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Doubter's prison

"Doubter's prison" Continued...

Issue: "Northern light," Sept. 20, 2008

Q: What's the logical problem with scientism?

It is self--refuting-one cannot prove the statement itself scientifically. That is, there is no way to use our senses to test whether or not the claim that the senses are our only sources of knowledge is true. Second, there are a number of things we know that are not known through scientific means: the laws of math and logic, our own consciousness and thoughts, the reality of certain moral claims, and, of course, that God is real. Some of these are actually pre-suppositions of science and, as such, science could not even begin without knowledge of them.

Q: The conventional wisdom is 
that more education leads to less evangelical faith.

This does not bear out statistically. A few years ago, the statistics in sociologist Christian Smith's book American Evangelicalism showed that "evangelicals have more years of education than fundamentalists, liberals, Roman Catholics, and those who are nonreligious. . . . Of all groups, evangelicals are the least likely to have only a high-school education or less; the nonreligious are the most likely. Furthermore, higher proportions of evangelicals have studied at the graduate-school level than have fundamentalists, liberals, or the nonreligious."

There is a high percentage of believers in God among highly educated people, including a good number of Christians. And to the degree that some people become skeptical with increasing e-ducation, this is due largely to socialization, and not to the fact that they discover something average folk don't know that renders belief in Christianity silly and unreasonable.

Q: You offer a four-step procedure that can reduce our doubting tendencies if we practice it often enough.

(1) Identify the source of the doubt (e.g., evening news, movie, conversation at work).

(2) Identify the particular assumptions that stand under the source (example: if it can't be tested by the five senses, you can't believe in it).

(3) Raise doubts about the doubt. Challenge it (example: I can't see my own thoughts, but I know them, so why should I believe this principle?).

(4) Replace the assumption with a more biblical one (example: For thousands of years, the brightest people alive have known God was real from the creation even though they never saw Him, so we can, in fact, know things that go beyond our five senses).

Q: You offer a good way to respond to mockers: "I am sure you have formulated your viewpoint against Christianity in a fair-minded and intellectually responsible way . . ." Please tell our readers how to go on from there.

"So I am confident you have read some of the best defenses of the Christian view on this topic in reaching your critical position. Please tell me, what were the 3-4 best books you read that defended the Christian view and what were some of their arguments that you found most difficult to dismiss in reaching your skeptical position? Do you remember who wrote those books?" Usually, people will just stare at you.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.


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