I’ve recently encountered again the ‘argument’ (it’s actually no more than an assertion) that without God logic and reason would not exist.
Here’s how ‘Liam’ puts it in a comment on Escaping Christian Fundamentalism:
If anything, the illogical nature of a godless universe is a massive pointer to a God, without Whom there is no reason or truth or logic…
To a degree this is right; if God made the universe and everything in it, including reason and truth and logic then, yes, they would owe their existence to him.
But it all hinges on that word ‘if’.
Equally, if God doesn’t exist, it follows he could not have created the universe and everything in it – including logic, rationality and truth.
One cannot take these things and say they are evidence that God exists and also that they only exist because God made them. Not unless you’re happy with a tautology – a feedback loop where each assumption is its own conclusion. Demonstrate, on the other hand, that God exists independently from the human imagination and then maybe you might be able to make the case that he created logic and reason. As it is, pointing to human attributes like logic and reason doesn’t ‘prove’ that God exists; it demonstrates only that these attributes are characteristics of the human mind. Logic, truth, reason (and mathematics), like God himself, have no independent existence outside of human cognition. They are ways of explaining life and the universe; they are not life and the universe themselves.
If, as seems probable, God doesn’t exist, then evidently, logic, truth and reason did not originate with him. Indeed, they took billions of years of slow evolution to develop. We know of no other way for intelligence to arise; and only intelligence produces logic, reason and truths. No God required
It has taken me a long time to reach the point where things makes sense to me with “No God required” but that’s okay. Better late than never, right? A lot of the things I know about life here on earth have always been able to be explained without the God agent, but I couldn’t accept that God was not involved. It wasn’t so much that science finally convinced me that its reasoning was sound, but rather that my belief in God wasn’t. The argument that “nothing makes sense without God” is an argument from fear and desperation. People want there to be a God so they make God real in their minds. The evidence all around indicates otherwise, but old habits die hard.
I struggled to hold onto God for as long as possible. I went from Christian to possible Jew to deist to agnostic to where I am now. And where I am now is completely unconvinced by any argument put forward about the existence of a god. Just because something makes no sense to us at times such as “the illogical nature of a godless universe”, that doesn’t mean we just get to insert God there and he suddenly be comes real. That’s absurd. There still needs to be some evidence of a God and not just the argument that “well, without God I just can’t personally understand the universe.” That’s quite the fallacy.
Another great post Neil. I love the caption in the picture you used. Yes, it is neat. 🙂
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Yes, better late than never, Ben! It’s incredibly liberating to realise that there’s nothing we know about that has a supernatural explanation. We can extrapolate from this that those phenomena we can’t yet understand (how life started, for example) will also turn out to have ‘no God required’ explanation.
Like you, I know that so much I formally believed, about God, Jesus and Paul’s ridiculous ‘salvation’ plan, was nothing more than desperation. I was desperate to survive death (preposterous!) and not go to Hell. When I started to doubt the indoctrination that both created these fears and offered the impossible in return, I allowed my mind to do what it had evolved to do: think. I realised then that much of what I’d previously held to be true was mere wishful thinking. We owe it to ourselves to be scrupulously honest with ourselves; I’m glad we both did. Onward and upward!
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I am glad we both were finally honest with ourselves as well. I didn’t feel that way at first but the more time spent away from religion, the more I see how much better off I am. Onwards and upwards indeed.