The most popular arguments used to prove the existence of God are based on the “appeal to reason” as opposed to an “appeal to scripture or faith.” By and large, those who believe in the existence of a divine creator do so through faith or instinct unaided by calculated reason or rational thought. This does not imply that there are no arguments for the existence of God which bypass reason and appeal to experience and intuition. The arguments presented in this answer each proceed logically and consequently utilise reason to prove the existence of God. An example of an argument which appeals to reason is the ontological argument which, unlike any other, proceeds purely on the conceptual level. An example of an argument which appeals to faith is the argument from answered prayers. An example of an argument which appeals to intuition is the argument from sublimity.
The most basic assumption which forms the foundation for the arguments below is that of proof and reason. A proof for the existence of God must be navigated through the use of unaided reason. Theoretical reason is the faculty which transcends unrefined common sense and provides a priori principles (of logical consistency) for guiding our understanding of experience and, specifically with regard to our question here, the understanding of our existence and how we came into being.
Arguments Proving the Existence of God
The Cosmological Argument
A. Everything that exists must have a cause.
B. The universe must have a cause (from A).
C. Nothing can be the cause of itself.
D. The universe cannot be the cause of itself (from C).
E. Something outside of the universe must have caused the universe (from B and D).
F. God is the only entity which is outside of the universe.
G. God caused the universe (from E and F).
H. God exists.
The Ontological Argument
A. One cannot conceive anything greater than God (this is stated as part of the definition of “God”).
B. It is greater to exist than not to exist.
C. If we conceive of God as not existing, then we can conceive of something greater than God (from B).
D. To conceive of God as not existing is not to conceive of God (from A and C).
E. It is inconceivable that God not exists (from D).
F. God exists.
The Argument from Design
1. The Classical Teleological Argument
A. Whenever there are elements that come together as a coherent whole purely because of a purpose or function (such as all the complex parts of a watch that allow it to tell the time) we believe that they had a designer who designed them with that function in mind. They are too improbable to have arisen by random physical processes such as the example of a hurricane blowing though a junk yard and creating a Boeing 747.
B. The organs of living beings, such as the eye, cohere only because they have a specific function. For example, the eye has a cornea, lens, retina, iris and eyelids which are found in the same organ only because together they allow the living being to see.
C. These organs must have a designer who designed them with their specific functions in mind just as the existence of a watch implies a watchmaker. (from A and B).
D. These organs could not have had a human designer.
E. Therefore, these organs must have had a non-human designer (from C and D).
F. God is that non-human designer.
G. God exists.
In the 21st century, creationists have modified the Teleological Argument in three forms:
2. The Argument from Irreducible Complexity
A. Evolution has no foresight and every incremental step must be an improvement over the preceding one in order to allow the organism to survive and reproduce in a superior way compared to its competitors.
B. In many complex organs, the removal or modification of any part would destroy the functional whole. For example, the lens and retina of the eye and the molecular components of the blood clotting process. These organs are “irreducibly complex.”
C. These organs would not have been of any use to the organisms that possessed them in any simpler form (from B).
D. The theory of natural selection cannot explain these irreducibly complex systems (from A and C).
E. Natural selection is the only way out of the conclusions of the classical teleological argument.
F. God exists (from D and E and the classical teleological argument).
3. The Argument from the Paucity of Benign Mutations
A. Evolution is powered by random mutations and natural selection.
B. Organisms are complex, improbable systems and by the laws of probability any change is astronomically more likely to be for the worse rather than for the better.
C. The majority of mutations would be deadly for the organism (from B).
D. The length of time it would take for all the benign mutations required for the assembly of an organ to appear by simple chance is preposterously long (from C).
E. In order for evolution to work, something beyond evolution had to favour the process of mutation and increase the number of benign ones (from D).
F. Something outside of the mechanism of biological change – the prime mutator – must bias the process of mutations for evolution to work (from E).
G. The only entity that is both powerful and purposeful enough to be the prime mutator is God.
H. God exists.
4. The New Argument from the Original Replicator
A. Evolution is the process by which an organism evolves from simpler ancestors.
B. Evolution by itself cannot explain how the original ancestor – the first living thing – came into existence (from A).
C. The theory of natural selection can only deal with this problem by hypothesising that the first living thing evolved out of non-living matter (from B).
D. That non-living matter (which we will call the original replicator) must be capable of (i) self-replication (ii) generating a functioning mechanism out of surrounding matter to protect itself against falling apart and (iii) surviving slight mutations to itself that will then result in slightly different replicators.
E. The original replicator is complex (from d).
F. The original replicator is too complex to have arisen from purely physical processes (from E and the classical teleological argument). For example, DNA, which currently carries the replicated design of organisms, cannot be the original replicator, because DNA molecules require a complex system of proteins to remain stable and to replicate and could not have arisen from natural processes before complex life existed.
G. Natural selection cannot explain the complexity of the original replicator (from C and F).
H. The original replicator must have been created rather than evolved (from G and the classical teleological argument).
I. Anything that was created required a creator.
J. God exists.
The Argument from the Big Bang
A. The Big Bang was the beginning of the known physical universe including matter, energy, space, time and the laws of physics.
B. The universe came to be ex nihilo (from A).
C. Something outside the universe and its physical laws must have brought the universe into existence (from B).
D. Only God could exist outside the universe.
E. God must have caused the universe to exist (from C and D).
F. God exists.
The Argument from the Fine-Tuning of Physical Constants
A. There are a vast number of physically possible universes.
B. A universe that would be hospitable to the appearance of life must conform to some very strict conditions. Everything from the mass ratios of atomic particles and the number of dimensions of space to the cosmological parameters that rule the expansion of the universe must be absolutely precise for stable galaxies, solar systems, planets and complex life to evolve.
C. The percentage of possible universes that would support life is infinitesimally small (from B).
D. Our universe is one of those infinitesimally improbable universes.
E. Our universe has been fine-tuned to support life (from C and D).
F. There is a fine-tuner (from E).
G. Only God could have the power and purpose to be the fine-tuner.
H. God exists.
The Argument from the Beauty of Physical Laws
A. Scientists use aesthetic principles (simplicity, symmetry, elegance) to discover the laws of nature.
B. Scientists could only use aesthetic principles successfully if the laws of nature were intrinsically and objectively beautiful.
C. The laws of nature are intrinsically and objectively beautiful (from A and B).
D. Only a mind-like being with an appreciation of beauty could have designed the laws of nature.
E. God is the only being with the power and purpose to design beautiful laws of nature.
F.. God exists.
The Argument from Cosmic Coincidences
A. The universe contains many uncanny coincidences. For example, the diameter of the moon, as seen from the earth is the same as the diameter of the sun, as seen from the earth, which is why we can have spectacular eclipses when the corona of the sun is revealed.
B. Coincidences are, by definition, extremely improbable.
C. The overwhelming improbability defies all statistical explanation.
D. These coincidences all come together to attenuate our awe and appreciation for the beauty of the natural world.
E. These coincidences must have been designed in order to enhance our awe and appreciation of the beauty of the natural world (from C and D).
F. Only a being with the power to affect such improbable coincidences for the purpose of enhancing our awe and appreciation of the beauty of the natural world could have organised these uncanny cosmic coincidences.
G. Only God could be the being with such power and purpose.
H. God exists.
The Argument from the Hard Problem of Consciousness
A. The hard problem of consciousness comprises the difficulty in explaining why it subjectively feels like something to be a functioning brain. This is in contrast to the so-called easy problem of consciousness.
B. Consciousness (in the hard problem context) is not a complex phenomenon built out of simpler ones. It can consist of irreducible “raw feels” like seeing green or tasting sugar.
C. Science explains complex phenomena by reducing them to simpler ones and then reducing them to even simpler ones until the simplest ones are explained by the laws of physics.
D. The basic laws of physics describe the properties of the elementary constituents of matter and energy, such as quarks and quanta, which are not conscious.
E. Science cannot derive consciousness by reducing it to basic physical laws about the elementary constituents of matter and energy (from B, C and D).
F. Science will never solve the hard problem of consciousness (from C and E).
G. The explanation for consciousness must lie beyond physical laws (from F).
H. Consciousness which lies beyond physical laws must itself be immaterial (from G).
I. God is immaterial.
J. Consciousness and God both partake in the same immaterial kind of being (from H and I).
K. God has the power to supply us with consciousness as well as the motive which is to enjoy a good life and to make it possible for our choices to cause or prevent suffering to others thereby allowing for morality and meaning.
L. Consciousness can only be explained by stating that God inserted a spark of the divine into that thing known as life (from G, J and K).
M. God exists.
The Argument from Human Knowledge of Infinity
A. Living beings are finite and everything we come into physical contact with is finite.
B. We have a knowledge of the infinite demonstrated through mathematics.
C. We could not have derived this knowledge of the infinite from the finite and from anything which we are and come into contact with (from A).
D. Only something itself which is infinite could have implanted knowledge of the infinite in us (from B and C).
E. God would want us to have a knowledge of the infinite in order for us to understand his infinite being.
F. God is the only entity that is both infinite and which could have an intention of implanting the knowledge of the infinite within us (from D and E).
G. God exists.
The Argument from Mathematical Reality
A. Mathematical truths are necessarily true. There are no possible realities where, for example, 2 plus 2 does not equal 4.
B. The truths that describe our physical world, no matter how fundamental, are empirical and require observational evidence.
C. Truths that require empirical evidence are not necessary truths. We require empirical evidence because there are possible realities/worlds in which these are not truths, and so we have to test that ours is not such a reality/world.
D. The truths of our physical world are not necessary truths (from B and C).
E. The truths of our physical world cannot explain mathematical truths (from A and D).
F. Mathematical truths exist on a different plane of existence from physical truths (from E).
G. Only something which itself exists on a different plane of existence from the physical can explain mathematical truths (from F).
H. Only God can explain mathematical truths (from G).
I. God exists.
The Argument from Decision Theory (Pascal’s Wager)
A. Either God exists or God does not exist.
B. A person can either believe that God exists or believe that God does not exist (from A).
C. If God exists and you believe, you will receive eternal salvation.
D. If God exists and you do not believe, you will receive eternal damnation.
E. If God does not exist and you believe, you will have been mistaken and wasted time and resources in religious observance and missed out on decadent enjoyment.
F. If God does not exist and you do not believe, then you have avoided a false belief.
G. You have much more to gain by believing in God than not believing in him and much more to lose by not believing in God than believing in him (from C, D, E & F).
H. It is more rational to believe that God exists than to believe that God does not exist (from G).
The Argument from the Intelligibility of the World (Spinoza’s God)
A. All facts must have explanations.
B. The fact that there is a universe at all (and that it is this particular universe with its specific laws of nature) has an explanation (from A).
C. There must in principle be a theory of everything which explains why just this universe, with these specific laws of nature, exists. This premise does not imply that we have the ability to discover a theory of everything since this may be outside of our intellectual capacity.
D. If the theory of everything explains everything, it explains why it is the theory of everything.
E. The only way that the theory of everything could explain why it is the theory of everything is if it is itself necessarily true (i.e. true in all possible worlds).
F. The theory of everything is necessarily true (from D and E).
G. The universe, understood in terms of the theory of everything, exists necessarily and explains itself (from F).
H. That which exists necessarily and explains itself is God (a definition of “God”).
I. The universe is God (from G & H).
J. God exists.
The arguments put forward above to prove the existence of God appeal to reason and can be followed through logically without the aid of intuition or experience. These arguments have convinced billions of people over millennia, including some of history’s greatest minds, that a transcendental creator exists who has given us a purpose in life revealed through his messengers. The arguments listed here are by no means exhaustive. Indeed, the actual number of arguments for the existence of God comprises another argument called The Argument from the Abundance of Arguments.
Michael Palmer, The Question of God
Shabbir Akhtar, The Quran and the Secular Mind
J. J. C. Smart & John Haldane, Atheism and Theism
Something interesting regarding those who believe and those who don't believe in God! Very interesting. It stimulates our lateral thinking!
This lovely parable is from "Your Sacred Self" by Dr. Wayne Dyer.
In a mother's womb were two babies. One asked the other:
"Do you believe in life after delivery?"
The other replied, "Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later."
"Nonsense" said the first. "There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?"
The second said, "I don't know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. ."
The first replied, "That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need." And moreover if there is life, then why has noone ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life and in the after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere."
"Well, I don't know," said the second, "but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us."
The first replied "Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That's laughable. If Mother exists then where is She now?"
The second said, "She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her this world would not and could not exist."
Said the first: "Well I don't see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn't exist."
To which the second replied, "Sometimes, when you're in silence and you focus and listen, you can perceive Her presence and you can hear Her loving voice, calling down from above."
Maybe this is one of the best explanations to the concept of 'GOD' I have ever read.
Arguments for God's Existence
There are many ways of answering this question, each more or less persuasive to different people. Arguments can generally be grouped into what are known as Cosmological, Teleological or Ontological arguments.
Most people I find tend to conclude God exists intuitively rather than through articulated logical arguments. It is irrational to conceive of a creator for the universe not existing, no human civilisation disputing this, atheism being at best a fringe position that has taken on a larger presence primarily due to the rise of secular ideologies over recent centuries.
This is consistent with how Muslim theologians understood the issue and the Qur'an does not present any proofs, focusing instead on arguing Allah is the sole creator and sole cause of phenomenon in the universe, all others whom people point to being false gods. That is not to say their arguments for a sole creator cannot be adapted to proofs for the existence of a creator (see here) - in fact many thinkers through history believed their arguments were proofs for the existence of a creator.
However, if I had to put forward a justification, I personally lean towards the cosmological argument, which despite its various forms, starts off by looking at signs in the universe to conclude God exists.
I will outline each argument in this answer.
Unpacking some underlying assumptions reveals two important questions: What is Proof? and What constitutes 'proving something as true'? Proof for something can be that argument which is built on rational thought (evidenced assertions, logical flow of argument, coherency etc). I would suggest that we can reasonably conclude something to be true such that we would base our life upon it.
There are people who may argue that we do not really exist - but do they really believe this? They may claim this in a discussion yet will continue to get up every day, go to work, earn money to provide for themselves as if they really do exist. Many other strange ideas maybe bought up, but they do not take away from what we conclude rationally. These are not the kind of thoughts anyone bases their lives on.
We should understand rational thought is objective in the sense that it is accessible to all people. Objective here does not mean that everyone is obliged to accept it, some people can choose to remain stubborn and fixed in their own ways and thoughts.
Rational thought is based on sense perception (something which all people have access to) and the reality around us - that which everyone around us can observe. Hence we do not make arbitrary assumptions or guesses which are not mutually consistent or not based on reality.
This argument's earliest proponents were Muslim scholars like al-Kindi and al-Ghazali, with more contemporaneous Western thinkers like Aquinas, Hume, Kant, William Craig Lane, Bruce Reichenbach and Richard Swinburne adopting it - with philosophy Professor Michael Martin stating it to be "among the most sophisticated and well argued in contemporary theological philosophy".
The argument is based on the fact that the material universe as we know and experience it is based on cause/effect processes. If we argue an "eternal chain" of material causal events precede us, contradictions emerge. We cannot have reached our current point in time if there is no starting point as it is impossible to traverse a material infinite series of cause and effects. To fulfil any cause-effect sequence a starting point is needed. For example, if we had an infinite chain of soldiers, each one relying on the one before him to say "fire" before he fired a gun, the last soldier in the chain would never fire his gun as he would rely on an infinite line of soldiers preceding him which would never complete the command given there is no start to the line.
The only two alternatives that then remain are, the universe:
The former contradicts our experience and intuition. The latter is all that then remains. That is what we go on to call "God" however labels like creator, first mover and others can be used if one feels the term God is loaded. Additional details are filled in by further arguments and revelation, both of which require substantiated/reasoned arguments addressed in other answers.
More formal articulations of this argument can be presented as follows:
1. Everything we sense has a start point or beginning.
2. Everything we sense is dependent on something else for its existence.
3. So, the Universe as a whole had a start point and depended on something else for its existence.
4. So, there must exist 'something' that caused the Universe to exist.
1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. The universe has a cause.
That 'something' that is the cause, we call the Creator of the Universe, "God".
A common objection, often raised by contemporary neo-atheists, may include "what then caused the creator?" This objection is based on a misunderstanding of the argument - the first premise starts with "Everything we sense has a start point or beginning" or "Whatever begins to exist has a cause". The creator can neither be sensed nor did it begin to exist. Thus it does not need a preceding cause - it is an eternal cause, without a beginning.
Argument from Design (Teleological argument)
The Argument from Design was argued by Western thinkers including Paley, Hume, Darwin, Dawkins and Ward.
This argues that the the universe as a whole or even in part, appears to be like a machine or appears to have been designed, or painted like an artist; machines, design and art have intelligent designers; like effects have like causes; therefore, the universe as a whole has an intelligent designer, which is God.
Argument from Miracles
The Argument from Miracles was argued by Western thinkers including Hume, Hambourger, Coleman, Flew, Swinburne and Diamond.
This argues for the existence of God that relies on events witnessed are miracles, the events not being explicable by current natural laws but suggest the intervention of the supernatural. Examples include historical evidence evidences Jesus Christ rose from the dead and this can only be explained if God exists or that some of the Qur'an's prophecies have been fulfilled and too can only be explained if God exists.
The Moral Argument was argued by Western thinkers including Plato, Lewis, Kant, Rachels, Martin and Nielsen.
Arguments from morality tend to be based on moral normativity or moral order.
The Pragmatic Argument was argued by Western thinkers including Pascal, Gracely, Stich, Penelhum, James and Moore.
Such arguments are not arguments that God exists but suggest believing God exists is rational. The most famous theistic pragmatic argument is Pascal’s Wager.
Pascal argues a rational person should live as though God exists and seek to believe in God. If God does not actually exist, such a person will have only a finite loss (some pleasures, luxury, etc.), whereas if God does exist, he stands to receive infinite gains (as represented by eternity in Heaven) and avoid infinite losses (eternity in Hell)
The ontological argument considers the nature of existence, possible worlds and the evolutionary origin of the concept of God to determine the existence of God. The Ontological Argument was argued by Western thinkers including Anselm, Haight, Descartes, Kant, Findlay, Malcolm and Hick.
Ontological argue God exists based on reason alone rather than observation of the world. The best-known ontological argument was that of St. Anselm in the 11th century where he claims to derive the existence of God from the concept of a being than which no greater can be conceived. He argued if such a being does not exist, then a greater being, one which no greater can be conceived and which has to exist, can be conceived. Given this would be erroneous, nothing can be greater than a being than which no greater can be conceived. So a being than which no greater can be conceived, namely God, exists.
Science describes a patterned universe using the term 'laws'. The way they are deployed suggests they are causal to events, namely they are entities that exist. There is a good degree of equivocation that goes on - as if they are simply descriptions of the world around us, then there is no explanation as to why events occur. If they are entities, what are they and what is their nature - questions that have no answers.
A little reflection on the laws of gravity, laws of the motion or the laws of thermodynamics suggests there cannot be laws without a legislator. Who is this legislator?
Everything points towards a creator and designer of this universe. The alternative is to believe it is all random, self-organising, without an organiser, which contradicts known scientific evidence.
The universe and all the things that we perceive have limited physical qualities. Since they could not give rise to their own limitations, something external must have imposed these limitations on them. The universe and all the things we perceive do not explain themselves by virtue of their own existence, and their components could have been arranged in a different way. Therefore, they are dependent, and dependent things do not exist independently.
Even if the universe was eternal, there must have been an external set of factors that gave rise to its limited physical qualities.
Additionally, the universe’s components or basic building blocks could have been arranged in a different way, and the universe could have not existed. The universe cannot explain itself by virtue of its own existence.
With these considerations, we can safely reject the view that the eternity of the universe somehow provides an explanation for its existence.
The Universe must have had a Transcendent Cause to bring it into existence from nothing to something. Given the complexity of the Universe, this Cause must have the ability, power and intelligence to produce all the effects we see. In theistic religions this Cause is termed, God or Allah.
Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything
David Berlinski, The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions
Hamza Tzortzis, The Divine Reality
Michael Palmer, The Question of God
William Lane Craig, The Cosmological Argument from Plato to Leibniz
William Lane Craig, The Kalam Cosmological Argument
Yujin Nagasawa, The Existence of God
It is wrong to say ‘let us enjoy the journey and forget about the destination’
We should first ask ‘what is the purpose of life?’
What is the value of life if we do not know the purpose of that life?
It is the greatest good for an individual to discuss virtue every day...for the un-examined life is not worth living – Socrates
God is testing us in our short life on earth; the wealthy father has the right to test his children before distributing the wealth.
Testing missions are not supposed to be easy and comfortable.
The test questions are not supposed to be known in advance.
Our life on earth is a very short period compared to the universe time scale; It could be a temporary test period.
There are hundreds of verses and teachings about that as mentioned in the following answer:
We have been asked to believe in God and Heaven but we have not seen God or heaven.
Our fate will be determined based on that belief and on our good deeds.
Why did God make it a difficult test for us?
Although God knows what’s in our hearts and what each of us might do, he tests us and wants us to witness our own test results in order to admit that we have been fairly rewarded according to our achievements as recorded in the test results
Before the wealthy father distributes his wealth, he may want to record which son is obedient, the records are not for the father who knows, but as a testimony for people who might question the justice of their father
Although the wise teacher knows the hard-working student and the lazy student, he prepares regular exams as testimonies so that the students would not say that the teacher had favored some students over the others. Exams also urge students to get prepared in order to succeed
We have not created the gifts of sight, intelligence, conscience, and many other gifts. Those who can see the miracles in everything around them and in their own creation then deny the existence of God, those must be mistaken.
There are many verses in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam to teach that God has created everything in heavens and earth. There are many other verses to teach that we are here for testing and there is an afterlife.
God has sent prophets to notify people that he has created and fine-tuned everything for them like the father who prepares good environment for his children to live.
The wife and husband who enjoy happy family life and do not thank God for the marriage happiness and for the gifts of healthy children must be mistaken for denying God’s gifts.
They have not created the love happiness; they have not created the children; the beautiful wife does not create her beauty; she could have been created ugly; the healthy husband does not create his health; he could have been created sick or blind.
When the father brings many gifts to his children, he likes the grateful son who thanks and does not like the child who is too busy with the gifts to thank the father for those gifts.
Everything in the universe is a miracle and is a proof about the existence of God
Everything in our own creation is a miracle and is a proof about the existence of God
Moving your hand is a miracle; check with a paralyzed person if you have doubts about that
Seeing and hearing are miracles, check with blind and deaf people if you have doubts
Every newborn baby is a miracle
Scientists cannot create any sort of male and female objects which will re-produce
Scientists cannot create a fly or a misquote
If the unbeliever wants a strong evidence about the existence of God or the afterlife (like to see God or someone should rise from the dead), then life will not be a test environment anymore.
Even if that miracle would happen, unbelievers might not be convinced and might find other excuses for their disbelief.
Those who can see the miracles in everything around them and in their own creation then deny the existence of God, might not believe even if someone should rise from the dead.
In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus taught the parable of The Rich Man and Lazarus and explained that If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.
“And even if We had sent down to them the angels and the dead spoke to them and We gathered together everything in front of them, they would not believe unless God should will. But most of them are ignorant” Qur’an 6:111
As recorded in Qur’an 52:35-36 unbelievers will be asked:
‘Were they created without a Creator? Or were they their own creators?
Or did they create the heavens and the earth? In fact, they have no firm belief’
“I did not call them to witness the creation of the heavens and the earth, nor their own creation, nor do I take those who lead mankind astray as My supporters”.
Some people ask: which God?
No other God has notified that he has created us and everything in the universe
The following verses and teachings have been revealed by the God of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
No other God has notified us that he has gifted us with sight, conscience, reasoning. and unlimited number of gifts.
Since we can see the miracles in everything around us and in our own creation as revealed by God to the prophets, we should also trust what God has revealed to the prophets even without seeing the heaven or hell.
The obedient son trusts what the father says about the future because the son has long history of what the father has provided in the past.
The following answers include the details:
Atheism isn’t a worldview nor does it determine a particular ideological outlook. It does however have some conceptual repercussions.
Fundamentally atheism leads to absurdities and conflict what we intuitively and conceptually know about being human.
A human is that which is:
1. Made of matter
2. Is alive
3. Having drives/instincts
4. A mind
On the mind there are four specific aspects of the mind.
2. Free will
4. Seeking moral justifications
5. Able to communicate in an abstract language.
So I then contrasted materialist atheist explanation of each of these aspects that make up a human being.
1. Matter that makes up a human being.
Atheism cannot explain where matter originally originated from that is necessary to produce a human being. Either they’ll affirm the logical impossibility of an infinite regress, or they’ll appeal to a brute fact (there’s just no explanation ultimately) or they’ll claim that matter came from nothing by magic (ie without any cause nor ultimate explanation).
Islam however explains that limited finite contingent matter requires a fundamental explanation which is a necessary being Allah swt who chose to create matter.
All atheists ultimately accept that life arose from lifeless matter (abiogenesis). Yet there’s no evidence whatsoever to justify this claim. All empirical evidence demonstrates life arose from something that’s alive. Yet that doesn’t stop atheists contradicting this evidence and adopting a belief system that has no evidence whatsoever for their belief in abiogenesis.
Islam states clearly that Allah swt (the living) is the source and ultimate creator of all living things within this universe.
3. Instincts in humans.
Atheists have no explanation beyond we evolved that way as to why we have a desire to worship. Let alone having a system that satisfies this fundamental desire and instinct in humans. In fact they try to live their lives denying this fact when even some key academics acknowledge they are simply fooling themselves.
“They point to studies showing, for example, that even people who claim to be committed atheists tacitly hold religious beliefs, such as the existence of an immortal soul.” (Graham Lawton staff writer for the new scientist)
Islam recognises that sanctification is central to the human condition and makes it the basis for human actions ie directed to worship Allah swt in all our actions by following divine guidance.
4a. Mind - Consciousness.
Atheist materialist have to affirm that consciousness arises from non conscious material. That the mind is simply brain states which are themselves products of non conscious particles that are behaving according to non conscious physical laws. This problem of explaining how consciousness arises is called the hard problem of consciousness. It’s a hard problem because there’s no way to bridge the gap between explaining how conscious states arose from matter. This is like claiming if you rub the lamp a genie pops out. But that doesn’t give any explanation to the genie. In the same way simply saying neuronal activity causes consciousness is like the genie example.
All neuroscientists and philosophers of the mind recognise that this is one of the fundamental problems in science how can we use a third person objective analysis to explain first person subjective experience. How can we explain the existence of qualia when the qualia is not necessarily connected to the reality we are experiencing. Eg the experience of the colour red is not something that exist in the light we are sensing. Similarly patterns that produce thought require a mind to already exist to recognise those patterns in the first place e.g., Morse code or any symbolic language (like action potentials in neurones or binary system in computers) does not tell us what the idea it’s communicating until a mind interprets these patterns. So the mind precedes the patterns it’s not the pattern or material that produces the thought.
This is an in principle problem In science with regards to consciousness.
Islam affirms we are conscious agents created by Allah swt to experience the world.
4b. Free will
Is something we all have a first person experience of however under materialism free will does not exist. All thoughts including your choices are simply prior existent causes of non conscious agents. You and your choices are like a ball rolling down a hill. It has not choice but inevitably has to follow the path of least resistance. As Sam Harris states:
“Free will is an illusion. Our wills are simply not of our own making. Thoughts and intentions emerge from background causes of which we are unaware and over which we exert no conscious control. We do not have the freedom we think we have.”
Islam on the other hand affirms we have choices to make and predicates our accountability on the choices we make whether to do with beliefs or actions.
Rationality presupposes we can make free choices based on the available evidence we have. However under atheist materialism we cannot have free will. We inevitably have to adopt the ideas we hold and as such we never rationally chose our ideas. It was determined for us to think the way we think from the moment of the Big Bang like a set of dominoes pushed over resulting in a cascade.
What makes this worse is that if we rationally conclude we are simply material and thus are determined by matter to hold the ideas we do then it becomes a self refuting idea. In essence we are saying we have rationally concluded we can’t have a rationally concluded idea but only a determined one. If that’s the case then you can’t rationally conclude determinism and thus materialism.
Islam affirms what we intuitively know that we have rationality which we can use to confirm that more than material is required to provide an explanation for existence and thus our mind.
4d. Morality requires free will to make moral choices.
The idea we can freely choose to undertake a moral or immoral act is the premise that we can choose these acts. But if we deny free will then we deny the ability to make free choices and as such we deny the ability to be moral. So a rapist was determined to act the way they did. Similarly a person who helps another. If they are determined then they have no choice and thus can’t make moral decisions.
What makes this more problematic under atheism is that there is ultimately no inherent meaning or purpose to life. There is no necessity to perform any moral acts. Thus morality is merely subjective to ones tastes and there’s no ultimate grounding for morality.
Islam grounds and anchors morality to the all knowing perfect creator. Hence what we like and dislike is irrelevant what builds a firm foundation is grounding our choices on the perfect infinite creator Allah’s divine guidance.
4e. Language cannot be explained by atheists.
That’s because for every word or proposition there are other words and propositions that are needed to explain them. And those would also require an explanation too. This problem is called Agrippa trilemma. That is either meanings for each word regresses back forever ie infinite regress. Or it’s cyclical (tautology) or there must be a brute fact basis for all meaning from which all other words rest their meaning upon.
This is an intractable problem in trying to explaining words and therefore language which is related to the problem of consciousness.
Again atheism has no grounding to explain language.
Islam on the other hand explains that Adam (as) was taught the names of things and that became the foundational basis to derive an develop language.
Atheism cannot explain what it means to be a human being. It’s not simply a problem of lack of knowledge that we will gain later. These are in principle problems that either results in absurdities like infinite regression or something from nothing. Or results in atheists having to deny what essentially makes us human like being conscious and having free will.
Islam thus has a solid foundation by which we can ascertain and ground what it means to be a human being.
On this basis why on earth would anyone seek to adopt atheism. It’s simply an absurd proposition.
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