Probe Ministries is a Christian apologetic ministry that prides itself on “research to address today’s issues through honest and respected Christian scholarship.” At one time I had seriously considered joining this organization. Recently, I received one of their Probe Alerts in which the following question was answered: “Why Do More Educated People Tend to Deny the Existence of God?” The question was answered by quoting from Catholic Theologian Dr. Peter Kreeft:
“Intellectuals resist faith longer because they can: where ordinary people are helpless before the light, intellectuals are clever enough to spin webs of darkness around their minds and hide in them. That’s why only Ph.D.s believe any of the 100 most absurd ideas in the world (such as Absolute Relativism, or the Objective Truth of Subjectivism, of the Meaningfulness of Meaninglessness and the Meaninglessness of Meaning, which is the best definition of Deconstructionism I know).”
Wow. So, according to Dr. Kreeft, my Ph.D. allows me to resist the almighty power of God (Irresistible Grace if you are a Calvinist as I once was) so that I can spin “webs of darkness in my mind”. I didn’t know I had that much power over God! Can it be that educated people are not, as a general rule, a superstitious people? Can it be that we see a leap of faith into a religious system as something dangerous? Can it possibly be that educated people tend to require EVIDENCE for their beliefs?
Dr. Kreeft and Probe Ministries want me to believe in their God, without any evidence, just because they think it is true. A spiritual realm has never been discovered. The supernatural has repeated been debunked. The holy book Dr. Kreeft wants me to accept is filled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies. In spite of factual errors the Bible makes in the realm we can check I am supposed to accept, on face value, the spiritual claims it makes that we have no means of checking. I’m sorry, but isn’t that a little bit arrogant? I should accept the Biblical god but stories of miracles and gods in other religious systems should be ignored because they are obviously foolish? As if talking snakes and donkeys, a virgin birth, walking on water, and a god-man rising from the dead aren’t foolish but perfectly reasonable stories? I guess I just need more evidence than a book of stories and folk lore from a desert dwelling people living 2000+ years ago.
I was a Christian for 26+ years and believed it hook line and sinker, but when I came to a point where I was compelled to evaluate the evidence again, I found it wanting and empty. If there was solid evidence, you wouldn’t need faith. As Mark Twain is quoted as saying “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so”. Even Hebrews 11:1 says: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”. No evidence needed. Faith tells you so. So, if faith is the standard to go by, why Christianity? Why not Islam or Hinduism or Buddhism? Why not Zeus or Thor or Odin or Buddha or Shiva or Santa Claus or, for that matter, the tooth fairy and unicorns? Isn’t having faith in their existence just as good?
Educated people tend to deny the existence of god because we require evidence. Which brings us to the question of why some educated people believe in god? I think Dr. Michael Shermer said it best: “smart people are very good at rationalizing things they came to believe for non-smart reasons” .