Monday, March 14, 2016

The hole in the intelligence argument of atheism

I have regular contact with several people who are very open about being atheists. It doesn't bother me, it doesn't make me like them less, it doesn't really impact our relationship - and even our friendship - one bit. By and large they respect that I have chosen to place my faith and hope in God, and I try to respect that they have decided not to (at least at this point in our respective lives).

I have often heard, and agree with, the position that it is somewhat ridiculous for Christians to try to convince a non-Christian of the validity of the bible by using THE BIBLE. If someone doesn't believe in our faith, why on earth would they believe the basis for our faith? So I have no problem with non-Christians saying they don't want to hear the bible used as a reason they should believe.

On the other hand, though, I think the same argument should be considered by atheists when they try to use intelligence to argue against faith. I stumbled upon this thought the other day during my morning bible reading. 1 Corinthians 1:18-wherever was the New Testament reading for the day. 1 Cor. 1:18-25 says:
18 The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. 19 As the Scriptures say,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise
    and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”
20 So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. 21 Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. 22 It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. 23 So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.
24 But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.

 I am not advocating for dumbness - and I don't believe that's what is being called for in this text either - but using the wisdom of the world to try to argue that God does not exist doesn't exactly hold water to someone who places no faith in the world's wisdom. It has no more validity than a Christian trying to use the bible to convince someone who doesn't believe in it.

So, what are we to do then? Well, maybe what we are NOT supposed to do is argue with one another over who is right and who is wrong. How about if, instead, we could accept others as they are, respect those who believe different than us, and love one another in our differences, for the sake of all humanity. Personally, I think God can sort it all out just fine himself. Now, that doesn't mean we can't still speak from our respective perspectives, but I don't think we need to try to change people's minds.

So, that's what I was thinking about today...