Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Brain Surgery and Bible Studies

One of the many benefits of expressing my doubts about Christianity and God both on this blog and in my personal life has been the normalization of my doubts. It feels now as if my faith crisis is a normal and expected experience for someone who is serious about her religious beliefs and serious about seeking the Truth. I no longer feel like I am an outlier with whom no one can relate.

I have no empirical studies to back up my personal experience, but I've certainly noticed some similarities among individuals like me who seriously wrestle with issues of faith and religion, whether they be Christian or atheist. One similarity is their deep commitment to their religion (whether currently or in the past). Richard Beck writes about this at his blog and defines this attribute as religiosity. Richard Beck, who is an experimental psychologist, described himself as religiously precocious during childhood. I love that description and connect well with it. I, too, was such a child. I took notes on sermons in elementary school and held Bible studies with other children in hopes of saving them. I had definite opinions about which Bible translation I preferred and requested a new NIV as a gift in lieu of a senior class ring. I helped lead our youth group, started a Bible study group at my high school, went on evangelistic campaigns with my youth group in the summers. In college I majored in both psychology and vocational ministry and went on mission trips to Hungary. I married a preacher and was quite happy to fill the role of "preacher's wife." I truly couldn't understand why most people around me weren't so naturally interested in knowing and living out God's Word. It's only now that I realize how unusual I was as a child for my religious zeal. I've noticed that many who have lost their faith started out like me, and perhaps because of this zeal, studied intensely and worked themselves out of the faith they defended so fervently.

The other similarity I've noticed among those who wrestle with doubts about their faith is that they are often analytical types, whose thought pattern can often be described as obsessive. They are problem solvers who tenaciously puzzle over solutions to quandaries they encounter. They can't let it go. There often isn't a lot of choice in the matter. They feel compelled to pursue, to find an answer. This describes me well. I've been amazed at the number of individuals I've encountered online who, if not theologians or philosophers, are engineers or computer programmers or scientists. In the book club I started at church to discuss science and religion, just about everyone is (or was) an engineer or in the computer field (except for a couple of psychologist types). Careers quite befitting detail-oriented, problem solvers.

On the other hand, I have friends and family who truly don't seem to struggle with these faith issues. Even if they try. They either can't get enthused about religion and faith or they just don't feel intensely bothered by the unanswered questions and contradictions that plague my thoughts and prevent me from "trusting in the promises".

What is the point of all this? Maybe there is none. But, I have to wonder, how much sense does it make for one's salvation to depend on whether or not you happen to have the right personality type? So little of our personality is under our control. It's an intricate interplay between environmental factors and genetics. One strong blow to the head can alter our personality permanently. Maybe baptism isn't enough to give one a "new life" leading to salvation. Maybe neurosurgery is also in order.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Well, What Do Ya Know, I'm Mad!

Today, I attended a monthly book club meeting at my church where we discuss books that address faith and science issues. We reviewed the book Darwin on Trial. At one point, I shared that as a child I was taught to accept the Youth Earth Creationist(YEC) viewpoint. However, as I studied and came to see all the evidence supporting an old earth, I felt misled, whether the misleading was intentional or not. I expressed the distrust it has caused me to feel about any conclusions drawn from the YEC perspective. I was surprised at how emotional I felt as I shared this about myself. I was angry.

I have thought of my faith crisis as a primarily intellectual struggle. However, I am beginning to connect more with an undercurrent of unhappiness about several aspects of my faith. I don't like being made a fool of by being taught the earth is 6000 years old. I don't like feeling like I'm not allowed to examine scientific evidence regarding evolution (pardon my vagueness, Jeff!) without a preconceived conclusion in mind. I don't like having to justify infanticide or genocide. I don't like having to harmonize contradictory accounts of Jesus' life.

So, there it is. As much as my Christian faith has been a source of support to me, it is also the source of some resentment. It became apparent that in many ways, my YEC upbringing is now becoming a hindrance and stumbling block in my Christian faith. One outcome I'd like to avoid is rejecting all of Christianity when my problem is really just the narrow type of Christianity I've been practicing. I want to be objective enough to discard what is old, worn out, and useless, without giving up anything of value. However, there are times when my irritation at it all tempts me to just throw it all out. I tend to pride myself on being even-tempered, mature, and reserved, so this admission isn't easy for me. I rather feel like I'm throwing an online fit. But, I feel the need to be honest with myself and others as I continue in this faith journey. The facade of an unchanged and unshakable faith is starting to crack.

Review of "The Reason for God" ch 14 The Dance of God

This chapter describes our relationship with the triune God, who Keller describes as "a community of persons who have loved each other for all eternity." He denies that God seeks our praise out of self-centeredness, but for our joy. He knows we can't be truly happy if we lead self-centered lives, so he demands we center our lives around him and "join in the dance." If we are selfless, we are experiencing the same happiness in loving others that He has experienced from eternity. Certainly, self-absorption is an ugly state of being that disconnects us from others and in its most extreme form leads to Narcissistic Personality Disorder. On the other hand, I find beauty in the lives of those who are focused on contributing to the well-being of others and who accept themselves without requiring the continual praise and adoration of others. This idea of "loving relationships in community" is an attractive ideal to me. This doesn't make the the concept of the Trinity correct or coherent, but it's a description with which I can connect. (Much better than the "egg metaphor" I heard growing up: God=yolk, Jesus=egg white, Holy spirit=shell).

Keller says that in the garden, when Adam and Eve chose to eat the forbidden fruit, they "lost the dance." They chose self-centeredness rather than choosing to love and obey God. This self-centeredness produced psychological alienation as well as humanity's "alienation from the natural world." When Jesus died for us, he invited us to rejoin Him in the dance. And, at the end of time, creation will be renewed and restored. Even nature will join in the dance. Keller says Christianity is unique in its vision for both a spiritual and material salvation: a restoration of all things. I have never understood how nature got mixed up in humanity's offense against God. Guilt by association?

I'm a little unsure how to translate all this into something I believe in. I don't take the Adam and Eve account literally and I no longer view Jesus' death from the Penal Substitutionary Theory of Atonement. I also don't know what sense to make of a "new heaven and a new earth." So, I don't know what happened to separate humanity and nature(?) from God, I don't know why Jesus' death would restore the relationship, and I don't know what the future of humanity's relationship to God will look like in the afterlife. And this is pretty much the gospel in a nutshell. I know there are ways to understand all these things in a more modern, less literal way, but I'm not sure how much is left of Christianity.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Blessing for Doubters

May your trails be croocked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains raise into and above the clouds.
– Edward Abbey

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Reflections on My Worship Experience

I'm back from Sunday worship today. It's been increasingly difficult for me to attend services lately. I find that I'm often prickly and irritated by what I'm hearing. I confess that last week I used my oldest son's misbehavior during worship as an excuse to leave church early. My husband was at work, so I didn't have the need to sit there for his sake. As the sermon began today, my mind almost immediately began disputing what the preacher had to say. The subject of the sermon was prayer. He related a story where a backpacking buddy of his began to fall down a steep hill. 2 men in the group immediately began to pray. Suddenly and unexpectedly, the backpacker stopped on a rock. My preacher said his buddy would have died that day if those 2 men hadn't prayed for him at that moment. I cringed and thought, "Oh, here I go again!" Then, I began to argue with myself:

Me: How do you know it was prayer that worked? The rock was already there, wasn't it? It didn't just pop into existence at that moment, did it?

Me: Well, God can use whatever is there. This would be a crazy world if He were continually altering the laws of nature.

Me: Yes, but it would more clearly display his existence, right? It's hard to see God at work, when so many things we attribute to Him can be explained naturally.

Me: True, but he didn't save the man until the men prayed, so that shows Him at work, right? He could have prevented the backpacker from falling in the first place, but no one would ever know God intervened.

Me: Is rescue from adversity the only way God can show his presence? We have to hope for suffering, so we can catch God at work? What sense does that make? What about Adam and Eve walking along with God in the garden? Who wouldn't prefer that?

Me: What if that event happened so the preacher could relate this story to me today and increase my faith?

Me: How egotistical is that, thinking what happened to a stranger several months ago, happened for me? What if no one prayed for him and he died? Would that be my fault some how? Object lesson gone awry for a wayward soul?

Me: Sigh. When will I ever reach a decision about any of this?

One aspect of worship I continue to enjoy is singing. I have trouble praying, but I listen to Christian music quite a bit in the car and always sing during worship. Even if I'm not sure I believe what I'm singing. Today, as I sang praise lyrics, like "but words are not enough to tell You of our love, so listen to our hearts," I was touched with a sense of gratitude. I'm not always sure who I am singing to or if anyone is listening, but I nevertheless felt thankful to be here, to be alive. I feel a peace in my life, even when it's not perfect, when I'm able to be grateful. I feel more connected to the world and to others at those times. So, though I'm weary of my doubts and endless debates with myself, I am grateful today to Be.

And at the expense of sounding sappy, I've been grateful to those of you in the blogging world. None of you know how helpful it's been to me to read your blogs and comments, to be encouraged, and to be listened to with acceptance. I also have a few off-line friends who read this blog and talk in person with me about these issues, and I appreciate you all very much too!

OK, enough mush. Next post I'll review Ch 14 of Keller's book, and then I'm done reviewing it. I've enjoyed doing it, but it's time to move on.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Review of Ch 13 "The Reality of the Resurrection"

Keller follows three lines of support for the resurrection: the empty tomb and the witnesses; 1st century understanding of resurrection; and the immediacy with which Christianity was adopted. He seems to rely heavily on N.T. Wright for this chapter.

Keller cites Paul's recounting of post-resurrection sitings of Jesus found in I Corinthians. He notes that these witnesses to the resurrection would have still been alive and could have been questioned, so it's unlikely that the list is a fabrication. He also discusses the fact that the first witnesses were women, something unlikely to be made up as women's testimony was devalued and inadmissible in court. This line of reasoning addresses the idea that Christianity was intentionally fabricated, but what about ideas like the hallucination theory?

Keller states that it is also unlikely the concept of the resurrection was a human invention because it wasn't compatible with the Jewish or Greco-Roman worldview. He noted that many, but not all, Jews at the time were hopeful of a bodily resurrection when God came to renew the world. They had no concept of a resurrected Messiah. Most non-Jews regarded the physical body as corrupt and would view the resurrected body as undesirable, if not unbelievable. Death was viewed as a liberation from the bondage of a defiled prison.

Finally, Keller finds support in the fact that the idea of a bodily resurrection and subsequent worship of Jesus as divinity occurred so quickly in a culture not primed to accept a religion like Christianity. He stated that worldviews take a great deal of time to change unless there is some dramatic occurrence that causes a shift in thinking, such as a bodily resurrection. I'm always alittle skeptical of such arguments, when I consider how many other religions have sprung up and grown successfully. What about Mormonism for example?

Recently, a friend of mine (you know who you are) came to my home and we discussed many questions and concerns I have about Christianity. I shared that I think my acceptance of Christianity hinges on whether or not I believe in the resurrection. To me, this is what the apostle Paul repeatedly states in scripture. So, this is going to be where I spend my reading time for now. What do you think? Is there a way to salvage Christianity without a literal resurrection?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

EPS conference

Over at Ken Pulliam's blog I learned that the Evangelical Philosophical Society will be hosting a conference in November in Atlanta, GA. You can learn more about it here. Some of their headliners include Plantiga, Craig, and Habermas. The cost of attendance is very minimal and it's within driving distance for me, so I may very well attend. Has anyone every been to an EPS conference?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

How Do You Handle New Evidence?

Constantly evaluating my faith and belief system is a bit of an exhausting experience. Life is so much simpler the more things I can put on automatic pilot: get ready for work, drive son to school, what to order the family at McDonald's, transactions at the bank, and so on. If I had to reevaluate every decision and opinion before acting on them every single time, I would go crazy. We all would. So, it comes as no surprise that our religious life tends to be automatic, ritualized, and unevaluated.

Which brings me to my question. How do you handle new evidence in light of your religious belief system (or lack there of)? I'm always interested in the way both I and others respond. In the blogosphere, you find reflexive types who don't seem capable of introspecting about their own views; they are too busy defending, reacting, and attacking. Mercifully, you have others who really seem interested in finding answers and who willingly change their minds about things in light of new evidence.

I've gone through quite a journey in terms of my emotional reactions during this faith crisis. At first I experienced a fair amount of anxiety about challenging old beliefs. I wasn't looking to discard Christianity, I just wanted to finally address my doubts so I wouldn't be hounded by them. As I adjusted to this new openness to ideas, facts, and worldviews, I became much more detached from the final outcome of my exploration and more willing to go where the evidence led. It was quite freeing not to feel the need to rationalize or ignore information that didn't fit a particular belief system.

However, I admit, I am getting a bit tired. There are times when I just want answers and I don't want to continue to reevaluate. There are times when I want to just go with my preference, or emotional reaction, rather than continue to search. There are times when I really want the data to fit a certain belief system. Some days I'd rather remain a Christian. Some days I'd rather not. I've been thinking of individuals who change their worldviews more than once. Like Ann Rice, who went from atheism to Christianity. Recently, she has given up the religion of Christianity, but still considers herself a follower of Jesus. I would really prefer to not continually change my worldview. If I were to reject Christianity, it would probably be hard to be perpetually open to new evidence and to be as willing to change as I am now. I would like to believe that I am a lifelong seeker of the truth, but sometimes it just wears me out.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Review of "The Reason for God" Ch 12 The True Story of the Cross

In this chapter, Keller doesn't defend the existence of God as much as he defends the Penal Substitutionary Theory of Atonement. He gives 2 primary reasons it is necessary. First, he maintains that forgiveness entails "absorbing the debt of sin yourself." The cross was God's way of absorbing the debt of sin. However, we all have forgiven someone and "absorbed the debt" rather than seek vengence or demand reparation. This doesn't entail us nailing ourselves to a cross. We experience the pain of betrayal, the wounding by hurtful words, the loss of property by theft and choose not to lash out. This is absorbing the debt, something God did just by experiencing the pain of our betrayal, sin, and disbelief. I don't exact revenge on my oldest son when he rolls his eyes, refuses to answer me, and makes rude comments(though I may be very tempted to yell and scream). I tend to absorb the pain and forgive. I may punish with time out as a deterrant to future rude behavior, but it doesn't satisfy my desire for retribution.

Secondly, Keller supports the need for the death of Jesus by maintaining that God would not be a God of love if he wasn't willing to "become personally involved in suffering, the same violence, oppression, grief, weakness, and pain that we experience." I would maintain that by being in relationship with humanity, God experiences suffering. Jesus also experienced many of these things while on earth, even before his death. Also, it is never reported in scripture that he experienced every type of trauma that has befallen human beings. So, I don't know how we could argue that death was somehow a required experience.

I do know there are many scriptures that would support the Penal Substitutionary Theory of Atonement. However, there are other scriptures that offer other views.
There are many issues I would like to address regarding Penal Substitution, but I don't have time at the moment. Maybe I will turn that into a mini series.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Follow Your Bliss

I really appreciate Joseph Campbell on many levels, but I am particularly drawn to his concept of following your bliss. Here is a excerpt from an interview with Campbell shortly before his death:

BILL MOYERS: Do you ever have the sense of... being helped by hidden hands?

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: All the time. It is miraculous. I even have a superstition that has grown on me as a result of invisible hands coming all the time - namely, that if you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be....

Now, I came to this idea of bliss because in Sanskrit, which is the great spiritual language of the world, there are three terms that represent the brink, the jumping-off place to the ocean of transcendence: sat-chit-ananda. The word "Sat" means being. "Chit" means consciousness. "Ananda" means bliss or rapture. I thought, "I don't know whether my consciousness is proper consciousness or not; I don't know whether what I know of my being is my proper being or not; but I do know where my rapture is. So let me hang on to rapture, and that will bring me both my consciousness and my being." I think it worked.
-- Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth, pp. 113, 120


To "follow your bliss" is not to live an indulgent life, satisfying our ego's every whim. Rather, it is to find and pursue what fills us with passion. To fully be ourselves. In so doing, we will naturally fill needs in our community and bless it. As a parent, I see my role as helping my children become who they are. I think it is beautiful to watch passionate people do what they do.

For several years I thwarted my ability to follow my bliss. When I became a parent, I became hyperfocused on that part of my role and identity. My inner world shrank drastically. Even though I worked part-time, I wasn't investing any real emotional energy into that aspect of my life. I became thoroughly bored with myself and didn't want to be in the same room with me. Then, I dared to do things for myself instead of my kids, just because I wanted to do so. I read for fun and intellectual stimulation again, I reignited my sense of humor, I listened to music I liked (not just the Wiggles or Raffi). Over time, I felt alive again, passionate, which infused life into my marriage and allowed me to connect better with others. Without deliberately trying, I have become happier with myself and have been a greater resource to others. When I am following my bliss, I am neither absorbed with myself, nor engaged in self-denial. The universe feels centered and right at these times.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Just for Laughs

I don't know if there are any Star Wars Fans out there, but my husband and I qualify. I also like off beat humor, so when he found the comedy series,
Chad Vader, on hulu, we made a date of watching the mini episodes at night together after the kids were in bed. Chad Vader is Darth Vader's younger brother who works as a day shift manager at a grocery story. It cracks me up :)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Review of "The Reason for God" Ch 11 Religion and the Gospel

This chapter, in many ways, is a continuation of chapter 10 on sin. Keller discusses the answer to sin, which is Jesus himself. He compares religion (which he describes as salvation through moral effort) with the gospel (which he describes as salvation through grace). He argues that no other religion besides Christianity claims that its leader is the way of salvation. Instead, other religions point to some type of moral effort as being the way of salvation.

Keller states that religion through moral effort leads to a vain religiosity marked by self-righteousness and rule-keeping. This demonstrates that we cannot save ourselves from our sin, and need to accept the grace offered by Christ. He says the acceptance of grace does two things: it motivates us to obey God out of gratitude and it leads both to deep humility and self acceptance. He illustrates this by examining the character Jean Valjean, in Victor Hugo's Les Miserables. He highlights Valjean's transformation from "self-pity and bitterness" to "graciousness toward others" once he has experienced an act of mercy from a priest.

In my Christian life, I grew up experiencing an interesting combination of "religion" and "grace", though I think moralizing was the better part of it. I now attend a church where the gospel, as Keller describes it, is taught and lived out in many believers there. I do get to witness a group of people living lives out of gratitude and they are a blessing to others. When I do see Christianity lived out in a way that makes the community a better place in which to be, it affirms my belief in the gospel. However, I know many can, and have, pointed to lives based on something other than Christianity that have also been beautiful demonstrations of selfless love to others.

Review of "The Reason for God" Ch 10 on Sin

I've never seen an apologist point to the concept of sin as an indication that God exists. But this is what Keller does in this chapter. He defines sin this way "not just the doing of bad things, but the making of good things into ultimate things. It is seeking to establish a sense of self by making something else more central to your significance, purpose, and happiness than your relationship to God."

Keller views the doctrine of sin as a hopeful thing. This sounds paradoxical, but his reasoning is as follows: We all seek to build our identity on something, whether it be our career, doing good, our children, fame, or something else. This can prove disastrous on several levels. If the something on which we build our identity collapses, say our career, we are left without a sense of self. We are left empty and desperate. We necessarily idolize that which gives us our worth, which leads to denigration and exclusion of whatever threatens our sacred god. For example, if our identity comes from our wealth, we feel superior to those who are not. Or, if our worth comes from our morality, we will look down on those we deem immoral. Keller says that even creation is evidence of sin and points to disease, natural disasters, and death itself as an indication that the world is suffering the consequences of the original sin.

Keller says that the concept of sin provides us all a way out of this suffering. The answer to sin lies in making God our ultimate thing. By putting God first and living for Him, we are centering our lives around the only one who can fulfill you and give your life an ultimate sense of worth that cannot be shaken.

I've never seen an apologist point to sin as an indication for God. I'd be interested in knowing if this has ever impacted anyone.

I think we have all seen or experienced the results when the foundation of our self esteem is shaken (whether through job loss, divorce, child disappointing us or something else). How do any of you who are reading this post address this issue, particularly if you are an atheist? Have you found a solution to the problem of self worth that is as effective as Keller maintains his to be?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Marriage, Dinner, and a Faith Crisis

Another wedding anniversary is approaching for me, which has caused me to reflect on how my faith crisis has impacted my marriage and how my marriage has impacted my faith crisis.

I officially mark my faith crisis as beginning in January of 2009. However, I had an aborted attempt at a faith crisis back many years ago. I had just begun grad school and was fairly newly married. I tried to have a conversation with my husband about my concern that most all of humanity was destined to hell because of not living in the right time or place to hear about Jesus. The conversation ended with my husband defensive and angry and myself in tears. That conversation over dinner was the beginning and end of my initial faith crisis.

Fast forward to last year. The same old question which provoked my initial crisis began to nag at me relentlessly. It had really never left. I made a decision at that point to have a controlled, private faith crisis. (This sounds absurd, but it's the truth.) I started with the Internet, reading blogs and articles when the family was asleep. Then, I began reading books and leaving them out so my husband could see what I was reading. That actually took some nerve on my part. He saw books on evolution, textual criticism, and Biblical interpretation. Finally, at the end of the year, he asked me about them. I shared some of my struggles with a fair amount of reluctance. I spoke of the evidence I found for evolution and the fact that I no longer hold the Bible to be inerrant. He surprised me by remaining fairly calm and listening a great deal. A couple of months later, we had a good conversation during dinner where he actually admitted he shared some of my concerns and questions about the Bible. This was a pleasant surprise. Although my husband was uncomfortable hearing my thoughts in great depth, he asked for me to keep him informed at a general level as I continued to study and develop my thinking about matters of faith. It was a liberating gift to experience my husband's new found ability to accept me in my struggle. He still feels uncomfortable with many of my beliefs and will not engage with me for long on them. However, there is a new openness and acceptance between us that wasn't there before. We also feel closer as a result of this experience. I have wondered before what would happen to our marriage if I lost my faith entirely. I know there would be much to work out, but it's no longer something which frightens me. When I consider the possibility of a world without God, I somehow actually feel more connected to my husband, knowing I love him without needing to believe there is a God commanding me to do so.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Future of Homo Sapiens

In writing my last post, I started wondering about the future evolution of human beings and found a brief and interesting article exploring various scenarios for our species. I enjoyed the artist's renderings of our possible descendants. You can read the article here. Of course, if you're like me, you should probably be doing something other than reading yet another article. I should be calculating final grades (boring), billing insurance (maddening), or creating consent forms for the private practice I'm starting (overwhelming). Guess I'll go look up another article now :)

Review of "The Reason For God"-Ch 9 on Morality

Keller believes that people all believe in moral obligation. Even though some may claim that moral values are subjective, we all behave as if some values are "absolute standards" by which to live. He gives the example of genocide that most would claim is wrong and evil. He says we have a sense that values are transcendent, an indication that God exists. Keller argues against evolutionary theory as an explanation for moral obligation. He maintains that altruistic behavior directed towards those outside one's group does not provide survival value, thus natural selection can not explain it. I believe even atheists like Dennett and Dawkins believe we have reached a point in our evolutionary development where we have transcended natural selection and are now in command of our future development. I don't think they would even argue that altruism toward enemies can be explained by means of natural selection.

This question of morality, of an inherent sense of good vs. evil, is one I wrestle with the most when I consider the question of God's existence. I understand that what each culture judges to be good or evil varies over time and place. Even the Bible, which many hold up as THE example of objective morality, displays a fair amount of subjectivity. However, one thing that is common (unless maybe you happen to be a psychopath) is that we have concepts of good and evil, love and hate. Are these just artificial constructs conceived of by the mind or are they independent of the human mind, rooted in reality and waiting to be discovered, like gravity?

I will end with a quote by Keller and invite readers to respond to it. "If you believe human rights are a reality, then it makes much more sense that God exists than that he does not. If you insist on a secular view of the world and yet you continue to pronounce some things right and some things wrong, then I hope you see the deep disharmony between the world your intellect has devised and the real world (and God) that your heart knows exists."

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Review of "The Reason for God"-Ch 8 Clues of God

In this chapter Keller picks a few "very good arguments for the existence of God" from a lecture given by Alvin Plantiga entitled "Two Dozen (or so) Theistic Arguments." One argument he gives is that the Big Bang indicates that the universe had an origin and is contingent, meaning it has a cause outside itself. Another argument he explains is the fine tuning of the universe. He also finds the regularity of nature as well as our experience of beauty, love and longing for the transcendent to be clues of God. Finally, Keller says that another clue for God is the fact that natural selection cannot be used to explain why we believe in God. If we use natural selection to explain how our brain works as well as the reasoning process, we are admitting that reason itself only exists, like religion, because it helped us survive and that it does not stand independently on its own merits. We, cannot, then, trust our faculties to arrive at a rational argument for natural selection.

These are some of the primary reasons that I do continue to believe in God. I am interested in following up on the lecture by Plantiga cited by Keller.