“No one can prove God exists.”
“It is impossible to prove God exists.”
How often do people (or yourself) make one of these comments? During discussions or debates about God the two comments above are used as a trump for any further discussion. As Christians many times this is where the conversation stops. It seems almost worthless to keeping going, and the person saying such comments most likely has already closed their mind to the idea of the existence of God. However, I believe the conversation could be directed in a more useful and thoughtful direction.
I am currently reading through a book called Thinking About God: First Steps in Philosophy by Gregory Ganssle, which was recommended by Greg Koukl on Stand to Reason. I would like to share Greg Ganssle’s approach on the above statements because I see benefit in his approach.
When someone says, “No one can prove God exists” they often mean “You cannot provide reasons for thinking God exists that are so good that they will convince all thinking people” (Ganssle p. 25). In this case, Ganssle and I would agree that no one can give reasons that could convince “all thinking people.” One cannot provide an argument that convinces everyone of God’s existence without some possibility of reasonable doubt. Actually, one cannot provide a convincing argument for many philosophical ideas that would be accepted by everyone. For example, I cannot prove that the universe did not pop into existence fifteen minutes ago and that all of our memories are just illusions, that the mountains we see even exist, or that those around us have minds and are not just clever robots. It is not that there are not good arguments to support these ideas, but there are parts that are less than certain. We could say that these arguments could be rationally doubted. So far it seems that there are no philosophical ideas that can be proven beyond reasonable doubt. The fact the the arguments for God produce any reasonable doubt does not reduce the case for God’s existence (pgs. 25-26).
It is reliable to believe that the universe did not just pop into existence minutes ago, the mountains are real and our thoughts are not illusions, or other minds exist. It is reasonable to believe ideas that are not able to be “proven with unquestionable certainty” (pg. 27). In closing, even if you do not believe in God from the reasonable ideas I have given on this blog, you may at least start to see that those who believe in God are reasonable.
If you are interested in seeing the reasonable answers to the question of God’s existence then check out the articles below or search through my blog.
Gregory E. Ganssle. Thinking About God: First Steps in Philosophy. Kindle Edition.