It’s been a while! Many life events have taken my focus away from my loves of reason and writting, but I have returnd with a pen and a frustration, so here I am at it again. I present to you 5 common arguments of the skeptic. (and of course, rebuttles)
1. There are no reasons to believe in a God
Throughout my discussions with skeptics (both presumptious and non) I come accross this quite a bit. To be stereotypical, there is a very common mixing of terms that when the definitions are accepted, begins in a losing battle. No doubt, any skeptic who starts with this statement will stand to state that unless things are proven with certainty, you’re still stuck at 0%. It’s an all or nothing ordeal to them.
But imagine a world where everything that couldnt be proven with certainty could not be believed- you couldnt believe Australia existed (unless you’d been there), or you couldnt prove, with full certainty, that your mother is your real mother. Do we demand that people not believe these things or tell us these things until we get DNA testing or we for ourselves visit every place in the world? It goes to show that this trust we form in others is a more probabilistic approach (boy who cris wolf is probably lying). And to some degree things are run in a way where certainty is never a requirement.
This drove Descartes mad to the point where he concluded that he only knew HE existed with certainty (I think, therefore at least I know I am).
But what of God? I generally think man believes in One due to the inate hunger for objective meaning (one pre-made for man), objective moral values (right is right regardless of who believes/ regardless of whether the act is beneficial to society or not) and the assumption that an ultimate Personhood made a personal man. All of these points are reasons to believe, and whether you find the reasons compelling or not, to claim there is no reason to believe is false. Typically people are stating their opinion on the matter and not a fact when they say this.
2. If God was real we would not suffer
Whether it is demanding evidence of miracles or it is saying the universe would have no pain, skeptics often jump at this argument. The only problem is how primitive these statements really are.
If there is to be any order to the universe, things have to be able to interrupt people’s wills when misused. Pain is the construct of our bodies or minds alerting the system that something is drastically outside of its desire. We do not desire our bodies burn in fire, we do not want to be rejected, and we do not want our pancreas to stop functioning, and in all these examples pain serves to scream these desires into our minds.
But in a universe where so many reactions affect so many atoms and molecules, this to some degree cannot be avoided. The fire that keeps you alive in the winter can melt your flesh. The rock giving you a solid earth is also something you shouldnt bump your toe into. The one you trust your vulnerabilities to has the freedom to stab you in the back. In order to maintain both order and freedom, thr ability to willfully or accidently step out of order must exist.
Often people like to mention the existence of natural disasters to claim the lack of a caring design. The problem here is that when examining what causes these things, we have to ask if an alternative is a possibility- the magma that helps to keep the earth existing must react in a way that it can shoot out of a volcanoe, or the wind that carries seeds must react in a way where it somehow producs hurricanes. Most who object due to the existnce of pain or evil are also unable to provide an alternate feasible possibility of how our universe might have been. (We all might say “why didnt God make the planet out of cheeseburgers that don’t rot and end world hunger”- and then try to think of how you could scientifically construct that universe and we find an impossibility.
3. The existence of evil disproves a loving God.
Another silver bullet in the “Skeptic” bank account, but let me get a little abstract with you here for a minute.
Let’s think about what we know of what existence means. The best conceptual answer is to just say that a thing “is”, but this statement carries with it the unspoken ending of”rather than ‘is not’.”
Now this is intersting because it implies that the lack of somethings existence must be a possibility in order to define it- we know what light is because we contrast it to its absence-darkness. We know what good is because we contrast it to its absence- evil.
And so if God posesses the quality of existence (God not being existance as some “is-is” arguers have put it), than it means that we must be able to contrast his qualities and so their opposites are a necessity. Good does not exist without its absence (evil), nor mercy without a concept of cruelty, nor joy without a concept of sorrow.
So why would God allow evil in the universe? Simply because you cannot even comprehend goodness unless you to some degree comprehended evil, and you could not comprehend a thing and not have the freedom to do it. As C.S. Lewis has said, if God made the universe so that it shut off your voice when you cursed or paralyzed you when you would murder (if the above was even a natural possibility), than you would never be able to maintain a real concept of good or evil, nor would doing good actually mean anything- there was no other option. Nobody could ever be praised, or held warmly, because an alternate action was never possible.
4. Christians are fake/horrible, and so therefore is their God.
This one has been used by both the preacher and the skeptic to either ruse the congregation into harder effort or shame the faith.
Unfortunately this belief usually carries with it a harsh misunderstanding of what the faith of Christianity really means (this one is religion specific).
First off, Christianity claims man is broken. We may desire goodness, but altogether have the inability to be truly good. (Paul, a Christian, even experienced this.) Now to be sure, “try harder” preachers have always preached from the pulpit “work hard to be good.”, but our entire Old Testament of the Bible is an example of the failure to do so. Often people will claim “now that we have the Holy Spirit this is a possibility!” but these people will credit holliness to something you can work for and God will help you do it. Not only is this destructive, but it is contrary to Biblical teaching. Our New Testament both states that it is love for God that makes obedience an enjoyment, and that it is effortless honesty and God’s working that produces this genuine love. It turns out that God desires creatures that love based upon their enjoyment to do so, rather than their obligation and work.
This is only logical anyway. How many of us want our significant other to love us out of obligation? And if they do, do we think we can oblige them into a genuine love or enjoyment of it? No- we desire someone who knows us inside and out and enjoys a deep affection with us.
So often times Christians can be horrible because due to false doctrine there is no genuine love inside them- only obligation and the fear of discovering the self to be completely unloving and thus something nor worth loving themselves- again this is against the doctrine of scripture.
5. Smart people don’t believe in God.
As much as it bothers me, it is true that there is a correlation between education and skepticism. While many foolishly accept this belief and the social pressure of it, remember, discovering the world was round went against what the vast majority of intellectuals believed. Discovering the molecule went against what the vast majority believed.
The problem here is not the intellegent- the problem here are the conditions that typically follow the intelligent- smart people know they are smart. This can often lead to an arrogance that your world views are fully correct because you think them, and of course your thinking is deeper and/or higher. You may become confident that you have the world figured out. Sadly enough, the confidence of the brilliant sets a standard that passes down to those much younger and open minded.
The biggest mistake I find are thr philosophical assumptions made that they do not realize are ungrounded. Things do not simply lack existene until they are proven. To disbelieve is one thing as an honest opinion, but the certainty so many skeptics carry their disbelief in is unfounded and foolish.
How does “1. I don’t see for myself a reason to believe” turn into “2. So come on guys, there is no God”? Do we not see the amount of arrogance that goes into this claim? We can imagine a dimension, a second dimension, and a third dimension- we live in a fourth- why is there not a fifth? A sixth? (any of which perhaps God exists in). The ant has no reason to believe in a moon, but that ant could only be a fool to believe “therefore there is no moon”.
Often times the brilliant are blind to the obvious. One of our greatest scientists is a horrendous philosopher (Dawkins), or a great mathematician/ astronomer is horrible at social construct or being organized (in thought, or objects). It turns out knowledge is intersting in the fact that typically having a gifting in an area means a lack in another.
So hopefully reader you may have found something to better equip you in your discussions with the skeptic. They have set the field, created the rules, and like the child who makes their father the loser in every game, have made Theists out to be the loser in every game. It’s time reason was presented in love, and the presumption torn down.