In the series so far, we’ve talked about a Christian approach to God and the world. In the most recent installment, we discussed an approach which rejects God and views the world alternatively: atheism. From there I wanted to discuss the ways in which Christians could provide evidential value for the belief that “God exists.”
Before getting too excited, I don’t think that a presentation of the support for belief in God should necessarily start with arguments. There is a temptation to view the arguments for God’s existence as weapons in an arsenal; holstered and ready for fire whenever stressed or tampered. In other words, the mistake of merely taking these arguments to memory and attaching the hope that these arguments have coercive talent. Hence, I think we need to start first with a view of the arguments rather than diving in right away.
The value in doing this is essentially for context. Why is context important and what possible context could there be for arguments for God’s existence? While it is true that there is a seemingly eternal, ongoing debate among atheists and theists as to whether or not God exists (although, as we saw from CSW #3, this isn’t entirely historically accurate), there is a much more quieter debate taking place among Christians (or “theists” generally) as to how we can have a knowledge of God at all.
What do I mean by this? Consider some historical examples. Let’s suppose we took two major philosophical/theological figures and asked them the same question: “What arguments could you offer to rationally demonstrate that God exists?” On the one hand, we have the writings of Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) and the writings of Thomas Aquinas (1224/5-1274/5) on the other.