Where are You on this Handy Scale?
In The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins promotes the idea that beliefs are predicated on a continuum, with seven checkpoints along the way. For convenience, I condensed them into five:
- I know there is a God with absolute certainty.
- I think there is a God. I believe that the evidence points to a God, and I live my life as if there is one.
- I don’t know if there is a God.
- I don’t think that there is a god. I believe that the evidence for one is lacking, and I live my life accordingly.
- I know that there is no god with absolute certainty.
Dawkins would be at #4, heading into #5. My wife, my grandpa, and several others I know would proudly count themselves into category #1. Dawkins and I agree that category #5 would be almost empty, while category #1 is very full.
Most people who call themselves theists believe without the benefit of philosophical or natural evidence. Most people who call themselves atheists leave the possibility of God open until they see more evidence.
Believe it or not, I fall into category #2. I believe that the intricacies of creation require a creator. I believe the philosophical arguments offer an excellent cumulative case for God. I believe the historicity of the New Testament, which means that the fantastic claims of Jesus must be dealt with. I believe in the historicity of the Empty Tomb–which means that Jesus died and rose again. All of this, to me, makes a great case for God, and an even better case for the God of the Bible.
Where are you, readers?
Posted on April 13, 2009, in Humor and tagged Personal. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.
I’d actually be a #4.5 as far as the Judeo-Christian concept of God, however with respect to some other theistic traditions I vary between 2-5. Like for instance, sometimes I live my life as if under the watchful protection of Bob Dobbs or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, however I can say with absolute certainty that there is no Zeus or Cthulhu. At least, I really, really hope there is no Cthulhu.
I’m between 1 and 2, leaning towards 1. Last Sunday’s Doubting Thomas Gospel: ‘Blessed are they who have not yet seen, yet believe.’ (Not calling myself ‘blessed’ in a self-aggrandising sense, please understand!)
I would be the same as Richard Dawkins. My position on omnipotent beings is the same as my position on invisible pink polka-dotted universe-creating fairies.
My question to those who put themselves at #2 – what evidence?
To borrow a phrase from Douglas Adams: Life, the Universe, and Everything. As John Calvin put it: “To be so occupied in the investigation of the secrets of nature, as never to turn the eyes to its Author, is a most perverted study; and to enjoy everything in nature without acknowledging the Author of the benefit, is the basest ingratitude.”
Yes, I’m aware of the irony of using Douglas Adams’s words in that fashion.
Answer the greatest philosophical question of all time using only your atheism: “Why is there something rather than nothing?”