Please only begin reading this blog if you intend to read the whole thing. No piece is sufficient apart from the whole.
Transcendent vs Immanent Realities
I want to be clear up front that science is not the means to “discovering” God. Science is an immanent discipline. It studies this dimension of our existence. I have always been curious then as to why we’ve tried to use it to justify our belief or lack of belief in a transcendent being. While we hold that science only tests the physical reality, we do not hold that God is bound by the dimensions of this physical reality. By nature, he is beyond time and space. This is what it means to be God. What potter is confined to the size and shape of his clay pot? God is beyond or outside of our dimensions. This is what I mean by transcendent. This is why I say that science will never arrive at God. It is an immanent discipline, testing only what is confined by time and space, and therefore cannot discover transcendent truths.
Transcendent Realities – Laws of Logic – Social Constructs or Reflection of Greater Reality?
The previous paragraph is of no encouragement to you if you do not believe in transcendent realities. I hope to show you that transcendent realities do exist.
I’ve heard just about every atheist that I have ever spoken to say that belief in God is irrational. This statement is a call to reason on my part. My question is, what reason? Or better, whose reason? In other words, by whose standard of rationality is belief in God irrational? Your reasoning? My reasoning? Or is reasoning beyond you and me and therefore the reflection of a greater Mind? By bringing in rationality, which we all should do, a person has done one of two things. They have either:
1) Appealed to a universal, transcendent set of laws by which they confess that the universe is bound to, thus, anything to go against these laws would be considered irrational.
2) If they hold that transcendent laws don’t exist, they rely upon the belief that rationality is a social construct (made up by humans), and therefore, must conclude that rationality will be different from person to person.
If they hold to option 2, then they must recognize that rationality is virtually meaningless and it will be as varied as people are different. Conversations, thinking, and science all become meaningless. We lose all hope of arriving at truth and everyone loses the right to say whose beliefs are rational or irrational simply because rationality has been reduced to the majority’s opinion. But majority rules is no honest way of discovering truth. And we know that when atheists do claim “irrational!” towards belief in God they do not mean that it merely goes against their opinion. They mean it is truly irrational! They mean that it truly goes against rational order. They rightly appeal to that transcendent rationality by which they claim, “irrational!” This appeal, or assumption, is a reflection of a higher standard or transcendent reality beyond ourselves. Without this, all claims of irrationality are meaningless.
I don’t expect an atheist to simply agree with what I’ve just said. But I do want them to consider what the implications of rationality are for science.
Irrationality of a Purely Scientific Worldview – Science Presupposing Itself is Unscientific
Many atheists presuppose (take as true beforehand) that science works. Most people believe that science works. Science. Works. Here’s what I want you to consider: How can you prove, scientifically, that that statement is true? Can you scientifically prove the validity of your belief in science? I’m not bashing science here. Don’t miss the point. I agree that science works, but I want you to see what an atheist must do in order to live by science. An atheist must employ an unscientific means to arrive at the belief that science works. In order to live by science you must first hold or presuppose that its results are reliable. My question is, how do you get there? You cannot get there scientifically and that’s not a bad thing. For science to work, we must arrive at the conclusion that it does in fact work by employing a method other than science.
Here’s my point: to those who hold that science is the only means to justifying what you believe about reality, you’re being irrational. You’re presupposing that science alone works without requiring that it be proven scientifically. That is irrational. Even if you could prove that it worked by using science, it would be circular and thus it begs the question. If you employ another means, such as logic, to justify your belief that science alone works, you’ve just disproven your worldview that science alone is the only means to justifying what we believe about reality. If you hold that science is the only means to justifying belief then you are holding to a belief unscientifically tested. This is dishonest and irrational.
This shows us something else also. This demonstrates that the atheist’s belief that God does not exist is not rooted in the lack of scientific evidence, but it is rooted in his pre-scientific, pre-commitment to pick and choose what he believes. This is why they can never “see” evidence for God. The issue is not that there is no evidence. The issue is that they are pre-commited to unbelief. This is why they overlook their willingness to unscientifically trust the discipline of science alone. They have picked and chosen a worldview that allows no justification for God. Unbelief was a pre-commitment all along and science has simply been the avenue by which to ignore God. To command the world only use science to validate beliefs is to dishonestly require of it what you do not require of yourself.
1) Transcendent realities cannot be arrived at using immanent disciplines
2) Rationality is employed by humans as a transcendent reality
3) No one can honestly use science alone as a means to discovering our existence
I was agnostic atheist for twenty years. I am not speaking from a religious upbringing. I am speaking from the awareness that I was ultimately dishonest with myself about God’s existence. My eyes have now been opened. I invite you to e-mail me about your struggles and questions about the existence of God.
God’s quarrel isn’t against science, it’s against the irrationality of a hardened heart that refuses to see and acknowledge who he truly is.