We cannot live by reason alone… It is nowhere written, however, that human beings must be irrational, or live in a perpetual state of siege, to enjoy an abiding sense of the sacred. On the contrary… spirituality can be, indeed must be, deeply rational, even as it elucidates the limits of reason. – Sam Harris; The End of Faith
Sam Harris is an atheist, but he sure doesn’t sound like one in the above quote. He sounds like a very reasoned and rational thinker who refuses to dismiss the possibility of a God, or at least spirituality, however improbable, without clear evidence. In my opinion, that’s not really an atheist, that’s someone who is waiting for more evidence before making a decision. I think Mr. Harris is one of the breed of so called atheists I could actually get along with.
Don’t get me wrong, I am an ardent Christ-follower just as Harris is an avowed atheist. But we can debate the historical record and authority of scriptures until the cows come home and not convince each other of anything until we get one thing perfectly clear. Nobody knows for sure how the universe was created.
Given the evidence we now have it is equally as likely that the “Big Bang” was caused by the gaseous excretion of a cosmic Chicken, as one atheist told me, as anything worthy of the name God and I agree. But if God is indeed a cosmic Chicken does that make Him (It) any less awesome and God-like?
What I don’t accept is the notion that the universe simply created itself. We live in a world of cause and effect and to say that the universe itself has no cause is to deny the entire scientific method that the rest of our understanding of the physical world is built upon. A theory based on causeless-ness is no less irrational then the cosmic Chicken theory.
You see, all of the “evidence” we have in support of ANY theory for the origins of the universe is circumstantial at best. Many atheists jump on Carl Sagan’s famous declaration that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence but then utterly fail to live up that requirement in support of any of their own theories. Where is the extraordinary evidence to support a claim of causeless-ness exactly? And if you say that I’m missing the point of what Sagan and all your arrogant and delusional atheist friends mean by causeless-ness, quite honestly, we’re doomed to a lifetime of circular arguments. There is no point to a circular argument and we may as well forget the whole thing. You can stop reading now, unsubscribe from this blog and never come back. If all you want to do is argue in circles I’m not interested, see yah!
For those of you who didn’t just click away, congratulations, you at least have enough of an intellect to see that every effect has a cause, thanks for sticking around.
I don’t think if we’re honest with ourselves there are very many true atheists out there. Just about everyone I have ever encountered when they honestly think about the origins of the universe will admit that at the end of the day there has to be an ultimate cause. Although circumstantial all evidence points to the fact that something started all of this and that cause, regardless of whether or not it is worthy of the term God as we now understand it is nothing short of awesome. It has been the task of all reasoned thought to determine that cause since the dawn of time.
So where does that leave us, me and you? It leaves us with history and the evolution of human understanding in uneasy balance with our inquisitive nature and the future of the things we may yet discover. It does not make the existence or non-existence of God more or less probable.
Funny thing, when I looked up “faith” in Wikipedia it started out by quoting Christian scripture;
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. [Hebrews 11:1]
Are confidence, hope and assurance irrational? Worse (or better, depending on how you look at it) does faith hinder inquiry? The answer to both questions in my opinion is an emphatic NO!
Faith and reason can and must live side by side. Without reason faith is indeed delusion as many atheists claim but reason without faith is empty and leads inevitably to a circular argument that can never be concluded. In order for reason to have a purpose we must start from a faith position and then use reason to shine a light on the things we do not see.
Will some of our ideas be disproven? Yes.
Will it be difficult to justify the mistakes of the past? Yes.
Is it then reasonable, or even possible, to discard faith entirely? No.
Did I convince anyone without any previous spiritual inclination of the existence of God? I doubt it but that wasn’t my point, and yes I do have one. My point is that without faith there is no reason for reason. Atheists that point to reason as the only worthy pursuit don’t even have a valid starting point for their arguments. They’re just running in circles.
One last thing; do I think the Bible is literally true? Of course not, but that’s a discussion for another time.