“You are the accidental by-product of nature, a result of matter plus time plus chance. There is no reason for your existence. All that awaits you is death.”Summary of a naturalist
The above caption is a great summary of the naturalist approach to reality. Anything that exists does so merely by chance and exists purely without reason, meaning, or cause. This is based on the idea that a perfectly balanced universe has existed in perpetuity for all eternity without cause. This is not far from a religious belief that a perfectly balanced being (God) has existed in perpetuity for all eternity without cause.
Perhaps, in a world where we are unable to determine our origin beyond mere speculation, it would be best to understand the consequences of the paths we first choose to investigate as opposed to only considering how they are investigated.Tweet
There is of course a single key difference between these two statements. The universe existing without cause leaves the products of the universe without cause as well. Humanity, of course, would be a direct product of the universe in this case and, as a result, be left without cause or purpose. The result of this is that humanity is left without a meaningful source of morality. If morality developed naturally as a means of prolongation god the species and ensuring our collaboration and survival, it happened merely by chance and the universe would happily, and unknowingly, churn forward without our existence. In this sense, it simply does not matter if humanity thrives or dies in the grand scheme of things because there would be, quite literally, no grand scheme to be disrupted by our absence.
Additionally, morality without an objective purpose is entirely subjective and one person’s moral code would be no more valid or correct than any other person’s. Think of it this way, if we embrace the claim that morality is only a byproduct of evolution, then it stands to reason that all crime, war, and atrocities committed by humanity are justified in the sense that they were merely a new adaptation of morality attempting to push forward within our species. This makes it difficult to say that it is “wrong” to commit any imaginable act, no matter how gruesome or disgusting it may be.
On the other hand, if we embrace the idea that God has existed in perpetuity for all eternity without cause then we are left with a single question. For what purpose did God consciously decide to create humanity? This is not a claim that evolution is invalid as theistic evolution is not an impossibility. It is merely a question of why God would put in motion any mechanism which would create humanity. From here it is important to evaluate religious history and claims in order to determine if it is possible that God may have already communicated the answer to this question to us. If so, we now have a unified purpose by which to weigh the value of our moral beliefs. This is not to say that morality can still be subjective, but that there would be an external moral code which could be used to guide our own moral principles.
The purpose of this article was not to provide evidence validating either position, but merely to lay out the potential repercussions of each respective position as I see them. Perhaps, in a world where we are unable to determine our origin beyond mere speculation, it would be best to understand the consequences of the paths we first choose to investigate as opposed to only considering how they are investigated.
Hi, I’m James Dusenbery, the Founder/Lead Editor at CanonOfReason.com. I have a deep passion for the Bible and am constantly studying one part or another. In addition to an interest in theology and Christian apologetics, I also love philosophy. My podcast and website merge these interests together to create a unique experience that you will not find anywhere else.