Monday, December 6, 2010

Survival of the Smuggest

Click pic for source
There's a lot of chatter going on right now about Truth, especially where Christmas and God are concerned.

As you no doubt have heard, there is this atheistic campaign going on. A billboard was posted near the Lincoln Tunnel in New York that read: "You know it's a myth. This season, celebrate reason." In close proximity, Catholics have countered with: "You know it's real. This season, celebrate Jesus."

(By the way, I think there has never been a more clear indication of our times than the fact that this philosophical argument is taking place on billboards for people to glance up at as they drive by.)

I understand atheism. I understand agnosticism. And I understand faith in the existence of God. What makes me different than most other people is that I think there are smart people in each of these categories. In fact, I know that I could list the names of numerous people in each category who are ten-times smarter than you and me put together.

What I want to point out is this: Even "perfect" reason, logic and fact don't necessarily lead to Truth. Conversely, an unreasoned feeling about something doesn't always make the one who feels it incorrect.

There's sound reasoning to support God's existence. There is also sound reasoning to support the idea that God does not exist. But there is no reasoning to prove, beyond the shadow of doubt, that God either does or does not exist. That leaves us with either, (1) faith that a logic system which operates in a world where all possibilities of reality are not known proves there is no God or (2) with faith in a God whose existence cannot be proven with the incomplete system of logic we have or (3) with the perfectly understandable throwing up of the hands that is agnosticism.

Anyone hear about the new life form that was discovered lately?
Until now, the idea has been that life on Earth must be composed of at least the six elements carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur and phosphorus - no example had ever been found that violates this golden rule of biochemistry. (HAT TIP: Frank Wilson)
We don't know our butts from wormholes, people.

Prove to me that love exists.

Black holes?

Tell me why a major chord and a minor chord sound happy and ominous, respectively.

Prove to me that your spouse is really sitting there next to you. I mean, really prove it in way the completely eliminates the possibilty that you are dreaming him or her up during a ten-minute nap.

To say we have proven something or to claim sureness in something based on exercises in reasoning is to say we know all of the parameters of universal possibility. That's one hell of a claim to make.

With this in mind, I think everyone -- atheists and believers alike -- needs to stop treating those with opposite views as if they are idiots. None of us can indisputably know we are right. In the end, we all have faith: in our beliefs. So we are not that different. No one has the right to knowing smiles and smugness and no one deserves to be on the receiving end of them.

Maybe Truth isn't an idea, after all. Maybe it is a feeling. Maybe, by definition, it has to be.

1 comment:

  1. That's what I was trying to say, albeit much less eloquently. haha