Julian Barnes (a prolific English author) finds himself deeply moved by certain works of art that convey a spiritual message —even though he doesn’t belief in God. For example, Mozart’s Requiem relies on the Christian understanding of death, judgment and afterlife. Yet, Barnes rejects these ideas. He believes that nothing follows after death, but extinction. Nevertheless, the Requiem moves him and not merely the arrangements of notes, but the words. “It is one of the haunting hypotheticals for the nonbeliever…What would it be like ‘if [the Requiem] were true’[?]”
Leonard Bernstein (an American composer and conductor) famously admitted that when he heard great music and great beauty he sensed “Heaven.”
[Beethoven] has the real goods, the stuff from Heaven, the power to make you feel at the finish: something is right in the world. There is something that checks throughout, that follows its own law consistently: something we can trust, that will never let us down.
If we are the product of accidental natural forces, then what we call “beauty” is nothing but a neurological hardwired response. Read More
Photograph: Antonio Olmos for the Observer
The prolific English author and columnist, A. N. Wilson, graduated from Oxford in the early ‘70s and considered going into the Anglican ministry. But he lost his faith by the ‘80s. He called himself an atheist and wrote a short book entitled, Against Religion: Why We Should Try to Live Without It. He describes his conversion to atheism.
I realised that after a lifetime of churchgoing, the whole house of cards had collapsed for me - the sense of God's presence in life, and the notion that there was any kind of God, let alone a merciful God, in this brutal, nasty world…It was a nonsense…the idea of a personal God, or a loving God in a suffering universe. Nonsense, nonsense, nonsense. It was such a relief to discard it all that, for months, I walked on air…
Yet, he started doubting his doubts about God. Read More
A few weeks ago, I presented the Fine-Tuning of the Universe Argument at one of our Central Teachings. I sensed that people felt overwhelmed by the amount of content I was presenting, so I decided to transcribe my lecture.
For those unfamiliar with this argument, the Fine-Tuning of the Universe Argument offers compelling scientific evidence for a cosmic designer. Scientists have identified more than thirty physical constants whose values are such that even the slightest change would create a life prohibitive universe.
Although most experts in the field of cosmology disagree with a view that sees a designer fine-tuning the universe, virtually all of them agree with the basic premises of this argument. Read More