Monday, November 8, 2010

The Stalemate

It is an incontrovertible fact that it is impossible to conclusively prove or disprove the existence of God. This means that New Atheists are just as dogmatic, illogical and faithful as the average church deacon. Should we all throw our hands up and become agnostics? I argue that the best thing to do is make the leap of faith given the plausibility of the Christian faith and the potential gains of making the leap.

Belief in God is plausible when you consider that something had to spark the big bang that formed the universe; that thing is likely God. The universal constants such as the speed of light, the magnetic constant, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force are fine tuned in such a way as to support life. If these constants had been slightly different then life as we know it couldn’t have formed. Another argument is that humanity’s  innate sense of what is right shows that we got this from a perfectly good God. Finally, the survival of the early church following the crucifixion of Jesus indicates that He rose from the dead. If the apostles knew that Jesus was a fraud and not the son of God as he claimed to be then why would they have gone on to be martyred for proclaiming that Jesus was the Messiah? If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead then the early church would have imploded under the intense pressure from Jerusalem and Rome.

So, we can see that both atheists and theists have some decent arguments, but are in a stalemate. The reason why someone should make the leap of faith is that it is more beneficial to be a believer. If there is no God and we are here randomly then life is completely meaningless. We are born to live relatively short lives in a deeply flawed world that is doomed to destruction. All our work and all our memories will be destroyed—in time it will be like we never existed. In a world with no God theists will perish with false hopes; however they will have lead fulfilled lives that seemed to have meaning for them. However, they would have given over some of their autonomy for no reason. Atheists/agnostics will perish being right and they would have lived lives with full autonomy. However, all three sides come to the same end dead and forgotten, so we see that in a world with no God it doesn’t matter what you believe because as Shakespeare wrote, “Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing (Macbeth Act V, scene V).” 

In a world with a God theists would be right and have the opportunity to live for all eternity with God in perfect bliss. The theist would have lived a meaningful life with a community of like believers. However, they would have given up some autonomy by following the tenets of their faith, but these are necessary to have a relationship with God and are not onerous. Atheists and agnostics would be wrong and according to the Bible be at risk of facing eternal punishment. By not making the leap of faith non-believers would live lives with limited meaning, but have full intellectual and moral autonomy. However, this is outweighed when you consider that they miss out on an eternity of bliss with God and face an eternity of torment. So, if God exists it is infinitely good to make the leap of faith and infinitely bad not to.

I know from experience that making the leap of faith is not easy and that not everyone is able to do it, but my cost benefit analysis shows that there is little to lose and much to gain if you are able to make the leap. 


  1. Well put. I especially liked your first paragraph. One question: shouldn't the core reason for making the leap of faith be that God inclines our hearts toward that leap (something we unfortunately can't control)? Even though Pascal's wager is logical, it seems unlikely to me that without a heart change we would experience any of the true spiritual growth that a belief in God requires.

  2. 'It is an incontrovertible fact that it is impossible to conclusively prove or disprove the existence of God.'

    So it follows logically that people are without excuse if they don't believe in the Christian god or believe in Allah instead.

    1. It is also an incontrovertible fact that it is impossible to conclusively prove or disprove the existence of an external world outside of my mind. Does it also follow that because I lack certainty that my bills aren’t a figment of my imagination that I don’t have to pay them? I don’t think that my claim that my bills may not actually exist would be accepted my bill collectors. In the same way, your claim that you don’t have absolute certainty about God or the divinity of Jesus will also not be accepted by God.