection of Jesus but this is to fail to recognize the nature of God as holy, the creator and redeemer who indeed makes rational the resurrection. The Hebrew Bible points to redemption of our sin-sick sorry world through the unexpected means of the death of Jesus and its story is brought to fruition in the New Testament, but we need to read both books carefully as ask God to reveal himself to us as we do.

Claire Khaw
March 10th, 2018
10:03 PM
Judaism - Thesis Christianity - Antithesis Islam - Synthesis It is disappointing that Melanie Phillips does not mention at all the absurdity of the doctrine of the Trinity which requires all who wish to identify as Christian to say they believe that Christ is the co-equal of God. From this requirement flows cowardice, irrationality and hypocrisy leading to Westerners throwing out the morality of Christianity with the bathwater of the Trinity. explains the irrationality of Christianity rather well, I think. Tertullian’s views are those of a fanatic. But they have not been without influence. A certain strand within Christianity has always applauded this posture, and its echoes continue to be heard down to our own day. We find a similar position, in which Christian faith is taken to be “an absurdity to the understanding,” being advanced in the writings of Kierkegaard, for example: What, then, is the absurd? The absurd is that the eternal truth has come into existence in time, that God has come into existence, has been born, has grown up, etc., has come into existence… as an individual human being…. [in other words,] the absurd is precisely the object of faith, and only that can be believed…. Christianity… has required the inwardness of faith with regard to what is… an absurdity to the understanding. In the same vein, C.S. Lewis speaks of the things that Jesus asks mankind to believe, if judged by human standards, as “asinine fatuity” and “lunacy”: [Y]ou will see that what this man said was, quite simply, the most shocking thing that has ever been uttered by human lips…. asinine fatuity is the kindest description we should give…. in the mouth of any speaker who is not God, these words would imply what I can only regard as a silliness and conceit unrivalled by any other character in history…. a man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said… would either be a lunatic—on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the devil of Hell. Christian faith requires belief in things that are repugnant to human reason, which permits contemporary commentators to speak of biblical faith as though it purposely stands in opposition to the dictates of human reason.

David MacKenzie
March 10th, 2018
8:03 PM
A fascinating article, and well worth the read. As an evangelical Pastor, I appreciate the Jewish and Torah apologetic. It's interesting to hear arguments from your perspective.

March 10th, 2018
4:03 PM
The more corrupt the character, the more they hate the idea that they will face God for judgement.

David Anon
March 9th, 2018
10:03 PM
I wonder, Laurence, what future generations will make of our enlightened society's attempts to eliminate the likes of ISIS?

Rev., DAvid Morgan
March 9th, 2018
7:03 PM
Excellent and brilliant argument for the fundamental belief in the Holy Scriptures (OT and NT) the source of our 'weltanschauung' and shalom! Thank you Melanie.

March 6th, 2018
6:03 AM
Regarding the Richard Dawkins quote: how exactly is this a "wildly untrue, ignorant and perverse reading of the Hebrew Bible"? Every one of those adjectives can be justified by stories and quotes directly from the Bible. You can't get away with lying about your holy books these days Melanie- we know whats in them!

Post your comment

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.