I was reading a blog that I frequent on occasion. The author happens to be an Atheist. I read and comment on his blogs and we have had some interesting discussions back and forth about the nature of the universe and reality. Normally I would just post this as a comment on his site, but I’m doing it here because the thought is only partially related to his post (which as it turns out was motivated by another post, and so it goes).
The thought is about the child’s game “Why”.
Even if you have never had children you have still been exposed to the game either as a child yourself or in popular media (tv, movies, etc). The game goes like this…
Initialize the game – Child: “Why _____?”
Parent,Uncle (other appropriate victim): “Well that’s important because _____.”
Begin recursion – Child: “Why?”
At this point the game has for all intents and purposes two terminal points.
- God made it that way.
- Just because. (I said so, that’s just the way it is, etc)
Some people consider these terminal points equivalent. I think there is a significant difference in the two. The reason for this is the very next question, which I think it is reasonable to ask, “does the terminal point make sense?”
Of course in practice either answer is a valid end to the game because it’s past bedtime and the silliness has to end.
BUT – these two terminal points have very different implications. Terminal point 1 implies purpose and terminal point 2 does not. While I understand the argument for equivalence from a “fairies in the garden” perspective, I submit that if you consider the alternate worldview (living God, divine plan, etc.) then terminal point 1 is in fact a real answer to the game. God made it that way and He has a purpose which includes judgement, redemption -the whole ball of wax. Of course the game should continue with, “Why did He make it that way?” However at this point there is an answer that actually addresses the question. “Because He knows the end from the beginning”, “Why?”, “Because He is God” and so on until bedtime.
The alternative termination, “That’s just how it is” does not actually provide an answer, the “There is no answer” choice. “It just happens that way”, “We don’t really know”, “A random series of events combined to create life and all our emotions and feeling are just the byproduct of the process we needed to go through to become sentient beings.”
Now the question at this point is not “Why” but, “Does the answer makes sense?” I am going to suggest that by definition only terminal point 1 makes sense because one of the synonyms for “sense”, and in fact the one that is closest to the intent here, is “meaning”. We could, without doing damage to the the question, just as easily ask. “Which answer provides meaning?”
Even a child knows the answer to that.