I recently got into an argument with an atheist (it’s not that hard to do, they are not reasonable, are arrogant and think they are reasonable, it’s the perfect recipe for argumentative idiots). The short version of their argument was that I could not prove that God existed, thus such a belief was based on faith, ergo false. There are several problems with this, which my interlocutor did not wish to acknowledge. 1.) That his belief that there is no God wasn’t based on faith, after all he couldn’t prove God didn’t exist, 2.) That faith is not a perfectly logical basis for belief where reason does not offer an answer and 3.) That a lack of definitive proof doesn’t mean that I have no proof for my position. I’ve dealt with the arrogance of atheist faith already. That faith is a legitimate basis for belief where reason offers no answers is obvious as from a just a prima facie case (especially where you need an answer to proceed), but I would like to deal with that third point. Yes I do not a have a perfect argument for existence of God that proves the existence of such an entity that is self-evident once you read it…but I do have evidence that the preponderance of which greatly suggests the existences of something greater than this bag of flesh and bone, and this we call God. And it is this evidence which strongly suggests that something is there is what justifies my faith that fills in the blanks that the evidence cannot.
I’ll begin with the famous argument. The argument by cause. Best recounted in St. Thomas Aquinas’ Five Fold Proof of God (you should read it) it goes something like this: Everything is caused by something else. Where did the egg come from? A chicken laid it. As anyone who knows this problem you quickly reach the problem of an infinite series of chickens and eggs going back for an infinite amount of time or you have to have a first cause. A first cause is something that simply is, always has been, and needs no cause in or of itself. It’s an either or. You either have an infinite series of causes going back for all time (which seems to violate everything we know about physics) or you have a First Cause that exists out of time and out of the physical world. I mean most scientists will go back to the Big Bang as the first cause…but what caused the Big Bang? Same problem comes up when you use all those wonderful multidimensional, quantum mechanic, holographic universe explanations…what started that? Whatever started it we call God.
However while the argument by cause gives a logical reason to believe in some kind of creator, it doesn’t tell us anything about said creator. It could be Cthulhu for all we know.
Further there is a second form of the argument by cause called the argument by design. This argument has been overused by a lot of morons who can’t accept that the modern theory of evolution does explain just about every form of life on Earth all the way from the first cell to highly evolved primates. It explains all the myriad of variations and cool adaptations. Even the weird ones! (Okay the platypus does show God has a sense of humor, but evolution can explain how something like that could be created by natural means). However, evolutionary theory does have two really big problems. The first is that jump from random chemicals to self replicating cell. That’s an infinitely large jump there…and if you go watch Ben Stein’s documentary Expelled it’s endlessly entertaining watching atheists try and explain how only science is needed to make this infinite leap. The other problem that evolution can’t seem to describe is that jump from very bright primate to self-aware homo-sapiens that can think in abstract terms. It’s again another infinite jump science can only explain by saying our self-awareness isn’t all that special (i.e. deny self-evident truths, more on this later). These two massive jumps seem to indicate the presence of something intelligent at the very least had a hand in the first cell and then said “Let there be evolution” and then lent another hand for that spectacular jump between primate and human.
There is also a certain problem of physics. I have been told by friends who are physics majors that the Big Bang does present a bit of a problem for physicists. The problem is that if there had been one-one-billionth of a percent more antimatter created in the bang than there was that the explosion would have driven everything so far apart that nothing would have ever formed together into galaxies, stars, planets, and us and if there had been one-one-billionth of a percent less antimatter created then there would not have been enough energy to drive the universe apart and the whole thing would have collapsed in on itself. I am not a mathematician or physicists so I can’t say with absolute certainty that this is true, but if it is, boy did we hit the interstellar lottery. (Three times, creation of the universe, random chemicals form a functioning cell, jump to self-awareness). Or perhaps there was some intelligent force nudging us in the right direction at the right times. (Oh, if you get in to theoretical physics there is also this problem that time, which relativity teaches us is as fluid as any other dimension, only seems to move forward when there is no particular reason it should…now why would that be?)
So I can suggest existence and intelligence, but is this all I’ve got? Nope.
I have this fascinating thing called near-death experience. I’ve blogged on this before, but here’s a quick recap: Near-death experiences are a fascinating bit of proof. People who have near-death experiences come back with information, about the real world, that occurred at a distance they could know if they were alive (knowing things that occurred miles away) sometimes with knowledge they couldn’t have information to (the blind can come back reporting they’ve seen things, things that can be accurately described and verified) all while they’re brain dead and there are no electrical signals going through any part of their nervous system. Neat trick…or it could be that the soul exists and continues after death. And if there is a soul not bound by death, it certainly suggests something even greater than just the physical universe…like, I don’t know, God.
Then you add in research into reincarnation and past life memory that can’t just be easily dismissed. You add in all those wacky aspects of quantum mechanics which suggest that thought affects reality, which in turn logically suggest thought, like the soul is not bounded by the physical universe. And that research shows prayer does actually have an effect on recovery from disease and surgery. All of this seems to suggest some higher purpose in the whole existence thing doesn’t it?
Put together, I’ll admit that it’s not incontrovertible…but honestly it does seem to suggest that it is likely that something along the lines of God exists. Certainly the evidence seems to lead more to there being something than there being nothing. Certainly it doesn’t indicate which religion’s conception (if any of them) is correct…but atheism seems to be lacking on counter evidence.
“For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible.”