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The View From Nowhere

August 26, 2017    |    PASTOR ZACHARY PUDLO
 
 
If you are an active member of a Christian community you have probably heard many stories about different people’s conversion stories. The stories are often uplifting and memorable not only for the converted individual, but also for fellow Christians. Interestingly, for every conversion story there is probably just as many deconversion stories. I ran across one such story the other day which really stuck with me. A woman who grew up Christian began to face some difficult questions regarding why she was a Christian. These questions led her down a path of research and a quest for truth. What follows is her conclusion after going down a twisted and winding path of disinformation in a quest for truth:
 
So pretty quickly I decided that my best course of action from that point on was to stick with science. It’s not perfect but more than anything else out there it seeks out evidence and makes that its highest goal. No wishing, no hoping, no faith, no manipulation, no using people’s feelings to convince them of anything. No ancient books, no loyalty to ancient wisdom if it doesn’t hold up, no praying, no ceremonies … nothing is sacred … except truth.
 
Exclusive Rationality
This woman makes a pretty bold claim, doesn’t she? She is claiming that science has the sole possession of what is true. She goes on in other posts to claim that she is an Atheist and that there is no God. When one makes the claim that there is no god, or that there is a God, they are basing their claim one one of two things. They are claiming that 1) they have a view from outside of all reality and can see all things including whether or not there is a God, or 2) their claim is based on faith and not on proof. There really aren’t any other options. When one makes that bold of a claim they are making a claim of either knowing ultimate reality or simply having a faith.

 

But there’s a problem with this woman’s conclusion. Tim Keller says it well in Making Sense of God, “Behind many of these (deconversion) stories lies a deeper narrative, that religious persons are living by blind faith, while secular nonbelievers in God are grounding their position in evidence and reason.” Many secular people refuse to explore the claims of Christianity because they assume Christians base their lives on pure faith, while they base their lives on truth and reason. That’s far from the truth.

 

There are some unresolved issues that come along with the claim that there is no god. First off, there is no proof of this. Even Richard Dawkins, one of the most outspoken atheists said this in an interview and echoes this in his book
The God Delusion: “I can’t be sure God does not exist… On a scale of seven, where one means I know he exists, and seven I know he doesn’t, I call myself a six… That doesn’t mean I’m absolutely confident, that I absolutely know, because I don’t.” Dawkins is an atheist that many other atheists look to as their leader, and even he says he doesn’t know for certain that there is no God.
 
The other unresolved issue with claiming there is no God, is that there is no answer to some of the most foundational questions for existence as a whole. Many atheists make the claim that Christianity is a cop-out religion because when it doesn’t have the answer to an extremely foundational question about existence, it’s only answer is “because God says so”. However, despite its heavy critique of Christianity, Atheism doesn’t have the answers to some extremely foundational questions as well. In The New Atheism and the Erosion of Freedom Robert Morey makes the point that Atheism doesn’t have the answer to how the following occurred:    
  • Everything ultimately came from nothing.
  • Order came from chaos.
  • Harmony came from discord.
  • Life came from nonlife.
  • Reason came from irrationality.
  • Personality came from nonpersonality.
  • Morality came from amorality.
These are some extremely foundational questions that relate to every human being on earth and their subsequent purpose. And if science doesn’t have the answer to these questions, then clearly it isn’t the arbiter of absolute truth. In short, there really is no “view from nowhere”. There is no way to place oneself outside of reality so as to have a view of all that is true. This includes Atheism.
 
Vulnerable Truth
The truth is that we all have faiths. Whether Atheist or Theists, we all have beliefs based on assumptions. While that is a similarity between Atheists and Theists, the biggest difference is what the object of our faith is. The object of a Christian’s faith is a God who alone has “the view from nowhere”.
 
This God who has the “view from nowhere” is the object of our faith. That is possibly the scariest thing and the most comforting thing all in one. It’s the scariest thing because he is outside of everything which means he sees everything. He foresaw all the wickedness of mankind, the way humans turn their backs on him and put their faith in everything but him. He sees the deepest darkest secrets of our hearts, every wicked idea, every narcissistic selfish notion. He sees the crimes of the future. It’s scary to think that there is an all knowing all powerful creator out there who knows every wickedness of every heart. He has every power and capability to start fresh…to create a people who don’t turn away from him. We are vulnerably laid out for him to see us through and through.
 
And yet having this God who has a “view from nowhere” is still the most comforting thought at the same time. Despite the failures of human beings to treat him as God, despite our turning away from him time and time again, despite the fact that he sees us as we really are, he still loves us. In having his son die in our place God showed that he would rather let his son suffer than let us perish forever. What could be more comforting than knowing that kind of a God is our God. Our hope isn’t in a God who demands morality and devotion. Our hope isn’t in a God who requires payment from us for our failures. Our hope is in a God who sees us for who we are and still lays down his life for us.
 
Conclusion
Yes, Christians will readily admit that we have a faith…a faith that cannot be proven. That’s a truth. But it’s a far different cry than the claim that science is pure and simple fact and the only absolute truth. “Faith.” Maybe that’s not the answer people want to hear, nor is it the rock solid proof some people demand before they dive into Christianity. But it is the honest truth. Christians are honest when we admit that we don’t have “the view from nowhere”. The same cannot be said of those who claim that science is the only absolute truth and has “the view from nowhere”.