Can we know anything if Naturalism is true? Or: A plea for creativity with Theistic Arguments

In my last post, I considered John Calvin’s claim that we cannot know God unless we  know ourselves and (conversely), we cannot know ourselves unless we know God. Calvin thinks there is a tight relationship between the knowledge of God and the knowledge of man. Here I want to consider a deeper concern: Can we have knowledge of anything if God does not exist?

Knowledge of God & Knowledge of Self

Can we really know ourselves if we don’t know God? Can we really know God if we don’t know ourselves? John Calvin doesn’t think so. Or how about: can we be happy without God? Can we flourish in light of our nature apart from loving God? Again, Calvin doesn’t think so. I think Calvin is right.

When it is OK to Beg the Question

“You are begging the question;” “You are arguing in a circle;” (or for the more self-consciously sophisticated:)  “you are guilty of the petitio principii fallacy.” Such assertions, commonplace in philosophical dialogue are meant to undercut an opponent’s argument. After all, if you assume from the outset what you intend to prove, you are engaged in a kind of circular reasoning, which, most of the time we ought to avoid.

Atheism and the Unscratchable Itch

It is a fundamental datum of our experience that we all long for meaning; we long for a narrative in which to make sense of our lives, our passions, and our beliefs. But, if God doesn’t exist, the cold, hard truth is there is no meaning. We have a scratch, but no way to itch it.

Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, and our Longing for Wholeness

The classic book The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde does something to me. It scares me. It is a chilling, vivid picture of what happens when we allow our base appetites to overtake our rational and spirited faculties (as Plato would say). The story also awakens something: it awakens within me a desire for wholeness, a wholeness where all of my thinkings, willings, and emotions are fully integrated.