Just a quick one today because I have a lecture soon. Last night I attended a debate between Alistair McBay from the NSS and David Robertson, author of The Dawkins Letters, entitled ‘Is Faith in God a Delusion?’ Frustratingly, neither party seemed intent on answering the question at hand. Basically, Alistair pointed out a few of the strange things that religious people believe, and outlined the position of the NSS in its fight against the “religious demand for inequality”. David replied by repeatedly calling atheism a “faith” and a “religion”, saying that to a certain extent you have to take everything on faith. His main point, however, was that when you’re talking about this kind of thing, you can’t take in your own preconceptions about what you can count as evidence. This is what I want to discuss.
His inclusion of the word ‘preconceptions’ of course makes atheists sound closed-minded. But I’d like to meet the Christian who approached the subject totally open-mindedly, examining all the evidence not only from science but also from all religions and cultures around the world, and rationally came to the conclusion not only that God exists, but specifically the personal Christian God who intervenes in our lives on a day to day basis. I doubt it would ever happen.
The fact is that although there is no definitive boundary between what we can class as evidence and what we can’t, there is a spectrum as to what we can count as good evidence and what we can count as bad evidence. Here are the 10 evidences for the existence of God as Robertson lays out in The Dawkins Letters, as taken from the blog “Why Believe”
- The human mind and spirit
- Our inbuilt moral law
- The existence of evil
- Human desire to find God through ‘religion’
- Personal experience
- The true Church
- The Bible
- Jesus as revealed through the Gospels
Now, let’s be honest, a lot of this isn’t what we would call good evidence. Some of them are the same idea repeated, some of them are just as good evidence for God as against, some of them don’t really make sense at all. It just so happens, apparently, that all the good, hard, tangible evidence is on the side of science, whereas the soft, mushy, bad evidence is on the side of religion. And Robertson seemingly expects us to give them each equal weighting. I disagree. Maybe later when I have more time I’ll go through each of these evidences one by one.