Arguing for God’s Existence

The issue of arguments for (or against) God’s existence continually crops up in my thinking. Sometimes I wonder if they’re a misguided use of time and energy. At other times it seems like the very continuation of faith in our culture depends upon it.

It can easily be understood that, in a pluralitstic society that embraces relativism, arguing for anything that is to be understood as objectively true is a problematic project from the get-go. “True for you” is a byword of our place and time, and we ignore this to our peril. I would suggest that conservative Christianity is disdained in the broader culture more for its adherence to objective truth than on account of its particular teachings.

Furthermore, there is the problem that Christianity is an historically revealed religion. Even if we succeed in proving that there is a God, the question then becomes: “which one (or ones)?” The great mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal famously differentiates between the god of the philosophers and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Arguing philosophically for the existence of God can, at best, produce some perfect Being who would probably not be at all concerned with humanity. Philosophy can possibly produce a transcendent God, but it can known nothing of an immanent God. Christianity affirms both.

It is also too easy in arguing for God’s existence to let atheists and agnostics define the rules of what constitutes acceptable “proof.” This tends today to gravitate towards scientific notions of truth, which produce disasters like “creation science” and the recent Ray Comfort debate debacle. Scientific naturalism is a specific worldview that already assumes the non-existence of God. There is no way to present any acceptable proof for God’s existence within a framework that already assumes that God does not exist.

But, as I said at the beginning, I think that there may be some pretty good reasons to argue for the existence of God, but I’m going to save those for another post. My question is this: what do you think? I’m definitely hoping to move towards actually picking a side on this one, as the pendulum that is my mind is getting tiresome…

4 responses to “Arguing for God’s Existence”

  1. i used to be fairly interested in ontological arguments, but these days it’s hard to put myself in that framework at all. mostly i think, because the existence of god is a matter of faith more than reason, no matter how much or well god can be deduced logically. i mean, people talk about god(s), and you can learn about how to act accordingly, but in the end the results of all that purposeful lifestyle really come down to a matter of feeling, of intuition, of faith. and if your faith is based on logic more than a personal system of logic that embraces your gut feeling, then i just don’t know how much that faith would matter. i mean, yeah, who would care about an ontological argument about god if it was based on nothing? atheists and agnostics seem right about not caring if it is only spoken of as such.

  2. Steph:

    I agree that arguments that are somehow divorced from a lived life are pretty vacuous… That is one of many things that I could have put in the post.

    Thanks for the comment!

  3. I find that when it comes to arguing the existence of God with those who have already chosen the opposing argument seems somewhat futile. I am reminded of the parable where Jesus shared about a certain man who sent out his servant to invite guests to the great feast and their responses were that they essentially had better things to do with their time. Thus the ruler sent the servant to the crippled, the poor, the blind and the lame and to the roads and country lanes, to anyone who would come. Luke 14:15-24 my impression is that those who are consumed with arguing against God have essentially been invited and have rejected the invitation. Let’s go to the places where those who are willing to respond to the great news of salvation are. Then it would be more like explaining the good news to open minds and less like arguing. I agree with Steph’s comments that it comes down to faith. If one requires a rational answer then how much faith is required to believe. So for those who are willing let them hear and believe the good news and to those who are unwilling let us pray for their hearts to be softened and believe that a mustard seed of faith may crop up in their lives by the love that is shared by true disciples of Jesus.

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