Saturday, August 27, 2005

The First Cause

As happens from time to time, I found myself engaged in a philisophical conversation of sorts. The subject matter varied as the conversation meandered to and from different topics. At one point, we were discussing God and trying to determine if God needed to have a cause.

The idea that everything has a cause makes much sense. Yet I never understood how this was supposed to apply to God as well. Bertrand Russell wonders who created God and decides that since God cannot be non-causal--that is "God" must have been created by another more powerful god--the first cause argument has no validity.

He then goes on to say that the primordial soup does not need a cause. In Mr. Russell's world, an omnipotent being had to stem from somewhere but the collection of ooze that combined to give us our lives as they are now simply always existed. Seeing how this soup exhibits some very god-like qualities one wonders why Mr. Russell does not worship it.

The reality is that the argument that God needs a cause is absurd. The very idea of God is such that he transcends human expectations and our capacity for knowledge of him. God would be eternal if he existed at all.

And he must exist because there needed to be a first cause. God is the only answer to this grand riddle. The primordial soup came from somewhere. It had to have a cause. Ironically, it seems a mightier leap of faith to believe that a collection of ooze defied all natural laws then to believe in a God who transcends those same laws.

The faith of the atheist is indeed something to be admired.


Loyal Achates said...

That's a pretty broad misunderstanding of atheism and agnosticism, WM. People like Russell or Ingersoll don't deny that there's something behind the existence of the universe, they just believe nobody has figured it out yet, and they don't place the overwhelming importance on it that many theists do.

Of course, they could simply worship this Unknown Force, but to direct one's prayers to 'The Unknown Force' seems slightly ridiculous, even thought 'unknown force' is the approximate translation of 'YHWH' in the earliest books of the Bible.

Not pretending to know what many ignorant people are sure of - that's all atheism and agnosticism are.

A Wiser Man Than I said...

"Not pretending to know what many ignorant people are sure of - that's all atheism and agnosticism are."

That would be what agnosticism is about for sure. Atheism seems to take it a step further and that's what I find problematic. Yes, I could be wrong about the ideas I have about my God, but the atheist is almost assuredly wrond because there is something out there.

Also, I used Bertrand Russell because I am familiar with his work. I think he said it best when he said, "I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong." (Thanks Adam)

Whether or not I have God pegged is very much up for debate. Whether or not there probably is a God seems less suspect. That is all.