Why Belief in God is a Rational Position

As a Christian, the thought of my life without God in it is horrifying. A life without God would mean there would be no transcendent being who is good that I can rely on, who cares about the details of my life, who gives me purpose or that loves me. The idea that an atheist lives with this worldview everyday saddens me. Fortunately, the atheist is wrong. There are many arguments in favor of the existence of God. In this essay, I will present two of those arguments and prove why belief in God is a rational position.

The Kalam Cosmological Argument

The Kalam Cosmological Argument was started by a medieval Christian named Philoponus and was developed by Muslims. Apologists and philosophers William Lane Craig and J.P. Moreland made it popular. The argument has three premises. The first is that whatever begins to exist has a cause. The second is that the universe began to exist. Therefore, the universe has a cause. Christian apologist and philosopher William Lane Craig, asserts, “To suggest that things could just pop into being uncaused out of nothing is to quit doing serious metaphysics and to resort to magic. If prior to the existence of the universe, there was absolutely nothing—no God, no space, no time—how could the universe possibly have come to exist?”[1]

Carl Sagan thinks the universe always existed. He said, “The cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be.”[2] This is simply not true. Authors Norman Geisler and Ronald Brooks point out, “One of the main evidences for the universe having a beginning is the second law of thermodynamics, which says that the universe is running out of usable energy. But if it is running down, then it could not be eternal. What is winding down must have been wound up.”[3] So the question is then, who wound it up? The creator would have to be someone who is intelligent, transcendent, and not subject to time or the universe. Someone outside it who freely chose to create the universe in time. The creator would have to be the first cause. Uncreated in order to avoid an infinite search backward (infinite regress) for its cause. That would mean the creator is a supernatural being, God.

The Moral Argument

The moral argument is one of the arguments for the existence of God that has long been debated between naturalists and theists. The argument goes like this. 1) If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist. 2) Objective moral values and duties do exist. 3) Therefore, God exists.

A naturalist is one who doesn’t believe in the existence of God but believes that nature is all there is and ever was and ever will be. The argument that the naturalist makes is that moral law is subjective and comes from our social culture. Morals are a personal preference. This argument falls short because all people would agree that certain deeds are unquestionably evil like murder, theft, lying, and torturing babies for fun. If morality is subjective, how could anyone say that any of these things could be wrong? What’s wrong for you might be right for me, and vice-versa. Everyone expects people to live by certain moral standards and to be treated fairly. This implies that objective moral standards do exist. Where do they come from?

Some claim that morals and the mind come from evolution. Christian apologists Frances Beckwith and Gregory Koukl claim that, “Advocates for this new view would claim that even the moral threads that make up the fabric of society are the product of natural selection. Thus morality can be reduced to chemical relationships in the genes. Love and hate, guilt and remorse, kindness, self-control can be explained through the cause and effect of chance genetic mutations and natural selection.”[4] So our morals come from our genes? This theory is problematic for two reasons. The first is that there is no evidence for this theory. The second is that true morality includes intent and motive. Motive can’t be determined by a gene or by observing behavior. For example, if a mother is observed squeezing her son’s finger to the point of his tears, it might look like she’s being very cruel. When in fact, she’s trying to remove a splinter which would have been infected had it remained. Beckwith and Koukl contend that, “When morality is reduced to patterns of behavior chosen by natural selection for the survival value, then morality is not explained; it’s denied.”[5]

Another distinctive quality about morality is its “oughtness”. Morals include what we should do. Not just past behavior. If there is no God, it is impossible to condemn evil. “For there is no right or wrong. All things are permitted.”[6] Why should someone be moral in the future? Science and evolution can’t explain this. “Darwinism can only attempt to describe why humans acted in a certain way in the past.”[7] Logic and emotion can’t be explained by Science. Darwinism, as an explanation for morals, is false. “It doesn’t account for the incumbency of moral rules nor does it make sense of the guilt and expectation of punishment one feels when those rules are violated.”[8]

We have shown that morals could not come from genes or evolution. “Incumbent” morals must come from an intelligent designer “whose proper domain is the universe, who has the moral authority to enforce his laws and the power ultimately to met out perfect justice.”[9] It is God who puts the “standard of goodness” in our hearts. “The universe is his possession because he created it; he has the right to rule over it.”[10]

Scientist Francis Collins who was the head of the human genome project claimed, “After twenty eight years as a believer, the Moral Law still stands out for me as the strongest signpost to God.”[11]

The Kalam Cosmological Argument and the Moral Argument clearly show that the evidence for the beginning of our universe and the incumbent morals within us point to an intelligent designer. Belief in God is not only a rational position, but the most rational position.

            [1] William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, (Wheaton, Ill., Crossway, 1984) 111, 113

            [2] Carl Sagan, Cosmos, (New York, Random House, 1980) 1

            [3] Norman L. Geisler and Ronald M. Brooks, When Skeptics Ask: A Handbook on Christian Evidence, (Grand Rapids, Mi., Baker Books, 2013) 11

            [4] Francis J. Beckwith and Gregory Koukl, Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air, (Grand Rapids, MI.: Baker Books, 1998) 157

            [5] Beckwith and Koukl, Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air, 161

            [6]Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, 175

            [7]Ibid. 164

            [8]Ibid. 168

            [9]Ibid.

            [10]Ibid. 169

            [11]Norman Geisler and Ronald M. Brooks, When Skeptics Ask: A Handbook on Christian Evidences, (Grand Rapids, MI., Baker Books, 1990) 17

 

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