Do some skeptics really want answers? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Have you ever seen a meme like this?
Now I fully agree that reality is interesting and we should not be content with ignorance. Unfortunately, the idea is that religions treat questions as something hideous to encounter and science loves the questions. Also, if you are someone who is scientific, you will want to go and find out the answers.
Now never mind that something like this never defines science or religion, but I can’t expect a meme to do something like that. I do have something to say on the idea I see that leads me to think that many skeptics do not truly have a scientific mindset. Anyone can raise a question, but how many questions are raised that one goes out and seeks the answers?
For instance, let’s consider a question in science. Many readers of my blog know I take no stance on evolution. I do not argue for it and I do not argue against it. My interpretation of Scripture doesn’t change depending on the question or does any doctrine of Christianity I hold to.
Yet if I had one question, it would be this. In reproduction, the whole of the male and female systems are essential and have to work together in order to produce a new life. I really don’t know how it is that these could develop independently. I can understand how some body systems could perhaps be formed by gradual steps. This one I don’t see.
At the same time, I know I am not studied in the sciences and so I don’t use that as a reason to disavow evolution entirely and say it’s nonsense. Some I have interacted with who do hold to evolution have presented real research done on this question which I appreciate. I honestly haven’t had the chance to do any of that yet since not too much hangs on this question to me. Before I said yes or no entirely to evolution, I would need to spend a lot of time in study and really, I have other things I want to study more.
Yet it would be a problem if I raised the question and said, “I see no answer to this question and I am not bothering to do the research and I will decide without doing that.” However, I think too many people do this with religion, and not just Christianity, but any religion. Of course, my main emphasis is on Christianity, but if you are fair to any worldview, the same applies.
Every worldview is complex. You are talking about how all of reality works. There will be hard questions and no, not every answer can fit into the Twitter character limit. Some questions require longer and more in-depth answers.
This is not just the way it is for religious worldviews. Theists have a lot of hard questions for atheists and atheists being honest will admit that these are real questions that need real answers if their worldviews are going to hold. The same applies for Christianity and any theistic worldview.
Anyone can raise a question, but if someone raises a question and says that question is keeping them from that position and is not seeking an answer to that question, I have to wonder if it is really an honest question. One such example against Christianity is the problem of evil. I really consider this a more simplistic way to try to eliminate Christianity. However, it does appeal to emotions which can easily override reason.
For one thing, everyone has to answer this question. This is our world together and we all have to deal with it. A skeptic could say that’s just the byproduct of a world of chaos, but at that point, someone like G.K. Chesterton would ask how the problem of pleasure is dealt with. Why is there so much that is good in this world? For some reason, this is not usually considered a problem, but it is.
Not only do we have to deal with evil, somehow we have to ask if there is any hope. Now a skeptic could freely agree and say “I agree that Christianity can provide hope for those suffering in an afterdeath, but there’s no way to prove that.” Sure. There isn’t, but this is about consistency. Is the Christian answer coherent and can it provide hope? Yes. That doesn’t mean it’s true, but it does mean it is consistent. (And no, just because an answer involves God does not mean that it is incoherent)
Anyone can raise the objection, but go and read the best defenses of the problem of evil, people like Alvin Plantinga and Clay Jones. See what they have to say. Maybe you won’t be convinced, but you can at least know what they think.
In the same way, whatever your question is, try to read the best that you can of what you’re questioning. Contrary to what you may think, Christians at least have been asking questions of themselves. If you go and read some of the early church fathers or later thinkers like Aquinas and Augustine, you would be tempted to think they were answering questions we are asking today. You could even say we were sometimes answering questions that weren’t even being asked. I seriously doubt in Aquinas’s day some people were questioning if God even existed, but lo and behold, his five ways are still used today.
Again, anyone can ask a question. Going and getting an answer is something different. It may require work and time, but if you care about a truth like that enough to a central question, it should be worth it.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
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