Faith Versus Reason

It is assumed that there are no logical, philosophical, reasonable, rational argument for the existence of God. Further it often stated that all religious people (and/or people who affirm God’s existence) have to fall back to is “faith” – that somehow, FAITH is weakness and what we fall back to when all else fails.

This is, frankly, ludicrous. There are many argument for God’s existence that do not begin or end in religion or faith. I am sure you can find references to these on the net, so I’ll not bore you with describing these.

First Cause Argument
Design Argument
Ontological Argument
Moral Argument

Like anything purported to be reasonable and rational, each of these arguments have weaknesses. However, they are philosophical “proofs” for God that do not depend on any particular brand of religion or view of God.

As such. for me, I do not consider them to be weighty enough for anything beyond freshman philosophy class. These are a nice exercise, but they do not say much about GOD.

Further, while I am not an inerrantist nor believer in a verbal plenary view of scripture inspiration, there is ample evidence in the historical record to validate that the Bible is more than just myth – it is not just made up stuff. There is history tied into its theology.

Here’s the problem. Those who determine to reject philosophical, historical, or scientific “proofs” will discount with their “reason” these arguments (even in only with memes or pithy little statements). My experience has been that folks who do not want to believe in God will find reasons to not believe…and those who wish to find reason will find those reasons.

I know folks who have had what I would consider to be mystical, magnificent, and amazing revelatory experiences that would be on par with the Apostle Pail’s Damascus road experiences…but they later discount it as fanciful imaginations.

Many religious people to easy and uncritically accept doctrines, dogmas, etc. I admit that. But I also witness in many a FAITH conviction that is so anti-God as to have them set a standard for belief so high as to make it untenable and unreachable. If you don’t want to believe in God…you won’t, no matter what.

So that brings me to faith, not as a last line of defense (as has been suggested) but as a front line of affirmation.

Some will (have) called faith fanciful or wishful thinking (for reasons I have explained above). So let’s address that.

It has been stated that FAITH is a crutch for those who cannot deal with the reality of life without God, or whom need a God to back up their morality, or that we are not strong enough to live without religion.

I would submit the following…YES, this is a fair critique for some people of faith. It is also applicable to atheism as well. There are many people who are simply too insecure to live with the possibility that there might be a God,

I would submit that very few “Christians” (my tribe) who adhere to this faith for comfort. There are far more comforting systems of belief than following a guy who encourages service and the sacrifice of love. Too many people hold to faith even in the midst of persecution…even in today’s world.

I would submit that faith is only effective as an emotional support when there is something behind it backing it up. Nobody is going to be comforted by some system that does not bring to their lives some sense of reality.

Each of these points could be addressed in volumes…but the intellectually honest will be able to affirm at least the potential truth of what I am saying.

Another point some challenge is the issue of evil. If evil exists, does not this negate the existence of God?

Of course, there are several philosophical and theological responses to this question. Those who just toss it out there and think to themselves “I guess that shows them religious people” have NOT actually been wrestling with the topic in a seriously thoughtful manner, but have reacted viscerally to their pain. Again, I have volume of books on this topic – and there are hundreds more. But here are some quick responses.

First, evil exists not because of God, but as a result of the free will to reject or deny God.

Second, certain kinds of goodness are only possible in the presence of opposite evil or darkness (yin/yang)

Third, the assumption is made that the presence of evil leads to the rejection of God. That is an assumption. It could also be argued that evil necessitates the existence of a good God to bring justice into broken places and people.

This will not persuade folks to reject atheism. I get that. I have no desire to argue these points…nor will I engage in such a discussion.

Why not? Because I am convinced that people make a choice as to whether they believe in God or not. Logic, reason, rational can be used on either side (despite what some of you want to assert). So obviously, it is too weak to hold water. Therefore, the choice of faith (or not) is the only, ahem, logical or reasonable place to deal with such issues. You take all the arguments and evidence and proofs and experiences and have to CHOOSE or decide whether you will have faith.

However you decide is fine with me. I believe in a God who likes, loves, accepts, and includes you either way.

All I seek is that you not pretend that you are smarter, more rational, and more reasonable than the rest of us because you choose to not have faith…because, frankly, the people of faith on this board have shown themselves more than capable of dealing with intellectual discussions and rational arguments.

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