Saturday, March 15, 2008

If God Exists, Why Doesn't He Prove It?

Modern Reformation: Issue: "The New Atheism" March/April Vol. 17 No. 2 2008

If God Exists, Why Doesn't He Prove It?
David R. Bickel

The author of The End of Faith asked, "How is it fair for God to have designed a world which gives such ambiguous testimony to his existence? How is it fair to have created a system where belief is the crucial piece, rather than being a good person?" (4) Christians often respond to the new atheists with answers from the Intelligent Design movement or from other developments of Thomas Aquinas's "proofs" of God's existence. By contrast, orthodox Christians of the first century, far from advancing philosophical arguments for the existence of God, maintained that those who deny his existence suppress the knowledge they already have of him from the things he created (Rom. 1). (5) Assuming for the sake of discussion that the church has correctly characterized unbelief as wishful thinking, why does God allow such suppression of knowledge? Why does he not make his existence obvious even to those who would prefer to believe they have no divine judge, especially if believing in him is absolutely necessary for their eternal happiness? It would seem as if he is hiding himself, needlessly requiring that we carefully weigh the evidence for and against his existence. In fact, some have argued that the prevalence of such evils as hypocrisy and religiously motivated violence testify against the existence of any being who is both almighty and loving. (6) Others hold that it is impossible in principle for finite minds to know whether or not an infinite being exists, quite apart from the question of whether corrupted human minds have an inherent bias against any deity not made in their own image. The conflicting voices caution against dogmatically insisting on the existence of a divine creator and especially against claiming to know the only true God.

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