The existence of God: a new argument from significance

Long reads

Can we prove that God, the Prime Mover and Creator exists ?  I propose that the answer is “no” in the sense that God, by definition, exists outside of the knowable and measurable physical universe.  Believers will immediately recoil and argue that I am giving up too soon.  I disagree.  To one whom chooses to resist probabilities and likelihoods, no argument can be sufficient.  I believe that at best we can continue to make strong arguments that our universe points to the likelihood of the existence of God and then leave the matter at that.  So is there no value in apologetics and the like ?  Indeed there is, but our measure of the effectiveness of such things must be humble .  We need to remember that what we continue to do when we are asked to give a reason for the hope we have is to remind people that what we believe is supported by a great weight of facts and pointers and indicators and thus seems at least as reasonable (frankly more) than the negative proposition. And that is perhaps as far as we can go without looking desperate for affirmation (if I may put it that way).  I suppose it is great that our world contains folks like William Lane Craig and Ravi Zacharias, but I do not rejoice in this in the sense that we can slide into arrogance if we drag out our favourite apologist and say to the non-believers, “How dumb can you be not to see this”.  I know what you are thinking already.  You believe I am effectively ceding the fight to the non-believers.  You are wrong since I believe we need to continue to declare what we believe.  I only want to make sure we stop before we go over the cliff.  Think about that for a bit.  So I indeed believe that apologetics adds weight to the balance of probabilities and is a noble thing to do (to a point), but that is as far as we can and should go with out arguments and attitudes.  To look at an atheist in astonishment and proclaim, “How can you ever deny that God exists” is not an attitude or position we can and should take.  Since a priori if someone has chosen to reject the mass of reasonable evidence and pointers as I call them, one cannot be made to believe in God (or anything for that matter) in the face of denial.

With that caution and rather annoying preamble behind me, I am now going to do what you clearly do not expect me to do.  Today I would like to add (yet another argument) for the existence of God (as a personal prime mover) that I hope adds more weight to our side of the scale and perhaps for some is an argument somewhat less easy to counter than some of the traditional arguments put forth.  I called it the “argument from personal significance or sovereignty”.  At the end of this essay perhaps you will understand what I mean by this currently obscure phrase.

In modernity we seen a trend emerge that is at its peak perhaps in our age.  I am referring to the belief Western civilization holds that individuals matter and that their opinions, emotions, privacy, etc are weighty and important.  Derivatives of this belief include things like the correct move to stop workplace harassment, bullying in schools and the like – but the common thread is this idea of personal sovereignty.  All of these are valuable and build upon a belief that is far from self evident  for those who presume away the existence of a Personal Creator who not only creates but creates order and justice in the universe.  Eject this and the ground upon which this entire enterprise rests collapses in on itself.  But let me keep my argument very narrow at this stage.  The “argument from personal significance” says that what an individual thinks and feels seems to matter a lot to the modern world.  In fact it has become perhaps the single most important talking point for modern society.  Schools, workplaces and churches are scolded and even sued when individuals are not treated this way.  It has come to be accepted as fundamental to free society that if an individual “feels” mistreated or abused or not valued, etc then something has gone awry.  Yet, I argue, this is so far from self evident in a naturalistic universe.  It is in fact not what anyone would expect to be value in a universe where we literally are the product of physical processes and time. I would now like to turn this argument around on itself.  Looked at this way, I am arguing that the very fact that when we speak to someone one on one about their hurt or abuse or related things we indeed “feel” a weight about that person that is not due to someone who is only a temporary and random assortment of atoms.