Christianity’s Unreasonableness

I would like to respond to Jack Kerwick’s Sunday article “The Reasonableness of Christianity over at The American Thinking. In his article, Mr. Kerwick committed a great injustice by marrying the concepts of reason and mysticism in an aberrant matrimony conceived in a grasping effort to legitimize God. In doing so, Mr. Kerwick demonstrated an egregious misunderstanding of the concept of reason.

Mr. Kerwick defines reason as man’s ability to convince, observe, and act upon that which cannot be seen – God. Reason is not some supernatural human ability that allows us to understand that which we cannot observe. Reason is an earthly, uniquely human characteristic that aid’s man in his pursuit of life, not his pursuit of leprechauns, unicorns, and magic.

Reason is man’s only means of knowledge acquisition. He must use and depend upon his senses to collect evidence of his environment, to process that knowledge with his mind, to formulate concepts, ideas, and goals based on that evidence, and act accordingly. A student seeking to attend a good college must first gather data on a variety of universities, collate them with respect to his academic interests and goals, and take note of tuition costs and how it measures against his budget. In choosing what to have for dinner, a parent must keep in mind the nutritional needs of the family, the available ingredients in the home, and how much time is left until dinner is expected. A young couple similarly must take precautions before starting a family, keeping in mind their budget, the size of their house and car, and their family’s support.

In every respect of our lives – small or large – we take action based on a series of observations whether they are instantaneous or long research projects. In acting without reason, the student goes to a university ill-suited for his pursuits; the parent cooks a poor meal; the young couple raises a child in poverty.

Faith, the concept that Mr. Kerwick claims can never be substituted for reason, is by its very definition the antonym of reason – believing in something without evidence. This violates the nature of man.

If it isn’t already clear, I am an atheist. I know that God cannot exist. I know this for the following reasons.

There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of God. Evidence unequivocally proving the existence of a supernatural being is nowhere to be found. Since the burden of proof is upon those who claim a thing to be true, my argument remains uncontested so long as proof is absent.

I also reject the fallacy that existence requires a causal explanation. The universe is all that which exists, thus, something outside the universe cannot exist. Inquiring about a cause of existence is a contradiction. By asking “what caused existence?” one is inquiring about something outside of existence. Something cannot come out of nothing. Causality presupposes existence and existence is an irreducible primary.

Mr. Kerwick ends his piece by crediting Christians with a “rich intellectual tradition” worth exploration. I agree that such a “tradition” should be explored, but I doubt the evidence found on that journey is congruent with Kerwick’s assumption. The Christian faith has a long and enduring history of standing in opposition to human scientific progression. Christianity’s imperial roots necessitated the sequestration of new ideas that contradicted the church, including those of Galileo and astrology, Newton and physics, De Maillet and evolution. It would behoove Mr. Kerwick to not forget the multiple inquisitions, crusades, and backwards practices of justice by the church throughout history sending millions to their deaths for no objective reason.

The crimsoned hands of Christianity should not be confused with intellectualism. Mysticism should not be confused with reality. Faith should not be confused with reason. Mr. Kerwick holds before us a model of ignorance counterproductive to the human spirit, and an active destroyer of it both in the past and the present.

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6 thoughts on “Christianity’s Unreasonableness

  1. SD says:

    ‎”There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of God. Evidence unequivocally proving the existence of a supernatural being is nowhere to be found. Since the burden of proof is upon those who claim a thing to be true, my argument remai…ns uncontested so long as proof is absent.”

    Josh, you should apply this statement to the “truth” that you proclaim: “I know that God cannot exist.”

    You are claming the “truth” is that ‘God cannot exist”. What are your premises to reach this conclusion?

    You claim there is “no evidence” for God, but the burden of proof would lie on you since you made the “truth” claim that “God cannot exist.”

    How does atheism explain the universe?

    How does atheism explain the origin of life?

    @Josh “Christianity’s imperial roots necessitated the sequestration of new ideas that contradicted the church, including those of Galileo and astrology, Newton and physics, De Maillet and evolution.”

    Isaac Newton wrote books on theology actually. Not sure why you are trying to lump science and theism as mutually exclusive when that is far from true.

    Obviously science is only an account of the physical world around us, and does not take into consideration immaterial things. How much does justice way? Is there a beauty molecule?

    He was a theist by his own account.

    In his book Principia he wrote:
    “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being….This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called Lord God “pantokrator,” or Universal Ruler.”

    Also you mention Galileo in your analysis despite the fact that Galileo was also a theist. Sure he disagreed with Catholicism, but so do many theists.

    In the book, Galileo’s Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love, by Dava Sobel, we see that when Galileo’s daughter died, he still had faith in God [page 6]:

    “Whatever the course of our lives, we should receive them as the highest gift from the hand of God, in which equally reposed the power to do nothing whatever for us. Indeed, we should accept misfortune not only in thanks, but in infinite gratitude to Providence, which by such means detaches us from an excessive love of Earthly things and elevates our minds to the celestial and divine.”

    Also if you want to see the reasonableness of God, then I would love to continue this conversation with you. Thanks for writing this note. i love discussing these types of issues. I look forward to your reply.

  2. SD says:

    PS – After reading the article you are referencing, I would agree the original article is pretty weak in showing any reason leading to the existence of a Designer.

    If you would like, I would be willing to discuss the reasonableness of God with you 🙂

  3. Michael Caution says:

    SD perpetuates really old and tiring fallacies in his comments. The onus of proof is on the person who asserts the positive proposition. In this case it would be those who say, “God does exist.” Saying “God does not exist.” is a negative statement. If people claim there is proof/evidence for the existence of God then let them bring it forth. If not they should keep quiet because they’re wasting everyone’s time.

    Another logical blunder by SD is to bring up the fact that Newton and similar natural philosophers were religious. This is a non essential characteristic aspect of their intellectual achievements. These great men are known for the contributions to human knowledge in diverse fields. To the extent that they achieved such success was to the extent that they applied Reason to understanding the facts of reality and limited their own personal faith. Whether they knew it or not they were actually demonstrating the fact that man lives by Reason not Faith. They were getting rid of faith as a credible source of knowledge. When evaluating the great accomplishments of history you should judge based upon the nature of the achievement, what made such leaps possible?, and not the idiosyncratic beliefs of the individuals that are peripheral.

  4. Tetracide says:

    SD,

    To answer your first question, as to why I know that God does not exist, I must first define God. God is, very basically, an entity that is omniscient, omnipotent, and non-physical. It is simply not possible for an entity to be conscious and, simultaneously, independent of matter and energy, because information cannot exist except as attributes of entities composed of energy and matter. This is based on the discovery of information’s measurement by Claude Shannon in 1948. If information can be measured, then it has measurements; it has identity; it is an existent, as real as existents composed of energy and matter. God violates that understanding.

    I am not an Agnostic for a variety of reasons, but the most important reason is, I do not accept arbitrary claims as “open,” meaning, if you were to say unicorns exist, simply because I have no evidence to the contrary does not mean your original claim is possible and that we are free to disagree on the matter. The claim that God exists rests on no facts. We know that we ought to have proof – or at least some evidence – before believing that God exists. And if there is no proof and no evidence, then we must admit that no
    such god does exist. The Atheist takes no special stance. It is the theist who invents a mystical entity, grants that entity absurd characteristics, responsibilities, and magical powers, and acts aghast when others don’t follow suite.

    Furthermore, the reason I bring up Galileo, Newton, or De Maillet is not to claim that such great minds were Atheists, but because their ideas were initially opposed vehemently by the church – ideas that we know today to be scientific bedrocks. It’s the church’s character I called into question, not the three individuals I mentioned. Human beings used to be very ignorant of the natural world, unable to explain natural phenomena like eclipses, earthquakes, and the diversity of animal life. So gods and other supernatural beings were postulated to explain these mysteries. But gradually, science has provided us with a greater understanding of our universe. We know that eclipses are the result of the particular positioning of the sun, earth, and moon, not omens of evil. We know that earthquakes are the result of tectonic plate movement, not the angry hand of God. We know that evolution explains the rich diversity and complexity of living beings, not creationism. We know that morality arises from our nature as human beings and the fundamental alternative of life versus death, not commandments from God. Therefore, we have no need to postulate a God to explain the nature of the universe. He explains nothing. He serves no purpose.

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