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SMAD. An Organ of Student Opinion. 1935. Volume 6. Number 11.

Kelly On Kagawa

Kelly On Kagawa.

Dear "Smad,"

No amount of discussion about the existence of God will ever conclusively prove the case for either atheism or theism. At the outset I will state that I believe God (not in Him or about Him, you will notice), for none other than the bare fact that God has personally intervened in my life. This is a testimony, not a proof. Mael did well, therefore, to note that Dr. Kagawa's highly illuminating scientific address was primarily an attack on the mechanist interpretation of the universe rather than a formal Christian apologetic. Mael says: "We admit that there is some quality of basic reality—but to call it God or to suggest that it must be intelligent is worse than arbitrary." Yet his purely "naturalistic explanation" is no explanation at all. To me it seems that this hypothesis that Reality is an organic process, a process of dialectal development "and nothing more," is merely tautological and tantamount to denying that Reality is, in essence, supra-natural.

I disagree with his contention that we should have cause to suspect intelligence in the universe if matter varied its behaviour in identical circumstances That is to say, if one day you could be sure of falling to the floor and the next to the ceiling. "All the towering materialism which dominates the modern mind rests ultimately upon one assumption—a false assumption. It is supposed that, if a thing goes on repeating itself, it is probably dead. People feel that if the universe was personal it would vary; if the sun were alive it would dance. This is a fallacy even in relation to Known fact. For variation in human affairs is generally brought into them, not by life but by death. A man varies his movement because of some slight element of failure or fatigue. He gets into an omnibus because he is tired of walking; or he walks because he is tired of sitting still. But if his life and joy were so gigantic that he never tired of going to Islington, he might go to Islington as regularly as the Thames goes to Sheerness. That is why children are always such a nuisance to grown-ups. They are always saying, "Do it again." Now the repetition in nature may not be a mere recurrence. It may be that God makes every daisy separately because He never gets tired of making them." (Chesterton). Mael speaks of the evolutionary agencies as of blind forces. Surely if modern science is stressing any fact it is that the old ideas of mechanical physics and the cause-effect relationships must give away before the more accurate description embodied in mathematical abstractions. On the other hand, the idea of evolution in nature has no direct connection with the validity of religious belief. Surely, if nature is a mere unrolling, then the end of the world might be mere light of mere darkness, and it might come as slowly and inevitably as dusk and dawn. But if the end of the world is to be a piece of elaborate and artistic chiaroscuro, then there must be a dominant design. The supra-natural explanation is at least as rational as the naturalistic. In reference to tigers and antelopes, the evolutionary theory does not tell man how to cope with nature. You may be in-humane or humane, but not human. Naturalism does not tell you how to treat a tiger reasonably—i.e., to admire his stripes whilst avoiding his claws.

With regard to pain and evil. It must be borne in mind that whilst pain seems to be universal it is not necessarily evil, and since each person or animal has to hear its own pain the problem of pain is not really intensified by the fact that it is sometimes presented to us in the lurid light and with the magnified and grotesque shadows of wholesale calamity. Death is a physical fact. The problem of evil is an unsolvable, not a hopeless mystery. I say that evil is the problem of self-ness, whether it results in selfishness, exploitation, murder or destruction. Mael has introduced once more the laws of nature in the world of mankind. A last word. Is not his quotation from McCabe ironically enough the truth? Science is concerned with the "how," religion with the "why." Surely scientific method (of the facts of His life, death and resurrection) must attempt to weigh how far the claims of Christ do show that the fact of evil is not insurmountable.

B. H. Kelly.