Does God Exist?

Recently I have been greatly intrigued by the science of apologetics. Apologetics finds its heart in 1 Peter 3:15 “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you”. My motivation is simple, I have a passion to know the truth and communicate it to growing number of people who do not believe in Jesus as God.
I write this post today for my cousin in law, Elise, who was recently given the assignment of looking at the atheistic world view and the Christian worldview. My reflection comes directly from a lecture series from Oxford put together by Ravi Zacharias Ministries. I will be pulling particularly from the lecture of Dr. Alister McGrath, the Head of Centre for Theology, Religion and Culture at King’s College London.
I want to be upfront — I cannot prove that God exists, neither can any atheist prove that God does not exists. What I can offer are pieces that put together paint the picture that is most clearly seen.
Rational response-  
“Everything that moves is moved by something else.”Thomas Aquainus
Where better to start a discussion of the existence of God than the beginning. If you can prove the world’s creator, whether from a big bang or an intentional Creator, you can prove the existence or non existence of God. The problem of atheistic philosophy is that they have no answer for the order of the world or the eternal nature of it. Something had to move first, the world is simply too complex and ordered for it to be by chance. This is not just a Christian response but instead the main stumbling block of many atheistic thinkers.  Richard Dawkins, the face of modern Atheism states in this way,  “I am intrigued by how the universe came into existence, with the laws of nature already written into it.” Something had to write the laws by which the world works, and they are just too perfect to be done by chance.
Cultural Response-
“We are here because God wants us to be here, and he longs for us to discover Him.” Augustine of Hippo

The great overwhelming majority of the world seeks a deity of some kind to worship. The global desire for religion shows that men have a deep longing to worship something greater than themselves. If God were a figment of imagination and we humans were to evolve to point of not needing him, we should have already reached that point. The thing is, we do seek God, and every generation feels a longing within them for a true beauty, wonder and knowledge. Why is this? I believe men and women are hard wired to seek God. The sheer number of people who worship something points to a someone who has created them to worship. “To be truly human means to discover God.” (McGrath 2011)

           
Empirical Response-
“I believe Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not just because I said it, but because by it I see everything else.” C.S. Lewis
Ultimately every worldview, religion or belief system whether God centered or not is asking the same question — how did we get here and what is our purpose. I think the principle that the simplest answer is often the best answer applies well in our understanding of how we see God here. I believe Christianity is the clearest and most coherent explanation of the world. When the Christian world view is applied to see the world, it makes sense. When you take the Atheistic world view and apply it, it leaves too many questions unanswered. Their world view cannot make sense of the order of the world, the natural moral pull of humans and sacredness of every life.

Moral response-
“Without an absolute transcendent notion of good we cannot live out the good life.” Iris Murdoch
Killing is wrong, so is stealing, and so is rape. How do I know? These core moral ideas are both written on my conscience and given by God in his written word. You could poll a hundred people and come to a unanimous decision that these things are all wrong.  Why?  Because they are all written on our consciences.  The Christian worldview knows that there is a standard of truth because a greater being (God) holds that truth. “God has disclosed himself in nature, in Christ and in the Bible so that we may know what goodness is.” (McGrath 2011) When you remove a greater being, you remove any and all authority which leaves no common morality. What is good for you is good and what is good for me is good.
The concept of God is foreign to many people because you cannot touch, see, or smell him. We can, though, touch the world we live in, fell the pull of the moral standard he has left within us, see the beauty of the world around us, be dumbfounded by the perfect order of creation, and feel the wonder of the universe. God is real.  Perhaps the burden of proof is not on those who follow what is natural. Perhaps the burden is not on those who believe as God has wired us. Perhaps the burden of proof is on those who wish to reject what is humanly natural and cling to a false emptiness.


*McGrath, Alister. “The Existence of God.” Foundations of Apologetics. Oxford: Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, 2011.

2 Comments

  1. Byron

    It is possible that a god of some kind exists. I do not personally believe in the existence of a god. However, I used to be five-point Calvinist Southern Baptist at one time, until recently (about 10 months ago). Personally, I do not think that “god” is the best answer, though I think it is probably the easiest answer for a mind that wishes to be theistic in orientation.

    I admit the so-called “natural order” of the world (put in quotes because it is not always as well-ordered as some assert) is somewhat troublesome for a purely atheistic worldview, but I think this is only a problem of missing information, not a fatal shortcoming of a world view. The Rational Response section could very well be answered by Deism, which is decidedly non-Christian in perspective. That a specifically Christian theism is the best answer for the question of origins is not a given, in my opinion.

    In the Cultural Response section, we also seem to have a human inclination towards hero worship. This could have evolved into ancient systems of polytheism, and as our imaginations (and expectations of deity) became more advanced, monotheism (with its ultimate attributes for deity) could have been the result. I admit that is simply speculation. But it seems more reasonable than the idea that a god of some kind must exist because we want it to (and we would not praise the same logic in a child who wished for Santa Claus' existence, and I am not trying to be insulting by putting it that way, just that it seems to be a reasonable way to express my point). Even as adults, we have learned the lesson that desires and reality do not always intersect.
    (cont.)

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  2. Byron

    I am not sure I understand the criticism of the Empirical Response section against atheism. Atheism is simply the position of unbelief in the existence of god(s). I have a feeling that most (if not all) of the unanswered questions in this category involve questions about the origins of this world, and gaps in our scientific knowledge in the way things work. I have many unanswered questions myself, and some of these have scientific explanations of which I am ignorant, and some of them are probably not fully answered by science. As a former Christian, I had questions even the Bible did not answer (though most sincere Christians hold that I was never genuine, even if sincere, because I lacked the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, for whose existence I know of no evidence). For example, the Bible never adequately explains, to my knowledge, why we stand on two legs, why we have two eyes, why we sleep, why we dream, the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of our respiratory systems, and many other things, which Evolutionary science can provide reasonable answers for (this is assuming that a Christian view is strictly Creationist, which I realize not all Christian viewpoints are). I strongly believed in Christianity at one time, because it seemed to be the best explanation for the world for me at that particular time. What bothers me now is that I accepted its teachings so readily without investigation and proof, or at least reasonable interpretation. I accepted many of the Christian presuppositions without sufficient examination, and these formed the foundation for my resulting world view. Once you have accepted the many unproven presuppositions of Christianity, a logical Christian world view can be constructed and defended, to a certain extent. This is why I believe interaction with religious faiths such as Christianity requires examination of the core tenets of religious faith, and not so much addressing the religion at the higher level you discuss here. In order for the building to be safe, at the very least the foundation and the base structure must be sound.

    As for the moral response, I think if we substitute the Hebrew tribal name of the deity, Yahweh, everywhere the word “God” occurs, or even better, the name of a mythological figure such as Zeus, a potential problem with the argument itself can be presented. I could write, “The 'Zeusian' worldview knows that there is a standard of truth because a greater being (Zeus) holds that truth.” My immediate reaction to that follows along the lines of, “Prove it!”.

    Lastly, you quote, “When you remove a greater being, you remove any and all authority which leaves no common morality. What is good for you is good and what is good for me is good.” That on its face is not true. “Any and all authority” has not been removed, because human government remains, and even in a state of anarchy, humans tend towards leadership and some primitive tribal-like form of government. The whole argument that human morality derives from a particular deity seems very unconvincing to a religious follower of a different deity that believes the first deity does not exist or is evil in nature. The religious follower could make the same argument against Christians based on his or her own religion. Before this point can even be argued, both the validity and superiority of the Christian faith have to be asserted and defended. We both reject, not only the mythical Zeus, but deities commonly held by other religions, as sources for human morality. It almost begs the question all by itself of, “Why does this particular deity merit special status in my belief system?”

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