SUPPLICANT MOVEMENT PODCAST FOR ATHEISTS AND AGNOSTICS LYRICS
Hi, this is your prophet. Welcome to my series of podcasts as I explore the last testament and how it can transform your life to build a stronger relationship with your Creator, your family, your friends and your community.
I want to take a moment to thank you for downloading this podcast and spending some time with me. This is just one in a continuing series of podcasts, so if this is the first podcast you've ever heard from me, I'd encourage you to start with my very first podcast and not this one. My first podcast gives a brief summary of who I am and what the Last Testament is about. That podcast is available on our website at Godhasevolved.com. Oh, and while you're there, be sure to send me a note and say hello - I'd love to hear from you.
Today's podcast is for my Atheist and Agnostic friends.
This is my podcast for skeptics. Now, this podcast is specifically designed to address people who question the existence of God. If you're already a person of faith, you may not find this podcast useful to you other than on an intellectual basis.
So this is a podcast for skeptics. I want to start out by saying that I'm not going to try and scientifically prove the existence of God. No one can do that. Science is the study of the natural world and God exists outside the natural world, so there will never be any true scientific evidence ever available. And besides: what scientific evidence would a skeptic need to prove God actually exists? Even if God himself appeared in the sky and shouted to everyone on earth: "hey! You guys need to listen to my prophet - he's got some important things you need to pay attention to!" Even if that were to happen, you'd still see the scientific community try to come out and explain it all as some sort of mass-delusion or a hoax or space aliens or whatever. So, I don't really know what a skeptic would call valid evidence of God - I don't even think skeptics would know what they would need to scientifically prove the existence of God.
Since God exists outside the natural world, He can't really be experienced naturally.
It's sort of like if you were born and raised in a city underneath the ocean. And let's say that's all you've ever done for your entire life - hung out in this underwater city and peered out at the fish. And one day a guy comes up to you and tells you about these things called asteroids. Well, you've never seen the sky, much less outer space. In fact, you'd have a hard time even grasping the concept of open space, much less rocks floating around in them. Would you dismiss this guy as delusional simply because the world you are experiencing doesn't have even the basic understanding of infinite space? This is a poor example, I know, but it's a starting point. And that's what I hope to do with this podcast - I want to give you a starting point into understanding what the majority of humanity knows with absolute certainty - and that is that God exists.
So let's start with my favorite definition of a skeptic and that is a skeptic is someone who wants to believe in something, but can't find a reason to. And I think that's pretty true.
I mean, who wouldn't want life to continue after you pass from this world. Who wouldn't want to spend all eternity with friends and family and live in peace and tranquility in the presence of the Creator of the universe. That sounds pretty awesome. I've never met a skeptic who didn't like the idea of life after death, but they're just skeptical because they haven't found compelling evidence to believe that.
For instance, I'm skeptical about leprechauns. I love the idea of leprechauns - mischievous little elves that protect their pots of gold at the end of the rainbow with riddles - but, of course, there is no evidence for their existence. They may actually exist, there's simply no way to prove that they don't exist, but we since we have no evidence of their existence - no photographs, grainy videos, no one's accidently stumbled across their pot of gold in the middle of some Irish meadow - since we don't have any of that, we can conclude that they probably don't exist. So, if someone tells me they saw a leprechaun, I'm going to be a little skeptical about that claim. I'm going to be really, really hopeful that it's true, but I'm going to be skeptical nonetheless. But let me throw this at you: let's say there is some circumstantial evidence available. Let's say that you go on a walk in Ireland right after it rains and stumble across tiny little shoe prints in the ground. And maybe a little further you found an imprint of what looks like some heavy pot was placed in the mud. And let's say around that imprint, you happened to find an actual gold coin. Would this change your mind about the nonexistence of leprechauns? Sure, this isn't hard evidence of their existence, but it would be compelling evidence to at least make you stop and think. For a lot of people, this evidence would be all they need. What if you brought in experts from around the world and they verified that the tiny footprints were made by tiny humans? What if they authenticated the gold coin to be thousands of years old? And the pot imprint could have been actually made by a pot full of gold. What then? Would that make you start to think that leprechauns exist? I'll tell you right now - that'd probably do it for me. And I suspect that would be enough for you as well. Yet, we still don't have hard evidence of their existence. We don't have any photos, or videos or even an actual one on one encounter with one. Yet, despite this, we still can draw the conclusion that they now probably exist.
I bring this up, because skeptics like to use the argument that a belief in God is based on superstition or mythology. A lot of time, you'll hear a skeptics use an argument similar to the one I just gave about leprechauns. They'll state that many people used to believe in leprechauns at one time, but scientific evidence has shown that they probably don't exist. I say "probably" because you can't prove that something like leprechauns' don't exist, you can only prove that they probably don't exist - there's still a miniscule chance that they do exist and we just haven't discovered them yet. Personally, I hope they do exist - the world would be a little more delightful if they existed. But I feel certain that they don't unfortunately.
So the argument that God is like a leprechaun in that there is no evidence of their existence is a common one in the skeptical community. Unfortunately, this is not true. While there is, admittedly, absolutely no evidence of the existence of leprechauns, there is evidence of the existence of God - however, it's circumstantial evidence. In fact, there is a ton of circumstantial evidence all around you that God exists. Now, I'm not going to try and throw the lame argument made by so many persons of faith about how God is all around you and just look at the beauty of the world - that has to be created by a divine power. That's not really evidence. That's just a hypothesis. What I mean is that you can find God all around you, or rather the language of God all around you. When God created the universe, He used a language to setup the rules of the universe. And He used those rules to bring into existence all we know.
Let me give you an example. I have a friend that writes computer programs. And when he's sitting down to write the program he uses a specific language to write that program in. He doesn't just write in English "draw a circle and make that circle move across the screen". No, he has to use a specific language to tell the computer how to draw a circle, what size the circle is, what color that circle is, where it's going to be on the screen when the program starts running, etc. I've seen the language a programmer uses and it's completely strange full of mathematical formulas and odd sentences, but it makes sense to the programmer, and more importantly, it makes sense to the computer. When the programmer finishes writing the program and runs it, you'll see a circle move across the screen.
So the universe was created using a language as well - and that language is mathematics. Mathematics is the universe broken down to its simplest form. Physics, biology - they are all just programs running off the language of mathematics. There's a reason why we always say that math is an international language. Because, regardless of what language you speak, if you have three apples and I take away one, you are still left with two. That applies both here and on the other side of the universe. It applies now, when time began and when time ends. As long as there is a universe 3-1 will always be 2, no matter where or who you are. And everything is mathematics. Every atom and molecule in your body is running based on a mathematical formula all the way up to the way the planets evolve around the sun. If you know the formula, you can predict the behavior. That's how we can predict when a comet will return to our galaxy, and what will happen when you throw a rock in a pool of water. If you understand mathematics, you begin to understand the universe in a profoundly intimate way.
So, okay, mathematics is the language of the universe.
But what's make anyone think that God is the programmer? Well, that can be found in the details. If you sit down with a mathematician or a physicist, they'll tell you about certain rules or laws that are always in place - many of these we take for granted. There are laws in physics concerning motion, gravity, mass etc and in mathematics there are rules using pi, prime numbers, etc. These are considered laws because they are irrefutable facts. No one will ever be able to show that you can divide a prime number into itself, or that objects in motion do not tend to stay in motion. But these seem pretty obvious. But there are some weird laws don't seem so obvious. Take a look at pi - it's an irrational number. It can't be resolved. And there are literally thousands and thousands of mathematical formulas based on pi. Doesn't it seem strange that pi can never be resolved? What about the golden ratio that is found throughout nature and mathematics, yet it you don't hear many people asking "why? Why can't pi be resolved? Why does the golden ratio keep coming up again and again and again throughout creation?" But let's pull back a little more. Let's look at some of the constants in nature - these are facts that if you alter them even slightly, the universe collapses around us. For instance, gravity has a constant that if you change it just a mere fraction of a percentage, there would be no universe. When the big bang occurred and if this gravitational constant wasn't what it is, then the universe would never have had formed planets, stars or eventually life. And no one knows how gravity was assigned this constant. And take a look at the speed of light - light always travels at the same speed. In fact, there are many constants in the universe that appear to be assigned these numbers that work in perfect unison with each other and if you mess with a single one of them, if you alter the value of just one of them, the universe as we know it collapses around us. And I don't mean that the universe would just look different, what I mean is that the universe wouldn't work at all.
Shhh - listen: Are these the tiny footprints in the mud? Is this the gold coin that's thousands of years old?
Now let's take at look at the big bang. We've got a pretty good understanding of when it occurred and what happened microseconds after it began, but we still don't have the answer as to what caused the big bang, do we? Science has got a pretty big dilemma here because the universe works on a series of causes and effects, so if the big bang caused the creation of the universe, what caused the creation of the big bang? If your answer is nature, then where do you find evidence of nature creating itself spontaneously without a cause? Show me where in nature something is created from nothing. Can you? I've heard it suggested that the universe is on an infinite loop of contractions and expansions. But what started the infinite loop? Where in nature do we find example of infinite loops occurring without a starting point? It appears that the only way the big bang could have occurred is if something not bound by nature and it's rules about cause and effect actually flipped the switch to the big bang, doesn't it? So, the obvious question is: if God created the big bang, what created God? The flaw in that question is in the question itself. God doesn't exist as a part of nature so He's not bound by the rules concerning cause and effect. God is supernatural and merely exists outside of time and space. God has always existed and always will.
Hmmm - I think I see an imprint of a pot in the mud over here.
So, you might say, that's great, but what makes anyone think that the Creator of the universe wants us to do good, and follow his rules and to love him?
Ah! That's where we get to the second part of God's language. God's main language is mathematics, but his second language is music.
Or, rather, music is the tone of mathematics. Let me explain.
Language is more than just words. The words convey the message, but it's the tone that tells the listener how to interpret those words - in what context. For instance, if I say "I love you" or "I love you" or even "I love you", even though they are all the same words, they have very different meanings, don't they? So the actual words that are used aren't as important as you might think. In fact, research has shown that the actual words in a message are only about 10% important to that message. The other 90% of the message is conveyed through tone and body language. Novelists run into this problem all the time, that's why they fill their books with lots of descriptive passages in order to let the reader know the tone of the phrase. For instance, if you read: "George said: 'I left the briefcase in my hotel room'" you don't really get a sense about how that passage should be read. Does George say that angrily? Hastily? Sadly? Who knows? But if that passage says "George smiled slyly and said 'I left my briefcase in my hotel room'" now you know the context and tone George makes his statement in. You get a little bit of insight into George's state of mind, don't you?
So if the language of God is mathematics, then music is the tone of God. Music is universal throughout the human experience - it can be found in all races, in every part of the world no matter how remote or isolated that population is from the rest of us. Humans have been making music since the moment they stepped out of the caves and we haven't stopped since.
Music can inspire us, provoke us, enchant us and move us in ways that few other art forms ever achieve. A powerful piece of music can just melt you. And the cool thing is that you are surrounded by music everywhere you go. Have you ever gone a nature walk - away from the city - and just walk and listen, I mean really listen to the sounds of nature. There is a sort of music to it. The songs of the birds, the way the sound of the wind rises and falls through the tree. It's pretty amazing.
So where does this deep connection to music come from? Science is still baffled about why music has this profound effect on humans. We've been studying the effects of music on our brains for a long time, but no one has been able to answer the basic question of Why? Why does music effect the brain so profoundly? We've got lots of data on how the brain is effected by music - the various tiny explosions that pop through our neurons whenever music is played for us - but we've only got some basic hypotheses as to why music effects us the way that it does.
Now the cynics out there listening to this are going to scoff and say that science will eventually answer this question, but isn't that just intellectual laziness? How is that any different to when you point out a scientific fact about evolution to a creationist and they scoff at you and tell you that the devil put that fact in the world to confuse the true believers. In the case of the creationist, he's placing his faith in his religious doctrine, despite facts to the contrary. With my statements about music, I'm pointing out facts despite your faith in science. When this podcast is over, go listen to a song or piece of music that inspires and moves you and then come back and tell me with a straight face that what you're experiencing is just science. If you're honest, you'll have a hard time simply shrugging off the effect of that piece and tell me that there is a simple scientific reason WHY you experience such profound emotions whenever you hear that music. The best you can hope for with science is an untestable hypothesis as to why music effects humans so deeply.
They'll come up with arguments about the evolutionary benefits of music for survival, or the influence of the rhythm of a mother's heartbeat on a child in early development, but these aren't valid scientific theories based on facts. These are just untestable hypotheses.
And since we can't really test them, then they'll never mature into theories. Of course, my statements about music and God is really just a hypotheses too, in the scientific sense, isn't it? So it has equal merit as any other hypothesis that science puts forth.
I'm going to explore a little more about having a faith in science in a minute, but let's get back to music.
So, if music was placed into creation by God, what else could have been placed into the human experience automatically by God? God speaks to us through mathematics and connects with us emotionally through music, but there are few other things inside you that are from God that provide clues into his existence and what He wants your life to be.
One of those is what C.S. Lewis called the Moral Law. The Moral Law is humanity's innate ability to distinguish between right and wrong. The Moral Law also has to do with humanity's basic sense of fairness. So, I don't have enough time to explore the Moral Law in detail in this 30 minute podcast, but if you're curious, you should pick up C.S. Lewis's book Mere Christianity. In it he explains the Moral Law in detail, but basically it means that everyone has a sense of right and wrong.
Now, what a society deems as right or wrong is based on their culture. What's right in some cultures may be wrong in others, but still the thing they have in common is that there is a thing called right and a thing called wrong. There has never been a society in human existence where right and wrong were non-existent. Now scientists have waved away this sense of morality as part of survival. Obviously a society without a moral compass would have no rules and wouldn't really function as a society. But I think this explains a little about morality, but does it explain the whole truth about morality?
Here's a little intellectual exercise for you:
Let's say we dropped a baby onto a deserted island to fend for himself. And let's say that kid somehow survived through sheer luck and determination. Now this kid has had no contact with other humans, and as far as he is concerned is alone in the world.
So let me ask you this: would that kid have a sense of right and wrong?
Would he deem some of his actions as right and some as wrong? Or would he just exist like some animal? His need for companionship might drive him to find a pet. Would he regard the pet one day as companion and the next day as food for no other reason than it simply interested him one way or the other? Would he have morality based rules about his environment, or would he just arbitrarily destroy or build up his environment based on a whim? Now let's say we dropped baby onto the island with him. Would he have a sense that he should protect and provide for the child, or would he just ignore the baby and treat it like any other animal on the island? Would he just kill the baby and eat it like he would a fish? We don't really know the answer to these questions, but we can make some guesses. I think it would be hard to define a human being as a human being if they had no moral compass at all. Even dogs know the difference between right and wrong and they aren't even our species, so I find it almost inconceivable that a human being would have absolutely no concept of what is right and what is wrong, don't you? So if you subtract the Moral Law, are you left with a human being? Or do we have something else?
But there is one other thing that God has placed into humanity that we haven't discussed yet. Besides our profound connection to music, and our Moral Law, we have a sense that there is something more than creation. All humans, and yes, even you, believe there is something more to this life than what you experience physically. It's one of the great milestones of humanity to think beyond ourselves. Everyone asks the basic universal questions "Who am I?" "What is my purpose in life?" "Is there life after death?" By asking these questions, you are, in fact, trying to find God. And everyone has asked these questions since we began to form thoughts. And almost instantly we formed superstitions and higher powers in order to explain the world around us. But why did we do that? When we saw the sun in the sky, why didn't we humans just say: "Oh look at that bright light in the sky. Why is it there? Who knows? I'm sure we'll figure it out someday. I've got to get back to dealing with this baby that washed up on the beach." No, in fact we decided that the sun had supernatural powers or we decided it was a God. That's a pretty far leap, don't you think? You see a light in the sky and you come up with some concept that falls outside of science to explain it? Why choose a supernatural explanation?
Humans have been doing this from the beginning: finding something we can't explain and ascribing a supernatural reason for it. Doesn't it seem more reasonable to simply say: "I don't know why that is, but I'm sure we'll find out someday?" so why do we humans default to the supernatural instead of natural explanations for things? Maybe it's because we sense that there is something more to existence than what we are experiencing directly on earth? God has placed a sense inside all of us that He exists. It's not a very strong impulse - more like a whisper. God doesn't make the impulse strong or over-bearing because He wants every human to make their journey towards Him in their own way - of their own Free Choice. And one of those choices is deciding, at least for a while, that God doesn't exist. But everyone eventually comes to the realization that God, in fact, exists. Now, many skeptics will say a belief in God is a way to curb off the fear of death, but that doesn't really explain why a supernatural explanation is necessary for life after death. There certainly is something darkly beautiful about your existence ending altogether after you die. Yet no society has emerged with this viewpoint. They all believe that something happens after you die. Wishful thinking on their part? Or do they just have a sense that there is something more beyond themselves. If you've ever been in love with someone you know a little about what I'm saying. During the throes of early infatuation, everyone thinks that destiny and fate pulled the two people together. It's not hard to draw that conclusion because it seems so inconceivable that you'd be so into this other person. And if you're a parent, you understand a little about what I'm saying too. Who hasn't thought their child was a miracle? Or have fallen into a near spiritual rapture the moment they laid eyes on their newborn? It's hard not to point to the supernatural when you're overwhelmed with joy. And just the opposite is true - they say there are no atheists in foxholes. So there is something that compels us to always look to the supernatural to explain the world to us. That's a little odd, don't you think?
So, now we come to the part of the podcast where we ask the big question: why is it so difficult for science to prove or disprove the existence of God? Well, the answer lies in the very definition of science. Science is the study of the natural world. To a person of faith, that means science is the study of God's creation, since God created the natural world. So science is going to have a difficult time figuring out anything about the Creator from just looking at what He created. Let me explain. Let's say I show you a painting of a landscape and tell you to study that painting. You'll be able to tell me quite a bit about the painting - what style it's in, what type of paints were used, whether or not the canvas is hand stretched or machine stretched - but if I asked you to tell me something about the artist, you're not going to be able to tell me much. You might be able to get some experts in to look at the painting and discern in what geographical location the painting was made based on the types of paints used. You might be able to tell me the artists influences based on the style the painting is in. You could carbon date the painting to figure out when the painting was made. But could you tell me if the artist had any formal training in painting. Maybe. You could look at the technique and you might be able to surmise that he might have been taught formally. But, of course, he could have just picked up the style by shear luck, or through imitation, or maybe he's a savant. Who knows? You would have to make an educated guess, wouldn't you? But, by examining the painting of the landscape, can you tell me how old the artist is? What color his hair is? Is he an outgoing, jovial fellow, or more the quiet introverted type? Is he a snappy dresser? Does he have siblings? Married? Children? Nieces? Nephews? Does he have a good singing voice? You're not going to be able to figure any of these things out by simply looking at the painting. Yet these are basic things you'd find out about someone if you had a 3-5 minute conversation with them. So we could study that landscape painting for the rest of our life and still only put forth some educated guesses about the author. Or we could spend 3 minutes with him face to face and know more about him then we could ever hope to learn in a lifetime of studying his creation. So, how much can we learn about God by just looking at just what He's created? There are better ways to learn about God - through prayer and meditation, through the teachings of his Prophets, and in embracing all God has created with love and compassion. A few minutes of that is worth far more than lifetimes studying what God has created.
Which brings me to my last point and this is it: a faith in science is still a faith. Science is based on studying the natural world. But how do we study the natural world? We do that through experimentation and observation, right? But how do we observe? We observe through our five senses: sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound. Every scientific observation we've ever made uses one of these five senses. It's impossible to observe something without using one of the senses. But let me ask you this: what would the world be like if animals never developed noses? How would we ever know that there was such a thing called odor? Would we have ever dreamed that one of the best parts about a flower is it's scent? Now, granted, the sense of smell isn't our most useful sense, but how would that same scenario play out if we didn't have eyes or ears? How much accurate information about the universe could we gather without these crucial senses? But we could still build a model of the universe, even if it was somewhat flawed, couldn't we.
Many senses can be detected indirectly by other senses which can provide some help as we discover the natural world. For instance, if no animal, including us, were ever born with ears, we wouldn't have any idea what sound sounds like - but we could still detect sound indirectly. If we took a hammer and hit a metal pipe, be put our hand up next to the impact and feel the sound waves hit it. We could measure those sound waves with instruments. We could also figure out that some actions produce different waves. But these are all just indirect observations. The physical aspects of the soundwave are important, but these observations aren't nearly as significant as simply hearing the sound. We can tell a lot more about a sound by simply hearing it, than we can in just measuring it's waves.
So if we only observe the world through these 5 senses, what's to say that there isn't a sixth or seventh sense we could have that could help us discover the natural world more precisely? What if that sixth sense was an ability to interact with a portion of the universe that's closed off from us? Now, I'm only speculating here, but I've already gone over some indirect observations like music, the moral law and a feeling that there is more to life than this. These indirect observations might be sound waves that are pointing us to sound. If only we had that sixth sense to pick up the information to fill in the gaps to our knowledge. My point is that if you place your faith in science, you also place a faith in the fact that you only need 5 senses to draw an accurate picture of the natural world. I've already pointed out some of the things that science will have a tough time explaining using only their five senses. Things like the mathematical anomalies like pi and the constants in physic are difficult to explain, much less the moral law and our innate need to acknowledge the supernatural. Even when we have gathered all the universe's scientific knowledge, if that were somehow possible, we still won't be able to accurately conclude that there is no God. Because God could lie somewhere between our sixth and seventh senses.
So, I'm starting to run out of time here, so I want to wrap this up by saying this: I know that I haven't been able to prove to you the existence of God in just 30 minutes, but that really isn't my job. What I want to do is for you to re-open your personal investigation about God. Most skeptics have either set aside their investigations into God or have drawn a conclusion about God that may be false. All good detectives know that a case is never really closed and can be reopened if new compelling evidence towards the truth is revealed. I hope I was able to present you with a few tidbits of evidence that may make you pull out that old case file and take a look again at God.
Listen, our justice system has sent people to prison with less compelling evidence than I've presented here. There are people in prison right now convicted of murder where there is no body or no murder weapon - just circumstantial evidence demonstrating guilt. We've all heard about these cases, haven't we? Yet, when you examine the circumstantial evidence, you can draw no other conclusion than this person is guilty of murder, even if we don't have an actual body.
Skeptics, by their very nature, pride themselves on their intelligence and rational thought, so in that case, I'm sure I've sparked at least some interest in exploring God with a fresh set of eyes and a new perspective. Don't fall into the intellectual trap of assuming that science will answer everything - we've already established it can't. It's short-sighted to think that universe can be discovered only with five senses. You have to decide if there is enough circumstantial evidence to reveal the presence of God. 95% of the human population believes in a higher power - do you really think all of us are foolish? Or maybe you just missed something the rest of us got. Maybe you can figure out that thing you missed, and come join the rest of us on this uniquely human experience as we make our way towards God.
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