I posted on the blog earlier a request for readers to comment why they won’t become Catholic. See that post here. As promised, I am responding to the reasons in individual posts. The first commenter gave two reasons: one for religion in general and a second for Catholicism in specific. I am responding to the general religion reason first.
The lack of evidence for their supernatural claims.
This is where I believe the world views between the atheist and the theist are irreconcilable. If this statement is so firm to the atheist, that nothing short of a scientific measurable piece of evidence will change it, then I do believe that any type of conversation will be fruitless. Their heart is hardened. Of course we cannot know this about them, so out of charity and hope, we must engage.
There are many issues with this reason against theism, but I will begin where I believe it truly all begins. It doesn’t simply begin with I don’t see any evidence of god in the universe. I believe it truly begins with the problem of evil and the attitude of “If I were god I would do things totally different,” or “If god was really all powerful he wouldn’t allow children to go hungry or women to be raped or the elderly to be abused.” “god never would have allowed someone like Hitler to kill God’s own people.”
This argument assumes that our ways are god’s ways. The argument assumes that we know what is best for the universe. It assumes that we know all of the effects and outcomes of all of the actions. It assumes that because we cannot perceive the good in a horrible situation, that there is no good, no greater purpose. It assumes that if god exists and allows evil to occur that he must delight in the evil, that he ordains the evil to happen. This is the heart of it. The soul cannot fathom to believe in a god that allows its creation to suffer.
Perhaps, though, the argument really is simply based upon that that there is no evidence for the supernatural. If that is the case, one must ask the question: what sort of evidence are you looking for? What natural instrument could detect the supernatural? What could possibly be done to subject the supernatural to a test in which evidence is gathered to prove its existence? How do you take something which is immaterial and is responsible for the existence of the material world and somehow gather evidence for its existence? You can’t. At least not the kind that an objective, natural, physical world only, scientist could accept.
In either case, the problem is that the one seeking evidence assumes that God thinks likes us. It assumes that God wants what want. It assumes that because God does not behave the way I would want to behave that God does not exist. It assumes that because God allows something bad to happen, God cannot exist. It sees no value in suffering beyond the suffering that is required for biological evolution. Sure, it might see some of sort of personal value in its own suffering for its own betterment as a person, but that is simply a byproduct which is not oriented towards anything. The argument cannot see that suffering might be oriented towards reception of love. It is an argument that ultimately looks at something and says “the supernatural would never allow that” when the very fact is that the supernatural allows it because the supernatural wants the bearer of the suffering to rise above the natural and partake in the supernatural themselves!
Evidence of the supernatural exists. But one cannot see it with science. One can only see it when they begin to accept that the supernatural is above the laws of nature and human reasoning.