In The Brothers Karamazov, Ivan Karamazov exclaims that if God does not exist, then everything is permitted. I am grateful to David Berlinski for writing The Devil’s Delusion. He writes that when the religious conviction seeped out of the institutions of Western culture, it was the poets and philosophers who had the uneasy feeling that its withdrawal might signal the ascension of great evil in the world. And they were right.
Berlinski writes that Karamazov’s warning has become the up-to-date syllogism: The first premise: If God does not exist, then everything is permitted. And the second: If science is true, then God does not exist.
The conclusion: If science is true, then everything is permitted. p 20
In 2007 a conference was held entitled “Beyond Belief: Science, Religion, Reason, and Survival. In a speech at that conference, the Nobel Prize winner and physicist, Steven Weinberg said that religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
Weinberg’s blaming religion is one of the oldest techniques. It was first used by Satan in Eden, “Did God really say?”
In her book, Is Reality Secular? Mary Poplin explains how the human intellect began to take the place of the true and living God.
It was after the age of enlightenment, and particularly in the 20th century that “we humans finally matured and no longer needed to socially construct God or gods or any supernatural entities to understand our lives or guide our behaviors. We have evolved enough to go it on our own, armed with human reason and scientific evidence to steer the course of progress and break away from limiting rules and regulations.” p 14
Gradually, we have come to the place where we believe what we say. In his speech Weinberg said that we are becoming a kinder and gentler people. For this, Berlinski writes, Weinberg received a standing ovation.
Yet in just the 20th century there have been 65 wars where millions upon millions of people have been killed. Berlinski asks if there is something in a secular society that makes the monstrous possible. Who, Berlinski asks, imposes suffering on an entire race of people, who uses poison gas, barbed wire, high explosives, experiments in eugenics, pseudo-scientific justifications for mass murders, clusters bombs, napalm, intercontinental ballistic missiles, military space platforms, and nuclear weapons? p21
Anything is permitted in the world of competition. That is how we secularize a world–through competition. Darwin’s theory was based on competition between species. That theory was adopted in human affairs by people like Adolph Hitler who used this insane idea to promote competition between races.
Ernest Hemingway said, “Perhaps wars weren’t won any more. Maybe they went on forever.” A Farewell to Arms.
A war of competition is taking place on our cellphones that far surpasses many of today’s conflicts. It is the aggressive war of the global datasphere. It will soon exceed 175 zettabytes by the year 2025. In an article entitled “Unmasking War’s Changing Character,” March 12, 2019, Zachery Tyson Brown writes about the profound effects of geopolitical war. To the average viewer these are just words. Yet its effects on every human being will be profound. Each new app on our cellphone supplies data that can be used in the weaponization of human heuristics and psychometrics.
A heuristic technique is any approach to problem solving, learning, or discovery that employs a practical method not guaranteed to be optimal or perfect, but sufficient for the immediate goals. It’s a mental shortcut–a temporary solution–for which there is no long-range solution. It’s the science of measuring human mental capacities and processes and then guesstimates, then stereotypes, then profiles us as human beings. Because an optimal solution is impossible or impractical, heuristic methods are used to speed up the process of finding a temporary satisfactory solution.
This is the field that is concerned with the theory and techniques of psychological measurements. It is about that which I was involved as a psychotherapist. It can refer to testing, measurements, assessments and such fields. It measures the skills and knowledge, abilities, attitudes and personality traits and educational achievements of humans. Governments hire psychometricians to do this work.
How did we get to this place where our lives have become the pawns of others?The answer lays in the lap of our defiance.
Let me step back into the early life of Charles Darwin, as a case in point. Darwin had been baptized an Anglican and tells the story of when he was a child. He was so eager to learn that he would often run to school, zealous to learn. He was a fleet runner, he writes, and always wanted to get to school early. Charles Darwin would often pray to God earnestly that He would help him run faster to school. Early on, he felt that his quick running was due, not to the skill of running, but to his prayers to God, (Taken from the Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, 3rd edn. London, 1887, i,47)
Darwin once believed the Biblical view as he here writes about.
“Accordingly I read with care Pearson on the Creed and a few other books on divinity; and as I did not then in the least doubt the strict and literal truth of every word in the Bible, I soon persuaded myself that our Creed must be fully accepted. Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, D. Appleton and Co., New York, 1911, Vol. 1, p29
What happened to Charles Darwin is happening to us. If science is true, then everything is permitted—and God is denied and defied. We then become enslaved to ideas that do not allow examination by ultimate truth, the will and ways of God. And as a result the human becomes the perpetrator of bestial indulgences characteristic of any animal in nature.
The stories that result from that defiance outnumber the stars in the skies. Stories of the millions of individuals buried in mass graves in the name of genetic and ethnic cleansing, to the child torn from its mother’s womb, or the teenager who died in bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or the soldier whose life was taken in the jungles of Viet Nam.
The Unrepentant Heart
“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago
In his Commencement Address delivered at Harvard University on June 8, 1978, Solzhenitsyn said that in the West it is not so much a matter of human rights, which Zachery Tyson Brown says has been taken over by geopolitics, but as Solzhenitsyn says, it becomes a human obligation.
That obligation the Apostle John writes about in Revelation.
So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways.I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.
John likens those who draw people away from God as whores against whom He will wield His wrath, just as the Prophet Elijah pronounced against Jezebel.
“And also concerning Jezebel the Lord says: ‘Dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.’
1 Kings 21:23
Time always reveals the evil deeds of men. It was one thing to be a young German lad wooed by the evils of Hitler. It is another thing for a lad to turn away from God lured by the world of natural science. As Søren Løvtrip writes, “I believe that one day the Darwinian myth will be ranked the greatest deceit in the history of science. When that happens, many people will pose the question, ‘How did this ever happen?’” Darwinism: The Refutation of a Myth.
Darwin’s theory will be proven false, but the effect of the philosophy that has emerged from that theory has developed into an evolutionary ethics–the relativity of truth. Just as David Berlinski writes, if science is true, then everything is permitted.
But what no human can escape from is that God alone knows the secrets of our hearts. Humanities only hope is a repentant heart. It is facing the truth that the human heart is riddled with sin, and if left unbridled becomes the instruments of evil—evil that has a thousand ever-changing faces. And because technologies have brought us much closer together, evil has become ubiquitous–it is everywhere.
Whether this story is true or not, its message is. Just before the execution of a high ranking German Nazi thug of Adolph Hitler, he cried out “Remember God is watching.”
Indeed God is. There are stories and legends about Darwin on his death bed in which he says to his Christian wife, “I am not the least afraid of death.”
It is not death that we must fear, but the wrath of God that falls upon the soul of a defiant human.
But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.