We pondered whether to post about this one, which we found at the website of Fox news: A Christmas gift for atheists — five reasons why God exists.
The reason we hesitated is because this isn’t an atheist blog. We’re never bothered when someone is religious, not even if he has faith in a few miracles. What does bother us, however — aside from acts of raw aggression which some commit in the name of religion — is bad reasoning. It pollutes the environment.
Religion is based on faith — belief in something for which there is an absence of evidence or logical proof. That goes for miracles too. It’s irrational to maintain faith in some alleged miracle when verifiable evidence clearly contradicts it — as with young-Earth Creationism. But as for the existence of deities — despite the lack of evidence — that’s what faith is all about. Your Curmudgeon is easy to get along with. If you don’t bother us, we won’t bother you.
But the Fox article does bother us — because it’s so poorly reasoned. The author is William Lane Craig. According to Wikipedia, Craig is “an American Christian apologist and analytic philosopher. He works in the philosophy of religion, philosophy of time, and the defense of Christian theism.”
Craig claims he has evidence for his faith. He ought to know that’s a grotesque philosophical contradiction. If he had evidence, or at least solid reasoning, then his religion would be science. Because he’s talking about a deity, yet claiming to have evidence, we feel that his essay is a fair target. He begins by saying:
[M]ost atheists, in my experience, have no good reasons for their disbelief. Rather they’ve learned to simply repeat the slogan, “There’s no good evidence for God’s existence!” In the case of a Christian who has no good reasons for what he believes, this slogan serves as an effective conversation-stopper. But if we have good reasons for our beliefs, then this slogan serves rather as a conversation-starter.
So what reasons might be given in defense of Christian theism? In my publications and oral debates with some of the world’s most notable atheists, I’ve defended the following five reasons why God exists:
We’ll go through his five reasons, one by one, giving you excerpts from his arguments. We’ve added some bold font for emphasis. Here we go:
1. God provides the best explanation of the origin of the universe.
Given the scientific evidence we have about our universe and its origins, and bolstered by arguments presented by philosophers for centuries, it is highly probable that the universe had an absolute beginning. Since the universe, like everything else, could not have merely popped into being without a cause, there must exist a transcendent reality beyond time and space that brought the universe into existence. This entity must therefore be enormously powerful. Only a transcendent, unembodied mind suitably fits that description.
That’s the ancient “first cause,” or unmoved mover argument. The logical problem with it is that if one’s reasoning carries him back to such a thing (because everything has a cause), then that reasoning must — with equal force — raise the question of What caused this transcendent thing? One can’t arbitrarily stop with that thing and assert that it needs no cause. Why? It would be a contradiction. You arrived at that point because everything has a cause. One is then logically compelled to propose an infinite regress of such causes, which is absurd. Let’s move on to Craig’s next reason:
2. God provides the best explanation for the fine-tuning of the universe.
We’ve dealt with that one before — there’s a section on it, titled Anthropic Principle, in our Common Creationist Claims Confuted. Craig continues:
3. God provides the best explanation of objective moral values and duties.
Even atheists recognize that some things, for example, the Holocaust, are objectively evil. But if atheism is true, what basis is there for the objectivity of the moral values we affirm? Evolution? Social conditioning? These factors may at best produce in us the subjective feeling that there are objective moral values and duties, but they do nothing to provide a basis for them. If human evolution had taken a different path, a very different set of moral feelings might have evolved. By contrast, God Himself serves as the paradigm of goodness, and His commandments constitute our moral duties. Thus, theism provides a better explanation of objective moral values and duties.
Lordy, lordy. We run into that one all the time, and we’ve debunked it several times, starting here: Creationism and Morality. The Discoveroids make the same claim on behalf of their magical designer — see The Designer Gives Us Morality. Here’s Craig’s next reason:
4. God provides the best explanation of the historical facts concerning Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
You can click over there to read that one if you like. It’s classic circular reasoning. Because the bible is all about God, then God is the best explanation for the bible. Wow! It’s equally “true” that the actual existence of the Olympian gods is the best explanation for their activities in the Iliad. And now we come to Craig’s final reason:
5. God can be personally known and experienced.
The proof of the pudding is in the tasting. Down through history Christians have found through Jesus a personal acquaintance with God that has transformed their lives.
Well, okay, if one accepts inherently unverifiable accounts of subjective experiences. The same quality of evidence also “proves” the phenomenon of UFO abductions and unwitnessed anatomical probes by aliens. Believe what you will, but science doesn’t accept that kind of evidence.
So there you are, dear reader. If you feel the need to go beyond faith, that’s the sort of thing you’ll have to deal with. Our advice: Keep the faith, and leave the rest to science.
Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.