This is part three of the “Must We Prove God?” posts, inside the larger series of Notepad Apologetics.
After taking a slight detour in my last post to the relation of God and science, I wish to return to the original question:
Must we prove God to justify belief in God?
The short answer is no. Christian philosophers have taken two main approaches to the question:
1. Evidentialist approach: Evidence and arguments can be marshaled to show that Christian faith is reasonable. This is the approach taken by philosopher William Lane Craig (and many others such as Ravi Zacharias and Timothy Keller).
A VGC (very good case) can be made for God, even if it falls short of the impossibly high standard of proof — as do most things in life.
2. Basic approach: Start with God and build out from there. God as a starting point seems counter-intuitive to those educated under the predominance of science, which tells us to withhold belief in things that can’t be empirically proven.
Yet, philosopher Alvin Plantinga started a revolution in the philosophy of religion by showing that belief in God is just as basic as believing in one’s own existence. Furthermore, on this “first premise” of God, an entire worldview can be built that is coherent in itself and also provides massive explanatory power regarding the world and all human experience.*
* * *
Again, the two responses to the demand for “proof” of God’s existence are to provide evidence and argumentation to show that belief in God is reasonable, or secondly, just start with God . . . and build out from there.
*See Plantinga’s debate with atheist philosopher Daniel Dennett in Science and Religion: Are They Compatible?