Why I Am a Christian II

Continued from ( Why I Am a Christian I) For me there is one primary compelling reason for being a theist. Stuff exists. There is by all appearances a universe out there, a planet, people, stars, forces, life, made up of some extremely complex interactive relationships of matter and energy, a good deal of which we don’t understand. Though I do not believe that the old argument of “first cause” is necessarily “proof” per se, it is impressive to me nonetheless. From where or what or whom did all this stuff come? How did it come to be? Because it seems that causation is a primary attribute of space time reality (every event seems related causally to a prior event) it does not make sense to me that there has never been an initial first cause, a true beginning imposed from the outside of the space time causal universe. Stuff is there and its bare existence demands our attention. How did it get there? So, to me, though it is not watertight as a formal proof, the explanation that there is a personal infinite God who created all things from nothing strikes me as extremely reasonable, and more reasonable than all the various other explanations as to the origin of the universe.  That fact that our universe is by all appearances ordered, that there is a correlation between its order and the workings of our own brains, i.e., that there are “rules” or “laws” which determine or at least describe much of its workings and which can be discovered and understood by us, that there is an aesthetic correlation between ourselves and our brains and this external world such that we find it to be “beautiful” – all of this argues to me for the existence of a rational and creative God who made both the universe and us as human beings. In other words, given the universe as we understand it, and ourselves as ones who have the capacity for understanding it, the existence of a rational and infinite creator being seems to be credible; it fits the evidence well and explains much; and it correlates with our own rationality and creativity as beings.  

And when I look at human beings all over the world, people from every sort of ethnicity, race, and cultural background, I am amazed to find several common threads. All people everywhere have an innate sense of there being this certain quality or attribute regarding human behavior which we might call “right” and this quality or attribute of behavior that we might call “wrong.” Now, one person’s right may be another’s wrong, yet, everyone everywhere has this sense that there is a right and there is a wrong. Even people who say otherwise are betraying themselves. For they believe that their belief, that nothing can be called right or wrong, is, well, right, and that the beliefs of people who think that there is a right and a wrong are, well, wrong. So, there seems to be within the human species a universal sense of the ultimate moral nature of human life. I have tried hard to understand how it could be that such a universal moral sense could itself have been part of the process of natural selection; that is, that there was to our species a beneficial aspect to our brains being this way and not another way. And yet it seems unreasonable to me that all of the incredibly complex anatomical and biochemical and hormonal aspects to our neurological and endocrinal systems – all the stuff that has to be in place for us to have this complex moral sense – “fell into place” and was selected out in the relatively short time of the development of the human species from the non-human species. And if we argue that this “moral” sense is simply passed down environmentally and culturally, we are still left with the fact that it has either been passed down from the very first human beings, which begs the question of how they stumbled into this sense, or we are left saying that different peoples have all “developed” this sense independently in isolation and then passed it down to their forbears, which begs the same question eventually. It seems to me that this moral sense is “innate” and part of the package, part of the nature of the human species. And it rings true to me, and makes more sense as a rational explanation, that this moral sense reflects a deeper and more foundational moral sense “underneath” it and built both into the fabric of the universe and into the fabric of our natures. And so, as an explanation, the notion that the world was created by a moral being whose nature in some way we reflect makes sense to me, and seems more reasonable than the alternatives. I would say the same about the universal innate human sense that there is such a thing as objective truth. Oh I know that this idea is passé in these “postmodern” times, and there is no doubt that the long term impact of pluralism and secularism and consumerism have trained us in the affluent western world to have a more relativistic feel for the nature of things. But try as we may we cannot escape the box we’re in. Even postmodern thinkers think they’re right about there not being ultimate truth. Even politically correct intellectual do-gooders cannot get around the fact that they think that they are right when they say that all is perception and that everybody must be free to follow his or her own personal truth, none of which can be said to be better than or superior to other truths. I have never met people more passionate about truth than those who are committed to the “truth” that there is no truth about which to be passionate. And so, as I step back, and look at the universal human sense that there is in fact a “truth” to be known and discovered, well, the notion that there is a rational being who created us and all things – and that there is such a thing as truth and such a thing as non truth – well, this just makes sense to me, more sense than the other potential explanations. I am also impressed by the almost universal sense amongst peoples of all tribes and nations, of all races and ethnicities, that “something or someone is out there.” Something about us as human beings seems always to be leading us to think, imagine, hope for, believe in, or fear the existence of a god or gods of some sort. Atheism has never seemed to come naturally to human beings. There is indeed this almost universal “religious” sense pervading our species. Yes, it finds expression in many diverse and contradictory ways, but people everywhere, except of course in
Europe and
California, seem to believe that there is a god out there. I have to ask myself why. What best explains this innate human sense? Is there a religion gene? Can it be argued that at the deepest level of our brain anatomies and chemistries (and of course as a result of time and chance), that in our development as a species those individuals and groups whose brains by chance and mutation have been altered physiologically and anatomically to produce this religious sense have won out – that this characteristic has proven to offer survival advantages such that this mutated branch of our lineage has become more successful, such that those other individuals and groups who did not had these characteristics have disappeared and died out? Well, anything is possible I suppose. But it makes more sense to me to believe that we human beings are created by God to reach for Him, to know Him, such that all human beings have always attempted to do just that, believing in God or gods of all types, yet all believing in some being who is put there and responsible for our creation.  More next time… 

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One Response to Why I Am a Christian II

  1. […] Continued from (Why I a Christian II)  […]

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