As I listened to the above debate, I found my inner past Creationist Christian self erupt and lend an ear. It forced and coaxed me to recall and address one of the first and foundational issue that had lead me to my de-conversion into an Atheist. That key issue, is also what I boiled the foundational issue of this debate into:
Christian: I do know, and my source is God/Bible.
Secular: I do not know, let’s find out!
When I was a Christian, nothing could shake my belief that I was in a personal relationship with God. It was as real to me as the air I breathed, and I believed we were in commune. When I came across an unanswerable question, I turned to God and He answered it for me to me personally, usually through scripture.
There came a time, in my journey, where the answers from scripture became not enough for me. It seemed too easy, too circular, and too binding. I hungered and thirsted for more, as well as for observational proof.
Then, I encountered questions Science could not answer in my philosophical pursuits. “How did consciousness come to out of matter?” and the question of consciousness and self-awareness is one of the basic questions of humanity, and thus philosophy. Descartes, and many other philosophers struggled with the question of consciousness. Although Descartes built a foundational observation in his meditations “I think therefore I am,” it proves comforting, but hardly any sort of an answer to the question. However, science fundamentally, as Bill Nye said, exclaims: “I do not know, let’s find out!”
When I addressed this question as a Christian, the answer was simple: God breathed into man life.
Although I can not come up with an example right now (tired brain), there are other instances in which science will say it does not know (yet), and a Christian will answer by pointing to God, and accept when God provides no answer in His great mystery.
There came a time with my life, when I struggled with this. Both the not knowing, as well as with what became quite clear as a failed argument that ended with “therefore God.” To me, this was insufficient and a fire was lit under me to find for myself the answers. To search, dig, twist, question, and keep going until I could find. When this grew deeper in me (and also pointed itself towards questioning God’s existence), I had to ask my Christian self if God, if He existed, could punish me for my honest, curious, and deep curiosity. My Theology studies communing with my Philosophical studies, told me surely not. And so, my Agnosticism was born until it gave birth to a mostly certain Atheism.
Now, I stand on the side of Atheism and Science and question every Christian I encounter to prove it all to me. Give me an argument, give me proof that your claim is true. None has been sufficient enough for me, none stands the test of logic. To a Christian, this will never matter because God simply Is and He is the Foundation.
Although I am not shaken by this return to my own foundational questioning, as I had gone through this inner struggle for a long time and found my own questions, it raises many questions and issues that are not often addressed.
What are your thoughts? Can we start with God and continue onwards? Is this simply too illogical to do? Are you comfortable with your not knowing? What other questions does this raise?
A penny for every thought!