Perspective

Five Really Good Reasons

Atheism is once again the rage.  These religious fads come and go like skirt lengths or medical trends.  When I was a child, everyone I knew had had his tonsils out.  My mother was more conservative: The tonsils were there for a reason, she said, so why remove them without a good reason?  A later generation of physicians have assured me that, on balance, my mother made the right decision, though by now the pendulum may have swung back to universal tonsillectomies.

My mother, without knowing it, was making a backward argument from design.  God or Nature would not have given us tonsils unless they served a purpose, which implies the reverse that the universe is so well constructed that there must be a design—and a designer.  The natural order is one of the arguments most frequently employed to prove the existence of god.  (I am going to use the lower-case g for just any deity and restrict the upper-case version for the Creator of heaven and earth worshiped by believing Jews and Christians.)  “The heavens declare the glory of God,” sings the psalmist, and nonbelievers have no excuse, says Saint Paul, because “the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.”  This would not be so, argues Saint Thomas, unless it were possible to demonstrate God’s existence through His works.

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