Short Argument in Favor of Religion
Article ID: 12029
Age Group: Adult
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Author: Ruadhan J McElroy
Posted: December 30th. 2007
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It is scientific fact: One cannot prove a negative. Many believers in Bigfoot, alien encounters, and other examples of "crypto zoology" memorize this fact as gospel. As do many religious persons. To claim that the non-existence of a singular God or a full-blow pantheon, or even several pantheons (which from here forth shall be referred to as "Divinity", to make things simple) is "proved" by a lack of proof is naive science at its best.
The overwhelming "evidence" that many use as "proof" of the non-existence of Divinity -- war, famine, disease, etc. -- are actually proof that any form of Divinity that may exist is not of the all-omniscient and all-benevolent variety.
In short, all this "proves" is that the likelihood of a modern Christian concept of an all-omniscient and all-benevolent singular deity is highly improbably.
What kind of all-benevolent deity would allow children to suffer?
What kind of all-omniscient deity would allow people to curse their name?
These are the real questions.
The simple answer is that there is no such deity that is all-benevolent -- the very definition of all-benevolent is proof alone. But, to use that as a basis of "proof" of the non-existence of divinity in general is naive, at best. Assuming there is such a thing as Divinity, such a creature is hardly all-benevolent, to say the least.
All-omniscient is far tougher to challenge. In fact, it's impossible to argue.
Since there is no tangible evidence of the existence of Divinity outside of what believers in Divinity consider to be "omens" or "gifts" from Divinity, it's obviously difficult to just go ask Divinity if They see everything -- and even so, assuming that Divinity has reason to be 100% honest with mere mortals is egotistical.
The likelihood of Divine beings such as the Moirae is highly probable. After all, how many of us can say that some bad stuff in our lives has happened through no fault of one's own, even when we "did everything right"?
How many intelligent people are born to moron parents and vice versa?
Why do so many tremendously talented people end up snubbed by "big media" simply because they "don't know the right people"?
How many opportunities are pulled out from under us when it seemed so hopeful?
Sometimes, the things that happen to us are simply not something we or anybody around us could have stopped, even if given the proper resources. To say otherwise is another argument in need of the ability to prove a negative.
Presumed high unlikelihood of the non-existence of Divinity is to ignore the fact that our own improbability is equally high. While evidence of evolution is compelling, the fact that everything evolved in the precise way that it did, producing sentient beings who can create art, music, literature and a whole lot of other delightfully useless things that enhances our own existence to ourselves and ourselves alone being all a product of pure dumb luck of the cosmos just doesn't really make any more sense to a "true believer" of a typical religion than "intelligent design" to a "true believer" of Atheism.
Thus it can be concluded that Atheism, in and of itself, is in fact religion. Most believers of a typical religion are sane enough to see their religions' "creation" stories as a parable for evolution -- the fact that many creation stories point out that the planet Earth came first, then ocean dwellers, then crawlies, followed by birds and beasts and finally humans (the most famous of this being early on in Genesis of the Abrahamic faiths) suggests that belief in Divinity and science are far from mutually exclusive -- the difference between a typical believer in a typical religion and a typical religious fundamentalist is that a fundamentalist takes those parables as literal fact, while a typical believer sees the parables for what they are, as an explanation for the then-unknown.
Likewise, there are Atheist Fundamentalists. So unwavering is their belief in the non-existence of Divinity and the "sense" in such a high improbability as the evolutionary production of humanity that they are driven to believe that anybody who believes otherwise is "mentally unstable" -- Atheism's parallel to a religious infidel, damned person, or plain ol' non-believer.
Atheist fundamentalists believe so strongly in the "dumb luck" that produced humanity despite the fact that there is no more proof in the idea that everything we know on Earth evolved the way that it did by nothing more than chance than there is that there was some form of Divinity guiding it along the way.
In the words of Carl Sagan, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." No one can prove a negative -- that Divinity does not exist. Furthermore, there is no evidence that mere chance brought this all about, either.
And in the words of Socrates, "I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance."
Typically religious or atheistically so, an honest person will admit that there is no tangible evidence, extraordinary or otherwise, to support either claim on the origins of evolution and the underlying explanation of humanity. There is no tangible evidence for "intelligent design" nor is there tangible evidence for the pure chance believed in by Atheists.
Regardless, it is in my opinion that an intelligent person would look at this simple fact and see that it is true. But far more probable is it that an optimist sees greater proof of intelligence when they walk outside and see everything from flourishing forests, brightly colored birds, breathtaking man-made structures, and even the beauty of the night sky as seen from Earth.
A pessimist cannot see intelligence in that, for they see everything from "a beautiful planet ruined by the cancer that is humanity" to absolutely no value in a beautiful tree or tropical fish beyond their own petty amusement when they take the time to look at the life outside their own apartment.
Copyright: (c) Ruadhan J McElroy
Ruadhan J McElroy
Location: Lansing, Michigan
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