This is the next-to-last installment of a series in which I debate with myself about the topic, Resolved: That a Personal God Created the Universe. When I make this presentation I wear an ecclesiastical stole as “Pastor Chris.” As the atheist “Dr. Schriner” I doff the stole and put on glasses. Dr. Schriner has just offered his final remarks, so here is the pastor once again. He begins by commenting on the fine-tuning argument for the existence of God. (For more on fine-tuning, see the October 2 post.)
As a religious person I get laughed at for believing in fairy-tale mythologies. But when scientists dream up wild stories about there being an infinite number of undetectable universes, all the secular humanists solemnly nod and agree. There is only one reason these bizarre multiple-universe scenarios get any press. People see that if this is actually the only universe, then it looks like some great creative power intended for us to be here.
When I try to think about the universe reasonably, I reject the idea of existence without any deliberate cause. This is not a faith-based argument. The idea of a godless cosmos offends my intelligence. And my belief is also based on direct experience. I can feel God here with us now, just as clearly as knowing there’s a ceiling on this room. It’s not exactly like seeing, of course, but it’s a definite sensing, a clear and tangible kind of contact.
When Schriner presents evidence that believers are often immoral, it makes me sad but it is completely beside the point. Perhaps the human tendency to be selfish and unloving is so strong that religion has not overcome these faults in most people. But those who truly open themselves to God’s presence are changed for the better. I’ll again quote the atheist, Daniel Dennett, who says that from a sincere theist’s point of view, “God is the greatest thing that could ever enter our lives. It isn’t like accepting a conclusion; it’s like falling in love.”* Those who are open to God’s love do become better persons. The tragedy is that so few of us fully accept this boundless grace. But we always have the freedom to open our hearts to redemption, and perhaps some who are here today will embrace this possibility. At least I hope you will agree, based on a preponderance of the evidence, a personal deity did create the universe.
*Daniel C. Dennett, Breaking the Spell, p. 250.
I’ll complete this series next week.
Roger Christan Schriner
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