For years, people have increasingly turned away from belief in God in the name of reason and rationality. But on Thursday, Peter Kreeft, long-time Boston College philosophy professor and author of over 75 books, explained why he believes it is theism, not atheism, that is rational. He held a talk entitled “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist: Why I Believe God Exists,” sponsored by the St. Thomas More Society, where he refuted seven ways in which atheists believe theists are “traitors.”
First, he said, atheists believe theists are traitors to reason because every religion relies on faith, which goes beyond reason, they believe.
“What reason do you have for trusting reason?” Kreeft asked. “The human brain and body apparently evolved by natural selection, from a universe that had no reason in it at all … Why do you, atheists, have so much faith you trust this computer [the human brain] that has been programmed by chance?”
Atheists, he said, believe theists are traitors to science. Kreeft’s response was that there are things that science cannot explain yet, like miracles. Kreeft also argued that despite what some atheists may assert,theists are not traitors to nature either.
“How can I appreciate nature, unless it is in contrast with something else?” he said. “Everything in nature exists because something else exists … something other than the universe had to cause the universe.”
Kreeft said that atheists also argue that theists are traitors to man. Since man has free choice, it is he who must create his happiness, and to pass that responsibility off to God is a copout, they believe. To this argument, Kreeft pointed out that no man has ever been able to create his own perfect happiness.
“If you look at every other live organism that we know of, every single one of its desires can be satisfied by something real,” he said. “If human beings have a desire for a perfect being called God … isn’t it extremely probable that that’s not an exception to the rule?”
Kreeft also argued that theists are not traitors to history, which has shown great progress in science and a regress in religion.
“Do you really want to turn back the clock?” he said atheists might ask.
“Yes, I want to turn back the clock on something like happiness,” he said. “It looks like the more civilization we have, the more discontent we have … When you get to get away from all the things you don’t like—when you take a vacation—you go to places like beaches, forests, deserts, campgrounds. You try to turn back the clock.”
Kreeft made the case for the rationality of Jesus’ being “God incarnate,” a seemingly impossible contradiction.
”If Jesus isn’t God, he’s either the most insane man who ever lived, or the biggest liar that ever lived,” he said.
But not even atheists think that Jesus is certifiably insane, nor do they think that he is a conniving liar, Kreeft argued. He said liars are egotists, which Jesus was not. And insane people with a divinity complex are incredibly boring, which Jesus was not.
Kreeft’s final refutation was of the claim that theists are traitors against themselves, since they rest all their trust on another being. We human beings shouldn’t trust ourselves, Kreeft said, because it is inevitable that each of us will fail—physically, logically, and morally.
“Socrates said there are two kinds of people in the world: The wise who know they’re fools, and the fools who think they’re wise. I think atheists fit into the latter category: They call themselves the ‘smarts,’ and I think that makes them stupid,” Kreeft said. “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist.”
Once Kreeft finished making his case against these atheistic arguments, he opened the floor up to answer questions from BC students. Among a wide range of questions, students asked Kreeft about his beliefs on the effectiveness of prayer, his opinion on people today who express themselves to be “spiritual but not religious,” and finally how his definition of success has changed over the years.
“I don’t think we should ask ourselves the question: How much progress have I made? We should ask ourselves: What are my eyes on?,” Kreeft said in closing. “And if your eyes are on Jesus Christ you’re going to live in the light, and you’re going to be happy. And it’s very simple, but I think it’s probably the profoundest thing I’ve said all night.”
Featured Image by Alex Gaynor / Heights Staff