Filling in the Gaps
by Luke Nix
Many skeptics of theism accuse theists of “god-of-the-gaps” argumentation when it comes to providing evidence for God’s existence. Many theists claim that naturalists are guilty of using a “naturalism-of-the-gaps” argumentation to explain away evidence for God’s existence. Others prefer to remain agnostic and simply, “I don’t know, one way or the other.” Yet, still others will say, “No one can know.”
I’ve noticed a pattern here (I’m sure I’m not the first, though). We all know that we are not omniscient- none of us knows everything. Which means that everyone has gaps in their knowledge, and we fill those gaps with something (there are no exceptions, as I am about to show). As mentioned in my previous posts “What is Faith?” and “Do You Rely on Authorities?” we tend to look to past experiences to determine what to put our trust in to fill those gaps.
Gap Fillers: God
Theists find that God is a trustworthy source, so they fill those gaps with God. This can be both good and bad. The big accusation that comes mainly from the scientific community is that when God is placed in a gap in knowledge, then the person is intellectually satisfied and refuses to investigate further. I can’t deny that in many cases, this is true. Some people permanently fill the gaps with God- they do not allow for the gap to be filled by something else, when it is perfectly acceptable (these opportunities arise as research into the natural realm progresses). This is academically
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dishonest. However, the other side cannot deny that even though God is in a gap, investigation continues and may even spur more investigation (the thing that comes to mind is Junk DNA- see Chapter 13 of Dr. Hugh Ross’ book “More Than a Theory” for this). God is a possible explanation of the gaps of knowledge, so He is perfectly acceptable in a theistic worldview. The only time this becomes unacceptable is when theists refuse further investigation, and this is really not all that common.
On the non-theistic side of the coin, several gap-fillers exist also: Naturalism, Epistemological Uncertainty, and Epistemological Impossibility (all- “…-of-the-gaps”, if you will)…
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