Monday, February 21, 2011

Re: Deep Desire

A friend named Mike writes to comment on our post titled Deep Desire:
Great post on the "wish fulfillment" argument. It brought something to mind--a thought first evoked by C.S. Lewis' chapter on hope in Mere Christianity.

I think one very weighty (but sometimes overlooked) piece of evidence that demonstrates the reality of God is the nature of the incorrigible human desire for love, purpose, justice and permanence. Aside from the question of how this desire (or lack thereof) prejudices our theological inquiries, the simple fact that this desire exists and is so tenacious in virtually every person would be utterly senseless if we were only purposeless accidents. Lewis says, ducks have an innate desire for water, there is such a thing as water. People have a desire for food, there is such a thing as bread, etc.

By definition, our innate desires are not implanted by external factors. They are an ontological fact about human beings. And it would be fundamentally irrational if we were to believe that such innate desires corresponded to nothing external to ourselves, but were caused by accidental forces. This would be like looking at an electrical socket on a wall and refusing to believe there is any separate component necessary for the life and function of the socket.

This being the case, any time an atheist begins an argument by saying something like, "Yes it would be nice if there were life after death" or "That's a comforting fairytale to believe there is a God who gives our lives purpose," then he is already undermining his position because the mere fact that we would find comfort in the idea of God and meaning is itself an evidence that God exists.

In order for an atheist to have solid footing from which to even begin his argument, he would need to say, "Life is completely meaningless. We will all die and cease to exist. And that doesn't bother me in the least." But most of them don't talk like that. And the ones who do betray themselves the moment they express sadness or indignation over a perceived tragedy or injustice.
We've mentioned on previous occasions that almost every atheistic view of life contains in it the tacit acknowledgement that we should live as if there were a God. Why is it that naturalism (or atheism) is not able to escape this need for God and sustain an intellectually consistent life on its own terms?

Holding Back Progress

The contretemps in Madison, Wisconsin presages perhaps the most sweeping social revolution in this country since the 1930s. Indeed, it represents a decisive turning away from the 1930s model of Big Government and Big Labor.

Jane McAlevey laments the senescence of the labor union movement and urges progressives to fight on to preserve big Government and Big Labor, i.e. to keep us bound to the twentieth century.

Walter Russell Mead at The American Interest sees in this upheaval, which he argues is absolutely necessary and which will be soon sweeping well beyond Madison, an opportunity to create something entirely new.

Both articles are lengthy but make for very informative reading.

It's noteworthy that one of the left-most writers at Time magazine, Joe Klein, seems to recognize the absurdity of the Democratic "strategy" in Wisconsin. Klein writes:
Isn't it, well, a bit ironic that the protesters in Madison, blocking the state senate chamber, are chanting "Freedom, Democracy, Union" while trying to prevent a vote? Isn't it ironic that the Democratic Senators have fled the democratic process? Isn't it interesting that some of those who--rightly--protest the assorted Republican efforts to stymie majority rule in the U.S. Senate are celebrating the Democratic efforts to stymie the same in the Wisconsin Senate?

An election was held in Wisconsin last November. The Republicans won. In a democracy, there are consequences to elections and no one, not even the public employees unions, are exempt from that. There are no guarantees that labor contracts, including contracts governing the most basic rights of unions, can't be renegotiated, or terminated for that matter.

We hold elections to decide those basic parameters. And it seems to me that Governor Scott Walker's basic requests are modest ones--asking public employees to contribute more to their pension and health care plans, though still far less than most private sector employees do. He is also trying to limit the unions' abilities to negotiate work rules--and this is crucial when it comes to the more efficient operation of government in a difficult time.
It is indeed ironic. Progressives in Wisconsin are holding back the progress that conservatives are trying to unleash.

Ten Charts features ten charts which illustrate the magnitude of our fiscal crisis. Here's one that shows the growth of the national debt from 1940 to the present:
If you go to the site be sure to check out chart #3