Close your eyes if you will and imagine something with me. It’s the faint sound of metal grating against metal. Remember that wedge we were using in my last post to split up those monster blocks of wood? I have a friend in the shop doing a little iron sharpens iron dance. Be sure to protect your eyes friends, the sparks are starting to get intense!
Uncertainty is a razor. The only way it gets dulled is if it hits a hard wall of knowledge. At this point the razor must submit to what is true and valid in this life. We have a friend named William of Ockham to thank for that! Look him up. All of that being said, I want to examine some key kinds of questions that appear to sharpen this margin for doubt in the world.
In direct correlation to the question of God these are some key things to consider. Observations mind you, that exist very much within this margin for doubt.
- A key component for Christianity is the acceptance of miraculous divine claims and authority. All well and good, but wait, this is an equally key component for Islam and Judaism. In fact, divine claims in and of themselves are a key player in almost every form of religion imaginable. As human beings that are limited in knowledge and discernment does this in any way justify us to simply pick and choose in hopes that we are banking on the right set of divine claims? What justifies us (in the present) to have bias or favoritism in this regard? Especially since the pursuit of knowledge is one that should alleviate this temptation as much as possible, do I make a good point here?
- If it follows that we must in fact level the playing field in regards to divine claims then what kind of outlook should we have on the world? Should we only accept the assumptions that are common within one region? Shouldn’t we instead broaden our scope and realize that no human beings from any particular part of the world appear to have a leg up in regards to this pursuit of truth? It would appear that all human beings are in the same boat. This calls for a reassessment of methodology does it not?
- Since there is such undeniable variety in regards to religious claims, and again if you agree that there is no justifiable reason to favor one set of them over all others, then does this not automatically appear to increase the probability for error by quite a lot? Variety as well as contradictory statements within this category of divine claims would seem to justify a suspension of judgement in this regard. One is justified to doubt when assessing this broad situation.
A majority of Christians that I know possess a belief that stems from a few vague statements in Romans 1. It is the contention that all human beings possess some kind of internal awareness and accountability toward the one true God. What are the factors that appear to surround this belief? Divine authority and inspiration. This contention does not appear to take any other facts about our world into account. Objective observations about other people and their cultures is key. This is how I have set out to logically negate the notion that human beings possess some kind internal awareness or consciousness of God.
This is asserting something very interesting about all human beings. It asserts that people are without excuse because the God of Christianity is objective within creation as well as within the collective human conscious. 1) How is an invisible undetected being in any way objective? One of the vaguest notions I’ve ever read is the quote from Romans 1:20 where it says, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”
Take just a moment to ponder this verse with me by surveying every other competing body of beliefs. What is the more objective stance to take? 1) Romans 1 teaches that all human beings are distinctly aware of the one true God so that about sums it up, (consequently humans are just being dishonest) or, 2) The fact that there are literally thousands of other competing religious ideas negates this notion that all human beings are somehow aware of the Bible’s God.
I go with option number two. I do this because it is clear to me that such variety is far more likely to stem from a collective demonstration that human beings are agnostic and undefined about religion. Each culture puts its own unique spin on how to picture, define, and worship invisible divine beings. These beliefs are for the most part rather ancient and uninformed by science and other modern forms of philosophy and critical thinking. You may perceive this last statement as a bias, but I hope to have demonstrated above that the more open minded stance is one that considers the broad scope of divine claims over simply a regional set of claims. Science has a methodology and religion appears to only be built on a he said, she said kind of basis. It stems from authority, not a helpful methodology that employs a margin for doubt and the use of Occam’s razor law.
Stay tuned, as I have more relevant information to add into this wedge, that is the margin for doubt and error!