Real world implications of Nihilism

During a conversation I had this morning with a friend, the topic of depression and suicide and general sense of disorder and hopelessness was touched on.  A quote popped into my head that I wanted to share. The famed British atheist and Nobel Laureate, Bertrand Russell, seems to state the human condition clearly and without flinching when he says:

“That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the débris of a universe in ruins—all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.” ― A Free Man’s Worship

The statistics are staggering related to depression/suicide (see below) and hopelessness in our world. As William Lane Craig says, “Modern man thought that when he had gotten rid of God, he had freed himself from all that repressed and stifled him. Instead, he discovered that in killing God, he had also killed himself. For if there is no God, then man’s life becomes absurd.”  Obviously suicide and depression are complex issues related to various factors in each individuals life, from substance abuse to chemical imbalances to external factors. However, the backdrop of nihilism as a reality (even when unstated) I think compounds the problems of depression and suicide as people realize that there literally is no objective hope, meaning, or value to live for.

Belief in God matters. But more than that, the existence of God and who God is matters.

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US for all ages. (CDC)
  • Every day, approximately 123 Americans die by suicide. (CDC)
  • There is one death by suicide in the US every 12 minutes. (CDC)
  • Depression affects 20-25%of Americans ages 18+ in a given year. (CDC)
  • Suicide takes the lives of over 44,965 Americans every year. (CDC)
  • The highest suicide rates in the US are among Whites, American Indians and Alaska Natives.
  • Only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression receive treatment. (NAMI)
  • 80% -90% of people that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully using therapy and/or medication. (TADS study)
  • An estimated quarter million people each year become suicide survivors (AAS).
  • There is one suicide for every estimated 25 suicide attempts. (CDC)
  • There is one suicide for every estimated 4 suicide attempts in the elderly. (CDC)

Data from https://save.org/about-suicide/suicide-facts/

Response to Zeno’s Paradox

If you have ever been thoroughly befuddled by Zeno’s paradox on the impossibility of motion, then you might find William Lane Craig’s response below very helpful. This is also discussed in this book “Reasonable Faith” 3rd edition.

Ostler indicts this argument as “a slight-of-hand trick like Zeno’s paradoxes, for even though a baseball must pass through an infinite number of halfway points to reach the catcher’s mitt, somehow the baseball actually makes it to the mitt.”155 He thereby fails to note two crucial disanalogies of an infinite past to Zeno’s paradoxes: whereas in Zeno’s thought experiments the intervals traversed are potential and unequal, in the case of an infinite past the intervals are actual and equal. Ostler’s claim that the baseball must pass through an infinite number of halfway points to the mitt is question-begging, for it already assumes that the whole interval is a composition of an infinite number of points, whereas Zeno’s opponents, like Aristotle, take the line as a whole to be conceptually prior to any divisions which we might make in it. Moreover, Zeno’s intervals, being unequal, sum to a merely finite distance, whereas the intervals in an infinite past sum to an infinite distance. Thus, it remains mysterious how we could have traversed an infinite number of equal, actual intervals to arrive at our present location.

Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/creatio-ex-nihilo-a-critique-of-the-mormon-doctrine-of-creation#ixzz4pMhxeFUl

The Argument From Reason

The Argument From Reason Ironically, if Naturalism and Materialism are true then all knowledge, reason, and truth is illusory. In other words, if naturalism or materialism is true, we could never know it. Two of my favorite arguments for the existence of God are The Moral Argument and The Argument From Reason.  They both hit […]

An Argument for God with Objections

The Leibnizian Cosmological argument: Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is something that is Uncaused, Personal, beginningless, Immaterial, Enormously Powerful, and Timeless, and Spaceless OBJECTION: I would argue […]