Is it ever rational to have faith in God?
Over the past years, the question regarding rationality and faith in God has dominated many important discussions. In fact, the question has long been a source of argument amongst individuals who believe in God and those who believe that God exists. There is a difference between having faith in God and knowing that He exists. Believing in God means that one trusts Him and commits his or her life to Him whereas, the belief of God's existence is based on a specific proposition that demonstrates God exists (Jordan). It can be said that both logics show there is a God. Perhaps, without God, the universe and human beings would not have existed. As such, the universe is full of God's work, which makes one believe in God and His existence. This paper will prove that it is rational to have faith in God. The discussion will be based on the basic arguments that have been used over the decades to attest God's existence.
In order to understand the various arguments that would be presented in this paper, it is essential to explain the meaning of rationality. The simple definition of rationality is – conformity of one's faith with one's reasons to have faith, and acting in accordance with the facts of reality (Davis 114). Rationality deals more with how one believes instead of what one believes. What rationality requires is an appropriate purpose. In other words, one must reason consistently. By choosing to act rationally, one confesses trust in their mind. The more often one does this, the more one will believe what he or she is practicing. Rationality makes one accept that the mind is potent and that they can make the right decisions. For that reason, believing in God is all about having an appropriate purpose and reasoning.
Kalam Cosmological perspective is one of the major arguments to explain why it is rational to have faith in God. According to this argument, whatever starts to exist has a cause (Davis 79). The fact that the universe started to exist means there is a cause. This premise is true because nothing can begin to exist without a cause. The existence of the universe can also be supported by science and philosophy. Thomas Aquinas, the great thirteenth philosopher, gives strong evidence that the universe has a beginning. He argues that nothing moves for no reason. The movement must be caused by something, and whatever caused that movement must be triggered by something else, and so on. Nonetheless, the chain cannot move towards the back and can only move forward. The universe involves motion, which must have been caused by an unmoved mover – the first cause to begin the entire chain moving because no matter can move. These premises proves that the universe has a cause, and this cause must have been a timeless, powerful, and supernatural (Jordan). In this case, it is rational saying that these attributes refer to God.
A present-day objection to the above argument is that some motions in quantum mechanics such as radioactive decay have no apparent cause (Steane 51). Indeed, this is a weak objection and cannot be used to repudiate the fact that whatever starts to exist has a cause. Just because scientists do not perceive a cause does not mean there is not one. It simply means that science has not discovered it yet and possibly will find it someday. But again, the discovery of that cause will be caused by something, which is caused by something else, and so on. As such, although science may fail to find the initial cause of something, it cannot be concluded that there is no cause. It merely means that the initial cause lies beyond the realm of science.
Similar to the cosmological argument, the teleological argument strengthens the case for a rational belief in God. The argument talks about the manifestation of order in the world (Davis 88). This order can be elaborated through personal reasons or scientific laws. Personal reasons describe things such as order, purpose or ability. Scientific laws, on the other hand, illuminate things like the laws of motion or law of gravity. One thing about these personal reasons and scientific laws is that the universe encompasses order. It is worth mentioning that a slight change in the universe can generate a catastrophe. Science has revealed this elusive balance over the past three decades (Steane 34). For instance, if there is a slight change in the mass of the proton, there would be no likelihood of existence. There has to be a smart creator who finely tuned these substances. Just like an architect design a building, a programmer writes a computer program and a painter draws an image, the universe has to have a creator, who brought about the order. All of this demonstrates that science does not refute God's existence; however, it provides a rational explanation that there has to be an intelligent creator who designed the universe.
The other argument to support the rational belief in God can be based on moral values. Something has to be right or wrong as per the moral code. The moral values do not show what is right or wrong, but what ought to be considered morally right or wrong (Jordan). It is very challenging to tell someone that he or she ought to do something. In most cases, people could perhaps say that they think it is better to do something; nonetheless, this becomes personal morality. Thus, in order to have an objective morality that can be used for all people, there is a need to have an objective authority. Lack of objective authority is attributed to creating specific moral laws, which may not fit everybody. Only God holds the objective moral authority and this offers the basis for authority in this universe (Davis 103). In other words, this means that it is rational to have faith in God as He is the objective moral law-giver.
It is also fascinating that one must have an absolute denial to refute moral principles. Objective morals exist and it is very difficult and even impossible to say otherwise. As soon as someone does an action which is not right and they are criticized, it means making a moral statement. The fact is that the person is being informed to follow objective morals. Any time a person asserts that the world is unjust and full of wickedness, they are confirming objective moral laws. Therefore, the attempt to disprove God's existence in the universe using diverse propositions actually affirms his existence. Without God, there would be no objective morals and it would be impossible to survive in this world (Clingerman 277). Claiming that God does not exist is like believing that something occurred accidentally, with no explanation and no adequate cause. Undoubtedly, this proves the rational faith in God.