Saying you won’t believe in God unless there is evidence he exists is a fundamental misunderstanding of the Christian God, says one of the world’s leading theoretical physicists.
Professor Ard Louis from Oxford University spoke with Australian author and historian John Dickson about the rationality of the universe, for an episode of Eternity’s new podcast ‘Undeceptions’.
While Louis believes there must be a mind – a Creator – behind our universe, he told Dickson that one of the difficulties he has as a scientist and a Christian is science’s culture of skepticism.
“When we think about God, what happens is that people assume we should take the same approach that we do in science: we should assume there is no god unless we find evidence to the contrary. So the default position is the assumption that there is no god.” – Professor Ard Louis
“That culture is antithetical to Christian faith,” says Louis. “Skepticism is really good in science. If you come to me and say ‘I’ve discovered this new virus in my lab,’ then the right approach for me is to be skeptical and say ‘Give me evidence.’
“My default position is to not believe you until I see that evidence. And that works really well in science. But it doesn’t necessarily work well in life.”
To illustrate, Louis uses the analogy of asking for evidence before he believes his wife loves him.
“When we think about God, what happens is that people assume we should take the same approach that we do in science: we should assume there is no god unless we find evidence to the contrary. So the default position is the assumption that there is no god.
“But that doesn’t work for the Christian God, because God is not some object ‘out there’ – he’s not a human like ourselves but just bigger and smarter.
“Our God is the source of all being.
“He’s bigger than just something you can poke a stick at.”
Louis says renowned atheist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins has got it wrong with the famous ‘pink unicorn‘ analogy he uses. Dawkins’ argument is that just like trying to prove God exists, you cannot prove a unicorn exists or, indeed, that it is pink.
“I think that’s wrong,” says Louis. “Either there is a god, or there is no god. One or the other should be equally likely. And we should ask ourselves which of the two makes more sense of the world.
“If there is a god, then it’s not surprising that you’ve got, for example, regular laws that govern the way the universe works. It’s not surprising that this universe is full of beauty.
“You do science and you see how beautifully intricate the world is – and if you’re a Christian believer, it strengthens your faith. It’s something that leads to worship.”
Listen to the full episode six of Undeceptions here: Rational Universe. Undeceptions is hosted by author and historian John Dickson and seeks to tackle common myths and misconceptions about the Christian faith.