I have a confession to make. Bill Maher gets under my skin. I once was a big fan of his, and this is exactly why he reminds me of the person I used to be. At one time in my life I used the same arguments, the same logic and the same reasons Bill Maher uses in order to attack the faith I now hold dear. If not for God’s gift of reason, critical thinking and a good dose of humility, I would still be a pale imitation of Maher and miserable for it. So, when Bill Maher appeared on the O’Reilly Factor last week and made the facile observation that faith is the “purposeful suspension of critical thinking” (at about 19:00 in the this video) it really bothered me.
In response, I’d like to do a little exercise in critical thinking and see which does better — human secularism or a faith in Jesus Christ. First watch the following video:
Note the shocked expressions of both the host and the other guest (who I presume is an Anglican pastor). For a moment, let us imagine a world where Maher’s point of view holds sway. Christianity is deemed a relic of the past whose proper place is in the dust bid of history. What exactly is it that would justify the host telling Ironside that her willingness to suffocate a child is horrible? What argument does human secularism have? Indeed, by getting rid of God, does it not reduce morality to human will? And since human beings do not have wills of equal strength, does it not then fall to whoever has the strongest will? Do we not inevitably arrive at some variation of the following (courtesy of the playwright George Bernard Shaw and author of Pygmalion — later adapted into the musical My Fair Lady):
I am reminded of the quote attributed to Martin Niemöller:
They came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me and by that time no one was left to speak up.
Without God — particularly a Christian God — by what standard would anyone be able to speak up? Indeed, It was Niemöller’s own Christianity that allowed him to speak out against the Nazis.
Ultimately, Maher’s views lead civilization down a road that ends in death on a massive scale. We have seen this pattern played out over and over again throughout history, most recently in the horror of the twentieth century when tens of millions of people paid the price for human arrogance.
Christian anthropology does not allow for the kind of rationalization of murder employed by Ironside and Shaw. Not only has God created each and every one of us in His image and likeness, but He, in the person of Jesus Christ, has taken on our humanity as His own. He shares our human nature. Thus, no matter how we might try to rationalize it, those few cells Ironside is so happy to do away with shares its human nature with God Himself in the person of Jesus Christ.
Get rid of God, and all we have left is a morality based on who is strongest. The result of that will always be death on a massive scale.