In my conversations with internet atheists, I’ve come across more and more charges that Christianity is irrational, illogical, has served its purpose, a fairytale, a big myth, and just outright ridiculous. It doesn’t surprise me that the New Atheists have resorted to this. In 2012 Richard Dawkins, who is an outspoken atheist, called on atheists and agnostics to “ridicule and show contempt” for the religious and their doctrines at The Reason Rally in Washington D.C. You can access the article on that here. One way militant atheists go about ridiculing and showing contempt is by using ad hominem attacks (attack of the person) instead wrestling with the top scholarly arguments from theists and Christians. It is much easier to attack a caricature or straw man (the weakest or a false representation of a persons argument or belief). Instead, they make sure to tell us that we are illogical pets for believing ridiculous myths. From what I’ve heard, we are narrow minded and silly for not believing the way that atheists do.
To be fair, not all Atheist argue that “all” of Christianity is ridiculous and illogical, (very few of these fall under this category). Their beef is usually with the miracles, divinity of Christ, and the notion of an all Powerful, Personal, Supernatural Being existing outside of time intervening with the affairs of man and allowing evil to apparently prevail. Fair enough.
I know that everything in the Bible doesn’t make sense to everybody. I sympathize with skeptics on the difficult, extraordinary, and somewhat unbelievable passages in the Bible. I somewhat understand why people in our “hyper-modern” age (also known as post-modernity) are balking at the ideas and stories within the Bible. However, despite the seemingly difficult passages and “myth like” stories and characters (like talking snakes), I can’t help but notice the “sense” in the underlying and central notion of a rational mind creating this seemingly rational universe and enabling beings with the ability to rationalize it. Jon Dickson writes about the rationality of the universe in his book, Life of Jesus: Who He is and Why He Matters, he says:
throughout most of human history the stunningly rational universe we see out there and the uncanny rational mind we experience within suggest the existence of some kind of divinity or Deus responsible for this reality.
My opinion is that belief in a God is not ridiculous. Since an opinion is not argumentation, I’ll give some arguments to why hold to the belief in a God. Firstly, my reasoning for belief in a God is displayed below in the Kalam cosmological argument and the Moral argument. I’ll get to my reasoning for the Bible being the revelation of the true God at a later time.
However, what I do find ridiculous is the idea that our ordered and fined tuned universe was created from nothing by nothing or by purely random, natural, and unguided processes. I’ll get into why I find this to be so at a later time as well.
So, ss belief in God “illogical”? For something to be illogical it must be devoid of logic. There are plenty of arguments for the existence of God that utilize the principles of “logic”. Here are two that are compelling for me.
- First, the Kalam Cosmological. This argument uses a combination of science and philosophy to argue its case. Here is a video explaining the argument. But here are the premises of the argument below. (some do not find this argument convincing and I am currently working through this. At the very least, the principle of causality is convincing to point in a direction beyond the natural and eliminating any natural possibility.)
- Everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence.
- The universe has a beginning of its existence.
- If the universe has a cause of its existence then that cause is either natural or beyond the natural (Supernatural).
- The Cause is supernatural
- The deistic and theistic God by definition is supernatural.
- Therefore God exists.
You’re going to run into a lot of bad arguments against the Kalam so Here is a video that might help you in your conversations. Once again some, even those who believe in God, do not find this argument compelling for legitament and illegitament reasons. However, this is the most popular argument in circulation for belief in a God. It’s important to note that this argument does not intend to distinguish between deism (impersonal God) or theism (Personal God).
- The Moral Argument: (This is from the website right reason by Dr. Glenn Peoples. I like the way he constructs the argument. And here is a video from Reasonable Faith explaining the moral argument by Dr. William Lane Craig.
- If there are moral facts, then their basis is either natural or supernatural (where these two are construed as mutually exclusive categories)
- The basis of moral facts is not natural
- Therefore if there are moral facts, then their basis is supernatural
- The most plausible way to think of a supernatural basis of moral facts is in terms of a supernatural person who brings moral facts about.
- Therefore, if there are moral facts, the most plausible way to think of their basis is in terms of a supernatural person who brings moral facts about.
Premise 1 is to be construed as analytically true. Premise 3 could be removed, as it is just the inference of 1-2. But they are there to make the argument easier to follow.
Now obviously a number of these premises need to be defended, but some are, I think, more or less self-evident.
So the charge of belief in God being ridiculous and illogical are nothing more than expressions of how one feels about belief in God and not how things really are. Keep in mind people are convinced and unconvinced for various reasons and some of those reasons do not include good reasoning or evidence but are more psychological or emotional. So don’t worry when people resort to this ad hominem tactic. learn these arguments and start defending. You’ll fail miserably at first but you will get better. Remember, for the Christian, God is in charge of changing hearts. We just need to be faithful with honoring God with all our heart, mind and soul and love our neighbor as ourselves.
Don’t get me wrong here, I do not pretend to have it all figured out. I do have express some bit of confirmation bias here. I hope to deal with that in a later posts. However, there are some aspects of Christianity that go beyond reason and into the realm of faith (a well reasoned trust; not blind trust). But we get to this place of “faith” or “beyond reason” by way of good reason and application of the tools of logic. I haven’t quite worked all this out yet. I’m down for discussion on this.