Friday, August 21, 2009

It is reasonable to believe in God. PT. 1

Can the existence of God be proved? I don't think so. There are very few things in this world that can be proved 100%. I cannot prove to you that I am not just a brain hooked up to some weird scientific equipment. I cannot prove to you that I am not just some part of your imagination.

Nevertheless, it is completely reasonable to believe I do, in fact, exist. I live my life as though I do exist. It is not proved completely, but instead it is just reasonable to believe.

Most of our beliefs are in this area of knowledge. We do not necessarily have certainty, but it is more reasonable than not to believe the way we do.

Belief in God, I think, falls into this category. Belief in God is rational and based on evidence.

Over the next couple weeks, I will present several arguments for the existence of God. None of these, it seems, proves God's existence 100%, but they all make it reasonable. In fact, I would argue they make belief in God more reasonable than the alternative.

Now, one might argue that if none of the arguments can prove the existence of God with certainty, then there is a huge problem. They might say this means the arguments have holes and therefore they do not help each other to show the rationality of belief in God.

One popular example is called the leaky buckets objection. If you have 5 buckets with holes, no matter what you do water will leak through. These buckets cannot help each other to contain water.

However, the arguments I espouse are part of a cumulative approach. This means I think they are stronger together than they are apart.

For example, consider a chain-link fence. Apart from the whole of the fence, each individual strand of metal is not that strong. It can be bent, ignored, broken. However, when together, the cumulative strength of the metal strands adds up to something more. W. L. Craig uses the example of Chain mail armor in a similar fashion to show the cumulative strength of the arguments.

When the value of each argument is taken into account, the whole is much more powerful than only one.

Also, it is important to remember, reasonableness is in reference to the best explanation. This means it is always more reasonable to believe the explanation with the most explanatory power, than to believe other assertions.

There might be other possible explanations for these arguments, but this does not mean they are the most probable or best explanation.

When this series is over, I think it will be clear that the existence of God is the best explanation regarding the evidence put forth.

Next: The Kalam Cosmological Argument.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

We are on the Moon!

On July 16th, 1969, two United States astronauts began a journey to finally land on the moon. This was one of the most remarkable and important events of the 20th century.

We began to conquer space... Science was believed to be able to solve all of man's problems. If we can only understand the physical world, we can harness it and bend it to our will. Even our amusement parks resembled our optimism in the Scientific universe.

When Tomorrowland was first created, Walt Disney tried to show the possibilities of science, and Tomorrowland was made to look futuristic, and optimistic. It was a tribute to the ingenuity of man. Man would be traveling at light-speed, and never want for anything!

40 years later, much is better, but much is worse. Conquering space did not solve humanity's problems. Neither did the rest of Science. In fact, Science has actually created some more problems. For those who held to Science, many stopped being able to find meaning. An unhealthy dependence on the promises of Science actually brought a sense of anguish, because many people believed the natural world was all that exists. This meant to these people there was no heaven, no supernatural, no life after death. When we die, we die.

Science has lost credibility to the "postmodern" mind. Even the development of Disneyland shows our general lack of faith in Science now.

Go visit Disneyland today... much has changed. Tomorrowland does not seem optimistic anymore. Instead it resembles more cartoon or sci-fi worlds than anything actually attainable. This metamorphosis in Disneyland has closely paralleled the general public's trust of Science. People no longer trust Science. When Science stopped being able to give meaning, people have moved to despair.

We have "conquered" the moon, but we have lost our confidence. Today is a great opportunity for Christianity to be a beacon of renewed hope. In a world searching for meaning, because Science has taken meaning of existence and obliterated it, Christianity can give true hope. Using the Scriptural example of showing reasons for our hope (I Peter 3:15), Christians can be light in a dark world.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

An Exercise in Futility: Freedom, Equality without God

On this day, July 14, 1786, the frustration of the French people towards their government culminated in the storming of the Bastille. This kicked off the French Revolution.

The revolution was run under the banner of "Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity." This reflected the ideals of the enlightenment to treat their fellow man as equal, and of worth because they were all human. The goal was to create a society which saw all others as equal, but without the oppressive restrictions of a Deity.

Although the French Revolution occurred quickly after the American Revolution, and it seemed to be built on similar philosophies of value, France did not have nearly the stability of government as the United States after their revolution. Quickly after the end of the revolution, the Reign of Terror began. Among other things, the Reign of Terror is noted for sending thousands of people to their death at the guillotine, which was considered humanitarian compared with other methods. Those who were taken to the guillotine were taken because they had different political ideas than the new regime.

This is wholly unlike anything which occurred after the American Revolution. How do two revolutions with such like ideals produce two completely separate results?

The answer comes from each revolutions grounding or basis for the equality they sought and fought for. In the United States, equality of persons was something "endowed by their creator," but this is not true of the ideals of the French.

The French tried to base their equality in their own humanity. They had fully bought into the enlightenment ideals of the epitome of man. Unfortunately, morals have no true basis in this worldview. Morality becomes a he said, she said proposition. This culminated in the French not actually believing in the equality they had initially fought for. Instead, there was only equality for those who held the same political views as those in power.

The French Revolution seems to be something we would all cheer for, but instead it is really about how life would truly be without God. As Fyodor Dostoyevsky declared, "Without God, everything is permissible."

Equality, and all other moral precepts, need God as a basis, or it really doesn't mean anything.