Awful Reasons

This article has something further to say about last Friday’s post. Look, Douglas Axe is obviously much much much more knowledgeable than I am about these matters, but I can’t help thinking that he’s fixated on the part of the study he dislikes, while avoiding thinking about its wider context.

This is what he says when talking about awe merely “boiling down to physics”:

Now, if you happen to be a materialist, maybe that is where awe and wonder take you. And maybe you should follow them. Maybe your head needs to pay more attention to your heart. But for those of us who see all of this as a God thing, awe is the complete opposite of an anomaly. And that has always been good for science.

I’m wondering why he has trouble with awe being just physics, or chemistry, or whatever science is best able to explain why we feel what we do because of what’s going on in our heads. Yes, we can feel awe when contemplating the magnificence of nature, but we can have similar feelings through other intense and very human interactions like attending a rock concert or taking drugs. I doubt any of these suggest to him the hand of his God at work in our heads, so on some level he must know that what we feel at these times has a naturalistic explanation.

And then there are other, but just as intense, baser emotions to consider. I doubt Douglas Axe would be quick to call God in as the motivator for the loathing we feel toward a cheating spouse, the disgust we feel when we see pictures of genocide in Africa, or the intensity one feels when killing another human. How about intense sexual excitement? If he’s going to have God as the explanation for the majestic, but ourselves as explanation for the depraved, then his theistic reasons for awe aren’t very convincing.

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