We now return to our spotty engagement with Rick Cornish’s book 5 Minute Apologist. Today’s quote comes from a chapter that discusses the existence of God as it builds toward the following climax:
“When all the available evidence is considered, it overwhelmingly supports the existence of a personal, moral Spirit distinct from the world but active in it. God exists and knowledge of Him is possible. Honest, objective investigation repays our efforts with more than adequate evidence to know him.” (116)
There are two points to note from this statement. First, Cornish claims that the evidence in support of theism (as opposed not only to atheism but also to deism) is “overwhelming”. The final sentence makes clear the implications of this: if a person really is committed to “Honest, objective investigation” they will become a theist. In other words, where intellectual honesty is concerned, atheists and deists need not apply.
This statement has an uncomfortable implication: necessarily everyone who does not conclude that there exists ” a personal, moral Spirit distinct from the world but active in it” is either not being objective or not being honest in their assessment of evidence, or both.
Such sweeping judgments run the risk not only of alienating all those who do not believe that “a personal, moral Spirit distinct from the world but active in it exists”. They also face a defeater from the fact that many of these doubters (though of course not all) may appear at least as objective and honest as many of those who do believe that “a personal, moral Spirit distinct from the world but active in it exists.”
All this calls to mind a discussion I had a couple years ago on the question “Are atheists all fools?” And as it does it raises the uncomfortable question: what if they aren’t?