Tuesday, January 13, 2015

God In The Strangest Places, Part 2: The Skeptical Response

It's fascinating. Some of us look around us at the Cosmos we are part of and think somewhat as the Psalmist did: "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork." We look and see all about us suggestions that there indeed is an author behind this great work.

Others look about us and think the way scientist Carl Sagan put it: "These are some of the things that hydrogen atoms do given fifteen billion years of cosmic evolution." Pretty fantastic, sure, and damned unlikely, nevertheless, "The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be."

I had a little fun with my last post. Was finding God in an eggplant a coincidence? Sure it was. Was it a meaningful coincidence? I suppose the answer depends on one's presumptions.

The Sarcasmist had this to say about the incident:

It is very reassuring that when we need him the most, God shows humanity support and encouragement by showing up in a slice of eggplant.

In this same vein Mano Singham at his Freethought Blog made a similar observation:

It never seems to strike these people to ask why their god chooses to reveal himself in such trivial and useless ways instead of, say, growing out the limb of an amputee or revealing cures for cancer.

But that approach misses the whole point of the God believer. Nothing in this amazing universe is trivial. If it is extremely unlikely that what see and experience came about by mere coincidence, this should be testified to by billions of bits of information, big and small.

And let's be honest here. If a well-documented case of an amputee re-growing a limb should be produced, wouldn't nonbelievers still insist it was natural and perhaps a not yet understood principle in nature? (After all, this phenomenon is not unknown in the animal kingdom.)

If a cure for cancer were discovered, would God be given the glory? Suppose that a famous medical researcher experienced a dream which revealed a cancer cure - would the skeptics accept that as proof of God's existence?

Of course not. Because any aspect of nature can be explained as a part of nature.

On the other hand, for the believer in God, there is a divine reason behind nature, a force that permeates every aspect of it, and that is the ultimate explanation.

Again, it comes down to one's presumption. Again I think what Blaise Pascal wrote is relevant:

In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don't.