Monday, 24 January 2011

I am sceptical about skeptical atheism - Part 2

This is a follow-up to my post on this topic on December 19.
If you did not read that post then please do so before continuing on here. It provides the foundation upon which this post builds.

Salient points from the previous post:

  1. The atheist position is founded upon faith. Atheists "believe" that there is no creator outside of the empirically demonstrable natural order.
  2. Deists, theists (and I) conclude by logic that there must have been some Being, before time and space began, which brought time, space and the natural order of our universe into existence.
  3. Many humans as reasoning animals have come to similar conclusions about the existence of a Creator-God from their own powers of reasoning.
  4. This reasoning ability must have been put into the "DNA" (analogically speaking) of the original singularity or "cell" of creation.
  5. One reason that God-The-Creator did this must surely be so that we could know Him-Her-It as our Creator.


What is God-The-Creator like?

How can we talk about God-The-Creator? The only thought categories available to us are those derived from our experience of the world around us. Even atheists cannot escape this problem. What attributes do you ascibe to this "god" that you say does not exist? I do not believe in leprachauns; I do not believe in werewolves. Most readers of this blog can describe salient attributes of leprachauns and werewolves whether or not they believe they actually exist. (Well, OK, maybe I do believe in leprachauns on St Patrick's Day.)

Any thought categories derived from the created universe must fall short of a description of God-The-Creator who existed "before" space, time and the universe existed - perhaps more correctly - is being outside of any constraints of space, time and the natural universe. However, inadequate as these categories may be, they are the only ones we have at our disposal for human reasoning and communication.

Thus we speak of infinite and infinity, which simply means without end, without bounds, and apply these to God-The-Creator, concluding by reason that He-She-It (HSI) cannot be constrained by any limitation of the created order. These words limp, however, as they can only be used analogically. They imply some kind of continuum that has no beginning or end. But God-The-Creator cannot be placed on a continuum, even one that has no boundaries or end. God-The-Creator does not exist in infinite time, for time is of the created order. HSI cannot be in infinite space, for space is of the created order. Clever people such as Einstein have calculated approximately when time began and where space begins and ends. Outside of that there is simply "nothing".

We speak of God-The-Creator as if HSI were a person. I suppose we do this because "person" is the highest form of thinking existence of which we are aware. If we can reason logically, communicate, love, get distressed at injustice, all the things that "persons" can do, then we reason that God-The-Creator must be able to do at least that much plus much more, and so we refer to Him-Her-It (HHI) as a person. It's the best we can do, but we need to remember that we do so by analogy, and any analogy with the created order must limp. Our emotions change and change happens in time. In that sense God-The-Creator's emotions cannot be like the creature's emotions.

Conclusion

I believe that all the above is logically reasonable - at least no more unreasonable than believing that something can bring itself into existence before it, or anything else, exists. We do not need "sacred scriptures" or miraculous divine revelation or intervention to arrive at these conclusions; they are self evident to logical reasoning.

I conclude that God-The-Creator must have wanted His-Her-Its creatures to be able to know by reasoning that they owe their existence to HHI and to know that HSI is some kind of Infinite Person who, even though existing outside of the created order of the universe, can transcend, know and be known, love and be loved as an I and Thou.

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