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The National Day of Reason: a time to show the unreasonableness of unbelief

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May 1 is the unofficial National Day of Reason. It is a day that various secularists and atheists contrived to promote their version of the world and to combat the influence of religion. It could also be a day for Christians to talk to their fellow unbelievers.

How? I am glad you asked.

A few years ago when Borders bookstores were closing down, I scoured the philosophy and science section and found this little treasure: What We Believe but Cannot Prove: Today's Leading Thinkers on Science in the Age of Certainty.

This is no fly-by-night collection of writers. It includes Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. It also includes wonderful quotes by brilliant people expressing most unreasonable views.

Take the Felix Bloch Professor of Theoretical Physics at Stanford University, Leonard Susskind. He believes, but cannot prove, in the law of large numbers: probability and statistics:

"If I were to flip a coin a million times I'd be damn sure I wasn't going to get all heads. I'm not a betting man, but I'd be so sure that I'd bet my life...I'm absolutely certain that the laws of large numbers--probability theory--will work and protect me. All of science is based on it. But I can't prove it, and I don't really know why it works."

Or consider Donald Hoffman, professor of cognitive science, philosophy, and computer science at the University of California, Irvine. He almost slips into solipsism by reducing reality into "consciousness and its contents." Physics, biology, tables, stars and people are "a species-specific user interface between ourselves and a realm far more complex, whose essential character is conscious."

And one more useful quote for your reasonable atheist and secular friends. Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine and columnist writer for Scientific American, offers a refreshingly honest assessment:

"In conclusion, I believe but cannot prove that reality exists and science is the best method for understanding it, that there is no God: that the universe is determined but we are free; that morality evolved as an adaptive trait of humans and human communities; and that ultimately all of existence is explicable through science. Of course, I could be wrong…"

Armed with these quotes, you, my fellow Christian, can bring a little ironic humor to the National Day of Reason.



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