On a earlier blog post, a reader made the following comment in response to my claim that God’s existence is not obvious:
Open your eyes, look around you. Look at your wife, look at a South African sunset, look at a baby being born, look at the stars! It takes MUCH more faith, in my opinion, to believe that there is NO God!
This argument sounds extremely convincing, but after much thinking I’ve realised – and I could be wrong here – a possible problem with this kind of reasoning. It is possible that God is the cause of all phenomena in nature, but the problem is that we have no idea of HOW God makes all these things possible. God is the cause and the link, many claim, but they fail to provide evidence for this link.
Think of the following equation:
C (a sunset, the universe, etc) is a result of A (God), but no clear idea is given of the kind of mechanism that links A and C together. In other words, B (the how) is unknown. I would think that, until B is provided, a theist can’t confirm that God is responsible for elements in nature, let alone claim that these are evidence of his existence.
This also applies to claims of miraculous healing, such as disappearing tumours, for example. Although most miracle claims are anecdotal, there are a few individuals who maintain that they have some sort of evidence from X-rays and medical scans.
You see, many attribute miracle healings to the supernatural, but they provide no idea of how the supernatural could have caused the healing, Again, the link (i.e., the B) is missing. In order for a theist to convince me that God healed them, not only do they have convincingly show that something unexplainable did indeed happen, but more importantly they have to show a clear causal link between the miracle experience and the God of the Bible. Without this link, I can’t be convinced that a healing, or any other phenomenon, was or is a result of the supernatural. In other words, although I won’t dispute the fact that miracle healings can happen, I doubt the claimed cause of these experiences.
Getting back to the blog comment above: we already have perfectly natural explanations for the phenomena the reader listed. Yes, a South African sunset is extremely beautiful, but I know this isn’t a result of a divine creator, but of sunlight reflecting off dust particles; God didn’t create a newly born baby, its parents did; and we know the stars came into being as a result of gravity and nuclear fusion. We have perfectly understandable natural explanations for all the phenomena in the above comment; we already have a fair understanding of how A,B and C all link together.
And what of the few phenomena in nature where we might not have a clear natural explanation either? Well, as an atheist, I’m very content to say “I don’t know”, until further evidence is in.