Dear Philosophical Atheist,

Is truth learned from the top down, or from the bottom up?

The more I hear your arguments, the more I realize that your conclusions are based upon philosophy. You will say that it is based upon facts, but the facts can be looked at in many different ways. There are legitimate arguments on various sides of the issue that you ignore, and there are legitimate arguments on your side of the issue that others ignore. Evolution and Intelligent Design are philosophies, ways of looking at facts. Even if you decide that you only know what you personally witness, you still have to interpret those facts, and who knows if you get it right? Is a man sitting on a bench talking to himself or is he talking to God? Even if we get the man’s input, that conclusion is still left up to us. Interpretations run wild in this world. Those of us who trust in God don’t give up our reason. Our reason is rather guided on a particular course. Do you really think that you have no need for a God who can instruct us in true reality, when you aren’t even sure of your own interpretations?

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Dear Questioning Atheist,

If you cringe at authority concerning other things in life the way you do at religion you would have to be content to know nothing all of your life. Most of the things we know in this world come from authority. All this really means is that you believe certain things because you get the information from a trustworthy source. People believe in the concept of the solar system, the existence of the atom, and evolution because a scientist or teacher explained it to them. In fact, every historical statement in this world is believed because of authority. No one alive today was present during the Revolutionary War. We believe it happened because we are told it happened.

The point here is that information that is passed to people throughout history is done so on the sole basis of authority. It is a legitimate way of receiving information, otherwise we must be content to only know the things we experience or witness direct from an original source. We would have a closed-minded life indeed if we did the latter.

So, what’s the problem with God then? Why do some people not believe in him? The strange thing is, people are less inclined to believe in God, yet they have no problem believing in the existence of the atom, though most of them have never seen one. It still takes an authority to explain the atom. Nevertheless, the ones who have seen the atom first hand must accept another’s authority in scientific fields they themselves are not authorities in. So, it would seem, there is an endless need for authority. Let’s not forget, however, that these authorities are just as fallible as you and I.

We accept one authority and reject another, but why? We heap to ourselves teachers that tell us what we want to hear. We are always learning, but much of the truth we believe we will never witness to be true ourselves. Sadly, truth takes a backseat to our agenda. Truth then, only stays truth if it happens to fit our views of life.

Does God exist or not? Well, that depends on who you are listening to, and who you trust. It is still up to each man to make his own decision, regardless of what fallible authorities say. Only a first hand experience with God can convince you otherwise, and that takes a little faith. I wouldn’t cringe at the word “faith” either. You already have faith in the authority of your teachers. You can’t say you don’t have any. It’s just a matter of where you place it.

***Update*** See Side Notes April 27, 2010

The Downfall of Understanding


“If God would do something supernatural that I could see and that cannot be explained by nature, then I would believe in him.”

Proof is a fickle thing. What is counted as proof today can be dismissed once it is understood. The human heart is so defiant that every generation will find new ways to challenge the existence of God. Whatever proof is offered at any time in history, we will always demand something else. Remember, at one point in time, the world could not be explained. It’s existence was proof that God existed. Once we understand a thing, we lose the wonder we held for it.

I am sure that if God were to come down and send us a sign of his existence that the world would once again explain it away once they understood it.

The End of the World

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Once there was a planet named earth, and everyone who lived there thought that they were very important. So important, it seems, that they spent a lot of time thinking about themselves and saying thing like: “That’s my toy”, “I want a shrubbery”, “Give me back my stick”, and such nonsense. Most folks thought they were the center of the universe until someone who spent a lot of time not thinking of himself looked through his telescope and discovered that they were not the center of the universe. This made people very gloomy, and they mostly decided not to hang around with that person anymore. Then someone suggested that maybe, just maybe, there was a reason for their existence. Many people liked this idea but no one could ever figure out what that reason was. This led to mass confusion until someone suggested that there really was no reason to begin with and everyone breathed a huge sigh of relief. While they were relaxing, someone who claimed to be God said that he was the reason for their existence, but this made people very uptight. After everyone calmed down, they began to think that maybe the whole “existing for a reason” thing wasn’t so bad after all. Reasons began popping up all over the earth, things like: Winning the biggest bear at the ring-toss game at the local amusement park; finding out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop, discovering why the chicken crossed the road, and various other intellectual pursuits. Still, others hated reasons, and preferred to hang around with monkeys and imagine that they were a lot alike. However, people believed in their own reasons and liked to club other people in the head with big sticks who didn’t agree with their reasons. This went on for many years. After a while, the earth decided it did not like people clubbing each other over the head and maniacally burst into a ball of flame. Silence filled the empty space where the earth once stood. The universe was quite happy that all the fighting had stopped and peacefully continued to expand while the stars continued to shine. However, after a million years passed, the universe found no reason to continue, became very depressed, and requested of God that he end the whole mess. So God turned on his celestial garbage disposal and the universe was no more. And so it was that nothing moved, or shined, or lived, or carried big sticks ever again.

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