Why Believe that There Is a God?

Visit Nepal !!

“Why should we believe in God in the first place?” This was a question that Greg’s father asked of Greg. While there are many ways to respond, Greg’s offered what is called “the anthropological argument.” Here is an excerpt from Letters from a Skeptic.

_____________________

My basic line of reasoning is this: We human beings are personal beings. This means, I believe, that we are constituted by a mind which is self-aware and is rational, a heart which is free and can love and which is, therefore, morally responsible, and a soul (or call it what you will) which longs for meaning and significance. Consciousness, rationality, love, morality, and meaning: These, I maintain, constitute the essence of what it is to be a person in the full sense of the term.

Now the dilemma we face is this: Either we exist in an environment (viz, the cosmos) which is compatible with these attributes, or we do not. Either our environment is congruous with these attributes—it renders them intelligible and answers them—or it does not. To illustrate, we hunger, and behold, there is food. We thirst, and behold, there is water. We have sex drives, behold, there is sex. Our environment, then, is congruous with our natural hunger, thirst, and sex drive. And given the kind of world we live in, we can understand why hunger, thirst, and have sex drives. Our cosmic environment “answers” our natural drives and thereby makes sense of them. Are you following me?

Well, the question is, does our cosmic environment answer to the basic features of our personhood outlined above? My contention is that unless our environment is ultimately itself personal, unless the ultimate context in which we live is self-aware, rational, loving, moral, and purposeful, then our cosmic environment does not at all answer to our personhood. In other words, unless there is a personal God who is ultimate reality within which we exist, then we humans can only be viewed as absurd, tortured freaks of nature; for everything that is essential to us is utterly out of place in this universe. This, on the one hand, renders human nature completely unexplainable. How could brute nature itself evolve something so out of sync with itself? And, on the other hand, it means that human existence, if we face up to our real situation, is extremely painful. We are a product of a cruel sick, cosmic joke. …

[W]e humans instinctively hunger for meaning and purpose. You can see it all around in the way people behave. We strive to infuse our lives with some sort of significance, some sort of meaning. But if our cosmos is ultimately indifferent and purposeless, all we are, all we do, all we believe in, all we strive for is ‘dust in the wind.’ After we exist, it matters not whether anyone has ever, or ever will again exist. Everything is ultimately meaningless.

So, unless the ultimate source of all existence is at least as personal as we are, my contention is that who we are is both unexplainable and extremely hard to swallow (63-64).

creative commonsAnuma Bhattarai via Compfight

Related Reading

Astronomy and God’s Greatness

What does modern astronomy teach us about God’s Transcendence?  Much indeed. Consider God’s words to Job about the universe: Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades? Can you loosen Orionʼs belt? Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs? Do you know the laws of…

“Whatever it means, it cannot mean that.”

pure9 via Compfight Roger Olson wrote a great article a couple of days ago entitled Why (High) Calvinism Is Impossible. He points out that there is no way to understand God as “good” while also believing in double predestination. The idea that God predestines some to heaven and a vast majority to hell for his “glory”…

Featured Sermon Series: Scandalous Love

  The Scandalous Love series is often considered one of Greg’s and Woodland Hill’s most foundational series. In fact, it was so important that it subsequently led to the Can’t Stop the Love series. Defining the true character of God is at the heart of what ReKnew is all about, so we wanted to host…

When God is Revealed

Whether we’re talking about our relationship with God or with other people, the quality of our relationships can never go beyond the level of trust the relating parties have in each other’s character. We cannot be rightly related to God, therefore, except insofar as we embrace a trustworthy picture of him. To the extent that…

Topics:

Molinism and Open Theism – Part I

I’ve been asked for the umpteenth time on Twitter lately about the difference between “Molinism” and “Open Theism,” and for some reason, today seemed like a good day to begin addressing this question. I’ll do this in two parts. Today I’ll outline and critique Molinism, and in a subsequent post I’ll raise yet another critique as…

Grieving with the God who Pulled the Trigger?

Lawrence Krauss recently wrote a thought-provoking, soul-searching essay for CNN Opinion entitled, “Why must a nation grieve with God?” Krauss was disturbed by a comment made by President Obama at a memorial service for the victims of the tragedy at Newtown CT.  Commenting on Jesus’ statement to “Let the little children come to me,” Obama opined:…