Lord of Non-Contradiction: An Argument for the Existence of God

Abstract:

By James N. Anderson and Greg Welty

“What is the relationship between the laws of logic and the existence of God? Perhaps the most obvious thing to say is that there is an epistemological relationship between the two, such that the existence of God—more precisely, rational belief in the existence of God—depends on the laws of logic. In the first place, any argument one might offer for the existence of God must conform to the laws of logic: the law of non-contradiction, the rules of deductive inference, and so forth. Furthermore, many would maintain that the concept of God must conform to the laws of logic as a precondition of rational belief in the existence of God. (This seems implicit even in a “Reformed Epistemology” view which says that rational belief in God doesn’t have to depend on arguments.) In this paper we do not propose to explore or contest those epistemological relationships. Instead we will argue for a substantive metaphysical relationship between the laws of logic and the existence of God, with the arrow of dependence running in the opposite direction. In other words, we will argue that there are laws of logic because God exists; indeed, there are laws of logic only because God exists. If we are correct about this metaphysical relationship, it is but a short step to a fascinating and powerful but neglected argument for the existence of God.”

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Dear Determinist, (Sam Harris, Jerry Coyne, or whoever reads this first)

I’m sorry, but you’re not a real person. You don’t have your own thoughts, make your own decisions, or control your own actions. If you stand here and argue with me, I can only regard it as the universe arguing with itself. One part of the universe argues and says “A” is true and “B” is false, while another part of the universe declares “B” true and “A” false. The universe declares “A” and “B” to be both true and false, therefore truth is incoherent in this universe. In the absence of a standard outside of the universe, there is no truth for beings who are just another part of this incoherent universe.  So, determinist, you’ll have to excuse me if I can’t believe anything you say.

The Scientific Method applied to Religion

Baumgardner, in quoting Frank Wolfs, boils the scientific method down to the four following essentials:1

  1. Observation and description of a phenomenon or group of phenomena.
  2. Formulation of a hypothesis to explain the phenomena. (In physics, the hypothesis often takes the form of a mathematical relationship.)
  3. Use of the hypothesis to predict other phenomena or to predict quantitatively the results of new observations.
  4. Performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters.

Wolfs explains, “No matter how elegant a theory is, its predictions must agree with experimental results if we are to believe that it is a valid description of nature. In physics, as in every experimental science, ‘experiment is supreme’ and experimental verification of hypothetical predictions is absolutely necessary.”1

Similarly, Atheist Ethicist explains “The way science works, a scientist can’t just shout out that [s]he knows something. She has to say why she thinks she knows something, and then wait for somebody else to confirm the findings.

Some say that the scientific method is a superior form of attaining any meaningful knowledge and that all others are to be discarded. However, Inasmuch as the scientific method requires independent verification, it is inadequate in matters of religion.

All the life and power of true religion consists in the inward and full persuasion of the mind. Religion itself is made of two components: a profession of faith toward God and an outward form of worship. If we are not fully persuaded in our own minds that our faith is true and our form of worship is well-pleasing, we are conducting an exercise in hypocrisy and adding to our list of offenses toward God. This being the nature of religion, the only force that can be used therein is not force at all, but admonishments, exhortations, arguments, and advice.

To require the truth of religion to hinge upon independent verification conducted by another person is to leave the care of your soul, indeed its very salvation, to a person who does not have as vested an interested in your salvation as you have. The mere position of an outside observer does not yield more insight into other men’s faith or worship. These things ought every man to sincerely inquire himself with due diligence, search, study, and meditation. We are all equal in nature concerning these things and no man has been placed above another.

But, let us grant for the moment that the person independently verifying another man’s faith is seeking only that man’s good and has attained superior knowledge. Even then we are in no better position. A government official who shows me the best way to conduct a business, may, upon my failure, shore up my losses and provide security for me. But, there is no security for the life to come that can be given by another man. It is not within another man’s power to ease my loss, or prevent my suffering, or restore me in some measure. That is a matter between God and myself.  The Kingdom of God is in the hearts of men (Luke 17:21) and therefore no man, who’s only real jurisdiction is in the physical world, can affect a better care than I of my soul by use of superior knowledge, or outward force, or coercion.

The failure of the scientific method in attaining any efficacious change in the full persuasion of one’s mind in matters of religion, renders pointless the need for proofs or evidence to be submitted to anyone for scrutiny. Every private man’s search and study discovers the truth of the matter unto himself. Indeed, the man to whom the proofs or evidence must be supplied will have his hands full making his own salvation sure. It would be even more treacherous for a man who cares for his soul to submit evidence for scrutiny to someone who has a complete lack of care for his own soul. An atheist is a very poor man indeed to receive advice from on matters of religion.

Therefore, let us leave aside the scientific method in matters of religion and reach toward God in faith and in the full persuasion of the mind.

1. Wolfs, F. 1996. Introduction to the scientific method. Physics Laboratory Experiments, Appendix E, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Rochester

A Glimpse into the Atheistic Mind

Image credits : http://picasaweb.google.com/ikrystyn

Atheist is like a child holding right hand….a scientist of logical intelligence ……left brain and the theist is like a child holding left hand …… a scientist of emotional intelligence ….right brain and mother is holding them like cosmic intelligence ….. mind of God ……  everyone’s childhood friend.

-quote taken from (Here)

The scientist who’s logic leads him to be an atheist can also possess great emotional distress. Thinking with his logical mind first, his emotional response to God is varied and skeptical. Thinking inwardly that God may be real he tests theories and evidence to find notions of him. Finding the worldly evidence can only point to God indirectly, he cannot be logically inconsistent in ignoring other possibilities. Because, in his mind, those possibilities are just as legitimate or more so, he is disinclined to believe in God. God is not “needed” in the world, but the feeling that God is needed in the heart the atheistic scientist cannot escape.  For, if God was real, great purpose and meaning and value could be given to man beyond the scope of his imagination. It is a fantastic feeling to think that he could be caught up in a greater purpose that began before there was time, encompassing not just the world, but the entire universe. The intellectual mind, however, will not let this hope tread into the realm of logic. Logic must be cold, calculating, impartial.  Some purely logical minds are not aware of this tension within, but for others, it relentlessly troubles the deep recesses of their heart.

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Dear Moral Borrowing Atheist,

Do you believe in the higher value of humans over non-human animals? If so, you are borrowing some of your morality from Theistic philosophy. Evolution provides no foundation for this higher value. The philosophy that has its foundation in evolution equates man with animals. In this view, man does not deserve a higher value than animals. This morality is based on one’s ability to suffer.

Is it more moral to kill a pig that can feel pain or a fetus that can’t feel pain? Atheists would save the pig. Is it less moral to eat bacon, seeing as how the pig can suffer and humans killed it, or practice cannibalism as long as the human died accidentally and the relatives say it’s OK? Atheists would enjoy a good batch of John Smith stew. Is it more moral to kill a deformed or mentally retarded infant so they won’t have to suffer all of their lives, or let them live (although this “suffering” is debatable)? Atheists choose to end the suffering. Some atheists would still let the child and the fetus live and also eat bacon, but if they do they betray the fact that their philosophy does not totally align itself with atheistic philosophy. They borrow from Theistic philosophy.

Would you be more disgusted at a picture of a dead fetus? Your answer will tell you what philosophy you live by.

Dear Morally Average Atheist,

An atheist said the following:
“Do you find it at all questionable that, since you can’t offer any evidence that Christians who claim a higher moral standard, actually live to a higher moral standard, and that if anything, the evidence shows that they, Christians, actually live a moral standard that is lower than the moral standard of non believers?
Why is it that you pretty much shrug off actual evidence? I am guessing that if you could show that Christians actually lived to a higher moral standard, you wouldn’t hesitate, but since you can’t, you just ignore the fact that the evidence shows that proclaiming to have a higher moral standard is futile and meaningless, since it (the higher moral standard) has no affect on how believers (Christians) behave.”

Surely, you are not saying it’s useless to try to follow a better standard because no one else does. Your observation does not diminish your responsibility in this area. For instance, if no one in the world got their math completely right and everyone averaged about the same amount of mistakes, striving toward perfect arithmetic would still be good. If, however, a group of people were told the right way of doing math, and chose to ignore the instruction, and still averaged the same amount of mistakes as everyone else, should a math enthusiast be content to be average just because it’s average? No, he should find out what is the correct way, and continue to do what is correct to do. That’s when real progress is made. The ones who know what is right and willingly do wrong should be counted as rebellious, deceived in some way, possessing a hindered mental ability, or persuaded the opposite way to the point of exhaustion.

It is the same with morality. A higher morality of the mind exists as instruction for the “human machine” to be run smoothly. If we are only concerned with others, we will do just enough to get by, and no progress will be made. Also, if the human machine isn’t run in proper order, men will hinder society eventually. The man who does right because his mind is right is in better working order than a man who does right because he is made to. The latter will eventually collide with other men and do harm.

In response to the statement that Christians do not follow their own higher moral standards, I initially did not know what to say. I could cite my own experience and show how I have progressed but that would be lifting myself up. I could have cited other men whom I know have followed this higher moral standard, but again that would be lifting up other men. Pride would be noticed in either statement, and my efforts would be useless because this pride would indicate the opposite of what I was trying to say.

Christians (who follow a higher morality of the mind), of all people, count themselves the vilest of men. When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is left in him. When a man is getting worse he understands his own badness less and less. This is common sense, really. You can see mistakes in arithmetic when your mind is working properly: while you are making them you cannot see them. The man who strives for right knows where he has gone wrong. The man who is completely wrong in the mind, knows neither right nor wrong, but views all he does as acceptable until someone says otherwise. If men know to do right, they should do it, regardless of what others around them are doing.

(This post is a continuation of the post “Dear Moral Atheist”)

A Letter to Bob

Bob, you are right. Simply looking at the beginning of everything we cannot draw a God-conclusion or a non-God-conclusion. However, before I go further let me point something out.

We are in a game of chess that can never really end with one of us taking the king, neither can we put each other in checkmate. Don’t get me wrong, there has been some damage done. Here and there a pawn or bishop has been taken. And your last argument may seem like a pretty good ending argument. But, there is still more ground to cover. We can just end it here, and agree to disagree, or keep going. So, if you would like to go further, here is my next move:

The next logical place to go in this argument is whether or not truth exists, and whether or not we can know it. To say that it does not exist presents a logical fallacy. For the statement itself is presented as a truth. Either the statement, “There is no truth.”, is truth itself making the statement silly, or it is false making truth itself a reality. And what are we trying to do here if not live the truth we see and hope it matches with reality. Now, if we are agreed that truth exists, we must also be agreed on its nature. That nature is exclusivity. A rock cannot be a duck. A tree cannot sing the blues. A black car is black and not gray. We call these things truth, for they remain the same to all who perceive them.

Now, there can’t be a God and not a God at the same time. One statement is true and one statement is false. But, can we know the truth? If we can find truth in our day, we must look for clues that point to that truth. As I said before, it is not the job of science to either point to the existence of God, or the existence of evolution. It is our bias that we are stating if we say that it does. We attain our bias through choice. So, before we even see the evidence, our perception is already guided in a direction of our own choosing. It would then follow that what we perceive and how we do it is very important.

Some people look at the world and see order. Others see chance. Although it is your right to hold either perception, one of them is wrong and one is right. I can do nothing about someone else’s perception, but I can make mine as reasonable as possible. I think you already know my position. I see order, and therefore perceive that this order points to a Creator. I’m sure you can pick up the argument from here.

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