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Social Issues: Letters

Manfred's Folly

Frederick Manfred's encounter with the hospital chaplain (October 3, 1994) is a delightful piece of literature. It was even more interesting to hear it read by the author, daughter Freya, on public radio (October 4). Snickers and smirks were audible from the audience as the elder Manfred, despite the effects a brain tumor, ran intellectual circles around a young female chaplain who just wanted to know about his spiritual condition and whether he wished to talk or pray.

Yet I feel a deep sadness at the arrogance that learning and cynicism produce. Fred died a short time ago and I believe that he now already knows the emptiness of the lies on which he based his life. If he could, he would come back with tears to warn those who chuckled at his cleverness before he knew the truth.

It has always amazed me that professional skeptics seem strangely unskeptical about the likelihood of a Universe without God. Order does not arise out of chaos in any real system, but only in the rarefied thoughts of evolutionary academics. And even if it did, that would leave us stranded in the middle of total meaninglessness. We would have no purpose -- our desire for significance nothing but a cruel illusion -- and no physical mechanism for even the smallest decision -- carried on to our fate by time and chance.

Thus, in the final analysis of an atheist's world view, even the finely tuned words and thoughts used to blow the opposition away are nothing but quantum fluctuations or other accidents. There is no reason to take credit for them, and they cannot, as chance phenomena, be considered to relate in any way to "truth" or "reality." Instead, those arguments are just a flimsy cover for pride that says to the Creator, "I will not have You to reign over me!"

Ross S. Olson MD

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