Who Has A Rational Faith?

All Christians claim they have a rational faith. Some of them claim that their faith is rational but not rationally binding on everyone, others claim the Christian faith gives them a foundation for reason which in turn confirms their faith (presuppositionalists), while still others write and speak as if Christianity is rationally superior to all other faiths .

Of course, here is just another debate Christians have which provides more evidence to me that the claim that the Holy Spirit guides Christians to properly understand the Bible is false. There is no guidance because there is no Holy Spirit. But I’ve made this point before.

Of course the whole relationship between Christianity and philosophy (or reason) needs some explicating, especially when it comes to what both Paul and Jesus said about it , and how they themselves reasoned. And if logic (and reason) can only be explained by Christian theism, then I have some serious questions about that view , especially since such a view falls prey to the Euthyphro dilemma, which when applied to reason asks “is something reasonable because God commands it, or does God love it because it is reasonable?”

Let me just introduce the inherent unreasonableness of the human condition to those who haven’t pondered it for a while. Here it is:

It’s undeniable that something now exists, without even trying to come to a common understanding of the nature of that which exists, be it spirit, matter, or a combination of both. That means there are basically two choices for us, or we can just say that it’s all completely absurd to the core. Either something has always and forever existed, or something popped into existence out of absolutely nothing. Either horn you grab onto presents us with deep problems. On the one hand, how can we understand what it means for something, let’s say God, or the universe for that matter, has always existed without a beginning? Can anyone say they comprehend that? It’s almost absurd.

The Christian must believe that a Triune (3 in 1?) God has always and forever existed without cause and will always and forever exist (even though our entire experience is that everything has a beginning and an ending) as a fully formed being (even though our entire experience is that order grows incrementally) with all knowledge (and consequently never learned anything), with all power (but doesn’t exercise it like we would if we saw a burning child), and who is present everywhere (and who also knows what time it is everywhere in our universe even though time is a function of movement and bodily placement). This Christian God decided to communicate with ancient superstitious people before the rise of scientific standards of investigation, whom God supposedly knew would later question what these superstitious people claimed, like becoming incarnate in Jesus (ancients believed this could happen—Acts 14:11; 28:6); atoning for our sins in a barbaric human-God sacrifice which makes absolutely no sense, and something which the Church has never adequately explained. Christians believe Jesus bodily arose from the dead (even though these same Christians wouldn’t believe a similar claim by anyone today though there is no Biblical reason why god couldn’t do this again), ascended into the sky-heaven, even though we now know God does not live in the sky nor is hell inside the earth, which are pre-scientific cosmogonies, what I call the Achilles Heel of Christianity. This whole religious viewpoint is absurd to me.

The ontological argument gets us nowhere.

When it comes to Christian miracles History cannot show us that miracles took place, and those who believe in them have a double burden of proof. See also here, and here.

I just think the Bible debunks itself. What about hell?

On the other hand, every attempt to understand how something, let’s say the universe as we know it, or even God for that matter, popped into existence out of absolutely nothing fails. Can anyone say they comprehend that? It’s almost absurd. In fact every scientific attempt I’ve read to describe how our universe began to exist always begins with something—from the “swerving atom” of ancient Greek philosopher Democritus, to Paul Davies’ “cosmic repulsion in a quantum vacuum,” to what Edward Tryon and Stephen Hawking both describe as a “quantum wave fluctuation” [Tryon in Nature, December 1973, and Hawking in Physical Review (December 1983]. These things are not nothing. Although, when given the alternative and complex Christian view, it just sounds better to me.

According to Mark William Worthing in God Creation, and Contemporary Physics (Fortress Press, 1996): “For a true creation out of nothing there can be no scientific explanation. Any theory explaining how something has come from nothing must assume some preexisting laws or energy or quantum activity in order to have a credible theory. It could be claimed, naturally, that there was nothing and then suddenly there was, without apparent physical cause or ground, something. But this would be more a statement of philosophical or theological belief than a genuine scientific theory.” (p. 105).

Our choice then is between a scientific (non-personal) explanation for the existence of the universe, or a personal explanation. Our choice is between an infinite regress of events, or an uncaused cause. Our choice is between the cosmos having no explanation for its existence, or a final explanation that needs no further explanation. Our choice is between believing something has always existed, or believing something popped into existence out of nothing. It may even be that this whole existence is completely and wholly absurd to its core.

So with regard to the origin of this reality we experience it seems that reason simply cannot help us. The catch-22 here—damned if I do, damned if I don’t—is that if I start with reason I may get nowhere, but if I start with faith, the question becomes this: what if I start out by believing the wrong set of things—things which I believe because of when and where I was born? The Christian may claim that they know what they believe because of the inner witness of the Holy Spirit, but this is pure poppycock.

I just prefer to accept as a brute fact the existence of this universe. There have been four cosmological displacements. The universe came without a cause, and it has no purpose. And since science has had so much success in the past, I'll give it a chance to explain our origins too. The Christian believes far too many things that I simply cannot accept as a modern thinker today.

I suspect Christians are just too afraid to doubt.