“The man who cannot believe his senses, and the man who cannot believe anything else, are both insane, but their insanity is proved not by any error in their argument, but by the manifest mistake of their whole lives. They have both locked themselves up in two boxes, painted inside with the sun and the stars; they are both unable to get out, the one into the health and happiness of heaven, the other even into the health and happiness of the earth.” – G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
“The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.” – Richard Dawkins, River of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life
“You know what? I’ve come to realize I’m Jesus Christ and I can do anything I [expletive] want to and, watch this!” Jett McBride reportedly said last Friday, just moments before he drove into a Pacific Gas and Electric worker, pinning him to his truck.
Modern society is ever more fascinated with mental illness. Whether we’re learning about the latest faddish syndrome on Oprah (and then diagnosing our friends and neighbors) or excusing away the concept of sin via mental predisposition, we are acutely aware of our mental health, almost obsessively aware. We salivate over the conundrums created by Hollywood which glorify mental illness. Hannibal Lecter and Dexter are charming serial-killers and we’re encouraged to root for them as they transcend villain status to anti-hero. Millions watch as scores of tottering B-Listers are herded together into one psych ward so that audiences all across America can peer into the gilt-lined gutters of the rich and famous.
But what about the variety of mental illness from which Richard Dawkins suffers? You see, that is the flip-side of the coin which belongs to the man on the corner who believes he is Napoleon. Dawkins may not believe he is a conquering French general, but he believes something just as preposterous. He believes that he himself does not exist. As illogical as that sounds, this is the ground which atheism is forced to defend. The worldview which insists we cannot believe (or know) anything aside from our senses is just as mentally ill as the worldview which insists that we cannot believe our senses.
Think about how much we take for granted which exists “outside” our physical senses . . . like thought itself. Hope, love, friendship, honor, morality, and knowledge come to mind, as does the concept of self. If there is nothing but “pitiless indifference” then the individual known as Richard Dawkins does not exist. What we think of as Richard Dawkins is simply an amalgamation of physical processes and organs.