How do we prove theism is true? Can this be done? Or is a belief in God just based on our feelings or how we grew up?
I. First Step to Prove Theism is True. Demonstrate that it is Undeniable
In a previous article, we began with our first of two steps.
The first step was proving that theism is undeniably true. Or said differently, you cannot deny theism’s truthfulness denied without contradicting yourself.
You see, it is one thing to prove theism is true. In other words, a theistic God MUST exist. And exist undeniably, but we also need to answer our critics from the other six worldviews.
And this is where the second step comes in.
II. The Second Step to Prove Theism is True: Show All 6 Non-Theistic Worldviews are False (Unaffirmable)
The second part proves that the six other worldviews are false because they have inherent contradictions in their core beliefs.
In other words, their core beliefs cannot be said to be accurate or are unaffirmable.
Don’t let the word “unaffirmability” intimidate you. It is a fancy way of saying that the statement or belief cannot be supported with evidence or that it contradicts itself. Or the more cliched phrase, “it shoots itself in the foot.”
A few examples will show you how easy the concept of unaffirmability is to understand:
Some statements are “directly unaffirmable.”
- The contradiction is apparent in the statement itself.
- Consider, “I cannot express myself in words.”
- That statement is contradictory because the person had to express herself in words to say she couldn’t express herself in words!
But some claims are “indirectly unaffirmable” and are a little harder to spot.
To discover these logical mistakes, we have to work harder. We may need to rephrase the statement or dig deeper into the meaning to find the contradiction.
- For example, a pantheist may say, “I know that no one can know anything about reality.”
- The contradiction is not readily apparent in the statement.
- So we need to dig deeper and rephrase what they are saying to bring the contradiction to light.
- The critic claims to “know enough about reality” to say, “no one can know anything about reality!”
- But that is contradictory!
- How can he claim he does know something about reality when at the same time he is claiming, “Reality “cannot be known!”
Now let’s discover the second way to prove theism is true but showing how its competing six worldviews are all false or unaffirmable. We do that by exposing the contradictions in the other six worldviews.
1. What’s a Contradiction?
To prove theism is true, we must become familiar with some logic, specifically contradictions. Contradictions are things that break the Law of Noncontradiction.
The Law of Noncontradiction (LON) is a philosophical principle we use daily. It merely states, “the opposite of true is false.” Every time you say, “That is true,” you mean its opposite is false and vice versa.
- For example, if I claim that it is true that it is “sunny and 85 degrees outside my house today.” Then it would be false to claim that it is “cloudy and -35 degrees outside my house today.”
If you say the opposite of true is true, you are violating the LON.
- In our example: You’re contradicting yourself if you say, “It is sunny and 85 degrees outside my house today, AND it is also cloudy and -35 degrees outside my house today!”
Those are contradictory statements. Why? Because two opposite propositions cannot both be true, at the same time, and in the same sense.
So the LON helps us discover contradictions. And when we find contradictions, we know the statement is false.
III. To Prove Theism, We Show the Other 6 Non-theistic Worldviews are False
Now let’s apply these things to prove theism is true.
A worldview would be unaffirmable if:
- It contradicts theism: If we could show that theism is true (like in our previous article), then the LON would point out that anything that contradicts theism must be false. Since the other six worldviews hold contradictory views to theism, they must be wrong.
- It contradicts itself: The LON is also helpful for showing contradictions within a worldview. A worldview is false if it contradicts itself.
Here’s how all six of the other worldviews are “unaffirmable.”
1. Prove Theism by showing Atheism is Unaffirmable
Atheism fails because it claims there is no God. But we have shown that a theistic God undeniably exists.
Many atheists believe that our finite universe has existed for an infinite number of moments in time. Others claim a series of infinite multiverses. In either case, they are wrong!
An infinite series (a series without beginning or end) or moment or preceding “multiverses” cannot exist in reality.
Similarly, an infinite number of causes for our universe or multiverses are impossible because they result in an “infinite regress.”
2. Prove Theism by showing Polytheism, Finite Godism, and Pan-en-theism are Unaffirmable
Polytheism, Finite Godism, and Pan-en-theism believe in a finite (or limited) god or gods. All finite beings, including finite gods, are limited. And the “Principle of Causality” demands that every finite being (effect) has to be brought into existence by a preceding cause.
Therefore whoever created these contingent and finite god(s) would be greater than them and qualify as the real God. Further, “finite gods” contradict the previous undeniable argument for an infinite and eternal God.
3. Prove Theism by showing Pantheism is Unaffirmable
Dr. Norman Geisler, in his Christian Apologetics (pp. 187-190), summarizes three contradictions in pantheism:
- A strictly pantheistic view’s most fundamental mistake is saying that only God exists and “I” do not exist. But this is self-defeating (since you have to exist to affirm that you do not exist).
- Additionally, it is contradictory for a finite human being to be an infinite god. Finite cannot also be infinite.
- Lastly, it is contradictory to state, “God is unknowable in an intellectual way.” Why? Because the pantheist believes she knows something intellectually about her god!
4. Prove Theism by showing Deism is Unaffirmable
Deism’s belief in God is contradictory. How could a God who created the universe out of nothing be kept from doing more minor miracles like creating humans if he chose? That is not consistent.
IV. Theism is True
The only remaining worldview–theism–is the only “affirmable” and correct worldview! The other six worldviews are false because they contain contradictions in their fundamental beliefs.
V. What’s Your Next Step?
Did I prove theism is true for you?
Recognizing the reality of a theistic God is far more critical in our lives than disproving other views.
And if a theistic God exists, what should you do?
Firstly, get to know Jesus (who is God) through Scripture.
Secondly, realize the terrible news that we can never please God by our good works.
Thirdly, accept the good news that he loves us and can give us eternal salvation if we put our faith in Jesus.
- Geisler, N. L. (2013). Christian Apologetics 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
- ___. (2012) The Big Book of Christian Apologetics: An A to Z Guide. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
- ___, & Watkins, W. D. (1989). Worlds Apart: A Handbook on World Views (2nd ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.