Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Case for Faith

Objection #1: Since evil and suffering exist, a loving God cannot.

Faith and Prejudice

"There's no question that the existence of evil is one argument against God-but in one of my books I summarize twenty arguments that point persuasively in the other direction, in favour of the existence of God. Atheists must answer all twenty arguments; theists must only answer one. However, each of us gets to cast a vote. Faith is active; it demands a response. Unlike reason, which bows down faithfully to the evidence, faith is prejudiced."

Evil as evidence for God

Kreeft stopped for a few seconds before adding this unexpected and counter-intuitive remark: "Besides, the evidence of evil and suffering can go both ways-it can actually be used in favor of God."

I sat up straight in my chair. "How," I demanded, "is that possible?"

"Consider this," Kreeft said. "If Templeton is right in responding to these events with outrage, that presupposes there really is a difference between good and evil. The fact that he's using the standard of good to judge evil-the fact that he's saying quite rightly that this horrible suffering isn't what ought to be-means he has a notion of what ought to be; that this notion corresponds to something real; and that there is, therefore, a reality called the Supreme Good. Well, that's just another name for God."

That sounded suspiciously like philosophical sleight of hand. Warily, I summarized Kreeft's point to see if I understood it. "You mean that unintentionally Templeton may be testifying to the reality of God because by recognizing evil he's assuming there's an objective standard on which it's based?"

"Right. If I give my student a ninety and another an eighty, that presupposes that one hundred is a real standard. And my point is this: if there is no God, where did we get the standard of goodness by which we judge evil as evil?"

"What's more, as C.S. Lewis said, 'If the universe is so on earth did human beings ever come to attribute it to the activity of a wise and good Creator?' In other words, the very presence of these ideas in our minds-that is, the idea of evil, thus of goodness and of God as the origin and standard of goodness-needs to be accounted for."

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