Thursday, August 26, 2010

Arguments about the Existence of, or Consequences of the Nonexistence of, God Go Nowhere

8/26/2010—I just saw an advertisement for a new book, very serious, of arguments for the existence of God from the new physics and the new philosophy: New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions of Contemporary Physics and Philosophy, by Robert J. Spitzer, S.J. The thrust of the science part seems to be that the universe had to have a start and that such a start had to have a transcendent source (that is, outside the matter and energy matrix of the universe itself). While I’m sure that the science is solid, this kind of argument is pointless in terms of the kind of God we humans might be interested in. The question is, is there a God who can intervene right now in the natural order. Well, of course there might be such. But by definition, you cannot find evidence of such a God through science unless there is some kind of gap in the natural order now. Without that, all you have is a universe that started at some point. Such a start is odd and mysterious all right. But it does not call Abraham.

Similarly, I recently attended a discussion in which the groundlessness of all values was put forward as a consequence of the atheist position. For reasons I won’t go into here, I’m not sure that this is necessarily the case. But assuming that it is, that is a reason for despair rather than for the existence of God. Just because God would be a really, really good thing to have, doesn’t mean that God exists. I don’t think the universe is a cold , dark place, but if it is, it is.

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