Two Kinds of Truth
There are two kinds of truth: a truth that is developed by reason[i] and self-evident truth. If we allow the latter to be pulled into the former, the latter and former are both lost. The very idea of knowing anything to any degree of certainty would be lost.
If a man denies that there is a cosmic order, i.e., a God, which I believe to be a self-evident truth,[ii] what grounds does he have to believe that his reasoning can be trusted? If his reasoning is nothing more than a bundle of atoms interacting with each other in his brain, how can he trust it? Can he use reason to prove reason without first assuming that his reason can be trusted? He may say that reasoning can be trusted because it was perfected by natural selection, but that is to say that a mindless force we called nature created reasoning and then perfected it by another mindless force, natural selection. The atheist must trust or have faith in a blind force in order to trust his reasoning. If he believes in reasoning, he must believe in it through a leap of faith in a blind force, which in my thinking begins to look a lot like a God hypothesis called by the name, reason.
To really be consistent with his atheism, he must maintain that everything (including his reasoning) is a mere illusion of his biological illusion maker that is in his brain. Then in order to function in the world, he must split the world into what is real and what is an illusion, and he must choose to live in and out of his illusions for it is impossible to live in the world he thinks is reality. On top of this and at the same time, he must cling to the belief or the illusion that he and his beliefs are reasonable and everyone else’s (believers) are unreasonable.
He is like an actor on stage pretending to live out an imaginary story but believing at the same time that backstage is reality, which is meaningless and chaotic. Of course, if he pretends long enough, he may begin to believe that the play is real, or if he gets really caught up in the story, he may even forget that it is all just make-believe. The paradox is that often while playing out the story, he holds his audience in contempt for not knowing that the story he is performing in, is not real, or for not knowing what’s going on behind the curtain.
I have found that few atheists have the courage to take their beliefs to their logical conclusion for fear of the life it would produce. So, they proclaim one set of beliefs while living by another. They claim to find meaning in a universe, which they say has no meaning, and they claim to have a purpose in a cosmos that they claim has no purpose. They claim to be rational, in fact, the most rational of humans; however, does not rationality demand a willingness to take your own thinking to its logical conclusions and in turn, live out those conclusions? Yet, I have never met an atheist who has consistently lived out his own thinking. Now, this is not to say they do not exist, but rather I have never met any.
Without a cosmic order, does not reason take you to the point of questioning reason itself? Does not pure skepticism demand that you become skeptical about your own skepticism? Should not a true doubter, doubt his own doubts? Without self-evident truth, reasoning will, in the end, chase its own tail. You must have something to reason from; you cannot reason from doubt. As William James said, “You must have a will to believe something.” Reason must start with something and cannot start with nothing. Even the atheist must start with something: “I believe there is no God.” Here he starts with assuming that his reason is sound. Then he moves to himself “I” and his belief there is no God. However, he cuts off the limb he is sitting on when he says, “no God.” Can a finite “I” make such a statement without being the very thing that he denies exists, i.e., God? [iii] Moreover, can he make such a statement without having blind faith in reason?
[i] These are truths that are formed by deduction and inductive reasoning. However, these truths are not the facts in themselves but are ideas that are inferred from the facts. Believers believe they can trust reason because it is the reflection of a reasonable God in whom image, we are created.
[ii] Some might raise the objection, If the existence of God is self-evident, why are there so many who do not see it? Jesus said, “Some people have eyes but do not see.” Sometimes overexposure deadens our sensitivity to a thing. We are often actually insensitive to our senses until they are impaired in some way. We seldom think about seeing or our eyes until something threatens our sight. When looking out a window, we will not often see the glass unless we focus on it. The reason for this is that we have given our full attention to the things that we are watching outside the window. However, if the window is dirty or has a crack in it, we see it immediately. The problem with modern man is that he is too focused on things to see God. However, his lack of focus does not mean that God does not exist.
[iii] To make an absolute statement that there is no God, a person would have to know everything in this vast universe and be everywhere at the same time. For if he did not know everything, the thing he might not know is that there is a God, and if he was not everywhere at the same time, the place he was not at might be the very place God exists.