I know I said I would be ignoring atheist blogs, but I ran across this post and I felt that it met the criteria to warrant a mention here, and as I said, sometimes I just can’t help myself, even on Christmas morning (at 1am).
I once had a lot of hope for Common Sense Atheism, but aside from a few thought-provoking posts some time ago, I’ve been greatly disappointed. This post is a good example, where he repeats a question he read elsewhere, “Can you prove to me that God exists in a way that will also show that Zeus does not?”
Basically, what we have here is a case of GIGO – Garbage In, Garbage Out. If you want intelligent answers, you have to ask intelligent questions. We’ve all heard the example of, “Do you still beat your wife?”, in which no answer is the right answer. The question asked above has a similar problem, in that no answer will be sufficient, because the question is flawed. It seems like an intelligent question, but looks can be deceiving. What he has done in his short discussion is confuse two issues:
- Does a Supernatural Being exist?
- Assuming a Supernatural Being exists, which Being is the true God?
Now, I tend to believe that the existence of God cannot be proven using deductive logic. That is, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. You can make inductive arguments, but the best you can do is create the possibility – or probability – of a God. As I have said before, I would tend to agree with the notion of a Kierkegaardian leap to faith. At some point, we all choose what we believe, based on the evidence – in which I would also include subjective and emotional evidence – that we have. We do this every day, about any number of things; as has been said, the only sure thing is that there is no sure thing. Certainty, which I believe we can have, is a matter of faith. Not until we sit in a chair are we certain that the chair will not fail.
I think Hume may have had one of the best discussions about this in his analysis of miracles, which falls within his thinking on cause and effect. We can never be sure of causality; even though A has caused B a thousand times doesn’t mean that A will result in B the 1oo1th time. We can be reasonably sure, but we won’t arrive at certainty even through one more experiment. What about the next time?
We can discuss possibilities, probabilities, and evidence, both for the existence of a Supreme Being, and also make a strong case that the Christian God is the One True God. I believe the evidence on both issues is overwhelming and compelling. However, in the end, what we choose to believe is up to us. I suspect that many atheists (not all) take some comfort in flawed reasoning, as it provides an illusion of evidence in support of atheism. However, philosophers and scientists alike know that it is important to ask the right questions. That is, if they want to really find truth.
Christmas is one of those holidays when people tend to at least think about spiritual things; no matter what you do to the season, it is hard to avoid the spiritual dimension of the season. However, I believe that even atheists can appreciate many elements of Christmas, like family, giving, serving others, and even egg nog. Whatever your inclination, I hope you’ll allow me to wish you a very Merry Christmas, and continue to ask good questions.