I've watched a lot of well known atheists on YouTube. To be honest, they have some really interesting ― and truthful ― things to say. The main objection I find with their perspective is not their critique on religion, which I find mostly quite accurate, but rather it is how they mix God with religion. They look at the irrationality of religion, and therefore claim that belief in God is irrational.
I thought about this point quite a lot, and pondered if they were right. Is it irrational to believe in God?
While I agree that believing in an ancient religious narrative is irrational (by irrational, I mean it takes faith to believe a certain narrative about God based on ancient accounts told in stories, myths, and allegories. Granted, it may turn out to be true, but nonetheless the point remains that it is not a rational conclusion one would come to purely by reason.) I disagree that belief in God is irrational (as in the Higher Power who created the universe and everything within it). If anything, it is the complete opposite. Belief in an unknown Higher Power (being agnostic) seems to me to be the only truly rational option one can choose when contemplating the universe in which we abide, but for the religious believer and the atheist, they hold to either a faith-based belief or a faith-based non-belief; both positions that are fundamentally irrational and requires faith, not rationality, to hold to their position.
While I don't believe in organized religion, I do believe in God, and I do have faith in the narrative of Jesus, but I can openly accept the irrationality of it and how it is a matter of faith, not facts or rationality, that cause me to believe it. I'd like to point out that I'm not trying to change anyone's belief or non-belief, but merely trying to explain why I think it takes just as much faith to be an atheist as it does to be a religious believer. I don't point to the Bible to prove this, but rather to the universe.
The Bible ― though often used by believers as a a proof text on facts about God ― doesn't prove God exists, scientifically or otherwise. I don't think I could, nor can anyone, use it as a tool to convince people on the facts about God's existence. While one can believe what they read in the Bible is divinely inspired, to do so ― that is, to accept that the Bible is divinely inspired ― is a complete act of faith. So, while I don't think the Bible can be used in any concrete way to actually prove God exists or explain how the world was literally created, I do think that the universe we abide in is hard, physical evidence, something real and tangible, that we cannot ignore. To believe the universe is a matter of random chance ― meaning that there is no intelligent design behind it ― seems to me to be a far greater leap of faith.
Playing lotto to solve your financial problems is not a rational option. The odds are way to long. Why then would we think its rational to believe that the universe, incredibly complex in its design, has no Designer, when the odds of that actually being true are enormous in cosmic sized proportions?
The whole cosmos in their perfectly functioning glory. Where did it all come from? From nowhere? Are we to believe it is all the result of one mind-boggling chance? To believe this is to accept the odds given to it. One scientific estimate puts the chance of random creation at one in 10 to the power of 40,000. That's 1 in 10 + 40,000 zeros on the end. Is it realistic to accept these odds as the most rational explanation we have regarding the creation of the universe?
The observable universe is estimated to be more than 93 billion light years in length (to put this in perspective, the moon, for example, is less than two light seconds away from earth). It is perfectly balanced. Everything within it works in perfect union with each other. Within this universe we have our planet, unique in all the universe. On our planet, we have the most fascinating variety of animal, foods, smells, tastes, and visual spectacles, from the tiniest insect to the great whales and every living thing in-between.
I can and do respect those who are believers in the random creation of the universe, but to that effect, I am an unbeliever. If the day comes when the universe is proved to be a fairytale, a Hollywood creation of sorts made by trickery, then I will change my mind. Until then, the universe is my proof an intelligent Creator has designed and implemented this cosmic-sized reality we abide in.
Even if I came to believe, or if it was somehow proven, that the Bible was just made up by crazy ancient people on a power trip, even if I came to believe it was nothing more than a fairytale, this conclusion would not in any way prove that God does not exist. It's not until someone convinces me that the universe is not real, that the universe is a fantasy, that it is not as big as it is, and as complex, and as awe-inspiring. When the universe is revealed as another Santa Claus, just another fairy tale made up to trick us, then I would come to question the existence of God. But while I can still stare out at the stars and galaxies all those millions of light years away, whose light is powerful enough to still reach my eyes regardless of the gulf between us, I can do nothing else but believe there is a Creator behind it all.
Sure, it's irrational to believe in ancient religious narratives -- that is a matter of faith -- but to believe there is a Higher Power that designed and implemented the universe is not irrational, not when the only other option we have is that the universe just happened by fluke, right?