The other night, I watched a clip from one of Robert Morris’s sermons from Gateway Church in Texas. He stated that he believes it is impossible to be an atheist. Why? Because in order to say “God does not exist,” one must be omniscient (“S is omniscient = df. For all p, if p, then S knows that p and does not believe that ˜p”).
Full clip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeK_DR5w0qM
Morris then argued that he does not bear the same requirements to believe in God because he personally knows God and talks to him every morning.
I’ve heard this type of argument before from pastors. If someone claims to be an atheist, they retort with “How can you say there is no God if you don’t have knowledge of everything? Isn’t possible that God exists?” I don’t find this kind of argument convincing, and I don’t think Christians should use it.
First, I doubt such an argument will actually get you anywhere. No atheist will reply, “Gosh! You’re right! I guess I should be a Christian!” They will undoubtably engage in a debate about whether or not one can truly be an atheist without being omniscient. If one’s ultimate goal is to demonstrate that the Christian faith is reasonable, such an argument will be a distraction.
Furthermore, saying “It’s possible God exists” doesn’t state anything meaningful. It’s also possible that unicorns exist, but that doesn’t provide reason to believe in unicorns. There is significant difference between something being epistemologically possible and metaphysically possible.
The first concerns the powers of the imagination (I can think of God, but he may or may not exist).
The second concerns what is logically possible to exist in reality (a three-sided square is not metaphysically possible).
Clearly, from Morris’s argument, he is talking about epistemological possibility. As a result, it states nothing beyond the obvious, and does not provide much reason to believe in God. Therefore, I think it’s safe to say that pastors should move beyond using this type of argument.
Note: I am not arguing against the existence of God. I am a Christian. But I am especially concerned with the way Christianity presents itself, and that definitely includes issues concerning philosophical arguments to show belief in God is reasonable.