In Chapter II of the Confession, the Westminster Divines took no time to present a reasonable case for the existence of God, not because the issue was unimportant to them, but because they’d been tasked specifically to provide instruction to the Church as to what the Scriptures principally taught. Had they been given the subsidiary task of delivering an apologetic for those who remained skeptical of God, I trust they would’ve displayed admirable acumen in making that case.
Doug Wilson and Christopher Hitchens have been engaged in a traveling debate over the existence of God for some time now, a documentary of which was just released over the weekend. (say, what if we held a viewing and discussion some evening? Would you be interested?) Wilson is the pastor in Moscow, Idaho. Hitchens is, as you probably know, one of those referred to as the New Atheists, or in some circles, the militant atheists. As for an excerpt of Wilson’s defense of belief in God, consider this wry comment:
I]f the universe is what the atheist maintains it is, then this determines what sort of account we must give for the nature of everything — and this includes the atheist’s
thought processes, ethical convictions, and aesthetic appreciations. If you were to shake up two bottles of pop and place them on a table to fizz over, you could not fill up an auditorium with people who came to watch them debate. This is because they are not debating; they are just fizzing. If you were to shake up one bottle of pop, and show it film footage of some genocidal atrocity, the reaction you would get is not moral outrage, but rather more fizzing. And if you were to shake it really hard by means of art school, and place it in front of Michelangelo’s David, or the Rose Window of Chartres Cathedral, the results would not really be aesthetic appreciation, but more fizzing still.
If the atheist is right, then I am not a Christian because I have mistaken beliefs, but am rather a Christian because that is what these chemicals would always do in this arrangement and at this temperature. The problem is that this atheistic assumption does the very same thing to the atheist’s case for atheism. The atheist gives us an account of all things which makes it impossible for us to believe that any account of all things could possibly be true. But no account of things can be tenable unless it provides us with the preconditions that make it possible for our “accounting” to represent genuine insight. Atheism fails to do this, and the failure is a spectacular one. Nor does atheism allow us to have any fixed ethical standard, or the possibility of beauty.
If you’d like to see the full summary of their respective positions in written form, have a look here.
Thanks to Justin Taylor for the link.