I see over nine-thousand comments at the HuffPo on the piece where Richard Dawkins has a sliver of doubt on the non-existence of God. (Sure glad we only get a sliver of HuffPo’s traffic here.)
Naturally, Dr Dawkins suggested that “religionists” should also share his rational, six-point-nine approach to this. In the world of science, there is little of ironclad certainty. There can always be one misinterpretation, one slipped decimal point, one vaguely defined aspect –any of which can wake a researcher in the middle of the night and throw the whole works into a mess of doubt.
It’s my contention that many religious believers follow this same pattern. On the basis of reason, they have convinced themselves God exists and that their way of living the faith is the Way To Go.
If a Christian announced she or he had finally found rational proof of God, I wouldn’t be interested. I would hope others wouldn’t be either. Do you suppose why?
The full debate video is up at the link above. I confess little to no interest in watching it. A debate is never likely to solve an issue of faith. More illustrative for any seeker is walking with (companion) a person of faith. Walk with a person who lacks faith, and it will largely look the same as any other human pedestrian: wake up, shower, eat, go to work, interact with other people, go home, play with the dog or the child, go to bed.
For a person of faith, something beyond measurement is at work. It might be just a glimmer. It might shine a little more brightly. Though if you’re looking for electromagnetic radiation, you’re not likely to detect a darn thing.
One of the best scenes in the movie Contact involves a challenge from the scientist, as played by Jodie Foster, to a person of faith, played by Matthew McConaughey. Prove the existence of God, she suggests. The dialogue turns back on the scientist (and you have to see the scene to get the full interpretation, well done by Ms Foster):
- Palmer Joss: Did you love your father?
- Ellie Arroway: What?
- Palmer Joss: Your dad. Did you love him?
- Ellie Arroway: Yes, very much.
- Palmer Joss: Prove it.
Proof and reason are not needed. Human beings communicate with one another and with God on levels different from the realm of reason of Western Society. For believers, we’re better off living as though everything depends on faith, and not that everything depends on what we know. But I think we should be cautious about allowing too much reason into our practice of the faith.