Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Does God Exist? The Argument from Wonder and Gratitude

Before we get back to logical or rational arguments for the existence of God, let's take a brief detour into an argument that is not so much an argument as an attempt to put a name to an intuition, an innate feeling or experience that we all seem to have and that occurs in us as naturally as a breath or a heartbeat.

There are certain moments in life that leave us speechless and breathless, our mouths gaped open but unable either to take in the profound experience before us nor to find the proper expression to mark the occasion. A pastel sunset over green fields and blue seas. The Hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah. The birth of your child. The sight of a sparkling, swirling galaxy, coupled with the knowledge that it's thousands of light-years across and millions of light-years away. Such moments stir up in us a sense of awe and wonder--"I didn't know life could be this good."

And when we're given something good, it's our natural inclination to say, "Thank you."

And when we say "Thank you," to whom are we speaking?

We are grateful when we are given something by someone who has chosen to bestow the gift upon us. Persons give gifts. Persons are thanked. Not forces or aggregates, but persons, who have willed our good and acted to achieve it.

We all know this, intuitively, instinctively, deep down in our bones. But some don't know to what or whom it should be attributed. I suggest it is the only one capable of giving sunsets and symphonies and everything in between. It's God.


  1. I am not too computer savvy, but I have copied and pasted some comments I made to an April 24, 2014 piece you wrote. Since you appear to be quite perspicacious, I would like to engage you in dialogue in the hope that a fertile brain such as yours could be rescued from the tyranny of religious dogma (I stole that idea from Thomas Paine); "All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit."

    The comments are below.

    Gil Gaudia November 22, 2014 at 6:28 PM

    How about Allah or the Hindu and Buddhist Gods? Or the Native American God? Or the Gods of many South American traditions? They are more in the category of your Judeo-Christian God, so if you do not believe in Allah, then you are an atheist in that regard. Or is your God better than their Gods?
    Gil GaudiaNovember 22, 2014 at 6:35 PM

    Now this is a pretty grandiose statement (even for a theologian), "I've never heard of anyone in the last 3,000 years being healed of a deadly disease thanks to their supplications to Apollo." So presumably, you have roamed the entire earth for "the last 3,000 years" and observed all the billions of intercessory supplications and their results. Er, did you say your name was . . . Yahweh?
    Gil GaudiaNovember 22, 2014 at 6:44 PM

    "But to believe in the Triune God as described above is eminently reasonable," you say, Nick. Well tell me how reasonable it is that a Father sent His Son to be killed, but the Son turned out to be God who while He was dying (if a God of this unimaginable potency can die) spoke to His Father as if He was being abandoned and apparently the Father ignored Him, because He did die (although God could have saved Him, or saved Himself) and now the Son is God who also created the Earth 4,000 years before He died. No fair using the water, ice, fog analogy.

  2. So, in the meantime, to comment on this latest speculation of yours, you say, "I suggest it is the only one capable of giving sunsets and symphonies and everything in between. It's God."

    I am glad you are wise enough to say "suggest" because you must know that at least one other possibility would be that the emotional centers in our brains send forth enough hormones and other neurotransmitters which play major roles in pleasure sensations, especially dopamine, to account for all the reactions you are attributing to some God.

  3. Gil, I think you're making a fallacy here. Basically, what Nick is setting forth to demonstrate is whether or not there is God. You're skipping a lot of steps in the discussion and jump straight to discussing which God is the real one and which accounts or prophecies are true.
    To stretch previous post's analogy: you're feeling heat and rather than decide that there is a heat source, you say there are so many possible heat sources (Sun, fire, light bulb, radiator, etc.) that it's not possible that there is a heat source. Or, since it's outside, it's not possible that this heat is caused by a light bulb, therefore, light bulbs do not exist.
    "God is dead." -- Nietzsche
    "Nietzsche is dead." -- God