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Is Rationalism a Sound Basis for Doubting God’s Existence?

Can we stand outside our human experience? Can anything we conclude be based on something other than that experience?

If the answer to these questions is no, then rationalism must, like everything else, be based on human experience.

To believe in rationalism’s ability to say something about ultimate reality—God, the universe, meaning—then, we must believe that human experience exposes us to that ultimate reality. And not just a part of that ultimate reality, but all of it.

Does it? Does our human experience—including the experience of Richard Dawkins or any other brilliant scientist—give us an accurate or complete picture of ultimate reality?

To answer that question, consider the following:

  • When you read an in-depth book on, say, the inner workings of trees or the life of Picasso, you realize how little you knew about either trees or Picasso. Now multiply that by every topic in the universe. Every topic—even the functioning of the eyes you’re using to read these words—is complex beyond measure.

  • Your senses cut you off from the world as it really is. They show you only your biological interpretation of the world. This is different from a dog’s or an ant’s interpretation. Who says yours is correct?

  • Modern physics reveals that the particles that make up all solid objects are ultimately “probability waves,” invisible fields of possibility that cover the whole universe. Yet, we can only experience these mysterious probability waves when they somehow collapse into the single particles that make up what we call objects.

  • Physics also tell us that two things we know nothing about and have never directly experienced, Dark Matter and Dark Energy, together make up ninety-five percent of the universe.

We humans know practical and relative things. How to do our job, buy groceries, drive a car. Science and rationalism can help us immensely with such things.

But when it comes to ultimate questions, we know enough only to know how little we know.

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