I’ve posted this before, but given the last several posts and the comments–I will post it again. Some quotes:
The reasons you must give, however, do not come from outside your faith, but follow from it and flesh it out. They are not independent of your faith – if they were they would supplant it as a source of authority – but are simultaneously causes of it and products of it; just as Harris’s and Dawkins’s reasons for believing that morality can be naturalized flow from their faith in physical science and loop back to that faith, thereby giving it an enhanced substance.
The reasoning is circular, but not viciously so. The process is entirely familiar and entirely ordinary; a conviction (of the existence of God or the existence of natural selection or the greatness of a piece of literature) generates speculation and questions, and the resulting answers act as confirmation of the conviction that has generated them. Whatever you are doing – preaching, teaching , performing an experiment, playing baseball – you must always give a reason (if only to yourself) for your faith and the reason will always be a reason only because your faith is in place.
Now, this is not to say that one cannot change his world-view/faith—his deepest held convictions regarding the big questions of life. But it is to say that there is a huge and significant difference between changing my mistaken view that the mean distance from the earth to the sun is 139.6 kilometers, when I am shown evidence that it is, in fact, 149.6 kilometers—and changing my views about why there is something rather than nothing, is there a God or not, the origins of the universe, why am I here, or what is the meaning of life. All the big questions of life—the questions most people care about—which have been summed up and reflected in philosophy, literature, art, music, and culture from time immemorial are not answered or addressed by measuring or weighing “evidence.” Frankly, does this difference even need to be pointed out? Isn’t this difference obvious?
David B. Hart put it best:
“…And this, I venture to say, is why atheism cannot win out in the end: it requires a moral and intellectual coarseness—a blindness to the obvious—too immense for the majority of mankind.”