Guest Blog: The Justification for a Rally

(A special thanks to Josh Jacobs for allowing us to post his thoughts. Josh has studied Christian apologetics at Southern Evangelical Seminary and has a special compassion for those who are searching for truth or struggling with doubts about the Christian faith.) 

On March 24th in Washington, D.C. there is an event being billed as “the largest gathering of the secular movement in world history.” The event is called The Reason Rally (www.reasonrally.org). There will be many popular and outspoken atheists in attendance, such as Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers. There will also be an alternate presence at this event. More information about this presence can be found at http://www.truereason.org. This alternative presence will be composed of Christian apologists hoping to engage in profitable dialogue and acts of kindness.

The Reason Rally as such is making its case by drawing a distinction. This distinction, it would seem, is the following: Atheists and skeptics are reasonable, and believers in God are not. Therefore if you truly want to be considered a reasonable individual you need to forgo your belief in God.

Is this distinction justified? Is it the case that a believer in God is an irrational individual? I think not. For me it is the very notion of the transcendence that gives the Reason Rally any true meaning at all. Why do I say that?

The necessity to rally in support of anything implies that the thing you are supporting matters; but if man is nothing but the highest order of animal, a mere biological machine, then nothing we do really matters. We may live as if it does, but that is only a coping mechanism to dull the cold hard reality that in 10,000 years any memory of what we did will be wiped from this planet. So the very act of coming together by the atheist and secular community for an event such as this is is a tell that they long for something beyond themselves, more than merely the survival of their own genetic code. Therefore I conclude that we have two options.

Option 1 is to live as if what you do has real meaning beyond the survival of your genetic code, even though within a naturalistic world-view it doesn’t, and thereby live a life of self-deception; or Option 2—live as if what you do has real meaning beyond the survival of your genetic code because it does, and the desire to rally for a cause, any cause, is a clue within every human that there is more to life than mere survival.

I fully believe that every individual who is sane and sober lives their lives as if what they do, and the people they love, actually matter. That they matter for their own sake. I support the rights of those attending the Reason Rally to gather because I believe people matter…really matter. I also believe everyone, atheist and believer alike, believe that as well. Their lives, whether it is going to work, loving their spouse, or holding their children and watching a movie on the couch, demonstrate that reality. The reasonable and only existentially satisfying explanation this is so is because man is more than a mere biological machine, dancing to his DNA. Man is a being created in the image of God.

I close with a quote from the existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre who said, “Life has no meaning the moment you lose the illusion of being eternal.” Sartre understood the implications of his own world-view and in the end acknowledged its impossibility to be lived.

And then C.S. Lewis, who so masterfully captured this argument when he wrote,

You can’t, except in the lowest animal sense, be in love with a girl if you know (and keep on remembering) that all the beauties of her person and of her character are a momentary and accidental pattern produced by the collision of atoms, and that your own response to them is a sort of psychic phosphorescence arising from the behavior of your genes. You can’t go on getting very serious pleasure from music if you know and remember that its air of significance is a pure illusion, that you like it only because your nervous system is irrationally conditioned to like it.

The Reason Rally does not have the existential moorings to explain itself. Only if reason itself matters is it worthy to rally for, and if reason is reducible to a chemical reaction of the brain, then no one would rally.

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