In my prior post I mentioned that for many skeptics of religion, the starting point for all inquiry is naturalism. Nature is all there is. There is no God or gods or spiritual realm.
And further: all events have a natural explanation , or at least potentially so. Ghosts, magic, miracles, voodoo, etc. — all will be debunked, now or in the future.
But of course naturalism is just one of several possible starting points. Let’s compare naturalism with its chief competitor, theism:
1. Naturalism: Holds to the principle that science can (or will) explain everything. Naturalists believe this is the only rational starting point for investigation of the world.
2. Theism: Says that the existence of the world and its basic properties can be best explained with God as a starting point.
Notice in #2 that God hasn’t been proven. That’s OK. #2 assumes God, just like #1 assumes naturalism. Both are unproven assumptions. Both are “starting points.”
A concrete example: A woman named Miriam experiences instantaneous healing of a severe skin rash in a prayer service.
The skeptic says, “Miriam’s ‘miraculous’ healing can and should be explained by natural causes.”
The believer says, “Miriam’s miraculous healing is best explained by the hand of God.”
So far, it’s a draw.
But if theism provides a better overall understanding of the world than does naturalism, then God is a better explanation for this healing than unaided natural forces.
So the question becomes whether theism can live up to its claim of “best explanation.” I’ll say something about that in my next post.
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