WEB Point/Counterpoint pt2

Jeff Schooley

Proving God exists, or at least is the best idea

Proving the existence of God is impossible. Why then did I, a fairly reasonable person, decide to take on such a topic? Because I believe I can prove it is best to assume God exists and then move forward. By using the scientific method, which goes as follows — observation, hypothesis, test/experiments, theory — one can neither prove nor disprove God’s existence.

The problem comes in the first step of the scientific method: observation.

To use the scientific method to prove God’s existence would necessitate knowing how to see or “observe” God, as well as assuming that God can be consistently seen in this same manner. Thus we must pre-know how God can be seen in order to see Him.

The waters muddy when we assume God can be seen in people (i.e. priests, prophets and even the person of Jesus the Christ). To include observing God in humans as a means of observing God in general necessitates putting all human experience in the scientific method. What would probably result is that God exists in some experiences and not in others, which neither proves nor disproves God’s existence.

Of course, the results of disproving God are still hinged upon an understanding that leads to observation of God, which, if assumed, negates the results. In this regard, the scientific method cannot stand, for it falls at the feet of Aristotle’s Theory of Non-Contradiction, which states that something cannot disprove another thing, if that other thing is used in the process of disproving. All that can be disproved is the understanding of God.

It might be that God cannot be scientifically detected, but this does not mean God doesn’t exist. It might mean there is a subtle flaw in the scientific method as a means of knowledge and not that God doesn’t exist. We must assume all that can really be disproved is our understanding of God.

If we conclude vis-à-vis scientific method that God doesn’t exist, we must then assume that absolute knowledge, which has always served as one of God’s chief characteristics, can only come through the scientific method. Thus, science would make the claims to absolute knowledge as God does. It is that we might “kill” God (as Nietzsche would claim), but we can’t rid ourselves of the characteristics (i.e. absolute knowledge) that describe Him, which leaves us the option that God isn’t so much dead as inaccurately labeled.

The resulting question is then why are we implicitly okay with God’s characteristics and not God? The question will not paint humans in a good light.

I believe that humans, in general, are quite apprehensive in approaching their Creator. As a result, we “kill” Him, but find ourselves unable to logically escape His characteristics. (We also don’t want to leave logic, as it orders our lives too well.) Additionally, more cases can be made for the necessity of God’s existence as a means of defining ourselves by a source beyond (or transcendent) of ourselves. Without God, we begin to question why some things are good and others bad, why there is virtue and vice or we deny the true existence of good and bad. I haven’t the space to explain these implications fully and so leave it to my thoughtful readers to think about.

The best policy, it would appear, is to assume that God exists and begin to work to understand what that means. It is better to understand God partially than to deny Him entirely.

Jeff Schooley is a graduate student in English and an editorial writer for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].