by Thaddeus Williams
In the era before the 17th century, before Galileo, Kepler and Newton, a fixation on meaning questions often left our understanding of the material world dragging woefully behind. In the era following the Scientific Revolution, we have come to understand the mechanics of the universe far greater than ever before. Yet it appears more meaningless to us than ever. We know more and more about matter but less and less about why matter matters....
Close-minded materialism has ushered us into a kind of teleological Dark Ages. We have become just as naïve about the meaning of the universe as the medieval alchemist was about the mechanics of the universe. But the meaning void left swirling at the center of a materialist’s cosmos will be filled with something. The human heart, like nature, abhors a vacuum.Dr. Loyal Rue offered the American Academy for the Advancement of Science three possibilities for filling the void:
1) Each individual can become the centerpoint of meaning for his own universe of personal fulfillment. Rue calls this “the madhouse option,” which abandons all hope for social cohesion.
2) The State can make itself the centerpoint of meaning in an otherwise meaningless cosmos. Rue calls this “the totalitarian option” where all individuality and freedom are lost.
3) We can say that the universe has meaning even though it doesn’t. Rue calls this “the Noble Lie,” which “deceives us, tricks us, compels us beyond self-interest.” In Rue’s bleak trilemma, either the Me destroys the We, the We destroys the Me, or the Lie saves them both, but only by destroying the Truth. (Rue himself defends option three, since “without such lies we cannot live.”)
Alex Rosenberg offers a fourth option in the concluding line of his book, The Atheist’s Guide to the Galaxy: “Take Prozac or your favorite serotonin reuptake inhibitor, and keep taking them till they kick in.”
Source: Restoring Meaning to a Meaningless World by Thaddeus Williams (the rest of the article can be read at this link)
Comment: This means that the materialist must play pretend. i.e. His view of the world does not correspond to reality.