Believing Without Proof

Alister-McGrath

Everyone, whether religious or secular,
ends up believing some things — often
some very important things — that they
cannot prove to be true. That’s just the
dilemma we face as human beings.

– Alister McGrath

When atheists ask for proof

extraordinary-ad-campaign1-1

Dear Atheist friend,

Your demand for proof raises a problem. “Proof” is not a part of your worldview, and asking for it undermines your argument.

Honest atheism does not admit the existence of any absolute standard, any true point of reference. Everything is governed by chaos; the universe is only stardust randomly bumping into stardust. Within a consistent, atheistic paradigm nothing could ever be truly known or proven.

The idea of “proof” belongs to the worldview of those who believe in a Supreme Creator who has put order, logic, consistency, and structure into the universe. A believer in a wise, all knowing Creator can think in terms of “proof” and “evidence,” but not a person who sees the universe as a random collision of particles.

Your request presupposes something you don’t believe in. It borrows from the worldview you are trying to deny.

Your statement self-destructs.

Nice try.

 

God refuses to provide proof

Criss Jami 2For God to prove himself on demand, physically, would be a grave disappointment, and the strongest Christians should be considerably grateful that he chooses not to do so. The skeptic endlessly demands proof, yet God refuses to insult the true intelligence of man, the ‘6th sense’, the chief quality, the acumen which distinguishes man from the rest of creation, faith. ―Criss Jami

Nothing important can be proved

F. Buechner_190x190I can’t prove the friendship of my friend. When I experience it, I don’t need to prove it. When I don’t experience it, no proof will do. If I tried to put his friendship to the test somehow, the test itself would queer the friendship I was testing. So it is with the Godness of God.

The five so-called proofs for the existence of God will never prove to unfaith that God exists. They are merely five ways of describing the existence of the God you have faith in already.

Almost nothing that makes any real difference can be proved. I can prove the law of gravity by dropping a shoe out the window. I can prove that the world is round if I’m clever at that sort of thing—that the radio works, that light travels faster than sound. I cannot prove that life is better than death or love better than hate. I cannot prove the greatness of the great or the beauty of the beautiful. I cannot even prove my own free will; maybe my most heroic act, my truest love, my deepest thought are all just subtler versions of what happens when the doctor taps my knee with his little rubber hammer and my foot jumps.

Faith can’t prove a damned thing. Or a blessed thing either.

–Frederick Buechner
Beyond Words

We all believe what we can not prove

I don’t know if there’s a God. (And neither do you, and neither does Professor Dawkins, and neither does anybody. It isn’t the kind of thing you can know. It isn’t a knowable item.) But then, like every human being, I am not in the habit of entertaining only the emotions I can prove. I’d be a unrecognizable oddity if I did.

― Francis Spufford
Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything,
Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense