Controversial Theist and Atheist Theories
The articles written by Craig (n. d.), Thomas (2018), and Habermas (2008) relate to the similar topic of controversial arguments between theists and atheists about the existence of God. All three articles provide the reader with arguments from both sides. However, these examples serve to prove a similar point in all three articles. Craig (n.d.) mostly depicts the consequences of God not existing to support his theological point of view. Habermas (2008) doubts that objective moral standards may be established without God in order to disagree with Hariss’s point. Thomas (2018) speculates about various perceptions of suffering without giving his personal opinion, leaving the choice to the reader, yet he depicts the atheistic perspective in a very dark depressing manner. Therefore all the articles might be considered to support theological theories.
Mentioned articles also have some differences as they refer to various aspects of faith and God. Craig (n.d.) views divine providence as an inseparable part of the meaning and value of human life. Unlike Craig (n.d.), Habernas (2008) concentrates attention on the topic of objective morals and definitions of good and evil from theistic and atheistic perspectives. Dissimilar to others, Thomas pays special consideration to suffer through the prism of science and religion.
In my opinion, life might have objective meaning without God. Nonetheless, it is initially necessary to define the phrase ‘objective meaning’ to understand if God could even give human life meaning. By the combination of definitions, the objective meaning of something is what it expresses or represents based on real facts and not influenced by personal beliefs or feelings.
Such definition is already controversial as expression involves subjective evaluation and even if we skip over that fact, God could only provide life with subjective meaning as it would be influenced by his beliefs. Regardless of the approach, God is referred to as a self-aware entity with its own will and sovereign decisions. Therefore the existence of God cannot give objective meaning to life. Moreover, if God exists and created the Universe, human life only has the subjective meaning given by God.
On the other hand, it might be possible to view an individual as a part of natural systems and evolution, implying nature itself is the creator. Since nature is an inanimate object we could interpret the main biological purpose of human life as its meaning. According to Thomas (2018) nature “seeks the maximization of DNA survival into the next generation”, this could be considered the meaning of life in general and in particular referring to humans. Therefore, nature might be able to provide an objective meaning to life, yet it would not satisfy an individual in search of life significance.
I believe that life could be “good” without objective meaning. First of all, it is necessary to determine what a “good” life is and which criteria are used to define it, as the term is subjective and may be understood differently. As far as I am concerned, the most significant indicator of the quality of life is happiness, which is also subjective and depends on a numerous list of various aspects. However, happiness could be relatively measured by an individual on their own, depending on their values and goals.
I do agree that some people may need objective meaning to feel contented with life, but I also believe that most people do not view unraveling existential mysteries as to their primary life priority. Furthermore, according to Habermas (2008) “taking for granted the process of evolution again begs the subject of the ultimate origin of the process” (822). Even though he uses the statement in defense of theists, it actually represents a counterargument for both atheists and people of faith. When it comes to the issue of happiness and a “good” life, it does not really matter what to believe as neither science nor religion is able to fully solve a potential existential crisis.
Also, many individuals may develop their own, subjective meaning of life, which corresponds with their moral norms, values, and goals. I believe that subjective life meaning might serve its purpose even better than any variation of objective ones, as it is more suitable for a particular individual.
The problem of determination between good and evil is one of the most ancient philosophical dilemmas. There are those who believe that it is impossible to set criteria for good or bad deeds, and the others tend to insist on the existence of objective good and evil. According to my conclusions, the problem of evil may only be solved on the subjective level, regardless of God’s existence.
Craig (n.d.) states that “if God does not exist and there is no immortality, then all the evil acts of men go unpunished and all the sacrifices of good men go unrewarded”. There are several reasons why I think such a linkage of concepts is not necessarily true. Firstly, in my opinion, concepts of afterlife torture and rewards devalue all the efforts of being a good person as evil deeds are not done only in fear of punishment. Secondly, such ideas are similar to the operation principle of moral standards and legislation, the only difference is that these norms are created by society and do not come from the gods. Moreover, there is no reliable proof of the divine origin of religious understanding of evil. Therefore, the problem of evil is subjective and is not determined by the existence of God unless it is supported with evidence.
Craig, W. L. (n.d.). The absurdity of life without God. Reasonable Faith. Web.
Habermas, G. R. (2008). The plight of the new atheism: A critique. Habermas. Web.
Thomas, T. (2018). Suffering: Richard Dawkins contra Jesus. Moral Apologetics. Web.