Always I have been of the opinion that the unanswered questions of belief are much easier to live with than those of unbelief. For example (and this is a huge one for me), if I choose naturalism (which I see to be the only real alternative to theism), then I must accept that somewhere, at some time, something came into existence out of absolutely nothing. (For all the efforts of contemporary atheists to escape what Frank Hoyle [Ed. – I believe he meant “Fred Hoyle”] saw clearly as the implications of big bang cosmology, this consequence still stands undefeated.)
I don’t get why this argument resonates with theists. Oh…I understand wanting to know what happened at the Big Bang; wanting to know how the universe works—what made the clock start to tick. What I don’t get is why “God” is such a good answer.
Look, we have an innate desire to present an Answer to a Question. Present a solution to a difficulty. If you have picked up any relationship book written in the past 50 years, you have read how men are supposed to learn when women present them with a problem, they don’t want a solution—they just want someone to listen. We are informed, and have to learn and often fail in suppressing our natural inclination to present a solution before our wives have even finished relaying what happened!
And our universe presents some great questions. Like the Big Bang. Or the start of life. Or why deep-fried Twinkies taste good when regular Twinkies do not. And certainly we want answers to those questions. But we want actual answers—not some propped up idea that is both unhelpful and presents more questions!
I had a teacher who, whenever you prefaced a question with “I have a question” would always interrupt with “I have an answer; let’s see if they match.” This resulted in conversations like:
Student: I have a question—
Teacher: Good. I have an answer; let’s see if they match.
Student: --what chapters are we supposed to read?
Teacher: Oh, too bad. My answer was ‘Three blind mice.’
While I appreciate he was attempting to break us of the habit of prefacing a question with a useless clause—doing it every…single…time…became annoying. Yet I get that same sense with the convenience of God
“Where did the universe come from?”
“How did life form?”
“What keeps atoms from blowing apart?”
“How do we impose our moral sense on others?”
“Say God says it.”
“Is our few years of life it?”
“What if I am struggling with my current situation?”
Like the theist has the same perpetual answer for any difficult question. An answer that, in the end isn’t very helpful. It is that co-worker who, when you tell them your car wouldn’t start that morning, says, “There must be something wrong with your car.” Hey—thanks for the valuable insight. Never crossed my mind! I thought cars were supposed to not start!
How did God start the universe? The theist doesn’t know.
What morals does a God impose? The theist makes a guess.
How did God initiate life? The theist doesn’t know.
What exists after this world? The theist makes a guess.
What would a God do to help me today? The theist doesn’t know.
This is what puzzles me about this argument. If you are going to propose an “answer” to our problem—shouldn’t it progress us forward toward a resolution? Instead, the God hypothesis introduces another character we know even less about, with even less understanding (or equal) as to how the problem would be resolved.
I almost find this argument…lazy. Like looking for a solution is too hard to do. So much easier to presume there is this “Unknown Entity” and lay the credit at its feet.