It seems of late the most common objections I seem to come against when it comes to my faith have to do with my methodology: Apparently, I lack a compelling link between the God in which I believe and the evidence I claim supports Him. Sure, things like the fine-tuning of the universe, the complexity of life, miracles, prophesy, personal religious experiences, etc. may, to the simple mind, lead to a prima facie acceptance of some divine Agent behind it all — but the superior mind (I’ve come to understand) refuses to accept such hypotheses without an airtight, no-wiggle-room, universally-accepted case that unequivocally and unquestionably shows that X body of evidence leads (and must only lead) to God Y. Until that happens, the rational mind can reasonably — nay, needs must be confined to — the realm of agnosticism.
It’s a neat little case — but I’m not convinced that this is actually how people make decisions. If I wait until I’m absolutely sure about something before I jump, then you can be assured that I will lead a very uneventful life, because I’ll never do anything. Good decisions are not predicated upon certainty — they are founded on a reasonable analysis of the available data coupled with an assessment of the applicable risks. I would posit that this is a far more pragmatic approach when it comes to making decisions — including those having to do with God. (more…)
In answer to this comment by Captain Cassidy (she’s always inspiring me to post something new, I love that!), I have decided to share my perspective on the naturalist hypothesis stating that my (and others’) supernatural religious experiences are nothing more than constructs of the mind. Like so many other things posited by naturalists to be illusory fabrications — including a sense of having free will, an intuition about the existence of objective moral values, the feeling that consciousness is something separate from the body — a belief that religious experiences originate with a supernatural entity is utter hogwash. If I hear something from God (as I believe I have), if I attribute certain experiences (which science has shown to be legitimate) to be divine rather than naturalistic in nature, if I believe that there is a perceptibly conversational aspect to prayer (as my experience has taught me), then I am the victim of my brain’s own cleverness and imagination. I have been, and continue to be, duped. I have nothing more in Christ than an imaginary friend.
As un-Christian-like as it may be for me to be snarky in this particular instance, I’m afraid that I cannot resist the temptation, and can only cast my weakness of character at the feet of my merciful Savior: I find it so very clever of such people to offer such a definitive and authoritative diagnosis of my psychological state without even having met me. There must be a Nobel Prize with someone’s name on it somewhere, for that’s quite a feat.
But, since pointing out someone’s arrogance doesn’t necessarily make them wrong, my rationality is not satisfied in avoiding this possibility by hiding behind sarcasm. We’re weighing evidence here, after all — pithy comments, regardless of how emotionally satisfying they may be, carry very little weight in this arena. My sardonic wit is rendered impotent by my own doing in creating this blog the way I did. And while my sense of irony balks, my reason gives an affirming (if somewhat terse) nod.
I’m going to try my hand at one of the classical arguments for the existence of God: the cosmological argument, or the first-cause argument. A lot of you have heard it before, I’m sure — it’s one of William Lane Craig‘s favorites, in any case; and as I don’t have an original thought in my head, I’m pretty sure that anything I say here has been said by someone else before. That being said, here we go!