God as an unreasonable proposition

By Jug Suraiya

When asked to prove that God does not exist, an atheist replied that, as God is a needless hypothesis, it is not necessary to prove his non-existence, but for believers to prove that he does in fact exist.

In legal terms, in the absence of evidence a case brought up for adjudication will be dismissed out of court. Similarly, in mathematical or scientific terms, any proposition which is not validated by reasoning or experimentation cannot be an acceptable proposition.

For example, in geometry the proposition that the square on the hypotenuse of a triangle is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides requires the theorem devised by Pythagoras to demonstrate its validity.

What are the ‘proofs’ put forward for the existence of God? There is the Platonic argument that we, as imperfect mortals, have the concept of a perfect being only because God exists.

This is like saying that a pauper who dreams of untold wealth ‘proves’ the existence of a fictive crorepati.

The most common argument made for the existence of God, which has become part of school curricula in the US and elsewhere, is that of ‘intelligent design’, based on the infinite complexity of the myriad life forms which surround us and of which we ourselves are part.

‘Intelligent designers’ argue that to say that such complexity could arise out of random chance is like claiming that a Boeing 747 aircraft could be built by a tornado sweeping through a junkyard and putting bits and pieces together purely by accident.

There has to be an ‘Intelligent Designer’ who created the Boeing 747 of the cosmos. Neo-atheists like Richard Dawkins turn this proposition upside down by saying that such an ‘Intelligent Designer’ must have been designed by another Intelligent Designer, ad infinitum, and ad absurdum.

The root of the problem in trying to prove, or disprove, the existence of God is that such attempts are based on reasoning, the process of logical thought.

In his Critique of Pure Reason, Kant outlined the boundaries, or limitations, of rationality by posing paradoxical questions to which logic could provide no resolution.

For example, we may mentally grasp the concept of eternity, an already existing endless state of things, with no beginning and no end. But in conceiving such a continuum we must conclude it has already ended, which is a logical impossibility because an infinity which ends would not, by definition, have been an infinity at all.

Similarly, if we take an infinite number and halve it, each half would also be infinite, so we’d have two infinities, which is absurd.

Kant’s greatest critic was the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard who sought to dispel the mists of pure thought in which the other had lost himself by evoking the impulse of intuition.

Faced by the impossibility of attempting to know the unknowable, the ship of rationality must wreck itself on the rocky reef of paradox from where we make the leap to faith.

According to the ancient Greeks there are two ways of apprehending all phenomena. One is through logos, or logic, and the other through mythos, an intuitive faculty which transcends rationality and is associated with spirituality, artistic creation, and great breakthroughs in science.

In that the concept of a Divine Being is beyond our powers of understanding or ‘under standing’, being below the ability to mentally grasp the concept, God is an un-reasonable proposition. QED.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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