Awe, Point Missed, Point Made

By Donnie Griffin

Awe Missed

There always seems to be some misunderstanding between atheists and theists. In a recent article For the Beauty of the Earth, I wrote of the sense of awe and how it was evidence for the existence of God. It was a presentation of the argument from aesthetics for God’s existence.

Point made

It’s premises were as follows:

Premise # 1) Awe is a sense and longing for something (aesthetic, wonder, and eternality) which is greater than oneself and exists outside of oneself;

Premise # 2) all people experience awe in some fashion;

Premise # 3) the sense and longing for awe is only present because the transcendent satisfaction of awe exists;

Conclusion: a transcendent satisfaction (God) for beauty, wonder, and purpose exists.

Awe Misunderstood

In an article written by Tania Lombrozo cited by Tri Cities Atheists Society, named Awe, With and Without the Gods, the author makes the mistake that so many atheists make in regards to our arguments of transcendence. To sum it up, the main thrust of what she says is that atheists can experience awe the same as theists. In other words, a belief in God does not exclude someone from experiencing awe.

Obviously, if you notice premise # 2, you will see the mistake that Lombrozo and others make. Apologists are not saying that only theists can experience awe. In fact, the argument is that all people, regardless of their belief about God’s existence, experience awe! That’s the point. Because all people experience awe, awe must be transcendent; therefore the source of awe is transcendent…

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