At the moment we have a book group reading Unapologetic, by Francis Spufford. We met last night, and one of the points which inspired discussion was the statement that:
…I’m only ever going to get faith by some process quite separate from proof and disproof…
Over the years there have been lots of attempts to prove or disprove the existence of God; some people have found them convincing (in either direction), some haven’t.
Personally I don’t find any of them convincing (actually this is not true – I find some of the arguments against the existence of God completely unconvincing!); so why do I believe?
I believe because the demands that God makes on me make more sense of my life than any other alternative. Now of course, this sometimes means that I don’t believe in the God that most of the New Atheists don’t believe in either!
If faith/belief is about holding a number of truth statements, as the New Atheists believe (note the use of “believe” – I am not aware that any of them have proven that this is faith) then perhaps it is possible to disprove. However, if it is about how one lives ones life…
Sundays Gospel Reading is:
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’
Note that we are called to make disciples, baptize and teach. Most churches teach, baptize and make disciples. The order in which we do this does matter. If we teach first there is no experience of God on which to hang the teachings; if we first make disciples then there is an experience of God which, when we teach, can interpret the teachings and recognise the attempt to explain God in words (not an easy task).