Monday, December 10, 2012

Words of Comfort: Famous Atheists- Billy Joel

Billy Joel is a talented pianist, singer-songwriter, and a brilliant composer. His first hit was “Piano Man,” which hit the charts way back in 1973.

Newmax said of him, “He toldBillboard magazine in 1994, ‘I still feel very much like an atheist in the religious aspects of things,’ but added, ‘There are spiritual planes I'm aware of that I don't know anything about and that I can't explain.’”[1]

Billy once said, “As an atheist you have to rationalize things. You decide first of all that you will not ask Daddy -- meaning God in all of his imagined forms -- for a helping hand when you're in a jam. Then you have to try and make some sort of sense out of your problems. And if you try and find you can't, you have no choice but to be good and scared -- but that's okay! When animals are afraid, they don't pray, and we're just a higher order of primate. Mark Twain, a great atheist, said it best in The Mysterious Stranger, when he stated in not so many words, ‘Who are we to create a heaven and hell for ourselves, excluding animals and plants in the bargain, just because we have the power to rationalize?’"[2]

If Billy likes to rationalize things, I would like him to tell me what he would think of my intellectual capacity if I thought that he didn’t compose “Piano Man;” if I believed that it didn’t have a composer. It just happened. It was a melodic accident. Such a thought is ludicrous. Every song has a composer, every book has an author, every car has a maker, every painting has a painter, and every building has a builder. So it isn’t irrational to take this simple logic a little further and say that Nature must have had a Maker. It would be irrational to believe that it made itself. It’s more than irrational; it’s scientifically impossible. For Nature to make itself, it would have had to be pre-existent before it made itself.

If I had the honor of having lunch with Billy, I would ask him two questions. The first isn’t that important, but I would like to know the answer. How does he know that animals don’t pray? Does he have some sort of unique access to animal thought-life? The second would be to correct a misunderstanding than is common in atheist circles. Why would he believe that Mark Twain was a great atheist, when he clearly did believe in the existence of God (something we will look at in a future column)?