- Published on Saturday, 20 August 2011 06:45
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 1754
There have been many debates about whether God exists - on the one side are atheists using reason and logic and on the other are believers using what they call reason and logic. Listening to them, you would never be convinced that God exists - unless of course you already believe. Some of the arguments are simply weak or baseless - they quote from the bible when that cannot be used as evidence until you have proven your case. If there is no god, then the bible could not be the holy word of god. Other arguments use convoluted logic that basically says that it's hard to see how the world can be as it is without a god. That is simply saying that it's possible to predict that science will never have an answer for difficult questions - like how did the first life start. But there are some arguments that the believer will simply not answer - they will just say that they have faith.
In most debates, the atheist will say something like: God is supposed to be omniscient, omnipotent and above all GOOD. So how come there is so much evil in the world? He must know about it and has the power to stop it so why doesn't he? Most times believers will simply not answer that question - they will just talk about other "logical" reasons for a god. But Charles Lewis, religion editor for the National Post did recently attempt to answer the question. In a post reviewing a movie about a woman who stood up to the Nazis and suffered for it, he said:
I would never try to answer this question because I am not smart enough nor wise enough to explain it in a way that would convince anyone, even myself. This is the stuff of philosophers and great theologians - many of whom, I expect, can explain how evil and God can exist side by side but in the end are not totally convinced by their own arguments.
I do not think this question can be answered by logic, but only by faith because only faith can bear it.
First, I have to give him credit for airing a difficult question but "faith" is really just another way of describing believing without reason. Unfortunately (for him) it does not answer anything. Charles could just as easily say: "don't ask me that - I don't have answer, I just believe in a good god." He is in fact a strong Christian (Roman Catholic) and I find it interesting that he effectively accepts the idea that this argument against god's existence is valid. He believes in the goodness of god purely through faith. He is right, there is no good way to explain it.
The strongest argument in favour of the existence of god is based on the watchmaker idea. If you see a complex watch, you know it had a maker. So if you see a complex organism (e.g. a human, an eye), then you know it was created. It would be better said as "you have faith that it was created". There are two comebacks to this:
- Darwin kicked off the study of evolution which has conclusively proved that a creator is in fact not needed. Most intelligent religious people either fall back on "I don't know - but I have faith" or "God was the guide to evolution".
- Even if we postulate a creator or even a guide to evolution, who created this creator? It does not solve the problem. The only way to reject that question (who made the creator or guider) is to have faith.
So when it comes to religion, there are two kinds of people in this world:
- Those who use logic and reason to decide, or try to decide on questions that religions first answered thousands of years ago (like where did we come from, how does the world work, are there supernatural phenomena?)
- Those who just believe what they have been told about these things and call this believing "faith".
But wait, there is a third hybrid kind of person. Some scientists and others who are quite rational most of the time manage to divide their thinking into compartments - they have a kind of split brain. For some things they give up on rationality and just have faith. Strangely, the two parts of their brain (thoughts if you will) do not see the inherent conflict. Some subjects require faith yet others require logic. Weird.