I heard an interesting argument about the existence of God on Catholic Radio the other day. (Catholic Answers Live--the same people who do catholic.com; really great site) They were talking about faith and reason and how they work together--one cannot exist without the other.
An atheist called in and said he was trying to understand their point about faith being necessary to understand science. He thought they were trying to say that science could not explain everything and faith was necessary to sort of fill in the gaps. On the contrary, the radio guest responded, faith does not serve to simply "fill in the gaps", it is necessary to answer the question "Why?" In other words, it gives a purpose for why things are the way they are, why we are different from animals, why life must continue on, etc. Without faith, science is merely a collection of facts that mean nothing.
The caller responded by saying that he didn't necessarily believe that there had to be a great Purpose for everything. We just are. He said that humans are really just animals with bigger brains, and they don't necessarily need religion. He himself was a perfectly moral, kind human being without being religious at all. We are kind and loving towards one another because we care about the continuation of our species. We don't want to harm those of our kind. Religion itself is a concoction of our more developed brains that merely gives us a set of rules to help us to be greater than the other animals. To sum it up: the reason we are capable of morality, loving and caring for one another, is because we understand that it makes us more powerful than the animals and therefore better able to keep our species thriving.
It was the response of the host of Catholic Answers Live that struck me. He said, "Sir, let me ask you this. Why is the survival of our species important?"
Ah, now that is the question. Why is it important that our existence, as a human race, continue? If we so dare believe that there is no God, and therefore, this life is all we have, then why wouldn't we believe that all that matters is my own individual life and having the most pleasures possible? After all, life is short--shouldn't I make the best of it? Why would it matter what I pass on to those who would come after me? Besides, there is so much suffering and sadness in this world, why would I want others to experience it? So what if the human race became extinct? Life has no purpose anyway, so why wish anyone else the chance to live? They would never know the difference.
I'm sure no one actually feels that way. No one in their right mind thinks that selfishly. We all want to pass on a beautiful world and happy life to our children. But why? It's because we know, deep down, no matter if we believe in God yet or not, that there is a purpose to this life. It is always better to have lived then to not live at all. Even through all the suffering and pain, we live for the relationships and company of one another, the joy of being together, of being loved. Why do we feel that way? Because we are created in the image and likeness of God. We care about the continuation of our race because we believe in the value and beauty of each human life, and we couldn't stand to see that end. We love each other because we know we are incredibly valuable. We are valuable because we are created by someone who loves us more than we could ever love ourselves. Science doesn't understand love. But God does.
Even the animals have a purpose. They are created. They carry on their existence because God has breathed life in them for us. For us. (Gen 2:18-19) Though they do not know their purpose, they have a beautiful place in creation. They too, are valuable.
Without faith, without God, we have no value because we have no purpose. Money is valuable because of its purpose as currency. Heirlooms are valuable because they have meaning. Gold is valuable because it is beautiful and pure. We are beautiful because we are created in the image of our Creator, who is God.
So any time someone tries to tell you there is no God and science has all the answers, ask him or her if science can tell you why we should continue to live. If there is no God, then what are we living for?
I live for Love. God is Love.