Faith and Religion: Faith Beyond Reason?

TLDR ADVISORY: The following article exceeds 1,000 words, and may be lengthy for some readers.

Bridging the gap...?

Bridging the gap…?

     Ah, another relaxing dies Solis. A cup of coffee, browser tabs open to the major news purveyors of the day, and what do we find? Blog fodder! (Huzzah, happy face!) Fox News aired a segment this past Friday, in which one of their hosts presented a ten-minute piece on whether a belief in God was “reasonable”. Appearing in the three-person interview were atheist Nick Fish and believer Dr. Alex McFarland, discussing concepts such as morality, along with the presence of theological and logical “holes” in each side’s argument for and against the existence of a God. (1)

     A little less than a hundred words in…can you already see my issue with this Fox segment? If you can’t, don’t stress. I’m about to expound on this in my usual candid and pragmatic fashion. The problem as I see it, my fine young readers, is this; discussions and debates such as this cannot be had in a mere ten minutes, especially when at least two to three of those precious minutes are taken up by the hostess, who really needed to just shut up and let these two chat! No, the debate between Atheism and Theism needs a far better venue than Faux News, and immensely more time than ten minutes.

     In 2007, ABC-Nightline’s Martin Bashir hosted a similar debate in which actor Kirk Cameron and his partner, author and evangelist Ray Comfort, debated the existence of God with Brian Sapient and Kelly O’Connor, two guests from the atheist “Rational Response Squad” organisation. (2) This debate lasted about an hour and a half, and in the end did little to answer the question in a definitive manner. Given this, one might ask the question, “Well, how long does it take to reckon out through discussion, the existence of a divine power, and whether belief in that divine power is a reasonable reaction to what we are able to discern with our five senses?” Honestly, this debate has been going on since science began disproving long-held church dogmas regarding the nature and workings of the universe, so the answer to this decidedly complex question might not be such a simple one.

     What I will do within the limited space of this article is present my own thoughts regarding faith, whether that faith is reasonable, and whether God’s existence can be proven, not necessarily in this order. Let’s start with what I believe, and why I’m persuaded to believe it…

     I believe in the existence of God. I believe that “he” created everything in this universe, both observable and unobservable. Why do I believe this? I believe this because I also believe what I’m seeing when I look up into the night sky, and see what astronomer Edwin Hubble saw; that there are billions upon billions of stars up there, along with a plethora of other galaxies that are moving away from us. I believe that our observations indicate that we live in an expanding universe and, if we press “stop” and “reverse” on the universal remote, that contraction leads right back to one single point; one “primordial atom” as described by Father Georges Lemaître back in the 1920’s – 1930’s. Science refers to this point as a “singularity”, and by my reckoning, that singularity had to come from somewhere. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I’m talking about the Big Bang. Scientific observation and theory strongly suggest that the universe started from a singularity; immensely dense, immensely hot, within which was contained the four basic forces that we now observe in nature;

  • Gravity
  • Electro-magnetism
  • Strong Nuclear
  • Weak Nuclear

     There’s another reason that I’m led to believe in the existence of a divine intervening force in the universe; the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This law of physics states that in an isolated system, entropy must increase. Plainly put, order cannot come from chaos, only chaos from order. In order to get order out of chaos, there has to be an intervening factor, and I believe that this factor…is God. How else does one explain the level of order that we observe in our universe, especially when the universe is supposed to have started from an ordered singularity? By all rights, if the Second Law were to hold true, we shouldn’t even be here.

     Granted, this is all based upon my limited understanding of these scientific concepts, and my beliefs are based upon indirect inference. Then again, a lot of science is also based upon indirect observation and subsequent inference, isn’t it? We didn’t witness the Big Bang directly, did we? No, but we can directly observe certain aspects of its aftermath with tools such as the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, thereby inferring that this is most likely what occurred.

     Which brings us to the next question; is my belief in God a reasonable one? I believe that it is, due to the fact that I’m basing my belief on not only the religious, biblical information that I was raised on, but also on observable, scientific principles. I also believe that, for my belief to be reasonable, it must be subject to the acceptance of new information as it’s presented. In other words, I’m “keeping an open mind”. The more I learn, the more info I have to go on. If new information contradicts what I believe, especially if that information is directly observable, I have to admiss it if I’m being truly reasonable. I believe that where faith becomes unreasonable, is when the believer refuses to admiss things like gravity, the speed of light through a vacuum, things that we can directly observe and prove. (See my previous article on “Young-Earth Creationism”.) In my not-so-humble opinion, willful ignorance is never a reasonable basis for faith.

     Can I prove that God exists, scientifically? No, no more or less than the atheist can prove that God doesn’t exist, and that’s where I think Cameron / Comfort got it wrong. By its very design, faith in God, Christ and salvation must come down to exactly that; a matter of faith. Faith is a leap, one that transcends the known and knowable. Much of science also requires this leap, due to the fact that things like evolution and the Big Bang cannot be proven, only inferred by indirect observation. So readers, I leave the final question to you; is faith beyond reason?

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One comment on “Faith and Religion: Faith Beyond Reason?

  1. Mark Anthony Caesar says:

    I think the only thing that anybody can do is look at the evidence, the different theories, and either accept one or a variation of one or come up with your own theory.

    The theory that resonates the most with me is that matter/energy was ALWAYS in existence and forever going through the cycle of singularity to big bang to expanding universe to contracting universe to singularity. By the way, I think the idea of singularity being an infinitely small point may be wrong as well, I think of it as a mass, of everything, compressed to the point of instability, however big or small that may be, not necessarily a single point. We know that black holes exist but we don’t know what’s in the centre of them, exactly how compressed.it is.

    The major possible flaw to this theory I have already discussed with you, the fact that EVERY system loses energy over time and progresses toward a state of stability. Now, if EVERYTHING has been in existence and going through the same process FOREVER then if the system were to progress in any way toward stability it would already be there.

    The possible flaw to that logic is that every system that has been described as heading toward stability through the loss of energy had somewhere to lose the energy to. The system I am describing, which is EVERYTHING, has nowhere and nothing to lose energy to. The energy that is lost from smaller parts of the system are still within the system, just in a different form and/or location.

    So, given that the total energy/mass of the system is stable, and recycling, maybe this is the PERFECT SYSTEM. Perfect in that there cannot be a loss of energy or mass and maybe, just maybe, the system resets itself every time it collapses to the point of “singularity”.

    Okay, that’s MY theory, and it’s only a theory. My theory totally negates the necessity for a “God” or any other way for things to be brought into existence.

    The major problem I have for believing there is a “God”, the way that religions explain “him”, or your theory of him John is the idea that there is an entity influential enough to create anything which was in existence before anything else. To me, it seems more logical that if anything was “created” at any point in time then it is infinitely more likely that this something would be as basic as possible and, in some unimaginable way, EVOLVE into more complex systems.

    The idea of the bible and other religious texts that “God” has always been in existence before anything else leads me to question “wouldn’t “he” have been indescribably “bored” until “he” created his play toys of the universe”?

    And the further question of “if everything has a starting point, where did “God” come from”?

    So when it comes to “Faith”, I ask have the people with “Faith” really thought things through?

    I think “Faith” is a cop-out for critical thinking and a definite sign of insecurity.

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