The Santa Delusion
by Andy Bannister
A charge that some people make is that religion in general and Christianity in particular are irrational. It’s ridiculous to believe in God, they say; there’s no evidence that God even exists! Richard Dawkins, in his best selling book The God Delusion, makes this very claim, saying that faith in God is just like belief in Santa Claus!
But of course, there’s a major problem with comparing faith in God to belief in Santa Claus. I don’t know anybody who came to believe in Santa Claus in adulthood. Yet I know many Christians—often former atheists—who discovered God as adults. This alone should tell you that God and Santa are utterly different. (If they weren’t, one wonders why Richard Dawkins didn’t write "The Santa Delusion.") Furthermore, thousands upon thousands of great thinkers— now, and throughout history, have believed in God. That alone suggests that belief in God is hardly "irrational."
But what about the other claim: "You can’t prove God exists!" What might a believing person say to skeptics? Well, I might start by gently pointing out that there are many good arguments that, whilst not proving God exists, certainly suggest God’s existence is extremely likely. There are philosophical arguments, such as the cosmological argument: (i) everything that begins to exist had a cause; (ii) the universe began to exist; (iii) therefore the universe had a cause. Most philosophers would say that’s a powerful argument…
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