My holiday piece in the Wall Street Journal‘s “Houses of Worship” column argued that too many intellectuals had fallen for an atheism that was more narrative than argument, a tide of feeling rather than a point of reason:
The physicist Stephen Hawking, who publicly confirmed his atheism in 2014, doesn’t believe that God is needed to explain creation. “The laws of gravity and quantum theory allow universes to appear spontaneously from nothing,” he explained. The philosopher Roger Scruton, writing in this newspaper, thoroughly undid this argument simply by asking, “But what created the laws of physics?” Such an obvious flaw in Mr. Hawking’s reasoning should have been clear to anyone who wasn’t being carried off on the skeptical tide of the times.
Nowhere did I argue that God’s existence was proved or provable, merely that the tide of skeptical opinion was washing good minds into bad arguments with potentially disastrous consequences. In today’s letter section, no less than five letters appear, all attacking me, several disputing arguments I didn’t make:
Mr. Klavan confidently asserts that disbelief in a higher power begets materialism, immorality and the inability to differentiate right from wrong.
Mr. Klavan’s unspoken presupposition is that everything must have a cause. Everything, that is, except for whatever god Mr. Klavan believes created the universe.
And all of them, in my humble opinion, both intelligent and, at the same time, logically unsound:
Morality identifies the principles of proper interpersonal behavior and is persuasive only when they are determined rationally, from the facilitation of human life on Earth. Although not the goal of this standard, individual liberty is a pretty quick implication and does not require a particular religious belief . . . or one at all.
Which sort of proves my point!