Some might be quick to point out that the Damascene Cosmological argument doesn’t necessarily prove the Christian God. They would say that I have wasted my time in trying to prove my faith because all I have proven is that “a god” exists, but this doesn’t give me specific details as to what type of God he (or she, or it) might be. Shockingly enough, I have run into quite a few atheists who feel that this is an adequate reply to any cosmological argument. “Well you haven’t proven the Christian God exists” they say as they smile, sit back, and fold their arms.
I would tend to agree with the atheists on this point; the Damascene Cosmological argument does not prove the existence of the Christian God. However, I believe that Christians are justified in using the Damascene argument for the following reasons:
1) The Damascene Cosmological argument may not prove the existence of the Christian God, but it sure does leave Christians in a better position than atheists – after the existence of God has been proven, the debate then takes place among the different monotheistic beliefs. Are deists correct? Do Muslims hold a corner on how to describe this God? The debate then falls to monotheists to determine who is correct, but this is a far more enviable position than atheism.
Imagine you come across two millionaires arguing over who has more money. Each brings up evidence and proof to prove that he is the richest of the two. Now imagine that a poor man is watching this argument. The poor man has $25 to his name and makes $7 an hour working 20 hours a week. While the rich men rage on debating on who is richer, the poor man would simply like to be rich. How foolish would it be for the poor man to engage in a debate with one of the wealthy men over whether he (the poor man) is richer than the rich man and say, “Well you’ve only proven you’re wealthy, you haven’t proven you’re the wealthiest!”
It is the same with atheism. The Damascene argument forces a debate to occur between monotheists on whose belief makes the most sense. The atheists are the poor men of this discussion who, rather than attempting to prove they are somehow “wealthier” than Christians, should instead reflect on the poverty of logic they hold in their position and desire to at least have some wealth rather than no wealth at all. That is to say, rather than pointing out to the Christian that the Damascene argument doesn’t prove the existence of the Christian God, the atheist would do better to start believing in the existence of some type of God who matches reality. While the Christian has not succeeded in proving the existence of their specific explanation of God, at least they rest upon a logically tenable belief; the atheist cannot say as much.
2) The Damascene Cosmological argument disproves polytheism or pantheism – it is popular in the modern world to begin to accept Eastern creation myths and Eastern metaphysics. People like to say that they are becoming “one with God” in terms of being. They like to say that life is a perpetual act of creation, sustainment, and destruction. The Damascene argument simply does not allow for such teachings. It forces people to face the reality of creation and see that everything began at one point in time and has not been continuing in a circle. While the teachings of the Buddha or Hinduism might sound enlightening concerning the creation of all things – and granted, they are quite poetical and mystical – they simply aren’t true and therefore aren’t enlightening.
3) The Damascene argument helps us to honor God – in Christianity the ultimate goal is to love God with all that we are. Part of loving God is loving Him with our minds, which means to understand Him as much as we can. Though the Damascene Cosmological argument doesn’t prove the existence of the Christian God, it does describe what we believe to be true about God. Everything the argument proves we already believe about God. Thus, it allows us to know God better and in knowing God, we honor Him and love Him.
4) The Damascene argument breaks down intellectual barriers – there are many people who will not listen to the Gospel or will not listen about Christ simply because they cannot believe God exists. If they are open-minded and it’s truly an intellectual objection and not a moral objection to the existence of God, then the Damascene argument could get them past their unbelief in God. In doing so, they could be more open to listen about Christ and what he accomplished on the cross.
While the Damascene cosmological argument doesn’t prove the existence of the Christian God, it does prove that part of what we say about our God is verifiably true and therefore leaves us standing on solid ground.
However, there are some who are familiar with Christian theology who see this argument as problematic. The next few posts will deal with the potential problems this argument brings up for Christianity and if there is a solution to those problems.
This was a scheduled post. I am currently out of town and subsequently have turned comments off since I cannot moderate or interact with commenters. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about this post, please feel free to contact me.