Natural Apologetics Help!


#1

Hi Everyone,

I faced the common argument today of “we’re nothing more than a bunch of chemical processes” yada yada, the nihilistic view of life (We have no meaning). However, many of the resources on this fundamental level more deal with God’s existence, when I would really like a refutation of the reduction of humans to animals with an evolved intellect in a race against death, etc etc etc.

Any pointers would really help!

Thank you so much.


#2

I can’t help thinking that the life of Jesus and His words adequately refute that we are simply animals. I’m not even sure that animals are simply animals! God would not have sent Jesus to tell us all that He did if it were not true, in fact it was Truth.

I think miracles tend to convince people that there is more to our existence than meets the eye. However if people don’t believe that those miracles happened then there’s not much can be done about it.

It’s possible that C.S.Lewis has written about this in the way that you might find helpful, he wrote a lot!


#3

How many evil bears do you know? Dogs? Cats? (Ok - forget about cats)…


#4

He did indeed. It’s a very powerful argument in my opinion.

  1. Assume we are biological machines programmed by evolution.

  2. Everything we believe and think is a result of our biology.

  3. Therefore we can’t trust human knowledge, since as per evolution we would only “know” that which helps us survive.

  4. However it seems as though human knowledge is true knowledge, so we must be more than machines.


#5

That’s a tough one. I would have to think about that.


#6

You are correct, that faith in God’s existence, by itself, is not very reassuring. You need more. If you believe that:

  • God exists,

  • God loves you, and

  • God has the power,

then you may believe that God intends more for you than mere physical existence. Jesus came and told us of God’s love, showed us God’s power, and by his death and resurrection proved it. Through the Eucharist – Holy Communion, the Body of Christ – he makes it possible for each of us. Still, it requires faith. Pray for faith, hope, and love.


#7

Erm, perhaps I had the wrong author in mind? Maybe I was thinking G K Chesterton, how many goes do I get?

I’m sure the Church has written tons about this.


#8

Animals do not have free will. In the natural world, they follow instincts. A male and female will always reproduce in nature, only humans can choose not to reproduce. Animals do not have morality as we know it either. A male zebra with a harem of females will kill the offspring of one of them if she was impregnated by another male. A pride of lions will leave an injured young behind to die when they move from place to place.


#9

You probably won’t be able to because they are not influenced by reason or logic. First of all, we have no issue with affirming that the material nature of humanity is fundamental to who we are. In the creation account God formed man of matter, and breathed his spirit into man, giving him life. Therefore, man is by definition both matter (we can agree with their point) and spirit (they would disagree with us there). So that material nature of man isn’t a problem to us. Saying that we are just evolved animals is a problem. We are fundamentally different from animals, and act as such. We wouldn’t call a bear that kills another bear, or a snake that kills another snake, evil or immoral. We do however, hold humans to a standard of morality that would objectively classify someone who purposefully commits homicide as evil or immoral. We do so because there is an innate recognition that humans ARE fundamentally ontologically different than animals. I would say this is because deep down, we all know that humans are more than just chemical processes that evolved over millions of years. It is because we do have a spirit gifted to us by God. That said, you won’t get someone who has already made up their mind to admit to it.


#10

I’d argue that many birds exhibit signs of what we’d call morality. Crows, for example, mate for life, help take care of their extended family’s young, feed injured crows who can’t collect food for themselves, etc. Oh, and they’ve also been known to give shiny gifts to people that feed them. Crows are pretty amazing. :+1:


#11

Not so cute when they kill each other. Yes folks, crows are territorial and will kill intruders. It has been scientifically proven.


#12

Well sure. Humans do the same thing though.


#13

Jesus refutes the reduction of man to simply that of an animal. Jesus was real, He lived, He told us we are more than we appear to be and He proved it surely.

As far as I know animals can’t resurrect the dead.


#14

Come on, folks. The OP is trying to talk to someone who doesn’t believe in God, or who is desperate not to believe in God. Jesus is a good argument for a believer, but not for an unbeliever.

Keep it simple. Talk about things like, “If we are all just chemical processes, why are you bothering to talk or have opinions?” Or, “So I would just be doing something natural and harmless if I kill you and end your chemical processes? Can I have your bank account first?”

Well, okay, that last is a little aggressive… maybe don’t use that, unless you are talking to an unbeliever with a sense of humor!

Anyway, there are three kinds of people who usually have this line of unbelief.

  1. A young kid who likes the argument as “Whoooooa, that is such a deep thought!”

  2. Somebody feeling guilty about something bad they did, or want to do. (Because if it’s a chemical process to mess with your best friend’s girlfriend, it’s totally not your fault, right?)

  3. Somebody feeling suicidal, or guilty and suicidal. (So yeah, don’t use the killing argument on this guy, even if he has a sense of humor.)


#15

I understand completely what you’re saying, as I said earlier I’m sure that C.S.Lewis, though not a Catholic, had some very good points to make about this which could be of use to the OP.
But

When I first heard about Jesus I believed what He said, I was a child. Then I thought about it as an adult and my first thoughts were did this person (excuse that) actually live? After some years I realised that yes, Jesus actually existed and I eventually believed that He performed miracles and so I re examined His words and with everything else I know it all made sudden sense. So I mean it when I say that in my opinion Jesus is a very, if not the best, reason to believe that we are more than simply animals with a very high, comparably, intellect, myself excluded!


#16

I guess I misread the OP, or shall we say it is open to another interpretation. I answered with the understanding that the OP’s own faith was challenged by that particular argument. I outlined, for his/her benefit, how I bolster my own faith when such doubts sneak up on me.


#17

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