The Necessity of Atheism (Brooks)/Chapter IV
It is better to bury a delusion and forget it than to insult its memory by retaining the name when the thing has perished. F. H. Bradley
A thousand miraculous happenings have been honoured by the testimony of the ancients, which in later times under a more exacting and sceptical scrutiny can no longer be believed. Inherent in man's nature is his disposition to be gulled. ... Emotion is encouraged to supplant cool reason, fanaticism to supplant tolerance. Not by such means can our race be saved. Llewelyn Powys
Our interplanetary visitor is firmly convinced that all religion, no matter what its antiquity or its modernity may be, is an invention of our groping earthly minds. It occurs to him that it would be interesting and proper 'to lay aside all theology, all creed, all the superficial trappings placed by man about his conceptions of a deity, and consider only the basic God-idea. The literature on the subject revealed to him that even on this broad and basic principle not all religionists were agreed. He found a threefold classification:
(1) Those who held to the belief in an anthropomorphic personal God who was benevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent.
(2) Those who saw in the constitution of our universe an impersonal Supreme Power, who had created the universe, but who had not given us any revelation, and thus has no need for worship by prayer and sacrifice.
(3) Those who very recently conceived of the deity as a "cosmic force," an "ultimate," or as a mathematical or physical law. Such are the hypotheses of Jeans and Eddington. The Martian set about, therefore, with the principle that, "God is a hypothesis, and as such, stands in need of proof."
(1) The belief in a personal God: The Martian, as our guest, had by this time had ample opportunity to survey our civilization, and to acquaint himself with the things with which God in His goodness had endowed His earthly children. A proponent of a personal God informs him that his deity is an infinite personal being of consciousness, intelligence, will, good, unity, and Beauty; the Supreme, the infinite personality, who was loving, benevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient. Like the American from Missouri, the visitor hastened to see for himself the marvelous workings of such an exalted being, for surely such a being, with such attributes as he was credited with, would certainly be in an excellent position to bestow great gifts upon his earthly children.
The Martian is informed that the vast majority of our inhabitants, no matter what their geographical distribution may be, are suffering from a "financial depression" brought on by the last World War. War and cruelty are synonymous in the mind of our seeker for God; and immediately, there arises a conflict between the conception of an omnipotent, all-wise and loving God and one who would permit war and cruelty. Fearing that he has not comprehended the meaning of an omnipotent being, he turns to the lexicon for verification, only to learn that it means an all-powerful being. How, then, could an omnipotent being permit wholesale and private murder? Is He not rather a demon than a God? On the other hand, if this being is not omnipotent, then He is a useless god, and there is no need for all the fears which religion breeds, no need for creed and worship. Every war, particularly this last one, is an indictment of God. "God's in His Heaven, all's right with the world," is seemly only to minds drugged with an irrational creed.
"If there is a God, he is quite careless of human well-being or human suffering. The deaths of a hundred thousand men mean no more to him than the deaths of a hundred thousand ants. A couple of million men locked in a death struggle on the battle-field is only a replica of the struggle that has been going on in the animal world throughout time. If there be a God, he made, he designed all this. He fashioned the hooks for the slaughter, the teeth for the tearing, the talons for destruction, and man with his multiplied weapons of destruction has but imitated his example. A world without God, and in which humanity is gradually learning the way to better things, is, an inspiration to renewed effort after the right. A world such as this, with God, is enough to drive insane all with intelligence enough to appreciate the situation." (Chapman Cohen: "War, Civilization and the Churches."}
When the Martian investigated the annals of the World War he found, despite the opportunities Providence had had of showing its benevolence, the affair of the sinking of the Lusitania, the torpedoing of hospital ships, vessels that were not engaged in fighting but in bringing home wounded men who had fought in "God's Cause." He found descriptions of the slaughter of men and women and children in air raids, and he naturally concludes that the "providence of God" is an insult to the earthly intelligence.
Greatly disturbed, he picks up one of our newspapers and the stories of hate and racial antagonism rear their ugly heads. These, together with jealousy and fear, seem to him to be the outstanding features of our attitudes. A benevolent, loving, omnipotent father, guiding our destinies, yet allowing such monstrosities to exist! The conundrum grows deeper as he proceeds.
It is a bright day, and the Martian is aware of a headache brought on by the effort to understand the ways of earthlings, and therefore decides to drive through the city streets. Yet this drive affords him no relaxation, for on every side two diametrically opposed sights meet his keen eyes luxury and poverty. Poverty and starvation, yet the Lord's Prayer : "Our Father which art in Heaven, give us this day our daily bread!" No Martian father would allow his children to starve; if he did, the law would fine him and imprison him. Since these earthlings are neglected by their Heavenly Father, and are powerless to indict him, the least they could do would be to stop paying tribute to him. If the God of these earthlings bothers not about them, why should they trouble about God? The Son of God who could once create a miraculous batch of fish to satisfy a few fishermen, can do nothing to help these starving millions! Aloud he muses, "Is there no place on Earth which is free from this contradiction?"
His automobile happens to stop in front of an immense edifice marked "Hospital," and his curiosity is sufficiently aroused to cause him to alight and enter. The physician in charge courteously asks his distinguished visitor to inspect this refuge for those suffering with pain. He remembers that a religionist had told him that disease is a visitation of the Lord for our sins, in the same breath with which he had added that the Lord was loving and compassionate. If that were so, then this was the ideal place to witness the infinite goodness and compassion of the Creator of all earthlings. But, the first scene to meet his gaze was that of a woman in childbirth. The torture, the excruciating pain, and the mental anguish of the human female before his eyes, defied his Martian power of expression. This process of birth, it was explained to him, was not a pathological one, nor a disease, but a physiological function. To this, the Martian could not refrain from replying, "From your own words, Doctor, it is readily understood that your women experience a torture more acute, more nerve-wracking, and of longer duration than your Jesus experienced during his crucifixion. And your world commiserates and sheds oceans of tears when they contemplate the anguish of Jesus on the cross; but no mention is made of the agony which is the fate of every woman who brings, another human being into this 'best of worlds.'"
"But, my dear Martian," exclaims the physician, "the Heavenly Father has ordained that in anguish shall woman bring forth her young." The other deliberated on the compassion of the Benevolent Father in silence, and continued on his rounds through the hospital.
Nearby was the crib containing a baby of a few days, suffering with a congenital heart disease. The infant's lips were blue, so was the body blue, and the gasping for breath and heaving of the small chest were pitiful to behold.
"This infant," nonchalantly remarked the physician, "was born with a greatly defective heart. It will live for a few days, it will thirst for air, it will have intense air-hunger, the lungs will fill with fluid and then it will drown in its own secretions."
The Martian recalled the time he had plunged under the water and remained there too long; vividly, he remembered the thirst for air, the seeming bursting of the lungs, the compression, and vise-like grip of the muscles of the throat and chest, and he could not help exclaiming, "Benevolent, Compassionate Being!"
The physician continued, "This child," pointing to a beautiful, robust boy of ten years, "was in perfect health, until he fell in the street and received a minor cut which the parents treated with home remedies, but which in a few days was diagnosed as Tetanus." And the doctor went on to explain that the compassion of the Lord is great when this occurs, for the child gets convulsions, the jaws become locked, and beads of cold sweat stand out on the child's forehead in his anguish; the convulsions increase in severity and in duration so that finally they are continuous and the child lies with the heels and back of the head only touching the bed, the rest of the body is arched. The convulsions then become so severe that the body is so bent backwards at times that the head and trunk touch the heels. The misery of such a child is sufficient to cause a physician, to lose his reason. Again the Martian murmurs, "Verily, the compassion of the Lord is beyond understanding."
The child in the next bed had just become paralyzed by an attack of poliomyelitis (infantile paralysis). The Martian observes how the Lord in His compassion saved a certain number of these children upon whom he vents His anger for their sins, by inflicting upon them this hideous disease. He saves their lives, but to serve as an everlasting reminder, as a covenant between them and their Lord, He paralyzes their limbs. The spectacle of these children attempting to move, making intense effort to move paralyzed limbs, was the most revolting and heart-breaking sight that he had ever witnessed. This time, too, the Martian remarked, "Verily, the Lord in His infinite wisdom and goodness strange tasks does perform."
The physician then informed him of the many men and women who have died of cancer. A large number of these individuals had reached a period in life where they could just afford to relax from their struggles for mere sustenance; men and women who had reached a calm lake after journeying through troubled and tortuous waters; who had fought the "good fight," and had won the just reward of resting after their labors. But no, the Lord must trouble them for their sins.
A group of these sufferers is shown to the Martian, and the normal course of this disease is explained. This time all he can do is to protest that he firmly asserts that not one of our savage chiefs, even were he of the most primitive tribe, of the cruelest imagination, of the most base and insane nature, would nor could conceive of such torture as the Loving Father conceived when he decided upon cancer as a visitation for our sins. The roasting of a witch alive is but a mere trifle compared to the long-drawn-out agony, the slow wasting, the anguish of a cancer patient watching himself sink to death. And when death mercifully releases this sufferer from his hellish torture the preacher murmurs, "Lord, thy will be done."
The Martian talks for a few moments with a sufferer from this disease and ascertains that the latter is a devout and true religionist, that he has been a good, moral church-goer, and has lived strictly according to the tenets of his creed, that he firmly and passionately believes that he has lived so that he will merit the reward of heaven, an everlasting sojourn in a land where there is no pain and suffering. And yet, this devout religionist, when he was informed that he had an incurable cancer, traveled the length and breadth of his land, from one surgeon to another, allowing himself to be cut to pieces, in order that he might remain on this earth. but a moment longer. To stay and suffer the tortures of the damned when he might go to heaven and get his reward in the land where there is no pain!
"I wonder," mused the Martian, "did the grim spectre of death finally instill a grain of scepticism into his mind?" Later, in the quiet of his chambers, he reviews the day's impressions—cruelty, hate, fear, jealousy, racial antagonism, poverty, luxury, disease, pain, superstition, church, religion, and intolerance.
"If we suppose that the universe is the creation of an Omnipotent and Benevolent God, it becomes necessary to ask how pain and evil arise. Pain and evil are either real or unreal. If they are real then God, who, being omnipotent, was bound by no limitations and constrained by no necessities, willfully created them. But the being who willfully creates pain and evil cannot be benevolent. If they are unreal, then the error which we make when we think. them real is a real error. There is no doubt that we believe we suffer. If the belief is erroneous, then it follows that God willfully called falsehood into existence and deliberately involved us in unnecessary error. It follows once again that God cannot be benevolent.
"If we regard pain and evil as due to the wickedness of man and not as the creation of God, we are constrained to remember that man himself is one of God's creations (God being conceived as all creative), and received his wickedness, or his capacity for it, from whom? If we say that man had no wickedness to begin with but willfully generated wickedness for himself, we have to face the double difficulty of accounting for: (a) How man, who is an emanation from God, can will with a will of his own which is not also a piece of God's will; and (b) how a benevolent God could, assuming pain and evil to be a purely human creation, deliberately allow them to be introduced into a world that knew them not, when it was open to Him to prevent such introductions." (C. E. M. Joad, "Mind and Matter")
He had seen that crime and immorality exist now, just as they had existed before the belief in one personal God, and just as they promise to exist beyond our time. He had scrutinized evidence revealing the incontestable fact that most criminals were religious, and absolutely and proportionately, a smaller number of criminals were non-believers in a personal deity. Judging by these alone, a belief in a benevolent, loving, omniscient, omnipotent, and compassionate Being could not be sustained. Furthermore, if such a God ever existed, he certainly would have revealed his true religion to the first man, Adam. If he required prayer to satisfy his vanity, he surely would have told Adam how, when, why, and where to pray. Then again, once having neglected to inform his first model about all this, since He is omnipotent, he would certainly have instilled into the minds of men "the" true creed so that no doubt could have ever entered into any one's mind. What a universe of suffering He would have saved!
The Martian is aware that a great number of earthlings hold that every event must have a cause, therefore the Universe must have had a cause, which cause was God. Everything as it now exists in the universe is the result of an infinite series of causes and effects. Everything that happens is the result of something else that happened previously and so On backwards to all eternity. Applying this reasoning that everything is the effect of some cause, and that a cause is the effect of some other causes, the theists work back from effect to cause and from cause to effect until they reach a First Cause. By predicating a First Cause, however, the theist removes the mystery a stage further back. This First Cause they assume to be a cause that was not caused and this First Cause is God. Such a belief is a logical absurdity, and is an example of the ancient custom of creating a mystery to explain a mystery. If everything must have a cause, then the First Cause must be caused and therefore: Who made God ? To say that this First Cause always existed is to deny the basic assumption of this "Theory." Moreover, if it is reasonable to assume a First Cause as having always existed, why is it unreasonable to assume that the materials of the universe always existed? To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy.
The effect noted in any particular case is not of necessity related to a single cause, and science gives no assurance that causes and effects can be traced backward to a simple First Cause. A man is so unfortunate as to contract pneumonia. What is the cause? An infection of the respiratory tract by the pneumococcus. It is not quite so simple as to ultimate causation. The person afflicted was harboring these germs in his nose and. throat, and his resistance was weakened by wetting his feet. The day was cold and his shoes were thin. The humidity and temperature were such that rain fell. The temperature and humidity were caused by air currents hundreds of miles distant from the scene, and so ad infinitum. In this series of complications where may we discern a first cause? When applied to the much more difficult problem of physical phenomena, we can conceive of an endless cycle of causes, but we cannot conceive of a First Cause. "Cause and effect are not two separate things, they are the same thing viewed under two separate aspects. ... If cause and effect are the expressions of a relation, and if they are not two things, but only one, under two aspects, 'cause' being the name for the related powers of the factors, and 'effect' the name for their assemblage, to talk, as does the theist, of working back along the chain of causes until we reach God, is nonsense." (Chapman Cohen: "Theism or Atheism")
A great many theists attempt to deduce the existence of an invisible creator and ruler of the universe from the visible features of nature such as the design, regularity of movement and structure, and the various aspects of beauty which one may find in studying natural objects. This argument from design in nature has been overruled by a study of the evolutionary processes. Paley based his argument on the assertion of a mind behind phenomena, the workings of which could be seen in the forms of animal life. The 'theists no longer use Paley's original arguments, but a great deal of the theistic arguments are still based on his assumptions. From the humanistic point of view, and the theist bases his entire arguments from design in nature from the humanistic view, an understanding of the merciless character of organic evolution shows clearly that the forces at work in nature are full of waste, there are numerous plans that are futile, there is an unrelenting preying of one form of life upon the other, and it is not always the "higher" form that is victor; there are myriads of living organisms coming to life only to perish before reaching an age at which they can play their part in the perpetuation of the species ; and there is a universe of pain and misery that serves no useful purpose. The impartial eye of science observes ugliness as well as beauty, disorder as well as order, in nature. If there is evidence of design in a rose, there is at least as much evidence of design in the tubercle bacillus, and the tetanus bacillus. Whatever in nature produced the peacock produced the itch-mite; whatever produced man produced the spirochete of syphilis. If this earth is evolving for the better, the past is still vivid in all its cruelty. The old and familiar argument from design and beauty in nature is so inconsistent with the facts at hand, that most theists have abandoned this attitude, and the retreat from this position has been turned into a veritable rout by the steady advance of scientific knowledge. God could by exercising His omnipotence reveal His existence with overpowering conviction at any moment; yet, men have been searching for centuries for just the slightest evidence of His presence.
The Martian, moreover, holds that the entire argument is irrelevant, for even if he grants that there is a supernatural being that fashions that which we behold at work in the universe, how can we say that he designed all this without first knowing what his intention was? Only by knowing the intention in the mind of a supernatural being before the act, can we infer that something was designed. When the theist finds intention and design in nature he is but reading his own feeling and desires into nature. Considering the universe as a whole, the Martian fails to find anything that suggests a conscious -and purposive god, and certainly nothing to suggest a being that considers the welfare of man. The individual is not much interested in God as manifested in nature, what he is vainly seeking is God as Providence; he is seeking an intelligence that his clergy tell him is devoted to his welfare, an intelligence that will guide his stumbling efforts, that will relieve him from war and misery, that will shield the innocent from pain and poverty. He finds that his clergy cannot point to one clear trace of the action of God in human affairs. In the whole long record of man's career the finger of God cannot be found pointing to one well-substantiated fact.
The Martian considers the theistic argument that it would be impossible to have an orderly universe merely resulting from the inherent properties of natural forces, and that "directivity" is necessary to keep the universe on its present track. Keeping in mind the scientific conception of the universe and the knowledge at hand concerning the atoms and their properties, it is inconceivable that any other arrangement than the present one should have resulted. The Martian cannot marvel as most earthlings do that the present order exists as it does; the marvel to him would be if any other order should be or that any radical alteration in it should occur. He perceives that the state of the universe at any moment is the result of all the conditions then prevailing, and that the natural forces possess the capacity to produce the universe as we see it. It matters not what the ultimate nature of these forces may be, electrons, protons, electricity, or wave energy; these material forces possess the capacity to produce the universe as we see it. If these forces do not possess this capacity it is indeed difficult for the Martian to conceive in what way even a "directing and supreme mathematician" an "ultimate," or any supernatural power however designated could produce this capacity. Unless the capacity for producing the universe as we see it existed in the atoms themselves, no amount of direction could have produced it. The property of the atom and its combinations to produce the material universe is therefore inherent in the atoms themselves and does not necessitate the operation of a deity. The order manifest in the universe is the necessary consequence of the persistence of force. If a supernatural, intelligent force existed, the Martian believes that the claims of the theist could in no way be better substantiated than if this controlling force would in some way manifest an inhibitive influence and prevent certain things occurring which would have transpired but for his interference. Such manifestations have not occurred. It is impossible for the theist to show any instance in which the normal consequences of known forces did not transpire in which the aberration could not be accounted for by the operation of other known forces.
A "law" of nature is not a statute drawn up by a legislator; it is the interpretation and the summation which we give to the observed facts. The phenomena which we observe do not act in a particular manner because there is a law; but we state the "law" because they act in that particular manner. It cannot be said that the laws of nature are the result of a lawmaker; it cannot be affirmed that a supreme intelligence told things in nature to act just that way and no other. If the theist claims that a supreme intelligence issued laws for his own pleasure and without any reason, then he must admit that there is something which is not subject to law and the train of natural law is interrupted. If it is claimed that a supreme intelligence had a reason for the laws which he gave, the reason being to create the best possible universe, then it follows that God himself was subject to law and there is no advantage in introducing God as an intermediary. This contention would make it appear that there is a law outside and anterior to the divine edicts, and God does not serve the purpose of the theist since he is not the ultimate lawgiver.
The anthropomorphic conception of God, our Martian finds, is now denied by most cultured theists; nevertheless, they still maintain a belief in a deity endowed with consciousness. Professor H. N. Wieman states that, "God is superhuman, but not supernatural. He is a present, potent, operative, observable reality ... He is more worthy of love than any other beloved ... He is one to whom men can pray and do pray, and who answers prayer." This can be understood to be not greatly removed from the fundamentalists' conception of God, but when he continues to say, "God is that interaction between individuals, groups, and ages which generates and promotes the greatest possible mutuality of good," and "it responds to prayer and is precisely what answers prayer, when prayer is answered," the personal "He" has suddenly changed to the unpersonal "It." Emotions and intelligence are connected with nerve structures in all sentient beings that we have experience and knowledge of. How can we attribute these qualities to a being who is described to us as devoid of any nerve structure?
In former ages the theist saw God in the color and construction of a flower, in the starry heavens, and in a sunset or sunrise. The biologists have driven the theists from this misconception, the physicists have explained the phenomena of sunset and sunrise, and with the advance of astronomy the heavens no longer proclaim the glory of God, and the theistic arguments have shifted from worlds to atoms. At the present moment the vision of God has narrowed down to a perception of the divine intelligence noted in the design of the atom. Astronomy, physics, geology, chemistry, medicine, psychology, ethics, aesthetics, and the social sciences have left no room for a theistic explanation of the universe. The mystics who proclaim God in their intuitive trances are being crowded out into the light of reason by the researches of psychologists. There are still many gaps in our knowledge, and if the theist persists in finding the manifestation of a supreme being in these vague zones of our present ignorance, he is at the mercy of the science of the future. Science is concerned with mind as much as it is with the material aspects of atoms and stars, hence the sciences of psychology, ethics, and aesthetics. The entire universe is the province of science and it is rapidly providing a scientific interpretation of all the contents of the universe. It may well be a few more centuries before the scientific explanation is partially complete, but it must be kept in mind that science as we conceive the term is less than 2500 years old, and out of this infantile period, at least 1000 years must be deducted for the intellectual stagnation of the dark ages.
In tracing the retreat of the clergy from the arguments from the First Cause, the arguments from design, causation, and directivity, the Martian recalls the words of Vivian Phelips, "How is it that God allowed earnest and learned divines to commit themselves to arguments in proof of His existence; the subsequent overthrow of which has been a potent cause for unbelief?"
"The finite mind cannot expect to understand the Infinite," retorts a theist to our Martian. "What manner of reasoning is this," asks our Martian, "that denies my finite mind the right to question the 'proofs' of the existence of an Infinite, when these same 'proofs' are derived by finite minds? The theist cannot infer God from the cosmic process until he can discover some feature of it which is unintelligible without him."
(2) The belief in a deity, but the rejection of revelations, theology, priestcraft, and church.
To the Martian the. opinion held by these individuals presented two difficulties. First, if the adherents of this hypothesis considered their deity as a providence which took an active part in the life of this world, then the objections heretofore stated against belief in a personal god are still valid. Secondly, if they considered this being as only a creator, who then leaves this world to its own resources, they are only assuming a philosophical existence behind phenomena. Such a being, they believe, they deduce intellectually. But actually who created this creator? They assume a god who remains always hidden behind phenomena, but such a god has no connection with the God that the religious man worships and to whom he prays for guidance and for blessings, for actual interference in the life of this world. Such theories impress our visitor as but a feeble attempt at new concepts of the same hypothetical deity, and it seemed to him that we already had sufficient ideas of God to trouble our earthly minds.
(3) The god of the Physicists.
According to Eddington, "Phenomena all boil down to a scheme of symbols, of mathematical equations." He admits that this mathematics of nature does not explain anything. They do not define reality, they only define the relations that exist between the phenomena of reality. So far does he go, and then his limited mind, our Martian perceives, meets an obstacle that he cannot explain. He, therefore, abandons the formula and returns to the human mind which has conceived this formula. From the "spiritual essence of Man's nature," he assumes the spiritual nature of the cosmos itself, which he finds in what religion has known for centuries as God. To him, it is impossible to explain the universe except in terms of spirit.
Professor Jeans insists that in the equations which reveal the relations between phenomena, there may reside also the revelation of the ultimate which these phenomena express. He believes that there may exist "a great architect of the universe who is a pure mathematician."
However, the Martian argues, "Is it not a fact that in your earthly experience, you have created your gods in your own image? Your savages created God in the only fashion their mental capacities could supply, in the shape of an idol; now the modern physicist creates his god in the light of his own intimate vision, which is that of a mathematician! This is just another attempt to formulate an hypothetical existence of a supernatural being."
The theologians, by this time thoroughly aroused, lay down a verbal barrage, and learned Jesuits place before the visitor a recent publication entitled, "The Question and Answer" by Hilaire Belloc. The author, acting as the mouthpiece of the Roman Catholic Church, attempts to prove two things: namely, whether God is, and that the witness to Revelation is the Roman Catholic Church. Were it not for the fact that the work was published by permission of the Church, one could logically suppose from its arguments that the author was attempting to give the answer, "No," to the question propounded, as to whether God is. There is one sentence, however, to which the Martian agrees: this one, "But religions, though not very numerous, considering the vast spaces of time over which we can study them, and the vast number of millions to which they apply, differ and contradict each other; on which account, any one approaching this problem for the first time, and being made acquainted at the outset with the variety of religions, would naturally conclude that every religion is man-made, and every religion an illusion."
On reading the opening remarks, the Martian exclaims, "This earthling plainly tells us at the beginning that he will make his theories fit in with his conclusion! He informs us that he does not seek the truth, no matter where it may lead, but he only deems it necessary to fit ideas, no matter how distorted, in order that the final conclusion will simulate what he deliberately sets out to prove."
Mr. Belloc's statement, "How many men will agree that wanton cruelty, treason to family or the state, falsehood for private gain, breach of faith, are admirable?" strikes the Martian as absurd when viewed in the light of the historical annals of the Church itself. Mr. Belloc's creed must have considered these very vices as virtues, judging from the actions of his Church.
In calling the Roman Catholic Church the witness to revelation, the author continues with, "Yet, that it should suffer from men's hatred and persecution." If God has divinely ordained this institution as His Church on earth, and in His omnipotence and omniscience allows this Church to be hated, then how do the religionists assume that their god is a god of love? The author tells "us that He is a god of hate, such a god as was conceived of by the barbarians and the Hebrews cruel, vengeful, and monstrous. Does not this apologist confuse his god with his devil? Then again, has it not occurred to this apologist that he is in all futility attempting to prove something which is a contradiction within itself? If God is, and is benevolent, is it not logical to assume (since the theologians assume all sorts of attributes to this deity) that he would not have constructed the minds of men when He created them so as to desire to doubt His being; would not have tortured the minds of men with cruel doubt as to His existence?
If He is omnipotent, it would have been just as easy to instill into the minds of men only the strongest desire to believe in His reality ; and even that would not be necessary had He so arranged matters that by His everlasting presence He would reveal Himself or His deeds to man in, such a conclusive manner that even the feeblest of intellects could not doubt His existence.
If He is omniscient, as the parable asserts, that not a hair falls from the head of man, not a sparrow dies without His knowledge, it must therefore be apparent that He created man with the foreknowledge that man would doubt His existence. This is a contradiction in itself.
The Martian notes that in the entire length of the work,not a reference is made to the time-worn theological defense, "the revelation" which the Church has always claimed for its scriptures.
Appended as an afterthought, as an apology, as it were, for the philosophical defense and not the theological, the Jesuit father reminds the reader of its messiah, Jesus and the New Testament. The Jesuit states, "The New Testament writings, considered merely as trustworthy historical documents, inform us that " but at this point the Martian interrupted the speaker, for the audacity of any learned man terming the New Testament writings "historical" was beyond his comprehension. It brought forcibly to his attention the great change which the apologies for the Church had undergone, and the new methods which they assumed. The old theological defense of the deity was gone; not even philosophy was deemed strong enough support for the present day. How the Church had fallen! The Church which had persecuted, anathematized, burned, and tortured the scientist, the geologist, the astronomer, the geographer, the biologist, the chemist, and the physician; this same Church in its last extremus, casts aside theology as its weapon and its appeal to the minds of the sceptics whom they aim to convert. The Church casts aside its own theology, having learned by bitter experience and recanting of opinions, bulls, and infallible statements by infallible popes, and now succumbs to the opinions it has formerly anathematized. In the present age the Church calls science to its aid, and utterly disregards its obsolete theology which it still practices, and attempts, by means of the misinterpretation of scientific facts and statements of a few men such as Eddington and Jeans, to force science into some illogical and unscientific concordance with the conception of a supreme being.
Ironically it occurs to the Martian that the shades of Hypatia, Bruno, Galileo, Copernicus, Vanini, Darwin, and the vast numbers of Waldenses, Albigenses, Huguenots, Jews, and the victims of the Inquisition and the Witch Hunt, must, as they contemplate the present tactics of that Holy Institution, the Church, find some consolation in the depths of that hell to which the Church consigned them. The Martian logically deduces that by employing science for its defense, the Church admits the impotence of "divine revelation," in this age, to convince even its own adherents of the problematical existence of a divine being. Theology is no longer recognized as authoritative even by theologians!
Will the theologians now discard their theology based on the supernatural, and build a system of theology based on science? Is this all that is left to the theologian: that he must use the pitiful "Theology of Gaps"? That is, wherever there are gaps in scientific knowledge, the theologians insert their idea of God! This is but the replacing of the question mark with a meaningless label.