The Argument from Reason to God
by Paul Gould
Naturalism is the view that there are no supernatural beings. The natural world is causally closed: there is nothing outside the box, nothing transcendent, nothing that impinges on the world from beyond. Thus, the basic level of analysis is physics: all reality, at rock bottom is captured by tiny bits of matter (quarks? strings?) that are properly understood by the discipline of physics. On this picture, a deep puzzle—conflict even—arises: how is it that our world is intelligible, if man is just a product of chance and necessity? Whence reason?
As C. S. Lewis put it in his book Miracles:
Thus a strict materialism refutes itself for the reason given long ago by Professor Haldane: “If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true . . . and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.” (Possible Worlds, p. 209) . . . [Naturalism] discredits our processes of reasoning or at least reduces their credit to such a humble level that it can no longer support Naturalism itself.
Lewis is noting a deep conflict between naturalism and the reality of reason. On the other hand, on theism, reason and intelligence are a natural fit: A rational God exists and part of what it means to be created in the image of this rational God is to possess intelligence. Thus, an argument from Reason to God could be formulated as follows…
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