Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Testing for God

Jennifer F. has been taking part in a series of interviews on The Cynical Christian. In the second interview, she laments the lack of logical proofs used to evangelize atheists, but also says that she doesn't think that there is much anyone can say to convince an atheist. In this post she speaks more about effective witness, and how it is more important to live a life of charity than to marshal effective arguments.

I would say, rather, that no argument from reason will be convincing if not made with love. But if your heart and life are conformed to Christ, you might suggest one of the Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To, in this case, "God, Prove to me that you exist."

Here is how I think it ought to be set up: "You're a person of reason, right? So among other things, you have to admit that you don't know everything and could be wrong, and you want to know the truth, no matter what it is, right? You've asked me to prove God's existence to you, and you're right, that I can't. But God can.

"Well, let's presume that the God that the Catholic Church proclaims is real. That is, He loves us all without limit or exception, knows everything, can do whatever He wants, and made us to know Him as well as we are able, and love Him as much as we can. Now, if all of those things are true, you can test for His existence.

"Silently, within the vaults of your mind, say to Him, 'God, I've heard the claims that the Catholic Church has made about you, and I don't believe it. It's utterly ridiculous. Prove to me that I am wrong.'

"Now, if He does not do this for an honest seeker of the truth, it means one or more of the following things:
  • He doesn't care.
  • He doesn't know.
  • He can't prove it.
  • He doesn't exist.
  • Or, the seeker doesn't really want Him to prove His existence to you.
"If you have been proclaiming with complete certainty God's non-existence for years, my money would be on the last one. See, to be sincere in such a request, you would have to overcome years of certainty of non-existance and approach the test with the expectation that you could be wrong. And if He loves you without limit, that means He would not compel you to believe without your consent. Further, if He is omniscient and omnipotent, there's no reason to think that He would provide you with a proof to convince everyone, but rather only you. It's not like doing so would be a strain on His resources, and He ought to provide you with a proof that cannot be used to compel belief in others."

If this test would be convincing, it would be from God's work, and not my own.

No comments: