Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Soul Cravings

I have just finished listening to the webcast on The Things That Matter Most (hosted by Rick Davis and Leal Arrington) with guest Erwin McManus. His new book, Soul Cravings, is discussed:

We can spend our whole lives trying to satisfy the one insatiable part of our being, our soul craving. Our capacity for spiritual experience both proves our need for something greater than ourselves and leaves us wanting when we fill it with anything but God.

Soul Cravings is a powerful, down-to-earth exposition that interprets our need for community, meaning, and destiny as common sense apologetics pointing to the existence of and our need for God. The book will deeply stir the reader to consider and chase after the spiritual implications of their soul's deepest longings.

The show summary was as follows:

Erwin McManus makes the case that we can find evidence for God and eternity within our own souls and persistent desires for love, destiny and meaning. And this evidence is even more compelling than the empirical evidence from textual criticism, archaeology, fulfilled prophecy and the hard sciences.

Well, what I expected was the usual gloss-over on exactly just what a soul is and just when was it that the existence of said soul was established. I said in an earlier blog that the this sort of gnostic evidence is tacit to an admission that empirical evidence, where it does not totally refute theistic positions, is nonexistent so we have to fill the void with emotional arguments.

Only one person has ever been needed to destroy such nonsense: David Hume. As Hume said, "When we run over libraries, persuaded of these principles, what havoc must we make? If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion." Couldn't have said it better myself. How does one 'know' that they have a soul? You may feel that you have one, but could this not be an illusion? You bet. Humans evolved to see patterns, even where there aren't any. So-called inner knowledge is so subject to bias and interpretation that it is completely useless.

Can Evolution explain Love? The hosts and their guests seem to think that propagation of genes involves only sex. In some animals this is true, but not for mammals. Our young are born at a stage of development where they are still completely helpless and need rearing to survive. In fact, how can rearing be explained without the existence of something like Love? It can't, of course. So what did their guest prove? Nothing. These people need to read a book on Evolution NOT approved by the Discovery Institute. Obviously, they have never heard of Hamilton's Rule.

But my favorite part was an attempt to counter an argument made by Brian Sapient, founder of the Blasphemy Challenge, based on the Argument from Evil: the existence of hell shows that God is not a god of love and therefore the Christian god does not exist. What McManus says is that because Sapient does not believe in hell, his argument is disingenuous. "One minute you say that you don't believe in God because of hell, then say that you don't really believe in hell. So you can't use hell as an argument if you don't believe in hell. Let's say that there's no hell. Now prove to me there is no God." How many things are wrong with this? What Brian Sapient is doing is pointing out the inconsistencies in the framework that McManus et al are proponents of. Sapient's belief in hell is irrelevant. If there is no hell, then the Christian position falls apart since it depends largely on the existence of hell. This is just stupidity.

I gave this a fair listen to, as I promised. I did have some presuppositions, but the hosts and their guest could have dispelled these had they so chose. For instance,
  • A clear definition of the soul was not presented;
  • Evidence for the existence of a soul was not only lacking, but its existence was assumed and that everyone would be happy with that;
  • Love, a sense of community, meaning were presented as if they lead to the existence of God, yet totally ignoring other perfectly satisfactory naturalistic explanations. Leal erroneously suggested that Evolution can in fact not explain these things;
  • Non-emprical 'intrinsic' evidence is posited to have as much value as empirical evidence, to which David and I say 'Hogwash!'. Theist apologists such as McManus or Plantinga need this to be seen as the case, otherwise their arguments are completely unsupported by any evidence at all.
The only thing I agreed with that was said in the whole show was that our lives need to have meaning. But I've done fabulously without any need for a deity. I offer myself as a living refutation of this book. As for buying it, I'll pass.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hopefully one day you will wake up from your sleep...