Establishing Christian God vs. Mere Transcendent Being
“Yeah, but you haven’t proven that the Christian God exists!”
When skeptics encounter philosophical arguments for the existence of God, they sometimes try to counter them by saying that the arguments, at best, only establish the existence of some type of transcendent being. But, they continue, this being is not necessarily the Christian God. For example, Richard Dawkins writes,
…there is absolutely no reason to endow that [being] with any of the properties normally ascribed to God: omnipotence, omniscience, goodness, creativity of design, to say nothing of such human attributes such as listening to prayers, forgiving sins and reading innermost thoughts.
In a sense, Dawkins is absolutely right. No philosophical argument(s) for the existence of God can establish all the different properties normally ascribed to God. However, the arguments, when properly presented, are not intended to establish every property. What they do form is a cumulative case for a being that is similar to the Christian God. For example, the moral argument can establish a being of moral perfection; the cosmological and teleological arguments can establish a being of great power and knowledge; the ontological argument can establish a necessarily existing being and so on. However, it is true that these arguments do not establish every single attribute of the Christian God. But if there are good reasons to believe that something like the Christian God exists; and if there are other arguments that support the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, as well as other key aspects of Christianity; then a strong cumulative case can be made for the Christian worldview. Given all this, it takes a whole lot more faith to be an atheist than it does to be a Christian.
Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, 1st Mariner Books ed (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co, 2008), 101.