While I admire their intellectual honesty, I suspect that part of the problem is the lack of an appropriate alternate hypothesis. That is, the God they used to believe (and the reasons for such belief) have proved false, so they fall back to the claim that there is no God (at least of any relevance, or connection to the Christian faith).
So, at the risk of ruffling some feathers, I thought I’d summarize those of my beliefs which I claim are empirically verifiable using the same epistemic reasoning I use to do in science. That doesn’t mean that they are necessarily true, just plausible given the evidence — which arguably is all that can be done using mere reason. But I agree Faith should support Reason, not fight it, so I think it a fair question.
Click [Read More] for my post-modern creed.
Sounds good so far; I am completely comfortable with that definition. If we agree on that, then the question is merely whether any evidence points to there being *any* God, and particularly the one described by the Bible. This does require some reasonable rules for ‘standards of evidence’, of course, which is always tricky in the social sciences.
Just to be clear:
If you insist that Chrisitanity must defend those propositions, we have a category argument, not an empirical one.
However, I *am* willing to posit sufficient empirical support for the following propositions. They are listed in order of:
I believe (and am willing to defend) the following to be true and knowable according to traditional scientific standards of evidence:
I am not saying that any of these are easily proved. However, I assert that each of these propositions is more consistent with the available evidence than its contradiction, i.e. at least “relatively true.”, and that they all support each other. In other words, if you can at least believe either “f” or “a”, you ought to be able to infer the rest without difficulty.
To be sure, a God described by this logic may be very different than the one described by certain Christian traditions. But, I would argue that such would be a GOOD thing. I actually think that a lot of our Platonic terminology about God (e.g., omniscience, omnipotence) is misleading (and un-biblical, for that matter). First we ought to figure out what we know is true, then we can use that to constrain other conjectures.
Conversely, such a God may offend certain of our philosophic convictions about what God should be like. So what? I believe we need to take the evidence (about either the natural and supernatural worlds) on its own terms, not the way we’d like it to be. Quantum physics has taught me that much.
One final point about testability:
I know many deep thinkers and religious people outside the Christian faith. I have consistently observed a far stronger correlation between (i) the ability to apprehend transformational change and (ii-a) effort spent seeking God’s truth in Christ vs (ii-b) effort spend pursuing truth from self or nature. That is — in my experience — whether or not truth -could- come from things other than Christianity, it far more commonly _does_.
That is — assuming there *was* such a thing as moral virtue — Christianity correlated far more highly with it than communities based on other religious traditions, much less those build on naturalistic assumptions. In my (scientific) worldview, wherever there is a correlation there must be -some- causality (even if the source is obscure).
In other words, that you’d be willing to explore the evidence with me to see if there is in fact a God out there you can know with your scientific mind.