Some people propose that,
Only superstitious buffoons believe in religion. All evidence suggests that atheistic naturalism is the most compelling worldview.
Thinking through this statement has led me to criticize it and show its lack of cogent reasoning.
Photo Credit: Roebot
Based on my experience and research, there are two main reasons that this statement does not follow the cogent reasoning standards of presenting relevant information and providing good reasons to believe what is believed. 1
- Some of the most educated, intelligent, and successful people have believed in God. 2
- One can deduce that God exists from a philosophical point of view.
These two critiques of the statement that “only superstitious buffoons believe in religion. All evidence suggests that atheistic naturalism is the most compelling worldview” will be shared in today’s blog post and my next post in order to shed light on the topic of God and belief in Him.
The list of educated, intelligent, and successful people who believed in God in both American and world history are numerous. To name a few, Abraham Lincoln was known to always have a Bible on his desk which he read often. 3 In fact, the Christian Bible was one of the three books Lincoln read often and memorized sections of as a child. 4
Additionally, Benjamin Franklin showed his belief in God by stating, “I never doubted the existence of God or that He made the world and governed it by His providence.” 5 Furthermore the following brilliant scientists either personally believed in the Christian God or had a firm belief that some type of God created the universe:
- Nicholas Copernicus
- Galileo Galilei
- Rene Descartes
- Isaac Newton
- Albert Einstein
This list of individuals who believed in God is proof that people who believe in religion are not all superstitious buffoons.
It is important though to look at the reasoning atheistic naturalists use to decide that there is no God. With all fairness, science follows a good process for how it arrives at conclusions. That process follows the following steps:
- Observations are made;
- A general hypothesis is made to account for the observations;
- A prediction is made which is derived only from the hypothesis; and
- An experiment is designed as a way to test the hypothesis. 6
Even non-scientists can agree that this is a fundamentally sound process designed to observe and learn about life and the world. Additionally, criticisms of the God described in the Old Testament Bible are warranted based on scientific research and technology available today such as this:
The notions that the universe is at least 13 billion years old, that the earth is at least 4 billion years old, and that life has developed through a branching evolutionary process over many millions of years, are all very firmly established in the scientific literature by extensive empirical data. The geological ages of various fossil layers are particularly well established, since these ages are based on multiple dating schemes that are securely grounded in fundamental laws of physics that have survived careful scrutiny for more than fifty years. 7
Charles Darwin is perhaps the most well known educated, intelligent, and successful scientist to not believe in religion. He showed his unbelief by stating, “The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble to us; and I for one must be content to remain an agnostic.” 8
However, in modern years there is a developing amount of support for what is called Intelligent Design (ID); a scientific method of thought that somebody or something must have created the world because the world and human bodies in it are so incredibly complex. ID has been noticed by one author, stating, “ID Christians belong in a long and distinguished line of great Christian thinkers who resisted the fideist flight from reason.” 9
Having analyzed the list of educated, intelligent, and successful people who believed in God and ID, it is also important to turn to a more philosophical way of believing in God (which will be explored in my next post).
Question: Why do you believe in God based on your personal experience with Him or your observation of science?
- Howard Kahane and Nancy Cavender, Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric: The Use of Reason in Everyday Life, 10th ed. (Belmont, CA: Thomas Higher Education, 2006), 6. ↩
- Because of my faith as a Christian, when I write of “religion,” I will have particular focus on Christianity. My goal is to show that there is a Christian God through the two reasons I outline in this paper, but these reasons might also be applicable to the reader who believes in a god other than the Christian God. ↩
- David Grubin, Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided, DVD (American Experience and PBS, 2005). ↩
- Ronald D. Rietveld, “Was Abraham Lincoln a Christian?” Bibliotheca Sacra (January 1960): 59. ↩
- Ben Franklin, Ben Franklin: America’s Original Entrepreneur, ed. Blaine McCormick (Canada: Entrepreneur Press, 2005), 113. ↩
- James R. Henderson, “Teaching Evolution to Creationists,” Sociological Viewpoints (Fall 2007): 78. ↩
- David H. Baily, “Creationism and Intelligent Design: Scientific and Theological Difficulties,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 43, no. 3 (Fall 2010): 67. ↩
- Charles Darwin, Life and Letters. Quoted in Frank S. Mead, ed., The Encyclopedia of Religious Quotes, (New Jersey: Felming H. Revell, 1966), 367. ↩
- William A Dembski, Unapologetic Apologetics: Meeting the Challenges of Theological Studies (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press Academic, 2001), 228 quoted in Kevin Mongrain, “The Eyes of Reason: Intelligent Design Apologetics as the New Preambula Fidei?” The Heythrop Journal 52, no. 2, (2011): 200. ↩