Atheists, like any group of people who have a common belief, are actually very diverse. There are many genuinely understanding atheists around the world who know that people have different viewpoints and thus respect the decision to have faith. On the other hand, there are also a good chunk of atheists who despise any person who entertains the idea of belief. These staunch atheists like to present themselves as heralds of reason and truth, resisting the spread of falsehood and corruption in the form of ignorant traditions and ancient religions.
From their perspective, they are fighting the good fight against humanity’s figurative shackles; religion only “holds us back” as a species and is thus something that must be eliminated. While it is not reasonable to go about doing so forcefully given the kind of society we live in, everything else besides that is pretty much up for grabs. After all, why respect that which is only falsehood? What we are left with is a group that doesn’t consider insults, vulgarity, and mockery as off limits in the campaign against religion.
It’s kind of ironic to think about, but atheism’s sharpest weapon against religion is not logic or clear-mindedness, but rather it is ridicule. After all, nobody likes being ridiculed. If someone makes a foolery of what you hold to be true, then you have been given a strong social incentive to distance yourself from it. Never underestimate the power of peer pressure; have enough people make fun of something, and nobody will take it seriously anymore. God Himself has been parodied and poked at to the point where the mere mention of Him in a serious context causes people to groan.
But let’s get objective here; is atheism what such anti-theists project it to be? Is it the intellectual Goliath we are told it is? Is it truly the scientifically obvious premise underlying reality?
To me, atheism is the pendulum swinging to the opposite extreme; whereas blind followers of religion accept everything they are told uncritically, disbelievers tend to reject everything they were told by criticizing whatever they deem undesirable. But reality is often much more grey; not everything that is taught is necessarily false. Once the exaggeration and emotional baggage is stripped away, it is not unlikely to find that each side has a grain of truth behind their ideology.
We can see what may be the grain of truth behind atheism: the criticism that is often leveled at a religion or another may be legitimate. But what is atheism’s weakness, and what is potentially theism’s truth, is that reality does not seem to be a product of mindless and random nothingness.
What the extreme anti-theists forget is that human beings are generally rational actors. If there truly was no intellectual benefit to believing in God or religion, then nobody would grow attached to that belief. In fact, beliefs spread precisely because they tap into some aspect of reality and give the individual some confirmation of a truth, even if they cannot properly articulate it verbally.
So why is it many people end up following falsehood? The problem is often in methodology; there needs to be a way to distinguish truth from error, but that criterion cannot be baseless claims of preachers nor can it be our personal whims and inclinations. We have at our disposal the ability to critically analyze, which is best used when examining already-existing claims.
What that means is that figuring out everything on our own is impossible. Why? Well, our intellect is limited, and so is our time. We do not have the means to derive everything from scratch, nor the tools to go beyond a certain threshold. So it is much more reasonable to search for and examine guidance that already exists, especially with things that we cannot observe. Of course, we must still remain critically minded in our acceptance or denial of guidance.
If we are to engage in a search for truth, then we need to respect both our own limitations and the limitations of others. At the same time we need to learn to trust others when it is reasonable to do so. We should accept facts only after claims are verified, but if everything checks out then we have an obligation to follow them wherever they lead. We can use our common sense and intuition as our internal compass, but to do that we must be sincere with ourselves and be willing to accept our own mistakes.
Nobody is exempt from making mistakes or errors in judgment. After all, we are all human. The true test of intelligence is not merely knowing the truth, but rather accepting the truth when it is made clear to you. I speak to myself first and foremost with this advice before anyone else.
Learning requires effort. Truth requires research. Superficial knowledge, while may be widespread, does not qualify a person to truly understand religions that are thousands of years old. Likewise, taking up the mantle of atheism is often done without fully considering the implications of such a belief system. I will be the first to admit, however, that I am an amateur in both religious and nonreligious fields, so take everything with a grain of salt. However, even I can see the magnitude of believing or disbelieving in God. While disbelieving in any god is one of the simplest beliefs around, removing the central figure of God does carry an incredibly large weight.
With that in mind, let us consider some of the weaknesses of atheism and understand why theism might be intellectually advantageous at the basic level.
1) Arbitrary Origins
Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?
Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time
It’s easy to say that something “just is.” By itself, saying something just exists without explanation isn’t inherently a wrong statement: after all, theists say God “just exists.” So what is the difference between that and saying the universe “just exists”? Why invoke a Creator, when it is seemingly unnecessary?
The difference is precisely the difference between the concepts of the universe and God. The universe functions according to rules, mechanisms and laws of nature and mathematics. The universe has no consciousness, and it has no will, so it cannot make its own rules nor can it decide to act a certain way when given infinite possibilities. The universe, in a sense, only does what it is ‘told.’
The concept of God, however, is very different. God makes His own rules and He writes His own laws. God has a will, and has the ability to choose given infinite possibilities. If we were to draw analogies, then the universe is like a machine and God is like a designer. A machine does what it is programmed to do – give it inputs and it produces outputs. A designer makes choices in a teleological manner; he has a goal and purpose in mind, and given those desired outputs he chooses the appropriate inputs.
If we were to assume that a machine “just exists,” then more questions arise: why does the machine do what it does? What programmed it so that it gives its particular outputs? Where did those limitations come from? Why not a different machine process? If we were to put it all under the blanket of “just because,” then we would be assuming more than just uncreatedness, but rather arbitrariness as well.
If, on the other hand, we were to assume that a designer “just exists,” then the same questions are easily answered and arbitrariness is no longer assumed. Why does a designer do what he does? Because he has an end purpose in mind. Nothing programmed him; he makes his own choices. He has no limitations, except what he chooses to impose on himself. The specification of one action over others is explained not by “just because” but rather by choice. In this case, the only thing that is assumed is that which is necessary – the uncreatedness of an entity.
You may ask: why do we have to assume an uncreated entity? Well, think about it. If there’s no independent cause, then there’s nothing to anchor causality. The only options with regards to the origins of existence, while negating an eternal cause, are either: a) existence had no beginning, and the chain of events is infinite in the past, or b) there was a beginning, but it didn’t have a cause.
Obviously, the latter is absurd. Out of nothing, nothing comes. The universe couldn’t just appear for no reason. However, in today’s terminology this idea is expressed under the guise of the following: space-time only came into existence after the Big Bang, thus to ask what came before it is a ‘non-question.’ But if you think about the implications of this, then things get really weird. So the Big Bang just ‘happened’? No reason? No cause? If this is possible, then we would have to concede that anything can happen for no reason. Our entire perception of reality hinges upon the conception of cause and effect. Take that away, then we don’t have the power to explain anything.
The former option is slightly more plausible, but also leads to problems. If existence never had a beginning, then you are saying that the chain of events that extend into the past is infinite. Therefore, for us to be here right now, we would have to travel an infinite number of causes. But ‘traveling across’ such a sequential infinity is impossible, because infinity never ends! So by that logic, we would never reach here, right now. Imagine asking someone for a dollar, but that person turns out to be broke so he asks someone else, and that person asks someone else… ad infinitum. Would you ever get a dollar? No, because as long as the chain is infinite, it becomes impossible.
But wait, doesn’t God have an eternal past? Yes, but His regression is different; it’s not a sequential ‘chain’ of events. When we refer to God’s individual actions, they are not causally dependent upon each other, rather they are solely causally dependent upon God. The chain of causation always lead back to Him. In the regression example above, each individual event requires a previous one. However, God’s acts only require Him. The former leads to an impossible regression, and the latter is a possible one. God can continually and eternally act from infinity if He so pleases; all He would do is start a new chain. However, non-eternal things (the links in the chain), need a beginning.
Most people accept that there has to be a beginning to all of creation. But what that beginning is, and what caused it is where they disagree the most. In the end, whatever explanation an atheist will bring up concerning the origin of existence, whether it is a multiverse theory, quantum randomness, or the force of gravity, in the end can we still ask “why did that happen, and not something else?” Given a certain “Theory of Everything,” we can always ask “why is it not a different Theory of Everything?”
If the Theory of Everything does go on to try and explain why the ultimate universal machine is programmed a certain way, it will either propose another higher order machine (for which the same problem arises) or it will explain the machine using itself. But doing so is circular; it is the equivalent of a machine programming itself, which is completely absurd. The only way out is to either give up and call it arbitrary, or to give the machine self-consciousness (at which point it ceases being a machine).
What it boils down to is thus: machines can’t assemble themselves; they require designers by their mechanical nature. Since the universe is just a giant mechanism, it necessitates a designer.
This point is nothing new to people. Things don’t give themselves their own properties, nor do they arbitrarily function in an orderly fashion. But when it comes to the universe, people forget their common sense and say it arbitrarily functions perfectly, ultimately implying that it assembled itself. There’s a reason why most people believe in God; it’s because they understand the need for a creative force to be behind such specified order.
2) Chaotic Order
The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.
Order implies purpose. This is because order means adherence to an overall higher-level pattern that causes some greater benefit, harmony, or value to arise. Value and benefit can only be part of the equation when the end result is considered during the causation process. This is intention. When an end value is intended, this becomes the purpose of the object in question. The purpose is thus the reason why there is a particular order present.
If the universe has no purpose, then its order becomes illusory. If there is no reason for the order, then we question its existence in the first place. The fact that there is order, to the level where we can make sense of the world using equations and hypotheses, only baffles further. Why is the world intelligible? Why isn’t it all arbitrary? If there isn’t anything that takes into account the end result of the universe, then why do we even see order in the first place? Shouldn’t everything just be chaotic, random, and incomprehensible? What can possibly exist that would impose order and purpose to a mindless and random environment? Who said things have to make sense? Even the question of origins is framed through the lens of intelligibility; why can’t things just ‘happen’ for no reason?
Indeed it is confusing, especially considering the fact that scientists spend their entire careers trying to make sense of things. That in of itself implies a belief that things don’t arbitrarily happen, and that order is necessarily real and imposed over everything. Considering the fact that only a rational mind can impose rationality on a system, you’d think that that in of itself would clue people in.
But of course, there will always be excuses. Perhaps the order we see is just a fluke? Maybe we’re just lucky that we exist somewhere that things come together so well. It just so happens that sentient and rational life forms can only come to exist in a rational universe, so the fact it is rational shouldn’t be surprising.
Ignoring the sheer magnitude of the improbability of such a massive coincidence, that doesn’t explain why the world is intelligible. It only makes it so “we shouldn’t be surprised” that the universe makes sense given our own existence. It doesn’t actually explain why. And who said rational beings can’t exist in an irrational universe? After all, in an irrational universe there are no rational explanations.
There is no answer to this question under atheism. If you propose some kind of ‘evolutionary’ theory for universes such that only universes that have certain properties are favored and ‘propagated,’ then that only pushes the problem up a level; why is there rationality in the multiverse? What imposed this evolutionary process on it? Another problem shows up with theories that propose a multiverse ‘lottery’ where constants and properties are randomly assigned; why is such a mechanism random? Why does it function according to some rules in one sense, but no rules in another? Ultimately, we still don’t know why things necessarily make sense!
But, if we are to consider the idea that order implies purpose, and that purpose comes from desired ends, and that desired ends are products of willful minds, then the idea of a mind choosing to create everything doesn’t seem so far-fetched.
All we have to do is look within ourselves; only rational beings can impose order on things, and since order can only be imposed top-down, then the order and comprehensibility of the entirety of existence is best explained with God.
God, as a source of order and reason, can create for a purpose that takes into consideration the ends. Similar to how we create objects and tools for their various purposes, using foresight to construct things for their final result, the concept of God gives us a reason for why existence exists the way it does. The stars, the planets, the land, the sea, the plants, the animals, and humanity itself; there’s an end purpose to it all. It serves a function. When one asks, “Why did God create everything in this way?” the reply is, “Because He had an intention and a plan for us, and so creation is made for that purpose.” (Specifically, life functions as a test for us so that we may encounter hardships and succeed through overcoming them, developing a closer bond with God in the process.)
The real reason why people deny the concept of God is precisely a misunderstanding of God’s purpose and a denial of insight in creation. When considering “why did God create us and the universe in such a way?” people often fail to see any potential wisdom (due to the existence of suffering, death, and so on). Thus, when God seems to act irrationally and without reason, it becomes easy to cut God out of the equation and simply say the universe exists arbitrarily and without a reason.
3) A Pointless Existence
Regarding life, the wisest men of all ages have judged alike: it is worthless.
Because of atheism’s denial of intention behind our existence, we are forced to concede that everything is ultimately pointless. There is no end goal to this entire exercise that we call “life.” Our existence is just a random absurdity that cannot be explained through any meaningful purpose. While we may feel like we have a certain inherent value to ourselves and others, the fact of the matter is that we are objectively worthless. The universe doesn’t care if we all live a utopian life, nor does it care if we all wipe each other out in a nuclear holocaust.
Materialistically speaking, Humans become nothing more than the sum of our parts. Since we are made from the same atoms as those found in dirt, we are really nothing more than that. There is no reason to value complexity over simplicity, nor any reason to value cognition over obliviousness.
Sure, to us our lives are important. Hence why so many people try to maximize their pleasure with what little time they have left on this planet. When faced with a void of meaninglessness, people end up creating their own purposes in life. Whatever you think is important, go ahead and “fulfill your dreams.” Or so the logic goes.
But giving yourself a purpose is an exercise in delusion. Everybody is going to end up six feet under, no matter what they did or did not do. Whether you accomplish your goals in life or not, whether you left your mark on society or not, whether you were loved by everybody or not, it will not impact you in the slightest after your demise. So what if people remember your name? You won’t “live on” because of it. It’s futile to think otherwise, in an atheist’s world.
If you think about, the truly clear-sighted atheists are those who decide to commit suicide when life ceases being enjoyable. If you’ve extracted all the value from life that you could, then why not? Why wait until some disease takes you and painfully kills you over a period of time? Why not go “peacefully,” as it is so euphemistically described? After all, life doesn’t carry any inherent value. Who cares if people decide to commit suicide? If life is more trouble than it’s worth, (IE: nothing except your personal pleasure) then you might as well end it.
3) Moral Relativism
Without God and the future life? It means everything is permitted now, one can do anything?
Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
Despite the delusion of it all, people will still tell themselves that they are doing important things. All that matters, from an individual’s perspective, is what the individual himself wants to do, even if it will eventually disappoint them at the time of their death.
So if all that matters in the present is the desire of the individual, then this means that any choice is validated by virtue of the fact the person desires to do it. As long as you want to, then technically it is right. After all, who can tell you otherwise? Only other people. But who cares what they think? It’s not like their opinions have an impact on you ultimately.
Well, that’s not entirely true. There’s a thing called ‘society’ which, if it chooses, can punish certain behavior it deems unacceptable. But let’s face it, it’s only unacceptable because society says it is, not because it actually is. One society can band together and label incest wrong, make it criminal offense and punish it; but another society can do the exact opposite, praise incest, and call any perceived detriments to be ‘necessary consequences’ for the ‘glorious’ benefits.
Morality becomes all relative in an atheist world. Ultimately there isn’t anything to compel one’s moral compass in any direction when there is no Judge or Judgment. And so, one person’s good may be another person’s evil. At the end of the day, a person can essentially choose to do whatever they want (if they are capable of doing it) and it would be validated to that individual. Who are you to tell them otherwise? Who are you to impose your standards on others? After all, without God, there is nothing to impose a greater moral standard on humanity. So, there’s truly nothing that needs to be taken into account when making decisions except your own whims!
Yes, people generally want the well-being of others, which is why you could argue that morality can be objectively centered around “promoting well-being” and “avoiding harm.” But what people fail to consider is the fact that terms such as “well-being,” “social good,” and “harm” are themselves subjective terms. What one man may consider harm, another may consider a social good. Look no further than the dispute between vegetarians and meat-lovers for an example of such.
Also consider what happens when individuals obtain power over society, and the potential for corruption in those cases. Social well-being and harm can be defined and redefined so that groups are excluded from their protection, and persecution is perpetrated in the name of some distorted image of social good. I don’t think I have to get into detail about Nazi Germany for you to understand the potential of moral redefinition at the national level.
Despite the subjectivity of terms such as “well-being,” in order to anchor morality around it there needs to be a metaphysical premise in order for it to be true. What if someone comes along and doesn’t think promoting well-being is something we should do? Again, who are you to impose what you desire onto others? If there are no metaphysical consequences for one moral choice over another, then only the physically true consequences are the ones that truly matter.
It might be hard to think about, considering that we live in a society that has constructed systems that promote a certain way of behavior, but let’s take away society and its pressures. What reason do you, a starving castaway stranded on an island with another person, have to not eat your peer to live? Nothing really, except your own desire to do so. Trying to take into account the “ethical ramifications” is yet again a delusion because there is no such thing as right or wrong in the absence of accountability. If you can get away with it, there’s no reason not to do crimes that you desire to commit.
4) Living Robots
We are survival machines – robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes. This is a truth which still fills me with astonishment.
Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene
How can we even to begin to assign accountability under atheism? In the absence of the metaphysical, all we are left with is the physical. Considering our own selves, this means that humans are nothing more but highly advanced biological machines. Once you reduce human behavior to a function of neurons firing off in blind response to determined events, then it begs the question: are our actions truly ours?
Can responsibility truly be assigned to anyone if this is true? After all, every factor that goes into our so-called decision making process is ultimately out of our control: Genetics predispose us to certain behaviors and susceptibilities, environment and social circumstances shape our perceptions and open opportunities, and finally our brains function according to synapses that respond to outside stimuli. If our thought processes are not independent of our physical world, therefore that which we call “our” choices are not actually ours, but rather the world’s.
When a criminal steals something, is it his fault? Not really, because he can’t control what his brain tells him to do. Why should he be punished when he’s not the one that decided to steal? His frontal lobe told him to do it so; he had no choice!
Even if we were to introduce randomness into the processing equation, that still won’t change the fact that we’re not the ones in control. Whether or not one part of the brain inhibits the other is all up to biology and chemistry, not you.
In fact, who are you? If you truly are just the sum of your parts, then how can you have a subjective individual experience in the first place? Naturalism implies that we are all biological robots that are just a bunch of cells. So how can a bunch of cells come together to form a singular conscious entity that can be self-aware? How can oblivious molecules produce an entity that knows, thinks, and feels?
If consciousness is just the product of super complex machines, then are computers conscious? At what point does a circuit board become self-aware? Can self-awareness be physically programmed in the first place? After all, self-awareness is emergent and independent behavior while anything programmed is necessarily physically dependent.
In the absence of a metaphysical ‘soul’ or third party perspective, then we should be nothing more but a bunch of cells acting in unison. How can we have a singular conscious “experience” without a metaphysical ‘self’ that persists and transcends the material world?
5) Doubting Altruism
To be happy, we must not be too concerned with others.
Albert Camus, The Fall
Let’s say that we ignore all of the philosophizing and just decide to live our lives normally. But even in normal living, atheism has its implications. Whenever we preform an action, whenever we make a judgment call, we do so based on certain assumptions. This is especially true of selfless deeds.
For example, we see someone in danger, and we imagine ourselves in that person’s shoes. We would desire to be saved, and thus we decide to act on the premise that if I was in danger, then I’d want others to save me. Ultimately, we justify acting selflessly by the following: if I do something good to others, then I should expect others to good to me.
Maybe in a perfect world, this could be reasonably considered true. But in reality, there’s nothing obligating others to help you out just because you’ve done so in the past. In fact, the opposite is possible: you could be a jerk your whole life and still be rewarded. It seems then that the so-called ‘golden rule’ has no basis in reality. It is only real if people make it so, but there is nothing guaranteeing your return on your efforts. It seems like it’s actually a pretty poor maxim to base one’s life around.
If you do decide to follow the golden rule using the above basis, then you are essentially putting your faith in other humans. You hope that people have the same mindset as you, but because it’s not actually a ‘rule’ it is inevitably going to fail. Human beings are weak, and life is full of temptations.
But this is all the atheist has to put his faith in. He has nobody better to trust. But if all trust breaks eventually, why bother? Why put your faith in others beside yourself? Isn’t it more reasonable to go through life selfishly, so that when you are disappointed you’re not left feeling like you were conned out of something you deserved? Maybe our ‘selfish’ genes were onto something after all.
On the other hand, maybe you consider this to be true altruism. Doing something while not expecting any kind of return at all; isn’t that ‘real’ selflessness? Isn’t that what it’s supposed to be about?
Well, sort of. If you live your life without expecting a return necessarily for your good actions from other people, then that is indeed the sign of a selfless person. However, I don’t think it’s possible for people to truly maintain that behavior without any self-justification.
Allow me to explain. As I said before, human beings are generally rational actors. Whenever people make decisions, they are always rationalized (if we ignore the realms of madness). Preforming an action, exerting energy to do something, requires some kind of return in order for it to be rationalized, either consciously or subconsciously. Nothing is truly done for no reason; even if the benefit is as small as the “good feeling” that the person feels, it is still some kind of perceived reward. However, what atheism denies (an ultimate Judge who rewards and punishes people after death) negates any possible rationalization for living one’s entire life without expecting to be rewarded for their good deeds during that time span. After all, death is supposedly nothingness, so all justification must come during one’s life.
Therefore, when an atheist does something selfless there are only a finite number of options with regards to rationalization: either the atheist is behaving irrationally (a sign of madness, and a trait he finds quite detestable in others), or he’s acting while expecting a worldly reward from people (and thus is not selfless), or he’s not actually an atheist deep down (because he makes an otherworldly justification).
Of course, it’s up to you to reflect within yourself as to what your motivations are for doing good works. Maybe you’re convinced that you’re being perfectly altruistic. It’s not my business to judge you personally. But because of the reasons above, I highly doubt such a thing is possible. People just need incentives. After all, why do we have awards such as the Nobel Peace Prize? Is it not to promote selflessness through establishing a reward from a higher body?
So how do we understand true altruism, if it is not among the ranks of irrational behavior? Well, in our day and age we often think of “being a good person” as fulfilling one’s rights to others. This is only partially true. It’s actually a subset of a larger duty many seem to forget completely. Think about it: why do we think that we have a duty to people? Technically, we don’t owe other human beings anything, so what is the impetus behind it? To whom is this duty really owed?
If leading a good life is a duty, then who else is it directed towards other than the one who gave people life in the first place? Knowing this, then we understand that true altruism is doing good not for the sake of other people’s approval, but rather your Creator’s. True selflessness is helping out other people not while expecting reward from them, but rather your Lord. Even then, such a reward is given out of mercy, not because of our entitlement for doing good. So although the person is being selfish in a sense (wanting a reward with God), all negative aspects of selfishness (arrogance, entitlement, envy, etc) are stripped away by the humbling of the self before God through living a life of submission to God. This is what we call purification of the soul- channeling our desires properly through correction of our beliefs and acting accordingly; you are taking your natural, logical selfishness and using it, ironically, to become selfless. It’s actually a pretty ingenious system.
Oftentimes when a person does behave selflessly, the rationalization admittedly comes from something metaphysical. “I’m doing it because I’m supposed to,” “It’s the right thing to do,” “Whatever comes around goes around,” “I want to have good karma.” All of these are based on the existence of an ultimate authority, a belief in universal justice, and repayment of debts. They are all intrinsically tied to God and the hereafter.
Without God, then there’s no moral duty to anyone and no hereafter to justify being selfless during this Earthly life. Of course, you still have the option of hoping to be rewarding at some point while you are living, but such a faith is extremely fragile. All it takes is a series of unfortunate events for a person to despair and to start hating his own life, viewing it as oppressively unfair.
Life only sucks if you think this is all you have. When you have God as your companion, only then can you truly remove the shackles of life’s limitations.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, “Allah says: ‘I am just as My slave thinks I am, (i.e. I am able to do for him what he thinks I can do for him) and I am with him if He remembers Me. If he remembers Me in himself, I too, remember him in Myself; and if he remembers Me in a group of people, I remember him in a group that is better than they; and if he comes one span nearer to Me, I go one cubit nearer to him; and if he comes one cubit nearer to Me, I go a distance of two outstretched arms nearer to him; and if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running.’ ”
[Sahih al Bukhari; Vol. 9, Book 93, Hadith 502 (English); Book 98, Hadith 7494 (Arabic)]
So my friends, make sure you think your central beliefs through. Deeply contemplate on them and their implications. Be as sure as you can that this is the truth that you believe is real. And if you are in doubt, then you can’t go wrong by simply asking for guidance from whoever put you on this Earth.
Belief is extremely important, because it is the premise upon which we make our decisions. We live our lives according to our beliefs. Maybe it’s time we prioritized what is really important and put the necessary effort in choosing our beliefs. In the end, that’s something I think everybody can agree with.