I've seen it claimed, in discussions regarding differing worldviews, that atheism itself is a worldview, or even that strong (or "militant") atheism is a religion. (For the record, I would not consider atheism a religion, though I would consider it a worldview.)

A response that I've seen is that atheism is not a worldview because it is not a belief, rather it is merely a "default position". The rationale given sometimes compares belief in God to unicorns or some other such mythical animal, in the sense that unbelief in such things (or anything, really) is the default until convinced (or proven) otherwise.

While I can certainly see the reasonableness of this line of thinking and its general applicability, I wonder if it applies equally well to the question of God. There's at least two reasons to think in this specific case things might be different. First, the vast majority of people throughout history have believed God (or gods) exist(s), a phenomenon which remains the case today. Should a belief be regarded as a default position when the majority believe the opposite?

And secondly, related to the above, if Richard Dawkins and those who agree with him are correct that human beings have evolved a natural proclivity towards belief in God(s) as some sort of survival/social assistance mechanism, should not belief in God be considered the default position, since we are supposedly "hard-wired" for such belief? Shouldn't such naturally impelled belief be considered the default? Although I would agree with Dawkins that human beings seem to have an innate proclivity towards belief in God, I would suggest that there is different reason why so many people seem to have an innate awareness of God.

FaithAfter my recent post re Peter Kreeft's thoughts on "Who made God?" I've seen that same question come up in several places during my random web wanderings. As I was thinking about this question today in the shower (where all great philosophical thought occurs) I imagined a conversation like the following … hopefully this isn't too contrived and doesn't caricature the two imagined persons involved too much:

Christian:  The cosmological argument is strong evidence that God exists. If the universe was made, it needs a maker; if it was created, it needs a creator. That creator is God.

Skeptic:  Ah, but this merely raises the question "Who made God?" which Richard Dawkins himself asks in The God Delusion.* It just pushes the question back one step further.

Christian:  This seems to me to be a category error; it confuses the uncreated creator with His created creation. God doesn't need a maker because God was never made; He was and is eternally existing.

Skeptic:  That's special pleading at best, hypocritical at worst. Why is it okay for God to be "eternal, uncreated" but not the universe?

Christian:  Because we have good reasons, both philosophical and scientific, that the universe is not eternal, whereas no such reasons exist to believe that God is so. God is not subject to the same limitations of the material world He created. The cosmological argument proposes not that everything requires a cause, but whatever begins to exist requires a cause; if God did not begin to exist (since there is no reason to believe He did, unlike the universe) He requires no cause.

Skeptic:  Even if we agree that the universe is not eternal, why must its cause be God? Why not some other explanation?

Christian:  Whatever created both time and space must transcend both time and space. Also, there are numerous other attributes which can be discerned about whatever created the universe that imply a personal entity (that is, it possesses volition among other things). So the creator of the universe is an entity which is beyond time and space yet still possesses certain attributes and is personal. This sounds to me a lot like God.

* In The God Delusion Dawkins is attempting to apply the question as a defeater to the design argument (p.109), not the cosmological argument (which Dawkins shockingly dismisses in less than a page). I've personally heard it applied more often to the cosmological argument, at least in the realm of Internet banter.

clouds.gifI was surprised when, in The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins dismisses the Cosmological Argument by asking the title question: "Who made God?" Here's how Peter Kreeft briefly responds to the question:

The question "If God made everything, who made God?" is like asking "Who made circles square?" It assumes a self-contradiction: that an uncreated Creator is a created creature. It extends the law about changing things -that every change needs a cause- beyond its limits, to the unchanging Source of change. God does not need a cause, or a maker, because he is not made or changed. He changes other things, but is not himself changed by anything. There is nothing that comes to be in him, nothing that needs a cause for its coming-into-being. (Peter Kreeft, Handbook of Christian Apologetics, 105)

So essentially, Kreeft suggests that the question commits a category error; it overextends the general law that "things that exist require a maker" from the physical, created world, to the non-physical uncreated God.

A further question that may arise: "If God can be 'uncreated & unchanging', why not the universe too?" The answer would be that we have good reasons to believe that the universe is not eternal, as per the Cosmological Argument (including at least scientific and philosophical reasons), while no such restrictions would apply to God.

Recently Dr Henry Morgentaler was awarded the Order of Canada, which is the highest civilian honor Canada awards, recognizing "a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation."

Today I read an editorial in The Calgary Herald titled Morgentaler deserves Order of Canada by Catherine Ford, ostensibly about the award, but in practice a summary defense of abortion. Let's examine her arguments to see whether they make sense.

(Click below for my commentary; it's a bit long to put on the blog's front page)

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