Sunday, November 22, 2015

Logical Arguments for the Existence of God

Are human beings the most intelligent species to ever exist across the entirety of the universe?

If your answer is yes, you are claiming intellectual superiority over a universe of which humans have explored and studied less than a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction.

If your answer is no, you can't be an atheist.

Before I begin, I want to make something clear:  This not about "proving" the Christian God.  Yes, I am a born-again Christian and I do believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins.  But this is not about proving which religion is "right."  For that matter, it's not even about proving God exists.  It's about acknowledging the very logical possibility of the existence of a Creator.

Atheists like to throw around words like "logic" and "reason" in an attempt to make themselves appear superior and to both degrade and demoralize those who disagree with their reasoning.  After all, if you're not logical or reasonable, you clearly aren't the sharpest knife in the drawer, right?  But if you take a step back and observe the workings on the universe for just a moment, you'd find that it's both unreasonable and illogical to assume there is no God, much less declare this as a fact.

We see varying levels of intelligence in the various species on our own planet.  Insects, animals, humans - we all have differing degrees of intellectual capacity, and it is clear that humans stand at the top of that list.  Right away, that begs the question: What about other planets?  Does any other life exist out there?  If it does, is it smarter than us?

Critics will jump all over that comparison by saying that comparing the possibility of life on other planets to the possibility of a Creator is not equal because we see life on our own planet yet do not see any scientifically measurable evidence of a divine being.  Again, I direct them back to the "levels of intelligence" point from the previous paragraph.

For example, a dog can't design a satellite.  A bear can't invent an energy-efficient vehicle.  Lower forms of life lack the intellectual capacity to understand the concepts required to be able to accomplish what humanity has.  To them, the inventions of humans work by magic.  We, however, know that these things are not powered by magic because we understand the science behind them.

To those life forms, we are the divine beings due to our superior level of intelligence.

With that in mind, now ask yourself the question:  How did the universe begin?  Whatever your answer may be, ask yourself what came before that.  Then ask what came before that.  And before that.  And before that.

No matter what reason you come up with, you can always ask the question, "What came before that?"  This demonstrates the human brain's limitations.  Humanity cannot truly comprehend a hard "start" to existence because our brains tell us something must have come before that.  The law of cause and effect states that for every effect there is a cause.  So our minds tell us that whatever we believe "started" the universe, there must have been something to cause that.

But this plane of existence we call the universe had to begin somewhere, right?  The only option we have left - whether you do or do not believe in God - is to accept that our intellect is too limited to understand what many refer to as the "First Cause" of the universe.

So if we can demonstrate that the human brain is indeed limited, and we can demonstrate that there are varying levels of intelligence right here on our own planet, how can we possibly assume that there's nothing out there with an intellectual capacity greater than our own?

Most atheists will discount believers who invoke the "God did it" response to biblical events that would appear to be scientifically impossible.  Again, I want to reiterate that my goal here is not to prove Christianity but instead prove the possibility of a divine creator.  With that being said, why is the answer of "God did it" so impossible to us?  Regardless of the context, whether it be a miraculous healing or a worldwide flood, why do we discount the possibility that a divine Creator could do these things?

The answer, usually, is because these events seemingly go against the laws of physics and contradict much of what science knows regarding how the universe works.  So let's talk about that for a minute.

Your dog enjoys riding in the car with you.  To him, the car is this sleek red container that he jumps into and it takes him on this amazing ride through town.  He's always known it to be the same shape, color, and size, and there's nothing he can do to change the overall appearance or workings of the vehicle.

Then you buy a new car.  Your dog has no idea why, but his formerly red container has now become a wide green container.  It sounds different, looks different, and smells different.  How could this be possible?  It goes against every understanding he previously had about the appearance and workings of his travel container.

To us, the universe has always adhered to certain expectations.  The planets revolve around the sun, the tide rises and falls, etc.  And although we may put dings and scratches on our world much like that dog would put on the car, overall, it's the same universe it has always been.  Based on that, science has observed certain scientific laws regarding the nature of the universe.  And in our understanding of things, nothing can break those laws.

But what if something with a greater intellectual capacity does exist out there?  Again, the owner is smarter than his dog, so the owner completely understands why his car changed.  If there's something out there greater than humanity, how do we know it couldn't break what we call the laws of physics in a way that would be perfectly understandable if we shared its level of intelligence?  Why is that so impossible?  To declare these scientific laws 100% universally unbreakable is akin to declaring mankind the most intelligent species in the universe.  It is basically saying, "If we can't understand how it would be possible, it simply cannot be."

Yeah, the dog said that too.

When presented with these arguments, the atheist will typically say something about how there's no evidence that any of the workings of the universe are guided by a divine being and therefore there's no reason add one into our line of reasoning.  After all, if science can explain how a thunderstorm works, why do the religious add God into the mix?

Because nothing happens without cause.  Science teaches humanity how things work.  It does not teach why they work that way.  The question "Why?" is similar to the question "How did the universe begin?" because it can never be truly answered.  No matter what the response, you can always ask "Why?" again.  We know how thunderstorms and earthquakes work.  We know how televisions work and how motor vehicles are operated.  But why do they work that way?  And whatever answer you have in your mind, ask why again.  And again to that answer.  And again to that answer.  Keep going and going, because every scientific response you give - right down to the most basic laws of physics - still do not and cannot give a definitive answer to the question of "Why?"  If you can ask it again, it hasn't been resolved.

Science learns how the universe works, but ultimately has no idea why it works that way.  It's like learning how a car works without acknowledging the fuel that makes it go.


So if we can accept the possibility that humans are not the most intellectually superior beings in all of the universe, then we must also accept the possibility that there is something greater out there.  And if we accept the possibility that there might be something greater out there, we must also accept the possibility that this greater form of intelligence could understand and manipulate the laws of science in ways that the limited human brain cannot.  And if we accept that possibility, then we must accept the possibility that God exists.

3 comments:

  1. My problems:
    1. Believing that there might be an alien civilization out there more advanced than humans does not mean a person cannot be an atheist. Your argument is already spurious at the beginning. You complain about people using logic, but you attempt to use it, and you use it incorrectly. Atheism is nothing more than a rejection of the claims gods exist. Strict atheism doesn't even say that gods definitely don't exist - just that no good evidence for them have been presented. It also doesn't automatically make you believe in evolution, a liberal or a conservative, or a believer or not in extra-terrestrial life.
    2. Atheists don't throw around logic, etc to make people feel bad. Those atheists so inclined to use these tools are more than likely of a scientific bent and understand that logic and the scientific method are superior to living a life of wishful thinking. If that makes you feel bad, that's your problem.
    3. Science does not declare anything 100% unbreakable so you're creating a strawman argument. Theories are our best explanation on how observed phenomena - gravity, magnetism, evolution - work. As more knowledge is accumulated and our ability to observe these phenomena increases, theories either get more exact or - rarely - are thrown out completely. And ultimately science will never be able to find that a god is the cause of something since science is observations of the natural world, and a god, by definition, is outside of the natural world.
    4. You also are engaging in an argument of special pleading. Everything has to have a cause back and back and back until God, who by definition must be the most complex "thing" ever. The Universe as complex as it is must have a creator, but something more complex doesn't.
    5. And finally, the God of the Gaps argument. Science cannot explain something so that must mean God. The thing is, we have reached our current level of scientific knowledge because we're not satisfied with, "God does it," generally. "I don't know," is a perfectly acceptable answer when it comes to how something works. Humankind has advanced because after admitting our ignorance, we didn't say, "It must just be God," but instead, "Let's see if we can find out."
    6. Your conclusion - we must accept the possibility that God exists. I did that in number 1 of this list. I can come up with all kinds of ideas of how a god could break physical laws - pocket dimensions for instance in the Ark so that two of every animal COULD actually fit on it - but that still doesn't make any difference when there's no evidence of an Ark or worldwide flood to begin with.

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  2. "Atheism is nothing more than a rejection of the claims gods exist. Strict atheism doesn't even say that gods definitely don't exist - just that no good evidence for them have been presented."

    I thoroughly reject this notion. A large majority of atheists speak as though a Godless universe is proven fact to the point of mocking and ridiculing believers. Go to any atheist website or forum and you'll see plenty of it. If the atheist position is not one of "There is no God" then their mocking words of hate are pure hypocrisy.

    From www.dictionary.com:

    atheism

    noun
    1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
    2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

    What you're describing is agnosticism. I realize that many atheists today label themselves "agnostic atheists," a term so ridiculously contradictory I can't imagine how they expect it justifies their mocking of believers.

    "Atheists don't throw around logic, etc to make people feel bad. Those atheists so inclined to use these tools are more than likely of a scientific bent and understand that logic and the scientific method are superior to living a life of wishful thinking. If that makes you feel bad, that's your problem."

    And you don't see how this quote is condescending? You're placing science on a pedestal as though it is the end-all be-all to human knowledge. Science has taught us plenty, but it will never explain the "why" regarding the nature of the universe.

    "Science does not declare anything 100% unbreakable so you're creating a strawman argument."

    Never said it did. Atheists do.

    "Theories are our best explanation on how observed phenomena - gravity, magnetism, evolution - work. As more knowledge is accumulated and our ability to observe these phenomena increases, theories either get more exact or - rarely - are thrown out completely. And ultimately science will never be able to find that a god is the cause of something since science is observations of the natural world, and a god, by definition, is outside of the natural world."

    I don't disagree with any of that. It has no bearing on the point I made.

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    Replies
    1. "You also are engaging in an argument of special pleading. Everything has to have a cause back and back and back until God, who by definition must be the most complex "thing" ever. The Universe as complex as it is must have a creator, but something more complex doesn't."

      I never said nor suggested that either. The point I was making was that it takes just as much faith to believe the building blocks of the universe somehow always existed as it does to believe a God somehow always existed. Either way, you're faced with a situation which the human brain cannot fathom.

      "And finally, the God of the Gaps argument. Science cannot explain something so that must mean God. The thing is, we have reached our current level of scientific knowledge because we're not satisfied with, "God does it," generally."

      I understand that, and I wouldn't expect science to give up trying to figure something out because God did it. However, the possibility God is the power that makes these things happen cannot be ruled out without proof.

      "I don't know," is a perfectly acceptable answer when it comes to how something works.

      Unless it's an atheist asking how God does something.

      "Humankind has advanced because after admitting our ignorance, we didn't say, "It must just be God," but instead, "Let's see if we can find out.""

      Agreed. I never said nor suggested that we should settle on the "It must be God" answer. I only state that it is a possibility that cannot be ruled out.

      "Your conclusion - we must accept the possibility that God exists. I did that in number 1 of this list."

      Yet some of the most notable figureheads of the atheist community (I'm looking at you, Mr. Dawkins) refuse to do the same. I applaud you if you're open to the possibility. The majority of atheists aren't.

      "I can come up with all kinds of ideas of how a god could break physical laws - pocket dimensions for instance in the Ark so that two of every animal COULD actually fit on it - but that still doesn't make any difference when there's no evidence of an Ark or worldwide flood to begin with."

      That's a whole separate conversation. My post was not directed toward proving the Bible, it was about acknowledging the possibility of a Creator.

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