December 28, 2008

How To Make Atheists Believe In God

Albert Einstein during a lecture in Vienna in 1921Image via WikipediaLet me say at the outset that this is not a challenge, a demand for evidence, a call for miracles, or anything of the sort. I pose no grand test for believers to meet, nor do I intend this as a trap for the dimwitted. There is a very simple way that atheists can be persuaded to believe in god, and I will reveal it in this post. If those who call themselves religious ever want to defeat the big bad atheism once and for all, this is how to do it. Just realize that it will come at a bit of a price.

To persuade an atheist to believe in god, all one has to do is define "god" so broadly that it cannot possibly be doubted. A recent opinion piece in The Toronto Star by Rabbi Dow Marmur gives us an example of how this works.
Readers of books for or against religion, not least at this time of the year, may bear it in mind. Though exponents of dogmas and norms of every faith and denomination may be flawed, and though affirming God doesn't necessarily solve the vexing question about the persistence of evil in the world, or the mysteries of life and death, no amount of scientific advances can eradicate the fundamental human awareness of a power that's beyond us and which tradition has often identified as God.
By defining god as merely something beyond us, only the solipist can doubt god. I told you it was simple.

But surely, the religious person will argue, a god defined this broadly is rendered meaningless. I do not disagree. In fact, I suggest that we're already there. But remember, this all-inclusive sort of god was the god of Einstein, Sagan, Darwin, and countless others who both religious and atheist communities claim as their own. And just think of the appeal! The religious could claim every prominent scientist as one of their own if they would merely expand their definition of god and jettison that little matter of the supernatural.

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