5 Threats Of Demanding Certainty To Change Your Beliefs
by Luke Nix
With the continual exposure to scientific, historical, and philosophical evidence for God’s existence, I am continually reminded of just how strong the case for God is, in general, and the truth of Christianity specifically. Often times I wonder how someone can have enough faith to be an atheist. It is often claimed by skeptics of God’s existence, and specifically the intelligent design argument, that it is best to not conclude the necessity of a designer until all naturalistic possibilities have been exhausted. This seems to provide a safe, reasonable haven for the skeptic faced with the evidence. But is it really reasonable and thus, safe? What are the implications of this claim? I want to take a few minutes to examine the reasonableness of this escape route.
There exists three possible explanations for natural phenomena: chance, necessity, and design. If chance and necessity are eliminated, then there is no other option except design. The skeptic’s claim reacts to the design proponents’ attempts to rule out chance. As long as humanity does not reach omniscience and research continues, the appeal to what we do not yet know prevents us from being certain that the decision to remove chance from the table of options is correct. While this does seem to make sense, five threatening implications do come to mind that should make us question its reasonableness.
The Threat to Everyday Decisions
First, certainty of the accuracy of our decisions is rarely obtained prior to the decision and less often demanded before making a decision. Most decisions that we will make affect the future in some way. Because we do not know all the current events that will intersect with our decision, we cannot be certain that our decision is the right one. However, it is rare that the lack of certainty will prevent us from making a decision. Most of the time we will base our decision on evidence of what may be the best option. We do not allow the lack of certainty of the correct option to prevent us from disregarding the others and acting upon the most reasonable of the options.
The Threat to Sincerity of Requests for Evidence
Second, skeptics often request “extraordinary” evidence for the existence of a designer. An example that comes to mind is “if it were written in the stars ‘Christianity is true,’ then I’d believe.” While this particular request to be demonstrated by playing “connect the dots” on a high resolution image of the galaxy, one could easily escape their commitment if more difficult requests were met by simply saying, “we cannot rule out chance because not all natural explanations have been investigated.” Thus the demand for certainty to remove chance makes the request for extraordinary evidence more of an insincere demand. All evidence presented for God’s existence, no matter how strong, could be disregarded…
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