The Ten Best Arguments for God

This is a good one for the weekend. We found it at the website of the Christian Post, which describes itself as “the nation’s most comprehensive Christian news website.” They have a comments icon, but it doesn’t lead to any comments. Their headline is 10 Reasons to Believe God Exists. The author is Brian G. Chilton, whose credentials are given at the end. We’ve never seen such a compilation of impressive qualifications, so we’ll give you the whole ark-load:

Brian G. Chilton is the founder of BellatorChristi.com and is the host of The Bellator Christi Podcast. He received his Master of Divinity in Theology from Liberty University (with high distinction); his Bachelor of Science in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Gardner-Webb University (with honors); and received certification in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. Brian is currently enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Theology and Apologetics at Liberty University and is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Evangelical Philosophical Society. Brian has been in the ministry for over 15 years and serves as the Senior Pastor of Westfield Baptist Church in northwestern North Carolina.

Okay, you know what we’re dealing with. Here are some excerpts, but there will be no bold font added by us for emphasis, and and no Curmudgeonly interjections. Let’s get started:

Recently, news agencies filled the airwaves and the internet with the news of Stephen Hawking’s last book to be published and released posthumously. … Hawking argues through a series of essays why he didn’t think that God existed, did not think it was possible for God to exist, and did not believe in an afterlife.

We know about Hawking’s view of things. Rev Chilton says:

This causes one to ask, do we have good reasons to believe in God’s existence? I would like to propose ten reasons why we can believe that he does. To be forthright, there are many, many more. These represent some of the more popular reasons to believe that there really is a God who transcends reality and a few that I think stand to reason by the very nature of the way the world works.

The rev’s article is long. We’ll give you his arguments, somewhat abbreviated, and we won’t attempt any rebuttal. That will be up to you, dear reader. You will undoubtedly recognize many of the same arguments we have seen from creationists when arguing against evolution. Here we go!

1. Necessity of a First Cause (Cosmological Argument). … There was a time when physics (even quantum physics), time, and matter did not exist. How did it come to be? Atheists will argue that it just is. However, the data seems to suggest that an eternal, metaphysical (beyond the physical realm), Mind brought everything to be. That Mind would need to be omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. That Mind is who we know to be God.

The rev is just getting started. Next he tells us:

2. Designed Creation (Teleological Argument). Hugh Ross has argued that there are over 180 cosmological constants in the universe so finely tuned that if they were to be changed by the nth degree, life and the universe itself would not exist. … Design argues for a Designer.

3. Objective Morality (Moral Argument). Leaving the scientific realm for the philosophical and ethical, objective morality argues for an Objective Lawgiver. God is the best explanation for why objective morality exists. … People have an innate sense of morality. That comes from a Moral Lawgiver who we know to be God.

4. Necessary Being (Ontological Argument). In the end, one only has two options. Either an eternal nothingness (meaning again, “no-thing,” not even quantum particles) brought forth something from absolute nothingness, or an eternal Being brought everything that exists into being. The latter makes far more sense and actually adheres more to the scientific method than the former.

Great, huh? And we’re not even half-way through the rev’s list. He continues:

5. Explanation for Data (Information Argument). Why is there anything at all? … Why do physical processes and procedures exist? One explanation: God. For any data to exist, a programmer must exist. That Programmer must be God himself.

6. Science and Mathematics. Ironically, the scientific method and mathematics appeal to God’s existence. Scientists hold that the universe operates according to certain laws on a regular basis. The ability to do science itself means that human beings have been given cognitive abilities to observe the universe and, interestingly, have been placed in a position where the universe is observable. One must inadvertently appeal to the divine to even do science and mathematics. To add to this point, the beauty one finds in nature would have no real aesthetic value unless God exists.

Here comes the best yet:

7. Historicity of Jesus’s Resurrection. One of the most historically provable events of ancient history is Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection. Jesus’s resurrection is quite intriguing because he continuously appealed to God the Father to raise him from the dead. For Jesus to have risen from the dead indicates that the one whom he mentioned did what Jesus claimed he would do. The resurrection of Jesus points to a transcendent reality we call God.

And there are still three more to go! Let’s read on:

8. Miracles and Spiritual Encounters. … While God may not always perform a miracle in every circumstance, a good deal of evidence suggests that God has performed miracles throughout history. Added with the many spiritual encounters people have had with the divine provides an added case that God does indeed exist.

9. Near-Death Experiences and Consciousness. This is a fascinating area of study. Gary Habermas has noted that there are over 100 medically confirmed cases of near-death experiences where people have died and reported events that happened on this side of eternity which could be corroborated by others. The events described along with experiences of meeting God and the feelings of peace add to the case for God’s existence. Most certainly near-death experiences prove that materialism is a dead philosophy.

And now we come to the rev’s last argument:

10. Purpose and Meaning. For anything to have purpose and meaning, God must exist. If Hawking is right in that the universe is all there is and there is nothing else, nothing, including his research, has any meaning or value. Meaning, value, and purpose are found only because God exists.

This is from the rev’s final paragraph:

I could certainly list other reasons to believe in God’s existence. But these will suffice for now. Hawking was a man of great intellect. Yet, despite his great mental prowess, it is quite odd that he could never quite see the evidence for God. While he could see, he was quite blind.

That’s it, dear reader. Make of it what you will.

Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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38 responses to “The Ten Best Arguments for God

  1. 1. Necessity of a First Cause (Cosmological Argument). … There was a time when physics (even quantum physics), time, and matter did not exist. How did it come to be? Atheists will argue that it just is. However, the data seems to suggest that an eternal, metaphysical (beyond the physical realm), Mind brought everything to be. That Mind would need to be omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. That Mind is who we know to be God.

    Arbitrarily defining the “first cause” as the Judeo-Christian God proves nothing; it’s argument by assertion.

    What’s more, there’s no actual proof that “[t]here was a time when physics (even quantum physics), time, and matter did not exist.” Many respected scientists, unhappy with the notion that everything emerged from nothing, argue for the existence of a universe (of some sort) before the Big Bang.

  2. For anything to have purpose and meaning, God must exist…

    It’s like they almost get it but then swerve into a wall.

  3. I don’t understand how someone can write something like this;
    How did it come to be? Atheists will argue that it just is.

    Mind brought everyting to be.
    Doesn’t one anticipate the rejoinder:
    How did mind bring everything to be? You will argue that it is just so.
    No, this does not disprove the existence of a Creative Mind that brings everyting to be. No more than your complaint about the “atheist” position disproves atheism.
    It looks like a stand-off to me.

  4. If the ‘christian god’ can just come into existence from nothing I can’t see why the universe can’t appear through the same process. The ‘god always existed’ argument can be applied to the universe and we KNOW it exists.

  5. Michael Fugate

    There is objective morality? Methodology behind that assertion is?
    This study on self-driving cars might not agree:
    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07135-0

    Also an op-ed today counters much of the DI work on morality, Nietzsche and Darwin.
    http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-prideaux-nietzsche-20181028-story.html

  6. I’ve been fortunate enough to have never been seated next to Brian on an airplane. That’s the best argument for an interventionist god I can think of.

  7. Just like there is no evidence of Adam and Eve, a global flood and the exodus from Egypt, there is no independent evidence of the historicity of Jesus, let alone a resurrection. Religious sects have risen repeatedly throughout history: Christianity, like modern Mormonism, is one of the more successful, unfortunately. The rev’s reasons for existence of god (and the christian one at that!) have been refuted many times over. With all that scholarship, he should be capable of better.

  8. I’m pretty sure that’s also the “top ten list of silly arguments for God that have discredited through logic”

  9. Dear philosopher Chilton: isn’t the idea that there is a reality (in this case your favorite god-type thing) that transcends reality a bit of what some philosophers would call an oxymoron? Oh, and as others have pointed out, all ten of your alleged reasons for your favorite god thing have been extensively refuted. Especially see Kosh, above.

  10. Michael Fugate

    You can get this book
    https://www.ignatius.com/Five-Proofs-of-the-Existence-of-God-P857.aspx
    Which has a 50 premise “proof” for the umoved mover argument. The author also points out that understanding the arguments are really hard, but if you agree with him in the end that means you are really smart.

  11. Derek Freyberg

    @Michael Fugate:
    The author is renowned for saying “see my book on xxx (usually Aquinas) for an answer to your puny arguments”.
    But one may note that even Aquinas did not consider his proofs of God as likely to convince the non-believer, more to reinforce the faith of the believer.

  12. What these arguments prove beyond all doubt is that their proposer has never in his life encountered, let alone seriously read, any genuine agnostic or atheist philosophy. I’m sure he thinks his output counts as academic discourse. In the circles in which he moves, I’m sure he would be correct to think so. All that shows is that he and his fellows live in a little bubble of their own, pinched off from spacetime, its own separate reality. Perhaps that needs an explanation, too, but since all his explanations reduce to “God”, it would seem to be pointless to seek it.

  13. Michael Fugate

    @Derek, Yes, you do need to believe in God first, for the arguments to appear convincing.

  14. @Michael Fugate
    That may be necessary but it is not sufficient.

  15. @1: Salto mortale from the First Natural Cause to a Supernatural Cause. Also Brawny Brian doesn’t give the best version – quantum mechanics is acausal.
    @2: Teleology is First Cause reversed and hence fails for the same reason.
    @3: Objective morality is like dry water.
    @4: That’s actually not the ontological argument. It’s a limp version of the Cosmological Argument. Plus Brawny Brian’s argument is a false dilemma. It’s entirely possible that quantum fields (which are not nothing) have brought forth our Universe and have existed forever (whatever forever means in this context – Brawny Brian doesn’t tell us).
    @5: Yet another verstion of the Cosmological (ie First Cause) Argument.
    @6: This is not an argument at all, this is just a decree. The last minute addition of the Argument from Beauty fails – there’s quite some ugly math.

    @7: Another salto mortale, similar to 1, this time from historical data (naturalistic by definition) to a supernatural explanation. Has been rebutted by David Hume.
    @8: Same as 7.
    @9: Yet another salto mortale. A naturalistic explanation may very well be the correct one. Plus cherry picking: Brawny Brian neglects all the testimonies of NDE’s without meeting god. Like mine, two or three times. It’s nothing spectacular.
    @10: Blatantly false. For anything to have purpose and meaning human beings giving it is sufficient.

    “see the evidence for God”
    Brawny Brian should work in a circus. That’s the place to be for people who want to demonstrate their acrobatic skills.

  16. @Cynic: ah yes, I forgot. It’s not atheists who argue that something came from nothing, it’s Brawny Brian who argues that his god created something from nothing.
    Plus beauty of course is subjective, so the combiantion arguments 3 and 4 is inconistent.

    @Scientist: “there is no independent evidence of the historicity of Jesus.”
    Spoken like a creationist: there is no independent evidence of evolution either.
    It’s just you – and them – not willing to accept it. Whether your reasons are valid is topic of another discussion; I’ll limit myself to the remark that you going against consensus of historians is like Klinkleclapper going against consensus of biologists. Also nice to see that you confirm the popular apologist clunker “historical Jesus hence divine Jesus”. You didn’t? Then this part of your argument is irrelevant.

  17. Oh no, not the Resurrection argument again.

    Or any of the other worn-out ones.

  18. The idea of a God-given morality (and, by implication, God-given purpose and a God-given sense of beauty) has never recovered from the trashing that Plato’s Socrates gave it in The Euthyphro.

    But Chilton makes me wonder; for Christians, what was the point of the resurrection of Jesus? As far as I can gather, he is supposed to have hung around a bit afterwards, not doing very much, before ascending to a heaven where death presumably would have taken him anyway.

  19. morality … purpose … beauty
    May I suggest also, truth?

  20. OMG, the outright lies! Almost as appalling as the ignorance. The historicity of Jesus resurrection, WTF?

  21. If these are indeed the 10 best arguments for the existence of God, I cannot begin to imagine how incalculably lame arguments 11 to 20 must be…

  22. At FrankB: My maths aren’t good enough to tell what your equations represent (maybe movement along two dimensions?). I’m pretty sure they don’t require any of the numerous gods running around, and certainly not Chilton’s favorite one. And I know that in all the years I studied muscle structure and disease using scientific methods and electron microscopes I never once appealed to any god’s existence.

  23. Re the beauty of mathematics.
    I don’t think that 0.9999…=1.0 is “beautiful”, and mathematicians speak of pathological examples. (See the Wikipedia article for explanations.)

  24. ” 0.9999…=1.0″ is a clumsy expression of the fact that the series 0.9 + 0.09 + 0.009 + … converges on 1.0, whch looks pretty beautiful to me. If it doesn’t to you, at least try the proof without words that 1/4 + 1/15 + 1/64 + … converges to 1/3 (blast! can’t find the link). And pathological mathematical objects have a terrible beauty of their own

  25. Ugly! typo; should be 1/16 ofc. Byt yuor sense of beauty probably told you that already

  26. I was trying to think of an example which doesn’t involve higher mathematics.
    Perhaps “Arrow’s Theorem” on the necessity of faults in all voting systems. But to voting theorists it might appear beautiful when considered in context.

  27. Michael Fugate

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – like morality and purpose….

  28. TomS, the reasoning may be beautiful even when the implications are ugly

  29. @Paul Braterman
    I wonder what those proving the existence of god would say about that?
    @Michael Fugate
    And what abut Truth?

  30. Karl Goldsmith (@KarlGoldsmith)

    The amount of [*bleep*] they have had to come up with to justify their position.

  31. @TomS, I am not sure what mathematics (outside those parts of mathematics that happened to model features of the real world) has to do with anything.

    I think it is a profound and beautiful truth that the square root of 2 cannot be expressed as the ratio of two whole numbers. There is no fact in the physical world that corresponds to this, which forces me to expand my definition of “truth”. I can explain my admiration for these facts in terms of selection for the kind of problem-solving brain that would find mathematics and philosophy beautiful. I do not think that invoking a god would be relevant to any of this, although of course finding two such whole numbers is one of the tasks that a god, however powerful, would be unable to accomplish

  32. Know what doesn’t need apologists? Stuff that’s actually real.

  33. @Paul Braterman
    You said,
    the reasoning may be beautiful even when the implications are ugly
    and I wondered what those proving the existence of god would say about that.

  34. An interesting read “Lucifer’s Handbook” by Lee Carter starts with the 13 reasons God exists and then spends the rest of the book tearing them apart. There is some overlap, but I thought I’d mention it.

    As for near death experiences, considering the effect can be duplicated in a test pilot centrifuge, there is little doubt that such experiences aren’t indicate of anything except the semi-random neurons firing in a blood deprived brain.

  35. Best argument against: No one has ever seen hide nor hair of the Jealous Omnipotent Narcissist or anything that could, even remotely, only have been created by ‘im. The invisible is indistinguishable from the nonexistent.

  36. Brian appears to be just the sort of chap for whom a PhD is inevitable. Much can come of book learning, and it will keep him safely off the streets where he may have to interact with the great unwashed for whom whether there is a God is slightly less important than where their next meal is coming from.

  37. I’m GOD and I brought this universe into existence. Actually I’m just an alien from a bubble universe and this one just popped into existence as a result of an accident with my solar system sized particle accelerator that created a micro-sized black hole that underwent inflation as a result of a quantum fluctuation. Enjoy!!

  38. Curmy Gamble (Biological Argument) I`ll wager his 10 against my 37,000–the number of afflictions affecting humans. Can I collect?