On Proving the Existence of God

The great argument of the “new atheism,” as of most atheisms of the old stripe, seems to be that “you can’t prove the existence of God.”

In other words, using the tools of science, you can’t prove the existence of something that transcends science.

To think more clearly on the matter, it might be helpful to look at the word religion. It comes from the Latin – legio: to tie, and re: a broad prepositional prefix with too many possible meanings to be able to properly translate.

The idea is generally taken to be that of tying together.

A religion is not a conclusion to an argument. It is a teaching that ties everything else together, that harmonizes everything.

The most powerful religions are those that are able to tie the most together.

I am a Christian because, while I have great respect for other religions, they all seem to leave us with one or two irresolvable dichotomies that are reconciled in Christ.

The mother of all dichotomies might be that between the material and the spiritual realms. Naturalism, the religion of today, resolves it by denying the spiritual or giving naturalistic explanations for all things spiritual.

Gnosticism, the perpetual enemy of Christianity and, according to Richard Weaver at least, the painfully ironic foundational dogma of progressive education (Dewey, James, etc.) treats the spiritual as legitimate and important and the material as valueless.

Christianity tells of one who is big enough to weave all things together into a harmony that damages nothing and blesses everything: Christ, the incarnate logos: Spirit made flesh, God made man, the weaving together in one of all things.

Now, if a religion is true, it cannot simply dismiss what it doesn’t like. That is a sign of theological weakness. A true religion ties everything together.

But when a philosophy is based on a necessarily inadequate premise, as is naturalism, then it is hard for this Christian to see why he ought to abandon his foundations because the other guys have developed a sophisticated argument.

A premise is necessarily inadequate when it excludes what it doesn’t like at the beginning of the discussion.

God is not the conclusion of an argument based on naturalistic premises. He is the beginning of thought and the harmony of all truth. He is necessary to every other premise, but I don’t see how that can “prove” his existence. He is simply Necessary: to thought, to ethics, to beauty, to society, to physics, to marriage, to education.

Taking the New Atheism Seriously

The greatest argument for atheism is a poor argument for theism. The best way to build this poor argument is to play on the field designed by the atheist. To see these theses played out, visit this blog, which I find to be often well-reasoned within their parameters but too frequently giving in to the frustration that inevitably arises when they see people who don’t accept their premises or who aren’t as smart as they.

If you want to engage in this debate (naturalism/atheism/evolution), if your faith depends on winning it, or you want to make your children’s faith depend on winning it, then I recommend you read blogs like this. If you just read Christian apologists, your faith will not be strengthened and your children’s faith will become dependent on inadequate arguments and unsharpened knives.

Take it seriously and with genuine humility or you will enter a journey full of tears.

I point this out because I continually find Christians surprised at the number of Christian kids who go to college and lose their faith. The response is often to give them an apologetics class or, lately, a worldview class.

Two problems: one, the teacher rarely became a Christian because of an apologetic defense of the faith and two, the teacher usually, therefore, doesn’t understand apologetics very well.

I mean no insult by those comments. I take the issue too seriously for that.

My concern is that if the student sits through apologetics classes under teachers who aren’t all that serious about apologetics (which can be a frightening experience for people not otherwise inclined to it – or even for those so inclined), when they get to college they will have been more poorly equipped than had they never had such a class.

This holds particularly true at those schools who are driven by standardization and certification, two forces that do not arise from within the Christian “worldview” and therefore, by their very presence, risk undercutting every apologetic a school has to offer.

It would be more effective to build a school on a genuinely Christ-centered curriculum in a meaningful way (i.e. actually figuring out the relationships among the subjects and to Christ).

Atheism often results from the failure to cultivate the spiritual faculties of perception. To argue on their playing field without cultivating those faculties is to ask a blind man to describe light to one without eyes.

We value perception to little.

The political future of American Education?

Richard Dawkins, a Rabbi, a Catholic, and a minister of education got together to discuss education. No, it’s not the preamble to a joke. It’s an English TV debate about the role of religion in the state schools. This raises a lot of issues people might need to be aware of in the not too distant future.

A provocation worth contemplating

“absence of faith is not rationality but the hatred of God that stems from perverse impulses.”

Spengler, Asia Times Online