The first chapter of this book is entitled, “Defending the Existence of God”, by Joshua Pagan (pronounced Pa-GAN). Unless you have a degree in Cosmology, Physics, Philosophy, and Logic, you are going to be very intimidated by this chapter. It is chock full of complex scientific theories, philosophical debates, and arguments in logic all in support of Christianity’s claim that the universe was created by an intelligent, personal, Creator.
So should you, Mr. or Ms. Reader, as a non-scientist, non-physicist, non-philosopher, simply accept Dr. Pagan’s very intelligent, well-presented, plausible sounding arguments as fact?
No. No you should not.
Dr. Pagan is not an expert in cosmology nor any other field of science. He is a theologian. He is expressing a non-expert opinion regarding a very technical subject in a field outside his expertise. He may have some very valid arguments, but since we ourselves are not experts in this field, we cannot adequately evaluate his truth claims.
So what should we do?
Well, we could go out and get an advanced degree in each of the above fields, but as I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, most of us don’t have the time or inclination to go to that much trouble to determine the veracity of this truth claim. Most of us do not have the time or inclination to become an expert in the field of cosmology (the science of the origin and development of the universe).
So what are our other options?
Well, you could go out and purchase a stack of books by leading scientists, physicists, and philosophers; you could read and study these books for months or years, and then, even though you could still not claim to be an expert yourself, you could give a fairly intelligent defense of a particular position on this issue. But again, most of us don’t have the time or inclination to do this.
Here is what I suggest: Go online and search for the consensus position of cosmologists; physicists; other scientists; and philosophers on this issue: Do the overwhelming majority of _________ believe that the evidence strongly supports the existence of a personal Creator (a god) of the universe?
Do it. Google it. I will bet that you will be able to find the answer to this question in less than thirty minutes. And here is what I think you will find: There is no consensus on this issue! Although there is a consensus position on the Big Bang Theory (that it is true), there is NOT a consensus on what or who caused that Big Bang.
The ultimate origin of the universe is still unknown. There is no consensus. So Christian theologians can argue for one particular argument on this issue, but they cannot claim that the consensus of experts in the fields in question support their position. Maybe there was an intelligent being who created the universe in a Big Bang, but maybe there wasn’t. The experts have not formed a consensus opinion. Therefore, do not let Christian apologists con you into believing that most experts believe that a God created the universe. No such scientific consensus exists. But here is the key question: Just because there is evidence for the existence of a Creator, does not automatically translate to evidence for the existence of the Judeo-Christian god, Yahweh.
Other interesting issues in this chapter:
Dr. Pagan points out that the primary philosophical argument used by many Christian apologists (in particular, William Lane Craig, and Dr. Pagan himself in this book) to support their claim that a God created the universe is called, the Kalam Cosmological Argument (KCA). Guess where it originated? Answer: Islam!
Maybe it’s just me but I find that really odd. If Christianity is the one, true religion, why didn’t God reveal this argument to Christians??? Why allow the strongest argument for Christian theism to be invented by Muslims? Hmm.
Dr. Pagan includes this statement towards the end of the chapter: “…the KCA intends only to demonstrate the existence of a First Cause of the cosmos. Subsequent to this conclusion, one may then reason that a personal being whose properties are consistent with the God of Christian theism is the most coherent analysis and best explanation of that First Cause.”
And there you have it! That one statement is the only evidence Dr. Pagan presents for why anyone should believe that the Creator of the universe must be the Judeo-Christian god, Yahweh. Seriously? I for one can find a lot of reasons why Yahweh is unlikely to be the Creator of our complex universe. For one thing, his knowledge of basic science, as recorded in the Hebrew Bible (the Christian Old Testament) is pathetic. Firmaments in the heavens? The earth rests on four pillars? Give me a break. Yahweh would flunk a sixth grade science quiz. In addition, if a Creator exists, the evidence suggests to me that he is either indifferent or impotent to human suffering, not the all-powerful, loving, just, God of Christianity.
But I’m not going there.
If you are looking for a knock down, drag out, debate on a very technical subject, go for it. Debate cosmology. But I recommend that skeptics who are interested in “converting” Christians from their superstitious world view to a view based on reason and science avoid the “Creator debate.” I suggest that you graciously concede the existence of a Creator to your Christian counterpart and move on from there. Ask him or her to prove the existence of Yahweh. The existence of a Creator in no way confirms the existence of the ancient (Canaanite) god Yahweh. This is the dilemma for Christians: They must prove the existence of Yahweh, not that of a generic Creator, before they can argue for the probabilities of Christian miracles, specifically, the miracle of Jesus’ alleged resurrection.
If Christians are unable to provide convincing evidence for the existence of Yahweh, they are going to have a very steep hill to climb to prove all the other fantastical supernatural claims of their ancient religion.