Imagine yourself as an asthmatic little boy, don’t miss my drift here I’m not trying to be mean! Imagine yourself as the young boy from the movie Signs: starring, Mel Gibson. Good movie by the way, I’m kind of craving another viewing as we speak! Back to the topic at hand, it’s dark, you’re starting to walk through the corn field with nothing but a small flashlight because your dog got startled and ran off. It’s really eerie and kind of quiet. All you hear is the wind lightly shuffling the leaves all around you. As you look straight ahead about three rows in front of you, eyes adjusting, you can barely make out some kind of obscure figure, it looks as if you may not be the only one walking around on two legs rather than four! Suddenly, you are blinded by a beam of light and….

Well, then I appear. Pull up a chair my friends because there is nothing wrong with being a skeptical person in light of having considered all of the available facts about a matter. I’d like to illustrate why arguing for a position of faith is a little bit like sending a beam down from a spaceship and sucking people into the portal, so to speak! The spaceship of course represents the realm that is not known to us fellow earthlings, yet it doesn’t stop us from wondering, am I right?

In light of my previous arguments about how faith is clearly differentiated from knowledge, I’d like my believing friends to consider why Theism must argue from the top-down, rather than from the ground-up? Theism implores everyone to simply accept the authority of the Bible, as well as its divine claims, and it does this without bridging the gap. That is the margin for doubt that I’ve been arguing for. So it is that I must challenge my believing friends in this regard: Why is this the case and how much could be at stake here?

Once again, if we ourselves are not able to speak from a position of clear certainty then how does this illustrate the necessity for belief in the God of Theism? Also, does this not increase the potential to plug in the actual knowledge that has been gathered in the world and misuse it to identify an unknown source? Namely, God? It is this observation that I am making right now that brings many serious thinkers to depart with faith.

As much as we respect the people that have labored hard to argue for the truth claims of Theism, we would rather suspend judgment about these matters than to take a shot in the dark. The fact is that in the absence of reasonable certainty and clear validation of a truth claim, the potential for erroneous reasoning increases substantially. This is why science and many other forms of knowledge remain neutral endeavors. This is where we find our balance on the scale of weighing the evidence.

Please don’t be offended by my last statement, rather, I’m asking many of you to truly consider if this is in fact the case about Theistic claims across the board? I’m even talking about the work of giants like William Lane Craig and Alvin Plantinga. When arguing from the top-down all one needs is a book full of many extraordinary claims and some brilliant minds to start creating a cohesive picture of what is going on. The endeavor of Philosophy. Beautiful illustrations such as can be elaborated by the likes of C.S. Lewis. I’m not sitting here and telling you that I don’t admire the contributions and thoughts of these brilliant minds.

What I’m asking is this: Is it possible to have a book full of unsubstantiated, yet extraordinary claims, and it is possible to create a structure that ignores the knowledge gap and shoots for the stars? If one cannot be presently certain and erase all doubt about the God question then how many other possibilities are there? It seems to me and many other skeptics that the possibilities are endless in this regard because we are then not remaining grounded within the world we are standing in. It’s a little too risky for me to take such a leap into abstract ideas in light of what I and many other endeavors of knowledge do not yet know. Thank you for your time friends, and please consider what I am saying!

4 thoughts on “Top > Down Argumentation

  1. This is no different from starting out with the assumption that Harry Potter is true. If I start out with the assumption that magic and wizards and spells are all real, then anything is possible.

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      1. I thought it was well put together. I especially liked the part about science being neutral. Christians always claim that science is against them. In reality, science is neither for nor against religion–science is indifferent towards religion. (I don’t remember who said that, and I’m paraphrasing). The point is, and I think you stated this well, is that science is admittedly limited in its current knowledge. However, to make assumptions and leaps of faith to fill in the gaps only does us a disservice in that it keeps us from seeking out the real answers. Imagine where we’d be if we still accepted geocentricity and never sought out a more intellectually satisfying answer!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Bingo, Jon! I like the way you think! Another thing I’m beginning to realize is that I think the distrust is mostly rooted within how we folks in the secular world intend to achieve a valuable moral framework. There is a deep concern that a departure from a Theistic framework for morality is akin to throwing all of our principles out of the window! Yes, now I can sleep around with whomever I wish! Now I can beat people up and steal their money, who cares, right! I have no objective foundation, or so it is alleged. I think this kind of perspective actually fails to see that there is still an objective reality from which we judge between harmful and good, beneficial and unbeneficial, logical and stupid, and yes, good and evil. This is part of the whole package of what it means to be a human being in a world such as this. Why read into things any further than what can truly be known? I intend to keep asking these questions gently and with a good mind to leave a good example for my everyone who knows me personally. 🙂

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