A novel argument for God
January 31, 2013
What happened to me
There’s lots of different arguments for God. For me personally though, it was considering what beliefs had to say about me, myself, which had the most impact. It became apparent to me, for example that ideas of free will and the idea of “choosing” to have meaning – an existentialist response to nihilism were basically impossible on a strict materialist view of the universe.
I am not sure this will make a great deductive argument, but I’ll try to put it in one.
(1) We have free will.
(2) Free will is incompatible with strict philosophical naturalism which only admits stochastic events or determinism.
(3) Therefore strict philosophical naturalism is untrue.
Of course people can (and often do) go the other way and reject the idea of having free will, and I’d be fine with that. Personally I have no idea if we have free will or not. But if, like me, you get out of the argument by rejecting (1) then it makes no sense to then talk in ways, or to answer other ways which require real choice. And I have to say, going against free will seems to go against our every experience.
The free will theorem
But it isn’t just for your own free will that makes things tricky. Things get even weirder when you consider an interesting gem, based on the Kochen-Specker theorem. I’m thinking of the free will theorem introduced by Conway and Kochen. That provided people accept they have “free will”, and standard physics, then it follows that the type of same “free will” also lies behind even elementary particles.
From an atheistic perspective saying there’s a free will behind particles seems absurd. Perhaps chance, might be acceptable, but then on what basis are you saying what lies behind a person is a will, and what lies behind the particles is not?
Again, personally, I have no dog in this fight one way or the other. But that’s just because these days I’m a theist. I’m happy either with free will (when I’d be some variant of Molinism) or without it (when some variant of Calvinism might be the go). But I have never seen a good way to square it with philosophical naturalism… which we commonly call atheism. Like so many times I found that view has consequences. It isn’t compatible with any number of things, and force people to take all sorts of different beliefs. But atheism doesn’t offer any evidence, and so we’re left making massive calls about the nature of ourselves, even the nature of what lies behind elementary particles, and to do that based on nothing. For me, many years ago, thinking about these issues that was incredibly constraining. To think, maybe, just maybe, God exists was one of the most liberating thoughts that I ever had.