I normally do not do link-fest posts but this discussion is a perfect example of two people arguing the same thing: Man vs God in the Wall Street Journal.
Here is even more from the same perspective: Think again: God by Karen Armstrong
Here is my problem with this perspective (that Man created God thus religion is merely pragmatism): It does not explain morality nor where morality comes from. It assumes that there is truth to their statements without assigning where the truth comes from. If there is no basis for truth, there is no basis for beauty or art. Their assumption depends on what they are throwing away.
In response to the essays presented by Richard Dawkins and Karen Armstrong in “Man Vs. God” (Saturday, September 12), I would add that the combination of Dawkins and Armstrong as presenting two contrary views on the existence of God is in itself a “creative act.” For one, God is a fairy tale and for the other “at least it’s a nice fairy tale.” One may as well have asked Bin Laden to write his thoughts on America and then ask Chavez for a counter perspective. Amazing. Even by today’s media manipulations, that raises the benchmark.
Let me just respond with two thoughts. Dawkins says: “What is so special about life? It never violates the laws of physics.” Let’s grant him that for the moment. But the fact of physics is that however you section physical concrete reality, you end up with a state that does not explain its own existence. Moreover, since the universe does have a beginning and nothing physical can explain its own existence, is it that irrational a position to think that the first cause would have to be something non-physical?
More can be said, but for the sake of brevity may I ask one more question?
The position that both Armstrong and Dawkins would be compelled to concede is that moral categories do exist for us as persons. It is implicit in their writings. So I ask, if personhood is of value and if our personal questions on moral values are of value, then must we not also concede that the value-laden question about intrinsic value for humanity can only be meaningful if humanity is the creation of a person who is of infinite worth to bequeath that value to us as persons?
In other words, our assumptions about our worth and the worthiness of our questions of good and evil cannot be the offspring of Naturalism.
But these are the gaps atheists conveniently ignore. They value their Physics but devalue their Physicist. They are quick to blame a person for evil but are loathe to attribute goodness to the ultimate person.
That is, either our questions are rooted in personal worth or not. If they are, then God must exist. If they are not, then our questions are self-defeating.
That is why G.K. Chesterton said: When belief in God becomes difficult, the tendency is to turn away from him. But in heaven’s name to what? Dawkins and Armstrong are brilliant examples of making something out of nothing but it shows they are borrowing from something that they deny exists.
A spiritual, moral first cause is a reasonable position much more than the questions that smuggle in such realities without admitting it.
Maybe that’s why two brilliant minds, Anthony Flew and more recently A.N. Wilson, left the atheistic fold. They saw the hollow word-games that flew in the face of reality as we also intuitively know it.