“I simply do not see the necessity for God.”
Writer (and atheist) Kenan Malik asks a roomful of theology students: “Who Needs God?”
Deep thoughts for a Wednesday, yes. Malik is a TV presenter and lecturer in the U.K., and he doesn’t believe the arguments for God are actually arguments at all.
“No one comes to believe in God because they have been convinced by the arguments for God’s existence. No one says, ‘I was unsure whether God existed, but now I have read Aquinas’ first three proofs, I am convinced that He does.’ Rather they insist, as philosopher Peter Stannard does, that ‘I don’t have to believe in God, I know that God exists – that is how I feel.’The proofs, therefore, are a means of demonstrating not the existence of God but the intellectual soundness of belief in God, of demonstrating that such knowingness can be rational. If you already believe in God, these proofs suggest that such belief may not be irrational. But if you do not already believe in God, they certainly do not demonstrate the necessity for doing so.”
However you feel about God, it’s refreshing to live in times where an atheist can present his arguments to a class of theology students, then publish them publicly. It helps that he’s a nice-guy atheist, not an angry atheist.
For myself, raised in a warm and loving church, I’m sympathetic to both belief and religion, and all the wonderful aspects of both. If you asked me point blank “Does God exist?” I would say, “I have no idea.” If you absolutely insisted on an answer, I would say “Yes.” Although I’m not convinced God knows who I am, or who Tim Tebow is.
In any case, the “If there’s a watchmaker, there must be a watch” argument has always bothered me, ever since I first read and thought about it in detail at Willamette University. (Malik walks the discussion back to Aristotle‘s “Unmoved Mover.”) To me, there’s not much difference in saying “This here watch exists without a maker” and saying “God made the watch, but HE exists without a maker.”
One can argue that that’s what it means to be God — He is the One Without A Maker — but in terms of a logical proof, it’s not much to go on.
“The difference between believers and atheists is not about whether either can explain the ultimate cause of the universe. It is about how we wish to explain it.”