The Religious A priori
Everything Has to Have a Reason
God belief offers a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of existence:
(1) Science and materialism cannot offer ultiamte explaintions beyond the level of the empirical
(2) God belief offers ultimate explaination beyond the level of the empirical
(3) therefore, God belief contians boarder and more in-depth explainitory power
There are two kinds of reason one could go with here: there's the "higher purpose" sort of reason and the basic explanation sort of reason. The difference is the former would propose that some power or authority figure, God or some other sort of creator agent has a higher purpose. Of course that would be begging the question. That is certainly not an assumption I make in God arguments. But the idea of an explanation for everything in terms of a cause or prior conditions is something that science prides itself upon.
Dictonary of Philosphy Anthony Flew, article on "Materialism"
"...the belief that everything that exists is ethier matter or entirely dependent upon matter for its existence."
Center For Theology and the Natural Sciences Contributed by: Dr. Christopher Southgate: God, Humanity and the Cosmos (T&T Clark, 1999) http://www.ctns.org/Information/information.html Is the Big Bang a Moment of Creation?(this source is already linked above)
"...Beyond the Christian community there was even greater unease. One of the fundamental assumptions of modern science is that every physical event can be sufficiently explained solely in terms of preceding physical causes. Quite apart from its possible status as the moment of creation, the Big Bang singularity is an offence to this basic assumption. Thus some philosophers of science have opposed the very idea of the Big Bang as irrational and un testable."
We can see from these quotes that explanation is very important to science. Not just to science, but it's the ability to explain everything through natural cause and effect that really gives the atheist hope and a sense of security that God really saves him from angry God and is sufficient to answer all Questions.
Yet when it comes to explaining the whole of the universe, or why there is something rather than nothing, science falls silent. Atheists are so alarmed over this failing they have actually turned not having answers into a virtue. Hans actually derides anyone who claims one needs to answer such questions.
(1) if there are string membrains (which can't proven) there is no attempt on the part of science to say where they come from because they know they can't.
(2) All assumptions of ICR or other theories of origin assume the eternal (non temporal and forever always) existence of contingent thing things. This is a logical contradiction in itself but it illustrates the inability of materialism to cope with the logic of eternal necessity.
In both cases there is no explanation and the materialists must fall back on "well it's just that way" rather an a real understanding of why or how it could be so.
God doesn't give us the same kind of explanation as does a scientific hypothesis. But appeal to God does at least answer the metaphysical questions that science and it also has the added advantage of offering at least veri similitude in terms of understanding why this or that physical phenomena exists.
I saw an atheist on a message board, tonight, trying to argue that science is better than belief in the supernatural because science can answer s,y,z (for science read "sociobiology" which he called "evolutionary psychology") and he names several issues pertaining to the physical world; men are usually larger than women, men usually get aroused by pornography more so than women (I know several women would pronounce that one "BS.") But it makes no sense this argument, because why would we expect Super nature to tell us bout nature? It's just an arbitrary digging up of scientific or pseudo scientific trivia in order to embarrassed the believer. "you can't explain this" with no really statement as to why we should expect belief in the supernatural to explain the natural better than the arm of knowledge that is devoted to study of the natural?
Science cannot explain metaphysical assumptions, even it is based upon them. It can't answer questions such as "why is there something rather than nothing?" Obviously science can answer microscopic questions about the workings of the psychical world better than belief in God does, because that's what its geared to studying and belief in God does not contain tha purpose. We do not believe in God because we wish to explain the physical world. This is an old and very outmoded way of thinking that atheists have indulged themselves in for too long.
Science and even asterism itself are predicated upon the assumption that there are reasons for everything, but when it comes to cosmology, origins, and metaphysics, it can't give us any. Religious belief may not be a perfect source of knowledge but it s fit for its purpose and it offers an overall understanding about the universe and ilfe itself. It offers personal wisdom about why we are here and what life is all about.
It seems totally illogical to me that materialistic processes yeild such great explainitory results until they are applied to the over all processes at the metaphysical and cosmological levels. Suddenly we don't to explain anything anymore,it's also a virture that we can't and a vice that other systems seem to offer such explianations.
Explanatory power fails for materialism and does not fail for belief in God.
The Religious A priori