|But Everyone Believes
The Anthropological Argument
"People all over the world claim to have experienced the supernatural, and even more yearn for something supernatural. Why don't you give that experience and yearning any weight, you godless athiest?"
"That's a baby puppy, Jesus freak."
"What's a baby puppy?"
"'Godless athiest' is. Do you know any athiests who aren't godless? Just like a baby puppy. All puppies are babies."
"Touché, oh, changer-of-the-subject. But what about my argument?"
"Hardly worth talking about. It's just the old anthropological argument. The argument from the nature of man."
"Well, the answer is easy: Just because a billion people believe a stupid thing doesn't mean it's true."
"Yeeaah, but I think I could win a court case with a billion witnesses on my side. But anyway, I can turn your argument around and say, 'Just because a handful of athiests believe a stupid idea doesn't mean it's true.'"
"But look, my religious friend, history is full of examples of large crowds of people who have believed really dumb things. How about the classic tulip mania in Holland? Was that stupid, or what?"
"Yup, that was stupid. Kinda like when I invested in that Internet company you sold me on."
"Ouch! Well, I lost a lot on that too."
"Glad to have company. But anyway, tulip and Internet mania just lasted a short time. But for ages people have claimed to have had a supernatural experiences. People have consistently believed in the supernatural."
"Well, some people are consistently wrong."
"Except, of course, for you."
"Also, what about the yearning for the supernatural that I mentioned."
"So what? As somebody or other once said, 'Just because we're hungry doesn't mean we have bread'."
"Welllll, okay, but I think our hunger is pretty good proof of the existence of food. I mean, I agree with you that hunger doesn't prove food is in reach, but it is proof that such a thing as food exists. So I guess I'd argue that our hunger for God, or at least for something supernatural, is pretty good evidence that something supernatural exists."
"Hmmmm. Maybe that yearning is just a natural yearning extended way beyond what is reasonable."
"But why would such a desire become magnified like that? Why would evolution, since you believe in it, produce a religious desire so strong that it can cause people to risk their lives in its service? And all that yearning for something that you say doesn't exist."
"Well, maybe there is an explanation for that."
"You believe so?"
"Ummm. I guess I do, yeah."
Becoming a Christian
© Copyright 2002, Brad Haugaard.