“Tell me why I should believe in Christ,” said the Radio show presenter. “You just have to believe,” shouted the caller.
It was a difficult call show to listen to – but also a very eye-opening one. Is the “blind faith” approach to life really the only thing theists have to offer? Are we lacking real evidence-based or rational arguments that explain our position? Is God really, in fact, a God Delusion”?
These were the questions I was left asking myself. Without a doubt, the answer to these questions in my mind is “no”. But then, why do so many theists fail to articulate clearly their belief in a Creator?
Do we really understand the rational reasons, rather than assume the belief from our parents?
Are we motivated to believe by emotion and culture, rather than intelligence and self-reflection?
I believe each of us has an individual journey to make, to truly test our understanding of whether a Creator exists. The first step on the journey is to disentangle the question of “Which religion is right (if any)?” from “Is there a Creator? Yes/No?”, because the latter question can be asked independently of the former.
To answer the latter question, theists will bring out their big guns: arguments from design (teleological), from causation (cosmological) or from reality (ontological), and the many variants of each. Atheists will counter-argue with alternative explanations, including the theory of evolution, quantum fluctuations as the first cause, the multi-verse theory or curveball questions like “if God is all-powerful, can he create a rock so heavy that he cannot lift it?”
Are we comfortable answering these counter-arguments? Are they coherent and logical, or flawed and desperate? If we’re not sure, what will it take to be more certain of our answer?
I firmly believe we need a paradigm shift in the way we think about the existence of a Creator. We certainly don’t need a PhD in theology or philosophy to answer the very simple question “is there a Creator?”
We just need to set aside some time for a little reading, questioning and honest self-reflection. If we’re still not comfortable with the answers we reach, then keep reading and questioning until we get a better understanding.
Albert Einstein is famously reported to have said: “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” Let’s start with ourselves and see how far we get!
A new series of The Paradigm Shift kicks off on 8 Sep 2018 with “The God Delusion: Fact or Fiction” in conversation with guest speaker Sheikh Javad Shomali. For more information visit our website here.