Proving God

Some of you may be familiar with philosophers’ attempts to prove God’s existence. The simplest is put forth by Descartes, who in doubting reality, realized the only thing he could be sure of was that he doubted. Here’s my paraphrase:

I doubt, therefore I think.
I think, therefore I exist.
I doubt, therefore I am imperfect.
I am imperfect, therefore imperfection exists.
Imperfection exists, therefore perfection exists.
God, by definition, is perfection, therefore God exists.
God is perfect, therefore God is good.
God is good, therefore God would not deceive us.
God would not deceive us, therefore the world and my experiences in it are real.

This proof actually shares the same fatal flaw as the other God proof I’ve heard:

Something can exist either in thought or in reality.
I can think of God, therefore God exists in thought.
It is more powerful to exist in reality than in thought.
God is, by definition, the most powerful, therefore God exists in reality.

The flaw, of course, is that we are asked to accept that because something is conceptualized, it must exist in accordance to its intrinsic characteristics. Yet if I believe that God is, by definition, a delicious jelly donut sitting on my desk, there is still no jelly donut on my desk. Those of us not well schooled in metaphysics may not be able to articulate exactly why we know these proofs are bogus, but we do know it.

(Note: I am not a philosopher, so if you’re outraged at how much I screwed up my summary of these ideas, I apologize.)

However, in some of my musings this year, I have come across my own conditional proof that God exists. Conditional in that it does not prove God, but makes God a necessary derivative of another belief. Here it is:

If we have free will, God exists.

Science and Religion

So, I’ve done a bit of responding to other posts on here, and I thought it was about time I made my first post, on a subject I have a lot of personal interest in. A quick search for keywords such as evolution, creationism, and intelligent design shows that there has not been much discussion (actually, any, as far as I can see) of these subjects on this blog. This does not entirely surprise me, because, in my experience, there is very little discussion amongst the Anabaptist Churches in general on issues having to do with the relationship between science and faith. Conservative Anabaptists (just can’t get away from that term!), for their part, often fall in line with other conservative Christians, in being suspicious of evolution (or “evolutionism”) and embracing a literalistic interpretation of the first few chapters of Genesis. Either that, or they don’t make an issue about it at all, one way or the other, and prefer not to discuss it. Liberal Anabaptists, for their part, tend to accept the truth of evolution because they have a liberal enough interpretation of Scripture that it presents no exegetical problem for them to do so, and because they associate creationism with ignorant warmongering racist homophobic fundamentalists. The fact that Jerry Falwell endorsed creationism is good enough reason for many progressive Christians to automatically reject it.

Of course, anti-evolutionism has not always had attached to it the social and economic conservatism we associate with it today. Indeed, in economic terms at least, Darwinism lends itself quite well to a conservative worldview–in fact, it was largely the work of economist Thomas Malthus that first inspired Darwin’s idea of natural selection. And, in fact, it was this association of scientific Darwinism with Social Darwinism that many socially progressive Christians of ages past objected to, and so became anti-evolutionist. William Jennings Bryan, three time Democratic presidential candidate, was a socialist and peace advocate who famously opposed evolution because of what he saw as its social implications. In a stump speech that he gave in revival tents around the country, he referred to Darwinism as propagating a “law of hate” that stood in stark contrast to the “law of love” that Christ taught. (more…)