Arguing for God before the Court

The early church leaders clearly understood the significance of hard evidence. But do we, in the twenty-first century, really have any evidence to warrant a rational belief in God?…

It is first important to note that many philosophers and theologians who argue for the existence of God understand that His existence, and existence alone, is what these arguments can conclude. Objectors to the classical arguments for God are justified in pointing out that the arguments fall far short of proving a God with all the attributes of traditional monotheism, say, omnibenevolence or omnipresence. But what atheists, and other objectors to these arguments (unbelievers and Christians alike), must also understand is that this does not undermine the validity of such arguments, nor does it change the plausibility structure of what these arguments are really giving evidence for – the existence of a supreme Creator who intelligently created the universe with life in mind – nothing more, nothing less.

Another point to note is that it should not be assumed that any one particular argument is meant to prove God’s existence. The apologist Taliaferro says,

“Few philosophers today would view a single argument for God’s reality as a proof. This is partly because of recognition that even good philosophical arguments rarely amount to a proof, and partly because of recognition of the complexity of belief in God. “Theism” does not refer to a single proposition but a complex web of assertions about God’s reality, character, and relations with the universe. It is unreasonable to think that a single argument could establish such a complicated theoretical network. Rather, particular theistic arguments should be seen as providing a lesser or greater degree of support for the web as a whole only indirectly.”

A good way to describe the premise is a court analogy. Isolated pieces of evidence may be insufficient on their own to warrant convicting someone ‘beyond reasonable doubt,’ but taken together the evidence may very well warrant conviction. Likewise, one particular argument may not provide proof for God’s existence, but put all the arguments together, and the court may have to decide that God exists.

Next week, we’ll look at the first argument – the Cosmological Argument…

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About Tweed Tavern

We exist to exhort passionate followers of Christ to think more deeply about their faith, and to challenge deep thinkers to become more passionate followers of Christ. Throughout history, taverns have provided a venue for theological and political debate. Hoping to honor that tradition, welcome to the Tavern!
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