A few weeks ago I sat in the student union of Santa Rosa Junior College with a cool young atheist (let’s just call him CYA).
He told me he would never believe in God, even if God appeared to him personally.
To CYA’s thinking, a supposed appearance by God would be more rationally explained by his own hallucinations than by a deity actually showing up.
You may wonder if CYA employs a certain method or set of guidelines for discerning truth. Of course:
Most of us think of science as a tool for studying natural phenomena. But this student thinks of it as a complete worldview — which is sometimes called scientism. One of the enormous implications of this view is that anything not found within the boundaries of science doesn’t even exist.
To me, scientism doesn’t sound very scientific.
Here’s an analogy I often use: Thinking that science (by itself) is the right tool for detecting God is like setting mouse traps for elephants. When the mouse traps come up empty, are we to conclude that elephants don’t exist?
Christian philosophers set elephant traps — that is, God traps — by weaving together arguments and evidence from a variety of disciplines (including science).
By the way, when we pointed out to CYA that his worldview sounded very close-minded to us, he actually agreed. “Yes, I’m very uncomfortable with that,” were his very words.