The Common Consent Argument for the Existence of God, Part 3

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The Reasons to Believe #77

Our Reasons to Believe passage from the Word of God today is Acts 2:38-39. It reads, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, [even] as many as the Lord our God shall call.”

Our Reasons to Believe quote for today is from Phillips Brooks. He, “The Bible is like a telescope. If a man looks through his telescope, then he sees the worlds beyond; but if he looks at his telescope, then he does not see anything but that. The Bible is a thing to be looked through, to see that which is beyond; but most people only look at it; and so they see only the dead letter.”

Our Reason to Believe powerpoint today is titled “The Common Consent Argument for the Existence of God” part 2 from “The Handbook of Christian Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli:

Today, we will continue looking at some questions and answers regarding The Common Consent Argument for the Existence of God:

Question 2: But isn’t there a very plausible psychological account of religious belief? Many nonbelievers hold that belief in God is the result of childhood fears; that God is in fact a projection of our human fathers: someone “up there” who can protect us from natural forces we consider hostile.

Reply A: This is not really a naturalistic explanation of religious belief. It is no more than a statement, dressed in psychological jargon, that religious belief is false. You begin from the assumption that God does not exist. Then you figure that since the closest earthly symbol for the Creator is a father, God must be a cosmic projection of our human fathers. But apart from the assumption of atheism, there is no compelling evidence at all that God is a mere projection.

In fact, the argument begs the question. We seek psychological explanation only for ideas we already know (or presume) to be false, not those we think to be true. We ask, “Why do you think black dogs are out to kill you? Were you frightened by one when you were small?” But we never ask, “Why do you think black dogs aren’t out to kill you? Did you have a nice black puppy once?”

Reply B: Though there must be something of God that is reflected in human fathers (otherwise our symbolism for him would be inexplicable), Christians realize that the symbolism is ultimately inadequate. And if the Ultimate Being is mysterious in a way that transcends all symbolism, how can he be a mere projection of what the symbol represents? The truth seems to be — and if God exists, the truth is — the other way around: our earthly fathers are pale projections of the Heavenly Father. It should be noted that several writers have analyzed atheism as itself a psychic pathology: an alienation from the human father that results in rejection of God.