Tuesday, August 21, 2012
It is one thing to say that there are no good reasons against believing the Christian faith. It is another to argue that there are sufficient reasons FOR believing it.
But what counts as ‘sufficient’ reason? Must it be proven rationally by logic? Must we experience God with our five senses? Or only what can be scientifically proven by experiments is true? Must the evidence for God be so bomb-proof irrefutable that almost everyone will see it?
Tim Keller questions strong rationalism: “How could you empirically prove that no one should believe something without empirical proof?” That’s ultimately a belief. AlvinPlantinga: The argument is like the drunk who insisted on looking for his lost car keys only under the streetlight because the light was better there. Or even worse: Because the keys would be hard to find in the dark, they must be under the light.
No one can be totally neutral when it comes to the question of God’s existence. All of us have a deep desire for Him to exist or not to exist. We all have vested interest in this.
But that does not mean we cannot discern whether a belief is better than another. Some beliefs are more reasonable than others, but all arguments are rationally avoidable in the end. Even scientific theories that are tested and accepted are open to revision or abandoned in light of a better model. They are not ‘proved’ in the strong rationalist sense.
Richard Swinburne: If God exists, we would expect the things we see today – that there is a universe at all, that scientific laws operate in it and that humans have consciousness and moral sense. If there is no God, you won’t expect any of these things. Belief in God offers a better explanation for what we experience daily than the alternatives. Bahnsen goes further: It’s the only view that does not make nonsense of the human experience.
Gargarin thinks there is no God because he couldn’t find Him in outer space. But that is like Hamlet (story character) searching the attic in his castle in hope of finding Shakespeare (author). We shouldn’t expect to prove God as if he were an object within our universe.
C.S. Lewis: I believe in God as I believe the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else”. Look at what the sun shows us. Which belief has more ‘explanatory power’ to make sense of what we see in the world and in ourselves? These are the clues for God.
If God is the Author of everything, then we would find clues to His reality that He has written into the universe (including us). If we are made in God’s image as rational and personal beings, then we would expect some correspondence between His mind and ours.
But reason alone won’t be enough. The Author has written himself into the story as the main character in history when Jesus was born, crucified and rose from the dead. The ultimate evidence for God is Jesus Himself. He is the one we have to deal with.
So, what clues are there for God?
Alvin Plantinga argues that belief in God is properly basic so Christians do not have the burden to prove God. We don’t have to, but that doesn’t mean there are no good reasons for believing in God (if we want to).